Black Sabbath and the Secret of Scary Music

The secret of Black Sabbath’s sound is the tritone, also known as the Devil’s Interval or diabolus in musica. But musical convention may have more to do with the sonic effect than anything Satan could claim credit for.

A Missing Ingredient in Sabbath’s Creative Stew

Black Sabbath illustrates that when it comes to creativity, the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. The band needs to come to terms with their unorthodox drummer or fans will taste something essential missing from Sabbath’s stew.

Black Sabbath Says 'God is Dead'

Sabbath’s lyrics are rarely black and white. They are rich, suggestive, and ambiguous, often undercutting one message with its opposite. So we can expect that the song “God is Dead” will not be a mindless, blasphemous romp. More likely, it will lament the loss of God and invoke his return.

Doctor Who and the Fate of Amy Pond

In Amy and Rory’s last episode of Doctor Who, they discover a book that chronicles the events of their adventure before it even occurs. What if you found a book that described the events of your life before they occurred? What does the possibility of such a book tells us about the possibility of human free will?

Facebook Friends and Opposing Opinions

Not everyone I disagree with on Facebook is stupid or evil, or even misinformed. There really are issues where good, smart, clear-thinking, well-informed people can disagree.

Heavy Metal, Heavy Knowledge

Will we ever reach complete and absolute knowledge of the way the world is? Does science ever get us closer to truth or will today's scientific theories just be overturned later? And how can some heavy metal help us answer these questions?

Making Sense of Football Fandom

How can you take pride in your favorite team's victory when you didn’t do anything but scream at a flashing box in your living room? Is fandom rational?

If There Are 50 Shades of Grey...

Women need empowering words. Men have words that help us take pride in our privates. Women should have words that do the same for them.

The Hunger Games: Was the Movie Faithful to the Novel's Philosophy?

The Hunger Games novel raises certain philosophical questions about social justice and violence. Did the movie remain faithful to, or betray, the philosophical themes of the book?

Inception and Philosophy: Taking a Leap of Faith

Cobb called Mall to take a leap of faith and lay her head on the train tracks, but wouldn’t return the favor when she asked him to jump out the window. Clearly, a leap of faith is not always a good idea—but is it ever a good idea?

Tim Tebow, the Problem of Evil and Divinely Bestowed Touchdowns

Tim Tebow thinks that God is granting him touchdowns and his team wins. But does such a notion even make philosophical sense? Instead of a gateway to faith, might it be an obstacle?

Inception and Philosophy: Life Is But a Dream

If we can’t tell whether Cobb is dreaming, can we tell whether we are dreaming? How can one deal with the angst raised by the skeptical problem?

Inception and Philosophy: It Was All Just a Dream

After Inception, everyone wondered, “Did the top fall.” They should have been wondering whether the entire movie was a dream…because it probably was.

Turn it Up to 11 and Celebrate National Metal Day

No other genre of popular music inspires the level of devotion that metal does. And there’s a reason for that. Metal isn’t just music. For many fans it’s a religion, a way of life, a philosophy, if you will.

Inception and Philosophy: Did the Spinning Top Fall?

A year and a half later, people are still talking about Inception—one of the greatest movies ever made. Did the top fall? Let me put this question to rest so we can get to some of the more pressing philosophical questions that the movie raises.

Lou Reed and Metallica: Existentialist Brothers in Black

Existentialism may be difficult to define, but LULU lets you hear it loud and clear.

Loving Radiohead: Enlightened Musical Taste or Irrationality?

I have discovered that my love of Radiohead is irrational. But I think it may also be one of the the very few exceptions where irrationality is acceptable.

Moneyball: It’s Intuition vs. Evidence

Moneyball tells the story of the conflict between evidence and intuition. Can your gut justify your belief that something is true, or should you instead rely on evidence and proportion your belief accordingly? Whether you want to break the “Curse of the Bambino” or win at the game of life, the answer is the same. Go with the evidence.

E-books and Forgetting What to Read

I know I’ve forgotten to listen to music downloaded to my iPod, and I don’t want to forget to read books that I’ve bought. I need to see them.

Prince William’s Bald Spot Shines at the Royal Wedding

It’s time for a revolution. Bald-spotters of the world unite! We have nothing to lose but our hair!

Can Television Shows Become Classics?

Popular culture has the bad reputation of being disposable junk that is used and forgotten. Dramas last better than comedies, and the way a show ends affects its legacy. But quality is the main reason that some shows survive and may become classics.

TiVo, or Not TiVo? That Is the Question

I’ll never TiVo a sporting event. The metaphysical fact that the game is finished, that the winner and the score are determined, makes watching the game unappealing to me. But why don’t I TiVo THE OFFICE?

Re-viewing Movies and the “Already-scene”

Reception depends largely on expectations. So why do we re-view movies and television programs? Does an “already scene” the shower stabbing in Psycho diminish our enjoyment of a movie?

What The Adjustment Bureau Tells Us About Free Will

The Adjustment Bureau seems to be a movie about the triumph of free will. But looks can be deceiving.

How The Adjustment Bureau Threatens Free WIll

The Adjustment Bureau implies a mechanistic view of humanity. But why are academics endorsing this view? And why might it threaten free will?

Will Watson Put Humanity in Jeopardy?

Now that Watson conquered the world’s best and brightest, what is next? The world itself?

Watson in Philosophical Jeopardy?

Last night, a computer took on the best Jeopardy players ever. Did it win? Did it demonstrate true linguistic understanding? Does it have a mind?

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