Life Is hard. Can Philosophy Help?

by Dwight Furrow Does philosophy have anything to tell us about problems we face in everyday life? Many ancient philosophers thought so. To them, philosophy was not merely an academic discipline but a way of life that provided distinctive reasons and motivations for living well. Some contemporary philosophers have been inspired by these ancient sources…

Skepticism as A Way of Life

by Dwight Furrow Today “skepticism” has two related meanings. In ordinary language it is a behavioral disposition to withhold assent to a claim until sufficient evidence is available to judge the claim true or false. This skeptical disposition is central to scientific inquiry, although financial incentives and the attractions of prestige render it inconsistently realized.…

Stoicism: Is it Therapy or Philosophy?

by Dwight Furrow One of the more remarkable developments in popular philosophy over the past 20 years is the rebirth of stoicism. Stoicism was an ancient Greek and Roman philosophy founded around 300 BCE by the merchant Zeno of Citium, in what is now Cyprus. Although, contemporary professional philosophers occasionally discuss Stoicism as a form…

The Value of Metaphysics

by Dwight Furrow Among the ideas in the history of philosophy most worthy of an eye-roll is Aristotle’s claim that the study of metaphysics is the highest form of eudaimonia (variously translated as “happiness” or “flourishing”) of which human beings are capable. The metaphysician is allegedly happier than even the philosopher who makes a well-lived…

Wine, Art, and the Language of Representation

by Dwight Furrow Many works of art seem to be about something. Even if they don’t convey a clear message, they nevertheless invite thought about a subject matter and thus can be said to represent an object, process, or state-of-affairs. Does this language of representation help clarify the sense in which some wines can be…

Beyond Subjectivity and Objectivity in Wine Tasting

by Dwight Furrow It seems as if everyone in the wine industry proclaims that wine tasting is subjective. Wine educators encourage consumers to trust their own palates. “There is no right or wrong when tasting wine,” I heard a salesperson say recently. “Don’t put much stock in what the critics say,” said a prominent winemaker…

Wine and Music Pairing: A Next-Level Aesthetic Experience

by Dwight Furrow The evidence that pairing music with wine can enhance one’s tasting experience continues to mount since I last visited this topic in 2017. A research team headed by Q.J. Wang showed that, in a winery tasting room, wines tasted with a soundtrack chosen to enhance oak-derived flavors were rated as significantly fruitier…

Wine Appreciation, Irony, and a Game of Striving

by Dwight Furrow For many wine lovers, understanding wine is hard work. We study maps of wine regions and their climates, learn about grape varietals and their characteristics, and delve into various techniques for making wine, trying to understand their influence on the final product. Then we learn a complex but arcane vocabulary for describing…

Review of “Epistenology: Wine as Experience” by Nicola Perullo

by Dwight Furrow Epistenology: Wine as Experience is a peculiar name for a peculiar book, although its peculiarities make it worth reading. Coined by the author, Nicola Perullo, Professor of Aesthetics at University of Gastronomic Science near Bra, Italy, the term “Epistenology” is a portmanteau blending enology, the study of wine, with epistemology, the philosophical…