Evil, Choice and Rationalism

The subjects of my second Con West class on Zoroastrianism are going to be Zoroastrianism’s approach to the problem of evil and its stress on the importance of free choice. I’ll most likely be using excerpts from the Gathas (included in the Zoroastrian...

Zoroastrianism and Cosmopolitanism

Zoroastrianism was mentioned in John McCain’s interview last week on the ABC morning television show The View. (It happens at 2:10 in the YouTube clip above.) Trying to get McCain to talk about the implications of his choice of Sarah Palin to be running mate,...

The Playlist So Far

Some years ago I began to play songs before each of my American Literature I lectures. I was teaching on the eighth floor of NYU’s Main Building (now the Silver Center), a building that wasn’t really designed for the number of students that flooded into...

Moby-Dick Looming

Before Monday’s lecture, the instructor who teaches in my room during the previous time slot asked me what songs I’d be playing. “Songs with ‘cosmopolitanism’ in the title,” I replied. “Oooh, we don’t like...

Cosmopolitanism Isn’t Flashy

Tomorrow I’m lecturing on Kwame Anthony Appiah’s book Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (2006), which works marvelously in the context of Con West because of his stress on the importance of “conversation.” I’d spent part of...