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Jack Weinstein

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Twenty-eight years ago me and my horrible hair graduated @sunyplattsburgh, thanks to the mentorship of Professor David Mowry. We lost him yesterday. Read my very emotional tribute to him at #philosophy #collegife Hi listeners! Do you want to see our host Jack Russell Weinstein (@diasporajack) in person as he deejays fun and exciting music? Come down to @ojatadogmahal records this Saturday for the fourth installment of Ska and Waffles! Rehearsing for Tuesday night! Want to hear #Klezmer music live? Come to Why? Radio’s 10th anniversary party, Tuesday at 6:30. Details at @prairiepublic @diasporajack @empireartscenter Above two folds! Thanks @gfherald @prairiepublic ❓📩❓📩❓📩❓📩❓📩
#philosophy #ask #morals #advice #questions #help #curious #hardquestions #anything #podcast #discussion #currentevents #philosophyiseverywhere #whynot #politics #ethics #art #metaphysical #religion  #myund #questionoftheday WHY? Philosophical Discussions About Everyday Life, the Prairie Public radio show is celebrating its 10th birthday and we’re all invited to think philosophically about music with them!

Join the party for food, an interview with legendary Jazz flutist Mark Weinstein, and live Klezmer music! All for free!

For more information, visit or go to
Award winning Jazz Flutist Mark Weinstein plays World Jazz and Straight-Ahead with world-class musicians rooted in the music of Cuba, Brazil, Africa, Argentina and his Jewish heritage. A Latin Jazz innovator, Mark was among the first jazz musicians to record with traditional Cuban rhythm sections in an epic album, Cuban Roots, released in 1967 with Chick Corea on piano. He also has a Ph.D. in philosophy and is a professor of Education at Montclair State University, in New Jersey. His music is the soundtrack to Why? Radio. You can learn more about him at 
Stay after the recording for a live concert, as Mark joins the Balkansi Klezmer Band for a jazz-infused exploration of the classic Jewish folk music, Klezmer. Balkansi is an ensemble based in Grand Forks that specializes in traditional music from one of the richest and most diverse musical regions in the world. The members of the band include Tamara Auer on violin, Haley Ellis on clarinet, Edward Morris on guitar, Zephaniah Pearlstein on cello, Michael Ferrick on bass, Rachel Agan Muniz on percussion.

And then stay even longer for an informal Q&A with Why? Radio host, Jack Russell Weinstein. 🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼
@prairiepublic @whyradioshow @diasporajack @empireartscenter #logic #philosophy #podcast #jazz #flute #grandforks #music #event #klezmer #northdakota #philosophyiseverywhere #birthday #10 #markweinstein #jackweinstein #jackrussellweinstein #free #concert #interview

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What is Philosophy?


This blog entry is not an examination of consumerism; I will not ask how many iPads or televisions a person should own. Instead, it’s about our work and creative lives, and about what it means to fulfill the obligations that come with choosing a vocation. Oddly enough, the inspiration for this entry is fairly mundane: the resurrection of the Why? Radio twitter feed. With yet another thing to do everyday, I find myself asking how much work I have to do before I am satisfied. What are the criteria that tell people not to add anymore to their piles? How much work is enough?

At the heart of this dilemma lie at least three sets of questions. First, we have to ask what it means to be successful.  At what point can we look at our careers and admit that we have achieved a standard of accomplishment that we should be comfortable with? And, if we ask this, we also have to ask whether other people judge our success or whether we decide it for ourselves.

The second set of questions involves the meaning of our lives. Many people find their primary identity through their jobs. Americans are particularly guilty of this; when we meet new people, the first question we actually ask is “what do you do?” We feel that identifying what someone’s profession is – what they get paid to do – tells us something essential about them. In all my years traveling, I have never met another group of people more concerned with their occupations than Americans. Of course, I am one of them too, hence this blog entry.

We’re now at another dilemma. If I identify myself as a philosopher, how much of my time has to be spent doing philosophy to justify my self-perception? Twenty percent? Fifty percent? Being a philosopher is much more than an outlook; I also have to read and create philosophical work. But, again, how much is enough, one book or two? An article a year? Continuous writing until I retire or until I die? Artists of every stripe struggle with this last question. When are they finished with their life’s work? Do they ever stop being an artist or do they just expire with an unfinished corpus?

The third set of questions involves evaluating our roles in the world and our obligations to others. Sometimes we add more work to the pile because we are morally obligated to. Maybe our work helps someone else’s research or advocates for a cause. Maybe we assist a friend who is falling ill. I like to think that the world is a slightly better place because of my writing, and that if I stopped some people would be, at minimum, disappointed. But there are so many people who have more crucial roles to play. How does an emergency room surgeon or a firefighter declare that they have done enough? What a gut-wrenching decision that must be.

In the end, of course, someone is going to say that I should do the work that makes me happy. But this answer is too simplistic if happiness is just a feeling. If I’m struggling to meet a deadline, am I not, in some sense, happy? Would I not forsake the project if I weren’t truly committed to it? Aristotle reminds us that happiness involves doing things and that struggle is part of the process. Also, happiness is a combination of components. If my comments above are correct, then I can say I’m happy if I am successful, if my work provides my life meaning, and if I am fulfilling my obligations to others. But this doesn’t solve the problem because it only tells me what my goals are not when I’ve reached them. (Not to mention, that I’ve only discussed work life, not family, or social commitments that are essential to my self-image.)

So, how much work is enough? I really don’t know. At this point, I’m operating on instinct and there isn’t much more I can do. Whatever enough is though, I don’t think I’m there yet. So, I’ll just tweet away and see what comes of it. It’s just ten minutes of my day, after all, and that’s not such a big deal. Is it?

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