Philosophy has a long and confusing relationship with fiction, music and comedy, and the contributors to this issue’s central essays have unwittingly landed us right in the middle of it.
Helen De Cruz takes up philosophy and fiction, arguing that the philosophical blockbuster enables the general public to engage in philosophical thinking very nearly daily. Is she with Camus, who claims that “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth”? I’ll leave that one to you.
James Tartaglia takes up jazz and philosophy, finding unexpected harmonies in and amongst thoughts about both. He claims that “Plato is a bit like Louis Armstrong, Descartes is a bit like Charlie Parker”. How could that be?
Mary Beth Willard knuckles down with hard thinking about morally monstrous artists. Should we look away when we see a performance by Bill Cosby, knowing what we know about what he did?
We end up in the logic of nihilism, with an article by Nolen Gertz that brings philosophical reflection on meaninglessness bang up to date. Have you thought it best not to debate, not to feed the trolls, not to platform the offensive? There’s a whiff of nihilism in that kind of thinking, and the harder choice, to find ways to work together, might be the only response to the comforts of nihilistic giving-in.