Gerald J. Erion

Medaille College
  •  8
    Fake News as Media Theory
    In Jason Southworth & Ruth Tallman (eds.), Saturday Night Live and Philosophy, Wiley. 2020.
    Some kinds of “fake news” bits on Saturday Night Live (SNL) become more meaningful when linked back to the work of media theorist Neil Postman. Postman's best‐known book, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, argues that TV journalism will inevitably reflect the influences and biases of television itself. The result is an entertaining but incoherent stream of “disinformation” in a “peek‐a‐boo world” of unfocused and shallow discussion. Using Postman's argument…Read more
  •  8
    Rallying Against the Conflictinator
    with Jason Holt
    In William Irwin (ed.), The Ultimate Daily Show and Philosophy, Wiley. 2013.
    While The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is certainly entertaining, it can also deliver a deeper analysis of our contemporary media environment. Stewart's analysis echoes that of the celebrated New York University media theorist Neil Postman, whose discerning insights seem to ground some of The Daily Show's sharpest comic bits. Much of The Daily Show's sharpest comedy requires its audience to grasp a Postman‐like criticism of television news. In addition, Stewart himself seems to offer a more gener…Read more
  •  7
    Juvenile Hijinks With Serious Subtext
    with David Valleau Curtis
    In Robert Arp & Kevin S. Decker (eds.), The Ultimate South Park and Philosophy, Wiley. 2013-08-26.
    This chapter explores themes like freedom of expression and what makes for a democratic society by examining characters and situations collected from a variety of South Park episodes. It discusses some of the important democratic concepts and arguments presented by thinkers like Karl Popper and Thomas Jefferson. Of particular interest are the roles of free expression and unfettered intellectual inquiry—even when they're offensive—in a democratic society. Finally, the author speaks that Popper an…Read more
  • Kolnai and the Interesting
    In G. John M. Abbarno (ed.), Inherent and Instrumental Values: Excursions in Value Inquiry, University Press of America. 2014.
  •  22
    Engaging Student Relativism
    Discourse: Learning and Teaching in Philosophical and Religious Studies 5 (1): 120-133. 2005.
  •  733
    Barry Smith an sich (edited book)
    Cosmos + Taxis. 2017.
    Festschrift in Honor of Barry Smith on the occasion of his 65th Birthday. Published as issue 4:4 of the journal Cosmos + Taxis: Studies in Emergent Order and Organization. Includes contributions by Wolfgang Grassl, Nicola Guarino, John T. Kearns, Rudolf Lüthe, Luc Schneider, Peter Simons, Wojciech Żełaniec, and Jan Woleński.
  •  45
    Teaching Philosophy of the City
    Teaching Philosophy 41 (2): 137-150. 2018.
    This paper reviews goals, content materials, and other essential elements of a new, experimental philosophy course on the built environment of cities now being developed in Buffalo, New York. Applying traditional philosophical methods, the course adds experiential components and expands philosophy’s scope in ways that promote deep learning about the city. A model unit on the work of Frederick Law Olmsted receives special attention here, as Olmsted’s work in Buffalo and elsewhere invites philosop…Read more
  • Common Sense: An Investigation in Ontology, Epistemology, and Moral Philosophy
    Dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo. 2000.
    We shall identify the subset of objective reality that all people experience during their everyday lives as the common-sense world. The most prominent occupants of this world are medium-sized physical things and people. However, the common-sense world is a rich and exciting domain that is also home to countless other kinds of entities. ;Common sense, then, is the sophisticated, true, and reliable set of fundamental beliefs and abilities shared by all human adults. This knowledge base underlies w…Read more
  •  22
    Thinking Critically about College Writing
    Teaching Philosophy 23 (1): 53-61. 2000.
  •  148
    The cartesian test for automatism
    Minds and Machines 11 (1): 29-39. 2001.
    In Part V of his Discourse on the Method, Descartes introduces a test for distinguishing people from machines that is similar to the one proposed much later by Alan Turing. The Cartesian test combines two distinct elements that Keith Gunderson has labeled the language test and the action test. Though traditional interpretation holds that the action test attempts to determine whether an agent is acting upon principles, I argue that the action test is best understood as a test of common sense. I a…Read more
  •  12
    Juvenile Hijinks With Serious Subtext
    with David Valleau Curtis
    In Robert Arp & Kevin S. Decker (eds.), The Ultimate South Park and Philosophy: Respect My Philosophah!, Wiley. 2013.