According to David Freedman in the Atlantic, there is a war on stupid people. While this may sound like the latest expansion of the political correctness front, it isn’t. The guy makes perfectly valid points about what sort of society we should pursue, and in whose interests.
Over at Dissent Magazine, Matthew Sitman tells a wrenching story of how he grew up conservative in rural Pennsylvania, and why he gradually gave up his political and religious allegiance and embraced a more progressive political outlook.
Long article by Rebecca Reilly-Cooper in Aeon on the politics of transgenderism. While I think she oversimplifies the nature-nurture debate, her analysis is interesting and her conclusions compelling. As soon as I published the link on social media someone accused her of transphobia, of course.
Steven Poole in the Guardian writes about why bad ideas refuse to die, like, you know, flat-earthism! Apparently, the marketplace of ideas does not work as advertised…
Fredrik deBoer asks in Current Affairs when is it that pro-trade, neo-liberal journalists will begin outsourcing themselves, given that that’s what they strongly advice when someone else’s job is at stake.
The OUP blog published a piece by Richard Pettigrew on how people make little and big decisions in their lives, and why that has little to do with the “expected utility” discussed by economists.
Here is a review of a new book about how people have historically not just read, but made use of, books: The Reader in the Book, A Study of Spaces and Traces.
You probably heard that more than 100 Nobel laureates have told Greenpeace to quit making a fuss over GMOs. I would be stunned if Greenpeace actually listened.
Over at Quartz, Olivia Goldhill tells the tale of a man missing most of his brain, who nonetheless appears to lead a functional life. Explain that, current models of consciousness!
Rachel Premack explains in the Washington Post about the accumulating evidence that red meat is both an environmental disaster and not so good for your health.
Remember all those wild claims about fMRI scans showing this or that about how the brain works? Too bad that a recent study has found systemic issues with data analysis of most published research based on brain scans…
Physicists are often confident of their understanding of the universe and how it works. Until one of them comes up with a new model that seems to question much received wisdom, of course.
Molly Worthen writes in the New York Times in defense of all fashioned lecturing, as opposed to all those peer-to-peer discussion and grading that has been the fad lately in higher education.
An interesting research paper by Mark Middleton, debunking the apparently widely circulating notion that vegan diets kill more animals than omnivorous ones.
Will Storr explains in the New Yorker why our own biological responses tell us that a eudaimonic life is better than a hedonic one.
The new Star Trek movie is about to come out, followed shortly thereafter by a new television series. So we are reminded of the fact that philosophical quandaries have always been at the heart of the interstellar saga.
Speaking of logic, apparently, teaching it does improve students’ logical skills, but only if they have been previously exposed to other courses on logic.
So why is it, exactly, that being middle aged is now a problem, no, make that a crisis?
It looks like there is finally a backlash about the mindless quantification of scientific output by way of “impact” factors. And it was about time, too.
Here’s another thing experts and the public disagree on: what sort of foods are healthy, or not?
Exhaustion has a long cultural history, and is not at all a peculiarly modern malady, according to Anna Katharina Schaffner in Aeon.
What is a public intellectual? Why does it matter? Should it?
Julian Baggini argues that one should not moralize about food, or at the least, not in a prudish Protestant fashion.
Finally, Jonathan Bate provides us in the Guardian with a short guide to Shakespeare’s philosophical background, which includes an appreciation of the ancient Stoics, a skepticism of the Christian idea of providence, and an acceptance of the Epicurean take on life.