From Big Bang to cosmic bounce: an astronomical journey through space and time

Brian Greene’s Until the End of Time sits within a tradition of grand, synoptic visions of the Universe, rooted in physics, that feels (to this British reader) distinctively American. Halfway through, I realized why. With its scepticism of religion but openness to humanistic wonder, awe of nature, celebration of the individual and recognition of the … Continue reading From Big Bang to cosmic bounce: an astronomical journey through space and time

The Light of Asia: Western encounters with Buddhism – Asian and African studies blog

Although there was widespread knowledge in medieval Europe of the legend of Barlaam and Josaphat, about an extraordinary prince in India who renounced the world, direct encounters of Europeans with Buddhism only took place from the thirteenth century onwards. Accounts of merchants, explorers and missionaries like those of the Franciscan friar Willem van Ruysbroeck (c. … Continue reading The Light of Asia: Western encounters with Buddhism – Asian and African studies blog

Once upon a Time: Essays in the Philosophy of Literature // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame

Kivy claims that authors of fictional literature -- along with journalists, historians, and physicians, among others -- are part of Western society's "knowledge-justification infrastructure" (53). Members of this infrastructure "are institutionally certified as reliable truth-tellers, ceteris paribus" (53). If correct, this would substantiate the claim that authors are sources of reliable testimony. To argue for … Continue reading Once upon a Time: Essays in the Philosophy of Literature // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame

Ethical Egoism – 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology

The ethical theory known as ethical egoism states that we are always morally required to do what’s in our own self-interest: the view is sometimes called an “ethics of selfishness.” The view isn’t that we are selfish—this is psychological egoism—but that we ought to be. This essay explores ethical egoism and the main arguments for… … Continue reading Ethical Egoism – 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology

Seven psychology books that explore why we are who we are [reading list] | OUPblog

Social Psychology looks at the nature and causes of individual behavior in social situations. It asks how others’ actions and behaviors shape our actions and behaviors, how our identities are shaped by the beliefs and assumptions of our communities. Fundamentally it looks for scientific answers to the most philosophical questions of self. These seven books … Continue reading Seven psychology books that explore why we are who we are [reading list] | OUPblog

How Roman skeptics shaped debates about God | OUPblog

Cicero (106 —43 BCE) was equally troubled about popular piety and wrote three books against deformed religious beliefs: On the Nature of the Gods, On Fate, and On Divination. But unlike Lucretius he made a clear distinction between practice and belief.  Active involvement in religious life was fine, but only out of respect for cultural tradition, state order … Continue reading How Roman skeptics shaped debates about God | OUPblog

Can AI Dream of a Better World? | The Oxonian Review

The new ethos taking hold in Palo Alto and Menlo Park—call it “sunshine normativity”—is built on the implicit promise that, once the technologists have made their Faustian bargains in profit’s name, the humanists will swoop in for a last-act intervention and redeem the soul of the whole enterprise. It is therefore no surprise that ethics … Continue reading Can AI Dream of a Better World? | The Oxonian Review

How to use maps to solve complex problems | OUPblog

The first rule of good question maps is that they answer a single type of question. Facing a complex problem, we face two types of questions: why and how. A why question is problem centric; it helps you to diagnose your problem, uncovering its root causes and, ultimately, enabling you to summarize your problem in … Continue reading How to use maps to solve complex problems | OUPblog

Why Your Brain Hates Slowpokes – Issue 22: Slow – Nautilus

Once upon a time, cognitive scientists tell us, patience and impatience had an evolutionary purpose. They constituted a yin and yang balance, a finely tuned internal timer that tells when we’ve waited too long for something and should move on. When that timer went buzz, it was time to stop foraging at an unproductive patch … Continue reading Why Your Brain Hates Slowpokes – Issue 22: Slow – Nautilus