October 11, 2005
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Alexander George, professor of philosophy at Amherst College, has launched a new Website, called AskPhilosophers (www.askphilosophers.org ), that allows anyone to ask anything-and get an answer from a thinker trained in philosophy.
George hopes that AskPhilosophers can address a "paradox surrounding philosophy. On the one hand, everyone confronts philosophical issues throughout his or her life. But on the other, very few have the opportunity to learn about philosophy, a subject that is usually taught only at the college level." The new site puts "the skills and knowledge of trained philosophers at the service of the general public" by gathering 33 respected academic philosophers who constantly scan questions posted on the Website, on topics ranging from emotion and ethics to language and logic, from politics to religion and science. Currently, the site examines the nature of truth, the existence of free will and whether time is timeless.
A member of the faculty at Amherst since 1988, George received a B.A. degree from Columbia University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University. He is editor of Reflections on Chomsky (1989), Western State Terrorism (1991) and Mathematics and Mind (1994). His most recent philosophy book, written with Daniel Velleman, professor of mathematics at Amherst, was Philosophies of Mathematics (2002). With his Amherst colleague Lawrence Douglas, George is co-author of Sense and Nonsensibility: Lampoons of Learning and Literature (2004.) Douglas and George also have published humorous work together in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, McSweeney's and the Boston Globe, among other publications, and they contribute a regular column to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
George built the site with Qingsi Zhu, an Amherst College sophomore from Shanghai, China; Nick Doty, an Amherst senior from Winchester, Va.; and Paul Chapin, a curricular specialist for humanities at Amherst.