All posts by michaelpwolf

WNJR interview

Hey there! Are you stuck in an airport for an hour and a half waiting for a connecting flight? Are you trapped down a well, but still have wifi somehow? Then you’ll want to check out this interview I did with Sam Stewart on WNJR last week. Featuring me and my thoughts on teaching, philosophy, language, John Coltrane, how to distinguish groove metal from thrash metal, and why the 2023 Philadelphia Phillies are not a baseball team, but rather are 26 wolverines trapped in a bathroom.

I thought we were doing the heavy metal thing with our hands, but it kinda looks like we’re doing a Spiderman thing with our hands.

Philosophy of Language: 50… out now from Routledge

Available now at all fine booksellers. Probably some terrible ones, too.

This book offers readers a collection of 50 short chapter entries on topics in the philosophy of language. Each entry addresses a paradox, a longstanding puzzle, or a major theme that has emerged in the field from the last 150 years, tracing overlap with issues in philosophy of mind, cognitive science, ethics, political philosophy, and literature. Each of the 50 entries is written as a piece that can stand on its own, though useful connections to other entries are mentioned throughout the text. Readers can open the book and start with almost any of the entries, following themes of greatest interest to them. Each entry includes recommendations for further reading on the topic.

And even more than brassy, public self-promotion, I’m a believer in unchecked, enthusiastic acknowledgments when others contribute to my work. On that score, here’s that bit of front matter:

Continue reading Philosophy of Language: 50… out now from Routledge

A superposition of philosophical crises involving Gene Loves Jezebel

My friend Pete Olen is both an accomplished philosopher and a 24-7-hustle concert booker for a number of venues in southern Florida. Via a post about a show he recently booked and is currently promoting, I was reminded of 80s Welsh goth rockers Gene Loves Jezebel.  To my surprise they still exist.  And I do mean “they.”

The post led me to read a little on the history of GLJ, whom I vaguely remembered from high school. The band was started by two identical twins who came to despise each other by the late 90s and refused to ever work together again.  But both wanted to keep playing, and each thought he was the rightful inheritor of the “Gene Loves Jezebel” name. 

And then there were lawyers…

Continue reading A superposition of philosophical crises involving Gene Loves Jezebel

The very rarely discussed §73 of Epictetus’s Enchiridion


“If a messenger should bring you a letter informing you that you are now counted among the members of a council of scholars who shall meet frequently to discuss the methods, rules, and scope of notions by which you teach the youth, remind yourself what kind of consortium this is.  When they insist that you meet with the council, place before you what happens at such meetings.

Continue reading The very rarely discussed §73 of Epictetus’s Enchiridion

In memory of Jack S. Thorpe (1957-2021)

What? I am smiling.

My friend Jack Thorpe died this fall.  He would have been 65 today.  He died back in October, but I only learned of this in the last few weeks.  My contact with him had dwindled along with his health in the last two years, despite the ease of texting.  The last text from him was in May as we bemoaned the worst defensive play in recent memory and Pirates’ history.  After that, no replies.  There’s some irony in a man who took such glee in maligning my laudable Irish ancestry leaving my world with an Irish goodbye.  

Continue reading In memory of Jack S. Thorpe (1957-2021)

The rarely discussed §54 of Epictetus’s Enchiridion…


“When you are going to a meeting, remember what kind of an act you are performing. If the meeting is in a room that was just being used for another meeting, and there is cold pizza in a box sitting on top of the garbage can, remind yourself of what this is: it is garbage pizza. When you desire the pizza, you are foolish, for it is garbage pizza, and you are no longer a 21 year old living on 1400 calories a day in a crackhouse in Pittsburgh because you refuse to participate in capitalism. You may desire all the pizza there is, but remember that when you do, your will is not in conformity with nature.  If then you aim at the life of wisdom, remember that you must not attempt to lay hold of the garbage pizza with a quick, sneaky effort; but you must leave the garbage pizza alone entirely.  And you may say, “But it is still good, and they’re just going to throw it away.”  No, they have not thrown it away, they have restored it. They have restored the garbage pizza to where it now belongs…”