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Blog Posts by Subject: Philosophy

Candide in New York (or the Problem of Evil)

In 2003 I began work on an edition of Candide for Broadview Press that was published in 2009. For the cover image, I suggested a photograph of the twin towers in flames. I also had an idea for an image to balance it on the back cover: the famous snap from Abu Ghraib of a hooded man standing on a box, arms outstretched and apparently in mortal fear of electrocution. If you find that poor taste, or cannot conceive of why I would choose those images, please read on.

Though it is a comedy, Candide is also about what 

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Novelist as Contrarian: James Morrow Reads Voltaire

Note: for those of you just joining us, the following is a digest of the latest round of comments on Candide 2.0, an interactive edition of Voltaire's book mounted in conjunction with the Library's exhibition Candide at 250: Scandal and Success.

James Morrow names his 10th-grade World Literature teacher, James Giordano, as his literary hero. In the reader’s guide notes to his novel, The Last 

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This is Water

“To doubt everything, or, to believe everything, are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.” -Henri Poincare, Science and Hypothesis (1901) 

We are now at that time of the year when so many students are getting ready to take that next giant step into the “real world”. I’d like to think that most are prepared to meet the challenges. High schools and universities have long used the commencement speech as a way of conveying final 

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