A philosophy webcomic about the inevitable anguish of living a brief life in an absurd world. Also Jokes

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Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophers III: Ladies' Night at the Dragon's Den


Arendt made one last attempt to save her alignment by saying she was just following party leadership, so shouldn't be held accountable, but it didn't go over well.
Arendt made one last attempt to save her alignment by saying she was just following party leadership, so shouldn't be held accountable, but it didn't go over well.
Didn't get the joke?

Philippa Foot was a 20th century British philosopher mainly known for her work in attempting to revitalize the virtue ethics of Aristotle. Virtue ethics deals with the virtuous traits of a person, and have generally been less popular in modern philosophy to consequentialism and deontological ethics.

G.E.M. Anscombe is also 20th century British philosopher who also worked on virtue ethics. Her blurb refers to the fact that she was skeptical that anyone would be able to take Divine Command Theory seriously in the modern world anymore (i.e. morality comes from God), which left us with (in her opinion, since she was critical of consequentialism) with virtue ethics. It is unclear on whether or not she actually believe Divine Command Theory was the best way to take, however. She is perhaps best known for her work on intentions. She argued that a man's real intention collapse out into his final purpose for performing an action. She gives the example of a man who is pumping water into a house of Nazis, and he knows the water is poisoned by conspirators. When asked what he is doing, the man can give several answers that are seemingly correct, such as "moving my arms up and down", "pumping water", "kill the Nazis". Anscombe claims the only way to know their true intention is to know the mental story they are telling to themselves, and then take the final intention as their true intention. For example, if it is the case that they do intend to kill the Nazis, then "moving their arms" and "pumping the water" aren't "intentions", but just means to complete their intention of killing the Nazis. If they wish to simply stay out of politics, but don't want to interfere with the conspirators, it would be said their intention is simply to pump the water, even though their actions are the same. Here, if the Dragon were present, Adrent would have performed all the same actions as Anscombe. However since it was absent, her true intention all along was revealed – not one of doing good, but of simple greed. So even if she would have killed the dragon, that was not her intention, her intention was getting the treasure. In contrast, while Anscombe would have still gotten treasure, she presumably would have still killed the dragon even if she discovered there was no treasure to be had. The Partially Examined Life has a good podcast on Anscombe

Simone de Beauvoir's blurb her refers to the fact that she was a lifelong partner to Jean Paul Sartre, but she had many affairs (openly), including with women. Simone de Beauvoir was one of the most influential feminists of all time, from writing The Second Sex in 1949. It is sometimes used as marking the starting point for Second Wave Feminism. It is a detailed account of the history of the oppression of women, and how culture creates an environment of oppression which causes women to essentially become subservient wives, wholly dependent on men. She emphasizes women's most pressing needs at the time: to be given the right (and cultural acceptance) to earn their own salaries, and control their own sexual and reproductive lives (via birth control and abortions). Despite being an outspoken feminist, she still work feminine clothes, such as lipstick and heels, which is what the comic is somewhat drawing from. The comic shouldn't be confused with saying that she didn't think the sexualization of women in the media was a problem however. In her defense in the comic, a private D&D game is perhaps not "the media". Judith Butler claimed her formulation "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman" was the first to distinguish sex from gender, showing the femininity or the female gender traits is learned from culture, rather than an innate essential trait of women.

Judith Butler is a 20th century American Philosopher, feminist and gender theorist, best known for her book Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, which details her theory of Gender Performativity. She claims that gender is not a characteristic of an individual at all, but rather an act that is performed by an individual as a signal to society, the rules of which are agreed upon by the culture as a whole. “Gender Essentialism” is the opposite view, which originates with Aristotle, stating that there are certain essential traits which are "female" and "male", such that there could be said to be a "perfect women" and "perfect man", which men and women should work towards being. In cultures throughout time some form of this has widely been believed, and the "male" traits are always positive (courageous, strong, intelligent, rational, practical) whereas the "female" traits tend to be either negative (submissive, irrational / emotional, weak) or positive only insofar as they are enjoyable to men (beautiful, graceful, etc) or for good for child caring (nurturing, loving, etc). Both Butler and Beauvoir would claim these narratives have been used mostly to subjugate women and keep them in the role of child bearers.

Hannah Arendt was a 20th century political philosopher, perhaps best known for her controversial book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, which is a report on Eichmann's trial in Jerusalem for Nazi war crimes. Eichmann was a fairly important administrator in conducting the holocaust. She paints him as a rather bumbling, career minded, middle manager, rather mindless bureaucratic type, not particularly antisemitic or "evil" as we would like to think of it. He simply wanted to get ahead in his career, and found himself an "expert" (he exaggerated wildly how much of an expert he was) on the "Jewish question" in Germany, and throughout his career just got used to the idea of killing off the Jewish race. He paints him as having very little agency, too stupid to think for himself, and with no special character traits in particular.

Also, be sure to check out Affect, my wife's upcoming conference on the work behind social change; in Portland, Oregon
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