Public Philosophy

I am the organizer of Philosophy Meets: East and West, a Meetup group in New York City that hosts discussions on topics in analytic philosophy, Eastern philosophy and current affairs. 

I also serve on the board of Gotham Philosophical Society, a nonprofit organization devoted to fostering public philosophical dialogue within the New York City community.   

Upcoming Events

To be posted in January, 2018.

Recent Events

My former logic student, Jason Cutmore, gave a piano performance and a talk on music ontology.

Beyond the Marketplace Melting Pot: A Return to Meaningful Music Classification

Date: December 11, 2017. Time:  6:00-7:30 pm.  Place: Cornelia Street Café (29 Cornelia Street, near Sixth Avenue and West 4th Street)

It has been said that there are not different types or categories of music, only good music and bad music.  How can we know the difference between good and bad music however?  Well, on some accounts, there are indeed different types (‘low’ vs ‘high’ art), some of which are by definition bad, others good.  Yet, on other accounts, music is music – there are no essential differences in kind, and it is simply each listener’s favorable or unfavorable reaction to any given song or piece of music that decides its quality.  In very broad strokes, these two contrasting orientations represent attitudes common in modernist and postmodernist theories, respectively. In the former, Western classical music was privileged (unjustly, in some respects) above all other kinds.  However, the latter orientation, which is currently in fashion, seems to reduce all musical meaning and appraisal to little more than our own mental projections. In this presentation, a third, alternative way to identify musical types is proposed, one that seeks to illuminate meaningful musical distinctions in the natures and functions of three musical kinds (folk, mass, and art music), with some surprising results.  A brief piano performance will precede the talk.

Jason Cutmore is a concert pianist, teacher, and the founder and director of the Canadian music festival, Alberta Pianofest.  He has performed across much of North America, Europe, and India, and has published articles in peer review journals and trade magazines.  Mr Cutmore lives in New York City, and is currently completing a Master’s degree in Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Past Events

I read “Mystery of the Mirror” from Leonard Cohen and Philosophy: Various Positions at the Cornelia Street Cafe. (See below.) Leonard Cohen and Philosophy was  recently reviewed in The Hopkins Review <> and in the CAML Review, the official publications of the Canadian Association of Music Libraries <>.

LEONARD COHEN AND PHILOSOPHY, Sunday, January 25, 2015

Please join us as authors Babette Babich, Christopher Ketcham, and Lisa Warenski read selections from Leonard Cohen and Philosophy , edited by Jason Holt (2014 from Open Court Publishing Company).  Time: 6:00 pm.  Where: Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, New York, NY 10014 (near Sixth Avenue and West 4th St.)

With his uniquely compelling voice and unparalleled depth of artistic vision, the aesthetic quality and intellectual merit of Cohen’s work are above dispute; here, for the first time, a team of philosophers takes an in-depth look at its real significance. Join us for an evening of philosophical reflection on the work of this most enigmatic and mysterious pop-star poet.

“Cohen famously said that there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. This book takes the brilliant light of Cohen’s words and shines it into Plato’s cave with such strength the prisoners are not only free but see the sun.” — Kimberly Baltzer-Jaray, author of Doorway to the World of Essences