Author Archives: Randal Samstag

About Randal Samstag

Randal has an undergraduate degree in political philosophy, but has a graduate degree in engineering and has earned his bread for 30 years working on municipal and community water supply and wastewater collection and treatment systems in the US, Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia.

Zizek’s Event

I picked up Slavoj Zizek’s new book, Event, next to the cash register in the gift shop at the Tate Britain. Philosophy is an impulse buy at the Tate Britain. In this book Zizek takes seriously the theme of the … Continue reading

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Garry Wills’s Madison

Garry Wills’s short book on Madison (James Madison) is not the complete story on our puzzling fourth President, but it captures well the many contradictory positions which Madison embraced during his long life. Wills’s book was a commissioned study in … Continue reading

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Do Contradictions Imply Everything?

It is a standard argument of classical logic that any proposition can be logically derived from a contradiction (See Lewis and Langford, Symbolic Logic, page 250). This argument has been used by almost everybody, including Karl Popper (in the article … Continue reading

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Piketty’s Capital

  Thomas Piketty is a relatively young economist who has spent most of his professional career teaching at the Paris School of Economics and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales after brief stints at MIT. He has collaborated … Continue reading

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The Progress of Philosophy

Does philosophy progress? Of course it does! From the Greek founder Parmenides’s Way of Truth and Way of Opinion with no connection between the two (anticipating Descartes’s error) comes Plato’s masterful elaborations. Aristotle’s critique of his teacher’s Theory of Ideas … Continue reading

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Why Hegel?

When a discussion group decided to take up the subject of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, my friend Charlton asked the question “Why Hegel?” No one tried to respond directly to Charlton at the time, but now, having gone through the … Continue reading

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Falling Rate of Profit?

The April issue of Monthly Review contains an article by the contemporary German Marxist scholar Michael Heinrich titled “Failure of the Falling Rate of Profit Theory – Marx’s Studies in the 1970’s.” Marx had maintained in Volume Three of Capital … Continue reading

Posted in Economics | 8 Comments