J. David Velleman (NYU): The Gift of Life. From Philosophy Bites, an interview with Barry Smith on Wittgenstein's conception of philosophy; and can philosophy help us understand friendship? An interview with Mark Vernon, author of The Philosophy of Friendship. The first chapter from The Sense of the Past: Essays in the History of Philosophy by Bernard Williams. Acting up: He speaks approvingly of Lenin and Robespierre and packs lecture halls across the world — but is "stand-up philosopher" Slavoj Zizek serious? Philosopher goes into a pub and says to the barman: Academics aren't known for humour. Philosopher Stephen E. Braude embraces the study of the paranormal in The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations.