iai.tv news RSS feed https://iainews.iai.tv/articles-old/ethics-and-religion The Will of the Force: The Last Jedi and the Problem of Free Will https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-will-of-the-force-the-last-jedi-and-the-problem-of-free-will-auid-1037 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/kylorenhelmet.png" /><br />In every Star Wars film destiny is a central theme, and The Last Jedi is no exception. The main characters – including Kylo Ren, Rey, and Luke Skywalker – are explicitly portrayed as possessing a fixed destiny in that their futures are preordained by a mysterious energy field that governs the entire universe: the Force. This same energy is also presented as determining the outcome of the struggle between the warring sides in which the main characters play their part: the Resistance and the First Order. But here lies a puzzle: the characters are explicitly portrayed as making many free choices, for which they are being morally responsible. But how can someone make free choices they are responsible for if their future is fixed by something outside of their control? Let’s begin by getting clear on how it might be possible for the future to be fixed. If forthcoming events are already determined by present or past events in that universe, then the universe is deterministic. A universe is de... Tue, 06 Feb 2018 14:36:30 +0000 John Donaldson https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-will-of-the-force-the-last-jedi-and-the-problem-of-free-will-auid-1037 Are We Doomed to Fail? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/predestined-to-fail-auid-1015 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/bosch-hell.jpg" /><br />We all know him. He features in many of the stories we tell ourselves. We may have even had an occasional glimpse of this person, but he is mostly an invisible presence: he is invoked, discussed, laughed at, mocked, and derided. But for all this vivid audible presence, we can’t really say we are anywhere “close” to him. In fact, we try to stay away from this person as much as we can. For his condition may be contagious and, God forbid, his terrible predicament may rub off on us. We need him only insofar as we need someone against whom we can define ourselves safely: whatever we are, we are not like him. Thanks to this mental exercise, we come to realize that, compared to him, we are better off by default: whatever problems we may have, we don’t have his problem, no matter how bad our afflictions, we don’t suffer from his. And what is his condition exactly? He is the worst thing someone can be in this time and age: a failure. Failures have always captured the public attention and imagin... Fri, 12 Jan 2018 10:10:17 +0000 Costica Bradatan https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/predestined-to-fail-auid-1015 Against History: A Lesson from Simone Weil https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/against-history-emmanuel-macrons-lessons-from-simone-weil-auid-844 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/simoneweilagainsthistory.png" /><br />“My fellow Americans,” Barack Obama said in a speech late in his presidency condemning terrorism, “I am confident in this mission because we are on the right side of history.”  When I heard him say that, I immediately thought: what’s history got to do with it?  I recalled Obama’s fondness for Martin Luther King Jr.’s statement that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” A moving sentiment, indeed; but is it true?  I’m dismayed by Obama’s penchant, by no means unique to him, to see history as the arbiter of justice, by the tendency to subscribe to a belief in “the judgment of history”. I wasn’t alone in my dismay. In an article in The Atlantic in 2015, “The Wrong Side of ‘The Right Side of History’”, David Green expounded at length on the fallacy of awaiting the judgment of history, of time, to which Obama, and many others, has apparently succumbed. It is a dangerous fallacy. “Everything that is threatened by time,” wrote the mystical, Christian-Platonist... Mon, 17 Jul 2017 17:18:45 +0000 Palle Yourgrau https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/against-history-emmanuel-macrons-lessons-from-simone-weil-auid-844 The Weird and the Wonderful https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-weird-and-the-wonderful-auid-669 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/juan-gatti-ciencias-naturales.jpg" /><br />I’ll tell you how I see religion. Religions are, for the most part, imperfect human-made trellises. Ideally, they provide social support up which the vine of spiritual life can grow. The fruits can then flourish in the sun, and as a Pink Floyd lyric had it, “Love is the shadow that ripens the wine.” This is a life-long journey. Mind you, some shadow it can be! It is one thing for the vine of life to grow wild along the ground, but then it stays within its own shadows. Up to a point, we can all “do” our own spirituality at that ground level. The only reason why we need religions, is if we decide we want to do it with others, and hopefully, with the support of their experience. Furthermore, if love is the basis of our spirituality, then it’s got to be all about others. That arguably makes religions inevitable. Why? Because if we’re going to get it together with others about anything, we need to agree on what we’re sharing and with what ground rules. Such as: will we have rituals and cere... Sun, 15 May 2016 12:29:45 +0000 Alastair McIntosh https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-weird-and-the-wonderful-auid-669 How To Be Good https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/how-to-be-good-auid-647 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Mark-Vernon-47.jpg" /><br />Greek philosophy and classical civilisation holds a fascination for us moderns. Books about the Romans; TV programmes about Socrates; and discussions about ancient philosophy abound. And yet, I think they commonly miss an essential element that was fundamental and core to figures such as Plato and Aristotle, or schools like the Stoics and Sceptics: the transformative quest to know the transcendent. Without that, they'd have thought philosophy was rootless or aimless. And yet, their philosophy is routinely now presented without that ground. Here are three common errors that you hear from the mouths of historians and presenters of today, and why those errors matter so much. 1. The Greeks invented secular philosophy. The first misleading story being told is of a crucial shift in human thought that crystallised in fifth century BC Athens. Before then, in the time of Homer and Hesiod, ancient Greeks had resorted to myths to guide them through the world. Now though, with the pre-Socratic phi... Sat, 12 Mar 2016 15:31:27 +0000 Mark Vernon https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/how-to-be-good-auid-647 To Gift or Not to Gift? A Philosopher's Christmas Dilemma https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/to-gift-or-not-to-gift-a-philosophers-christmas-dilemma-auid-1003 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/sartregift.png" /><br />The holidays are supposed to be about reconnecting with family, generosity, and celebrating Santa’s birthday. Or Jesus’s. For others, it’s supposed to be about the rededication of, and to, a sacred temple. But it’s not. Instead, it’s a dreidel-spinning, holly-wreathed distraction from the meaninglessness or loneliness of everyday existence. It’s a dreaded chore, filled with stressful shopping, hidden disappointment, and feigned joy. It is the season of vacuous gifts. It is supposed to be a season of amazement, and it is: people who are supposed to know you best turn out to be completely clueless. Or worse – you discover that the gift is the ultimate weapon.Zombie-like feeding of the consumerist monster is the standard objection to holiday gift-giving. Yet there’s another, darker side to generosity: when it’s used as means of exercising power over another. We are expected to be appreciative of gifts, regardless of whether they’re wanted or thoughtful. A gift from an abusive spouse or pa... Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:35:44 +0000 Skye C. Cleary https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/to-gift-or-not-to-gift-a-philosophers-christmas-dilemma-auid-1003 Can Limitarianism Save the World? An Interview with Ingrid Robeyns https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-limitarianism-save-the-world-an-interview-with-ingrid-robeyns-auid-988 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/whatislimitarianism.png" /><br />Ingrid Robeyns is a professor of philosophy and holder of the Ethics of Institutions Chair at the Ethics Institute at Utrecht University, and was recently awarded a 2 million euro grant from the European Research Council to pursue her research on &quot;limitarianism&quot;. Robeyns studied Economics and Philosophy and obtained her doctorate at the University of Cambridge, followed by residences at eminent universities such as Columbia University in New York, the London School of Economics and Oxford University. Her work in philosophy focuses on ethics and normative political philosophy, specifically on various questions of justice and other societal values, often in combination with interdisciplinary research. This conversation took place mere days after the publication of the Paradise Papers: some 13 million files leaked to the press that detail the ways that companies and individuals avoid tax through offshoring and artificial structures. Some of the world’s biggest multinationals featured in t... Tue, 05 Dec 2017 17:35:16 +0000 David Maclean https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-limitarianism-save-the-world-an-interview-with-ingrid-robeyns-auid-988 Return of the Pagans https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/return-of-the-pagans-auid-645 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Eileen-Barker-47.jpg"><br>The first thing that needs to be emphasised about Paganism is that you are likely to find yourself being contradicted if you try to generalise about it. The very meaning of the word is open to debate. In the past it has been used to denote any religion (or non-religion) that was not Christianity or one of the other Abrahamic faiths. It is commonly associated with polytheism or pantheism, but monotheistic Paganism can be found too. The emergence of Paganism in the UK and USA [has been] accompanied by a similar upsurge in other parts of Europe: Scandinavia, the Baltic region, the Caucuses and parts of Russia are regions where Pagan rituals are practised and Pagan deities are worshipped. These are frequently associated with local myths and sites, but this is not always the case. North American Pagans may draw not only on Native American, but also Celtic, Norse, Anglo-Saxon traditions – not to mention a wonderful array of ‘invented traditions’. Contemporary Paganism in its Wiccan form is o... Sat, 12 Mar 2016 15:24:57 +0000 Eileen Barker https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/return-of-the-pagans-auid-645 What African Philosophy Can Teach You About the Good Life https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-african-philosophy-can-teach-you-about-the-good-life-auid-1147 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/africna-philosophy-good-life-omedi-ochieng.jpg" /><br />Africa’s diverse philosophical traditions unfold striking accounts of ‘the good life’.“Be not haughty with what you have learned and now know, hold forth with the unknowing as well as the sagacious,” reads the first thesis of Ptahhotep  –  an ancient Egyptian official who lived c. 2400 BCE, who distilled a vision of how one ought to live in thirty-seven theses. “None knows all. Excellent discourse is better than the most precious stones and is found in the most unlikely of places,” he went on.In West Africa, Orunmila – a sage born c. 500 BCE and considered to be the most important figure in the Ifa philosophical tradition – taught that Iwa (living a virtuous life) is the most important ideal worth living for.  “What matters most is good character,” rings one characteristic teaching of Orunmila. “You may be wealthy, have many children and build several houses; all come to naught if you lack good character. A life without moral rectitude is nothing but vanity.” In the same vein, the vast... Mon, 10 Sep 2018 09:44:58 +0000 Omedi Ochieng https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-african-philosophy-can-teach-you-about-the-good-life-auid-1147 Truth, Resistance and Societal Evil https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-we-must-reclaim-truth-to-resist-fascism-and-evil-auid-871 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/trc.png" /><br />Last year the Oxford Dictionaries chose “post-truth” as the International Word of the Year, noting that its use “increased by approximately 2,000% over its usage in 2015.” The term “post-truth” refers to “circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” It suggests the concept of truth “has become unimportant or irrelevant.” The Dictionaries announced their choice just one week after the surprise election of Donald Trump to be President of the United States. Politically, it does seem we are in a time when factual truth has become insignificant: a time when Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s counselor, can characterize obvious falsehoods as “alternative facts”; when Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier, can become head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and when the President himself regularly tweets blatant lies, seemingly without serious repercussions. Truth in the standard Western sense of factual ac... Thu, 17 Aug 2017 10:56:26 +0000 Lambert Zuidervaart https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-we-must-reclaim-truth-to-resist-fascism-and-evil-auid-871 Are You As Good As You Think? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/are-you-as-good-as-you-think-auid-1111 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/tom-parsons-426898-unsplash.jpg" /><br />One summer day in the ocean off Panama City Beach, two boys out for a swim got caught in a rip current. When their mother heard their cries, she and several other family members dove into the ocean, only to be trapped in the current, too. Then, in a powerful display of character, complete strangers on the beach took action. Forming a human chain of 70 to 80 bodies, they stretched out into the ocean and rescued everyone.Stories like this inspire me with hope about what human beings are capable of doing. Though we may face a daily barrage of depressing reports about sexual harassment, corruption, and child abuse, stories of human goodness help to give us another perspective on our human character. But, as we know too well, there is also a darker side to our character. Take, for example, the story of Walter Vance, 61, who was shopping in his local Target for Christmas decorations. It was Black Friday and the store was mobbed when Vance fell to the floor in cardiac arrest and lay motionles... Mon, 23 Jul 2018 12:04:21 +0000 Christian B. Miller https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/are-you-as-good-as-you-think-auid-1111 Sorell vs Rowlands: Morality Beyond Humanity - part 4 https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/sorell-vs-rowlands-morality-beyond-humanity-part-4-auid-633 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Sorell-vs-Rowlands-45-2.jpg" /><br />Read part 1: Tom Sorell on why human beings are the only animals who act morally. Read part 2: Mark Rowlands argues that animals can act morally – we need to look at the evidence.Read part 3: Sorell warns against the dangers of anthropocentrism in moral philosophy. Tom Sorell and I are in agreement on at least one thing. As he puts it: “What I think is necessary for moral behaviour is acting for certain kinds of reason, where the reasons operate to produce the relevant behaviour.” I agree. We differ, however, on this: I think at least some (non-human) animals can act on reasons of this sort. Sorell is sceptical of this. I’m really not sure why he is, and I’m reasonably confident he shouldn’t be. First of all, we should be aware that the notion of a moral reason for action is neither clear nor univocal. Indeed, neither is that of a reason for action more generally – whether moral or not. As Philippa Foot once said: &quot;I am sure that I do not understand the idea of a reason for acting, a... Sat, 13 Feb 2016 16:37:12 +0000 Mark Rowlands https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/sorell-vs-rowlands-morality-beyond-humanity-part-4-auid-633 The Gamer's Dilemma https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-gamers-dilemma-is-virtual-murder-morally-wrong-auid-827 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/video-games-1.png" /><br />Imagine you are introduced to a new colleague. They inform you that they are an avid ‘gamer’ and enjoy playing violent videogames in which they can enact all kinds of physical violence, such as assault and murder: not an uncommon past-time. Now imagine that they start talking about other videogames they play in which they enact rape and paedophilia, or other taboos such as incest, bestiality and necrophilia. They describe how, instead of playing a serial killer or a zombie cannibal (a kind of undead Hannibal Lecter), they get to play the part of Nero the Necro in a game entitled Cold Pleasures or engage in bestiality in Fun at the Zoo, or how they have just ordered a game featuring the character Sylvester the Molester. On hearing about these games – featuring less conventional enactments of taboos than assault and murder – would your attitude towards this person change? Do you think that these games are less moral than games featuring virtual murder, for example, and therefore that the... Thu, 18 May 2017 12:12:08 +0000 Garry Young https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-gamers-dilemma-is-virtual-murder-morally-wrong-auid-827 Sorell vs Rowlands: Morality Beyond Humanity - part 3 https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/sorell-vs-rowlands-morality-beyond-humanity-part-3-auid-632 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Sorell-vs-Rowlands-45-1.jpg" /><br /> Read part 1: Tom Sorell on why human beings are the only animals who act morally. Read part 2: Mark Rowlands argues that animals can act morally – we need to look at the evidence. Read part 4: Anthropomorphism is an obsession of yesterday, replies Rowlands. Mark Rowlands thinks that my scepticism about moral behaviour in animals is a product of “moral intellectualism”. According to moral intellectualism as Rowlands characterises it, it is necessary for moral behaviour that the agent be able to think about or describe in moral terms what he or she does when he or she acts morally. That is not quite my position. What I think is necessary for moral behaviour is acting for certain kinds of reason, where the reasons operate to produce the relevant behaviour. The reasons need not be explicitly articulable by the agent, though often they can be. Saving someone’s life by dragging them out of the line of fire is moral behaviour if the reason one does it is that life is valuable. Here “is valu... Sat, 13 Feb 2016 16:30:15 +0000 Tom Sorell https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/sorell-vs-rowlands-morality-beyond-humanity-part-3-auid-632 Sorell vs Rowlands: Morality Beyond Humanity - part 2 https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-animals-be-moral-auid-619 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Sorell-vs-Rowlands-2-NEW.jpeg" /><br /> A dog has been hit by a car, and lies unconscious on a busy highway in Chile. The dog’s canine companion, at enormous risk to its own life, weaves in and out of traffic, and eventually manages to drag the unconscious dog to the side of the road. A female elephant, Grace, tries to help the dying matriarch of another family of elephants, and appears distressed when she is unable to do so effectively. A gorilla lifts the unconscious body of a small boy, who has fallen into her enclosure, and carries him to the gate where she hands him over to a keeper. A Rhesus monkey refuses to take food, when doing so will subject another monkey to an electric shock. The monkey persists in this refusal for twelve days, nearly starving himself to death. What should we make of cases such as these? Here is one possibility: these cases form parts of a large and growing body of evidence for the claim that some non-human animals (henceforth “animals”) can exhibit moral behavior. Most philosophers and scienti... Sun, 31 Jan 2016 12:33:01 +0000 Mark Rowlands https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-animals-be-moral-auid-619 The Moral Hazards of Money https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/on-the-moral-hazards-of-money-auid-826 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/money-2.jpg" /><br />In recent years genuine concerns have been raised about the influence of money on all areas of our social life and, in particular, on our democratic institutions. Think here of the issues raised in many quarters about the alleged use by the Trump family of their positions to make money which some regarded as a form of corruption. Such concerns with the corruption of money are not new.  Religious leaders, literary notables and political figures have long condemned money as a source of deep moral corruption. The lure of filthy lucre is so strong and compelling that it leads ordinarily good people to do wicked things. Indeed this is a regular trope of novels, films and political tracts. But is such condemnation simply a matter of social attitude or social convention?   Is there anything objectively immoral about the pursuit of money? I suggest that although the pursuit of money is not inherently wrong, it does provide us with genuine moral hazards that are not simply a matter of social co... Thu, 18 May 2017 11:17:46 +0000 Adrian Walsh https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/on-the-moral-hazards-of-money-auid-826 Sorell vs Rowlands: Morality Beyond Humanity - part 1 https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/morality-beyond-humanity-auid-613 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Sorell-vs-Rowlands-1-NEW.jpg" /><br />Human beings are animals, but are they the only animals who act morally? They are certainly not the only animals who co-operate or who co-ordinate their behaviour, especially in groups. But co-ordination is not all there is to morality. Drivers often try to stay in lane so as to avoid collision and also to get directly to their destination. This is co-ordination but it is unclear that it deserves special moral credit, or indeed any moral credit. Perhaps driving in lane is just a matter of prudence. Or think of people forming a queue to get off the train. No-one in the queue need be particularly conscious of any other person’s well-being or be trying to avoid harm. Forming the queue may be habitual and unthinking. It need not involve the kind of considerateness that is intuitively associated with morality. So despite the British fondness for queues and the widespread perception that they are part of a civilized approach to getting one’s share of services or goods, queues are probably no... Tue, 12 Jan 2016 13:39:21 +0000 Tom Sorell https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/morality-beyond-humanity-auid-613 Law vs Milbank: Belief and the Gods - part 3 https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/law-vs-milbank-belief-and-the-gods-part-3-auid-621 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Stephen-Law-44-overlay.jpeg" /><br />  Read part 1: Stephen Law on the allegiance of philosophy in the battle between science and religion.Read part 2: Anglican theologian John Milbank's forthright response to Stephen Law. Read part 4: Milbank argues that, when it comes to metaphysics, paradox is inevitable.Thanks to John Milbank for responding to my opening piece on God and science. I initially suggested many God beliefs are empirically – and even scientifically – refutable in the sense that we might establish beyond reasonable doubt, on the basis of observation, that the belief is false. I gave three examples: belief there's a God that answers petitionary prayer; belief that there's a God who created the world 6,000 years ago; and belief there's a God that's omnipotent and omni-malevolent. I then suggested that, for similar reasons, we can reasonably rule out a god that's omnipotent and omni-benevolent. John rejects that last suggestion and defends the view that his particular omnipotent, omni-benevolent God is indeed ... Sun, 31 Jan 2016 12:53:20 +0000 Stephen Law https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/law-vs-milbank-belief-and-the-gods-part-3-auid-621 Law vs Milbank: Belief and the Gods - part 4 https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/law-vs-milbank-belief-and-the-gods-part-4-auid-622 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Colin-Milbank-44-overlay.jpeg" /><br /> Read part 1: Stephen Law on the allegiance of philosophy in the battle between science and religion. Read part 2: Anglican theologian John Milbank's forthright response to Stephen Law. Read part 3: Law argues that Milbank's defence of religion is little more than pseudo-profundity.Many thanks indeed to Stephen Law for his temperate and measured reply to my initial response. We can agree at least on the Confucian need to maintain our humanity – the quality of Ren! However, I must reiterate my views that first God is not subject to evidence and second that it is not after all so easy to disentangle God and the Good. First, Stephen claims that my desire to distinguish religion at least partially from magic (and the issues here are more complex than many think) applies only to the question of whether we can influence or manipulate God. However, occult influences cut both ways, as any decent magical practitioner will tell you! Magicians may be able to affect the weather, and even the stars... Sun, 31 Jan 2016 13:08:15 +0000 John Milbank https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/law-vs-milbank-belief-and-the-gods-part-4-auid-622 Law vs Milbank: Belief and the Gods - part 2 https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/law-vs-milbank-belief-and-the-gods-part-2-auid-611 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/John-Milbank-43-text-overlay-2.jpg" /><br />Read part 1: Stephen Law on the allegiance of philosophy in the battle between science and religion. Read part 3: Law argues that Milbank's defence of religion is little more than pseudo-profundity. Read part 4: Milbank argues that, when it comes to metaphysics, paradox is inevitable.As so often in the case of debates instigated by the ‘new atheists’, Stephen Law’s piece has to be interrogated first at the level of what he supposes religious belief to be about and only secondarily at the level of whether it is reasonable to hold it. On the first count, Law assumes that the religious beliefs of ordinary people are much on the same level as credulous beliefs in fortune-telling, clairvoyance, spiritualism and the like. Without wishing in any way to prejudge issues concerning the paranormal and the occult, I would nevertheless submit that most believers manifestly do not think of their beliefs in this way. They implicitly or explicitly suppose that there is a distinction between religion a... Tue, 12 Jan 2016 13:25:50 +0000 John Milbank https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/law-vs-milbank-belief-and-the-gods-part-2-auid-611 Law vs Milbank: Belief and the Gods - part 1 https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/law-vs-milbank-belief-and-the-gods-part-1-auid-610 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Stephen-Law-43-text-overlay-2.jpg" /><br />Read part 2: Anglican theologian John Milbank's forthright response to Stephen Law. Read part 3: Law argues that Milbank's defence of religion is little more than pseudo-profundity. Read part 4: Milbank argues that, when it comes to metaphysics, paradox is inevitable.Hegel said: “God does not offer himself up for observation”. Many of us seem to think that claims about gods, and other supernatural phenomena, are claims about what lies behind a sort of cosmic curtain or veil. On this side of the veil lies the empirically observable realm, the realm, we are told, that is the proper province of the empirical sciences. But there is a further realm beyond the veil – a realm of non-natural or supernatural beings and forces. This realm, many suppose, is off limits to science. Science cannot adjudicate on what, if anything, lies behind this cosmic divide. Scientists should show some humility, and acknowledge there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in their naturalist phil... Tue, 12 Jan 2016 13:23:04 +0000 Stephen Law https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/law-vs-milbank-belief-and-the-gods-part-1-auid-610 Of Lies and Necessity https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/of-lies-and-necessity-auid-539 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Rae-Langton-33.jpg" /><br />What are lies? To lie is ‘to make a false statement with the intention to deceive’, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, but this might not go far enough. Can you lie with true statements? There is a famous story about St. Athanasius, who, fleeing in disguise, was asked by his pursuers, ‘Have you seen the bishop?’ His canny but truthful response: ‘Continue: he is not far from here.’ Can you lie without statements? Suppose someone asks, ‘Have the officers stopped taking bribes?’ The speaker lies, not by stating something, but by presupposing something, i.e. that the officers have been taking bribes. Suppose a newspaper says, ‘Asylum seekers are barbecuing the Queen’s swans’. They don’t say how many asylum seekers. Some? Many? All? But it conveys a stereotype—they do that sort of thing – which is false, insulting and oppressive. (It also happened to be a straight-out lie, given that no ‘asylum seeker’ had barbecued any swan.) Sometimes you can lie, not just with what you say, but ... Thu, 09 Jul 2015 09:52:06 +0000 Rae Langton https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/of-lies-and-necessity-auid-539 Animals and Philosophy https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/animals-and-philosophy-auid-620 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Colin-Tudge-44.jpg" /><br /> Some have argued both from religious and from atheistic points of view that “good” and “evil” are nonsensical concepts. At least, they apply only to mythological beings like Satan or Lucifer, designed to personify abstract ideas – not to mortal creatures, whether human or otherwise. After all, the religious person could argue (and some have) that God is ultimately in charge of everything, including our thoughts and predilections, so if we do bad things, then the ball is ultimately in His court. It’s not our fault. So although we may behave in evil ways, we are not ourselves evil. On the other hand, some of those who reject the idea of God altogether also reject the idea that there can be any “objective” criterion of goodness or badness at all. As Hamlet put the matter, “there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so”. “Evil” is usually taken to mean the epitome, the essence, of badness, but if badness is just an arbitrary notion, what does that mean? Many more arguments ... Sun, 31 Jan 2016 12:42:49 +0000 Colin Tudge https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/animals-and-philosophy-auid-620 In Place of Prejudice https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/in-place-of-prejudice-auid-614 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Naomi-Goulder-43.png" /><br />Socrates was sentenced to death for corrupting the youth of Athens. Why? He had publicly questioned the authority of the city's gods to legislate how we should live. His more or less explicit prioritisation of ethics over state religion was subversive. If social moral standards are not dependent on the whims of the gods – if the gods don’t determine the standards we should live by – then individuals appear to be licensed to think for themselves. Plato, who agreed with his teacher that gods can’t underwrite social morality, postulated a realm of transcendent value in the place of gods. Where a god might command and punish, Plato’s transcendent value was supposed to inspire and be loved by all who glimpsed it. Nietzsche went further, proclaiming the death of God and of transcendent value too. On his proposal, conventional social morality is only an ideological social construct developed by the physically weak to subjugate the physically strong. An all-powerful ethically authoritative god... Tue, 12 Jan 2016 13:45:47 +0000 Naomi Goulder https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/in-place-of-prejudice-auid-614 Gandhi vs. Guevara https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/gandhi-vs-guevara-auid-607 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/John-Sauven-41.jpg" /><br />Mahatma Gandhi and Che Guevara: these two historical figures are often pulled out as representing two strands of political thought about revolutionary change. In simple terms it’s often broken down into violent versus non violent struggle to achieve liberté, égalité, and fraternité. In terms of picking a winner, research shows that non-violent revolutions are twice as effective as violent revolutions, and also lead to a much greater degree of democratic freedom.To a certain extent, there are a lot of similarities between Gandhi and Guevara. They were both middle class, male professionals. They both had utopian ideals. They both fought for a more just society. But of course their methods were completely different. Guevara believed in armed revolution. He was very influenced by what was happening in Latin America at that time: from the involvement of US multinational corporations in the overthrow of democratic governments to the brutal exploitation of agricultural workers on plantations.... Sat, 05 Dec 2015 10:21:33 +0000 John Sauven https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/gandhi-vs-guevara-auid-607 The Self and the Selfless https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-self-and-the-selfless-auid-577 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/The-Self-and-the-Selfless.jpg" /><br />From personal acts of kindness to charitable gifts to strangers, altruism is seen as a high point of moral virtue. Yet studies suggest altruism is driven by self-interest and personal satisfaction. Does true altruism exist? Is altruism an evolved behaviour shared with animals, or can it be pure and transcendental? Linda Woodhead is professor in the sociology of religion in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University, and director of the AHRC Religion and Society Programme. She has been described by Matthew Taylor, head of the Royal Society of Arts, as “one of the world’s leading experts on religion”. Here Woodhead speaks to the IAI about Levinas, Nietzsche, her trouble with Christian ethics, and the heroics of true altruism.   Is altruism a coherent idea? What kind of action is altruism, and does it assume a certain model of human agency? The way we talk about altruism is not coherent because we talk about it as if it is something that’s desirable as a f... Sat, 26 Sep 2015 15:29:31 +0000 Linda Woodhead https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-self-and-the-selfless-auid-577 How to Create a Cult https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/21st-century-cults-auid-566 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Barker-2-two.JPG" /><br /> ‘Where have all the cults gone?’  One answer might be ‘Nowhere’, another could be ‘Everywhere!’ The vast majority are still here, but they have changed. Societies’ reactions to them have changed and new varieties have emerged. The word ‘cult’ is an ambiguous one. Social scientists use the concept and that of ‘sect’ to distinguish various religious (and some non-religious) phenomena from institutions such as ‘church’ or ‘denomination’, both of the former being in tension with society. In popular discourse, however, ‘cult’ and ‘sect’ have come to be associated with something that is unambiguously ‘bad’. Give a group the label ‘cult’ and it is likely to conjure up the image of a dangerous pseudo-religion with satanic overtones, which is involved in financial rackets and political intrigue, indulges in unnatural sexual practices, abuses its women and children,and uses irresistible and irreversible brainwashing techniques to exploit its recruits. It can frequently resort to violence, perf... Mon, 14 Sep 2015 05:47:29 +0000 Eileen Barker https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/21st-century-cults-auid-566 The Truth about Evil https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/truth-about-evil-auid-502 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Mark-Rowlands-II.jpg" /><br />There are evil acts and there are evil people. Evil acts are, roughly, ones that involve the intentional infliction of suffering that is significant, undeserved and unnecessary. Those who consistently perform evil acts are evil people. Evil is not a supernatural force that takes possession of people. Neither is it a sequence of genes. An evil person does not have to be motivated by the thought of perpetrating evil. An evil person may act only from what they regard as the best of intentions. Most of the evil acts in the world are the result of simple stupidity: of people holding rationally and/or morally indefensible beliefs. Discussions of evil are typically confused, being based on various unsubstantiated assumptions. One common assumption – the first dogma of evil, if you like – is that a person cannot be evil unless they are responsible for what they do. This erroneous assumption decisively shaped the discussion in the HowTheLightGetsIn debate. The assumption is that if we can show ... Sun, 22 Feb 2015 13:18:02 +0000 Mark Rowlands https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/truth-about-evil-auid-502 Does God Exist? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/does-god-exist-auid-530 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/ethics-religion.jpg" /><br />Welcome to Eth, a small planet circling a medium sized star on the far side of this galaxy. It's standing room only in Eth's Great Chamber as the debate of the age is about to take place. Eth's greatest intellectuals are trying finally to settle whether or not God exists.  Garglefroth Blart, Professor Emeritus of Divinity at Eth's most prestigious university, is involved in vigorous debate with his opponent, Bogubus Donk, the Arch Logos Inquisitor. The audience comprises Eth's finest thinkers. BLART: I'm here to explain why I, and so many other Ethians, believe that God exists. DONK: What do you mean by 'God', exactly? BLART: I'm referring, of course, to a being that is all-powerful. DONK: Ah yes. God, if he exists, is omnipotent. He can do anything.  But why suppose such a being exists? BLART: This universe might not have existed. Why does it exist? Why is there something rather than nothing? DONK: Well, scientists tell us the universe began with a Big Bang nearly 14 billion years ago... Mon, 11 May 2015 11:07:23 +0000 Stephen Law https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/does-god-exist-auid-530 Living in an Ethical Multiverse https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/living-in-an-ethical-multiverse-auid-481 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Chris-Bateman.jpg" /><br /> The idea that Britain is a multicultural society is now so deeply embedded in our consciousness that the only time we ever really encounter a challenge to it is when groups that we perceive as racist begin to stir up trouble for ‘immigrants’. Of course, our ancestors were all immigrants at some point – we sometimes forget that the question of immigration is about time more than it is about space; about who got here first and what that might plausibly mean. But beyond this, the ideal of toleration that leads to a multicultural society permits different groups of people to live together, but at a vast cost: it requires us to accept a wilful ignorance about who they are. Britain is a multicultural society only in so much as we are willing to tolerate different beliefs – which is to say, that we are willing to ignore differences except when they deviate from certain ideals we hold above this one. Within multicultural Britain, all cultures are far from equal. The mythos of ‘multiculturalis... Wed, 07 Jan 2015 10:08:52 +0000 Chris Bateman https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/living-in-an-ethical-multiverse-auid-481 Who First into the Ark? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/first-into-the-ark-auid-398 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Save-the-Panda.jpg" /><br />Of course we want to save the panda. Pandas are cuddly, furry and charismatic, and even cuter when they sneeze. But a new approach to conservation policy suggests that we ought to be prioritising our efforts in a different way. The Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) index aims to measure how &quot;evolutionarily distinct&quot; (ED) a given species is, with the idea that more evolutionarily distinct species are more worth preserving. Conservation is, on the whole, a worthwhile aim; let us take that as read. But, in a world where thousands of species are in imminent danger of extinction, how should we focus our efforts? Certainly it may be useful to develop metrics such as the EDGE index to help us assess how we should prioritise in making decisions about which species to save. Without an account of what it is we value about biological species and why, however, these numbers are meaningless; we might as well be measuring size, or colourfulness, or some other arbitrary trait. So... Mon, 11 Aug 2014 01:17:26 +0000 Sarah Chan https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/first-into-the-ark-auid-398 The Future of Religion https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-future-of-religion-auid-344 Europe has always had religion and it always will. The far more interesting question is what kind of religion will Europe have in the future and what relation will it have with other social institutions, above all the liberal state. There’s a lot of double-think about religion’s relation to the state. It’s evident whenever someone says that religion should be “a purely private matter” and that there needs to be a clearer separation between state and religion. To say this assumes that such a thing can be engineered. But by what agency?  By the state and legislation, of course. In other words, the call for state-religion separation is actually a call for more, not less, state interference in religion. It implicitly recognises that the “secular” helps construct religion, and never really leaves it alone. The privatisation of religion is a pipe dream. Europe’s historical entanglement with religion is deep and ancient. The very idea of “Europe” is a product of Christianity’s attempt to brin... Sun, 06 Apr 2014 20:52:07 +0000 Linda Woodhead https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-future-of-religion-auid-344 What Science Can't Tell Us https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-science-can-t-tell-us-auid-317 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Question-mark.jpg" /><br />There is a view that science can ultimately explain everything, can answer every legitimate question. It is called scientism. Interestingly, most scientists consider scientism a pretty dubious doctrine. Many accept there are questions that science has not, and perhaps cannot, answer. Take moral questions, for example. Is killing always wrong? Is it morally acceptable to design a baby? Science can make new technologies possible, including weapons of mass destruction and genetic engineering. But most scientists agree that science cannot tell us whether it is ever morally permissible to use such technologies. It seems, as the philosopher David Hume famously noted, that science ultimately reveals only what is the case; it cannot tell us what we morally ought or ought not to do. Nor, it seems, can science explain why the universe itself exists – why there is anything at all. Scientific explanations involve appealing to natural causes or laws. For example, if you ask why the water froze in t... Sun, 09 Feb 2014 12:44:17 +0000 Stephen Law https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-science-can-t-tell-us-auid-317 Utopia: Crunching the Numbers https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/utopia-crunching-the-numbers-auid-307 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Glenn-Brown.jpg" /><br />The present may be bad, but the future will inevitably be worse. That's the attitude of many of today's environmentalists. With that kind of attitude, is it even possible to avoid a catastrophic crash of human and natural systems? Or can we recover from this path we are on, if only we do something, quickly? Well, this is the kind of question that is worth asking the scientists who study these problems in a quantitative ecological sense, analysing it as a problem in global energy flows. The Socolow wedge diagrams out of Princeton suggest that yes, it is still possible for us to ratchet back from the edge of catastrophe by decarbonizing quite rapidly, which means applying every single method contemplated as soon and as fully as possible. We’re about at the moment where we’re leaving the cliff’s edge, but that’s better than running the numbers and finding you’re already out in space. There are well-articulated plans to get back to solid ground coming from many places, including Lester Bro... Sat, 25 Jan 2014 15:30:09 +0000 Kim Stanley Robinson https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/utopia-crunching-the-numbers-auid-307 How to be Brave https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/how-to-be-brave-auid-301 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/03whippits1.jpg" /><br />Disquiet creeps in everywhere these days. Apprehension has gradually become the norm and our ability to distinguish what is and what is not scary has been skewed. Sensing and regretting our communal timidity, we grow hungry for its opposite, this rare delicacy: bravery. Our media and politicians feed the appetite, dishing up accounts of Courage and Heroism so seasoned with drama and cliché that they may be mouth-watering and easy to digest, but hardly nourishing. And so the cycle of timidity continues, a vicious (as opposed to a virtuous) circle.  All the same, what we talk about when we talk about courage is not, thankfully, the same thing as courage itself. What Michel de Montaigne called “the strangest, most generous and proudest of all virtues”, courage does exist and it always has. It was there in the Torah, the Bible, the Qu-ran, the Vedas, the scrolls of Confucius, the writings of Plato and Aristotle. Nor has it ever passed out of fashion, which cannot be said for all of the car... Sun, 12 Jan 2014 11:07:04 +0000 Polly Morland https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/how-to-be-brave-auid-301 The Values Fix https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-values-fix-auid-346 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/values.jpg" /><br />From the Industrial Revolution onwards, human societies have witnessed dramatic changes to their lifestyles; from the technologies they use to the availability of a wealth of new consumer goods. Millions have benefited. We have seen massive improvements in health, housing, diet, electronic gadgets, communications and so forth. Despite these major advancements, today we are witness to a number of warning signs about planet Earth. We are in the midst of an immoral and draining poverty crisis where two billion people remain below poverty levels. We have re-invented greed at unimaginable scales in our financial and banking services. We seem hell bent on destroying the Earth’s natural systems by depleting and degrading our forests, our lands and our water. We plunder our planet with new and seemingly exciting greenhouse-gas laden technologies, inviting climate change. Perhaps our greatest challenge? To provide jobs for the more than one and a half billion kids under fifteen and the entire 3... Sun, 06 Apr 2014 20:58:29 +0000 Ian Johnson https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-values-fix-auid-346 Socrates vs Jesus https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/socrates-vs-jesus-auid-299 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/moral.jpg" /><br />Socrates and Jesus are arguably the two most exemplary people in all of history. At the very least, they stand out as icons of the Western cultural experience – the one of uncompromising criticism, the other of comprehensive concern. To be compared to either, however flattering, has been often dangerous and almost always embarrassing. No one can ever quite match the standards set by Socrates and Jesus. Today, what is most remarkable about their exalted status is not that they lived over two thousand years ago. Nor is it their studied avoidance of secular power and spiritual authority. Nor, for that matter, is it their untimely deaths in societies that, in many respects, could not see them disappear too quickly. Rather, Socrates and Jesus are remarkable in being very much creatures of our own times. Both were ‘celebrities’ in the strict sense: they were known more for their style of being in the world than for any widely agreed achievements. Indeed, the only agreement that seems to have... Sun, 12 Jan 2014 10:33:01 +0000 Steve Fuller https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/socrates-vs-jesus-auid-299 Morality Matters https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/rethink-everything-auid-469 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/5549123-dd3e6c2b3f-b.jpg" /><br />The whole world needs re-thinking from first principles – and the point of my latest book, Why Genes are Not Selfish and People are Nice, is to set the ball rolling. Alas, it’s all too easy to list the things that have gone wrong. A billion people are chronically undernourished out of the total population of 7 billion. A billion more suffer from diseases of excess – including a world population of diabetics that is twice the size of Russia’s population. A billion live in urban slums – almost one in three of all who now live in cities. Half our fellow species are in imminent danger of extinction. All ecosystems are under threat, from woods and meadows to the oceans. The climate is de-stabilised. All in all, we are sliding headlong to Armageddon. The problem that obsesses governments and their selected advisers – the collapse of the neoliberal economy – is the least important, although the fact that they don’t see that the neoliberal party is over and are still trying to prop it up, at o... Sat, 22 Nov 2014 14:07:37 +0000 Colin Tudge https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/rethink-everything-auid-469 The Immortal Now https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-immortal-now-auid-296 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/time-flies-2.jpg" /><br />The phrase 'the immortal now' contains a tantalising promise. It suggests that there are ways that we, us mortal human beings, might be able to cheat death: cheat it by living in the now. Because living in the now keeps our attention trained on the present, we don't look forward towards the end, and so can come to believe that the end doesn't exist. Sadly, this is an illusion. We can live in the moment for all of our lives only to discover that one such moment will be our very last.Death is not only inevitable, like a destination that we will all one day arrive at, but, as Heidegger argued, already within us. We can only 'be' to the extent that our being inclines towards death. So let's not think of death as a destination at the end of life, but rather reconceive it as the very condition under which life is lived. Besides, as Heidegger also stressed, death can happen at any time, so to think of it as a distant end is to mistake an essential imminence that can be activated at random.But... Sun, 12 Jan 2014 10:00:54 +0000 Robert Rowland Smith https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-immortal-now-auid-296 Plato Not Prozac https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/plato-not-prozac-auid-283 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/brain.jpg" /><br />Professor Lou Marinoff is a Commonwealth Scholar originally from Canada, Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at The City College of New York, and founding President of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association (APPA). He is also Editor of Philosophical Practice: Journal of the APPA. Lou has authored two international bestsellers: Plato Not Prozac, translated into 27 languages since 1999, and Therapy for the Sane, into 12 languages since 2003. Both books apply Asian and Western philosophy to the resolution of everyday problems. Lou is also a three-time Canadian Open Table Hockey champion. Beatrice Popescu: Where does your love for counselling stem from? Who was your first inspiration? Lou Marinoff: My first inspiration was my talkative extended family, most of whom were capable of dispensing advice almost continuously, and on any topic. In such a climate, one must think for oneself, dispense advice in self-defence, and ultimately take one's own counsel. Beatrice ... Thu, 05 Dec 2013 13:56:58 +0000 Lou Marinoff https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/plato-not-prozac-auid-283 What Shall We Tell the Children? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-shall-we-tell-the-children-auid-280 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/lucidity4.jpg" /><br />&quot;Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,&quot; the proverb goes. Like most proverbs, this one captures at least part of the truth, but is also in part obviously false. The fact is that words can hurt. For a start, they can hurt people indirectly by inciting others to hurt them: a crusade preached by a pope, racist propaganda from the Nazis, malevolent gossip from a rival... They can hurt people, not so indirectly, by inciting them to take actions that harm themselves: the lies of a false prophet, the blackmail of a bully, the flattery of a seducer... And words can hurt directly, too: the lash of a malicious tongue, the dreaded message carried by a telegram, the spiteful onslaught that makes the hearer beg his tormentor say no more. Sometimes indeed mere words can kill outright. There is a story by Christopher Cherniak about a deadly &quot;word-virus&quot; that appeared one night on a computer screen. It took the form of a brain-teaser, a riddle, so paradoxical that it fata... Thu, 05 Dec 2013 13:00:06 +0000 Nicholas Humphrey https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-shall-we-tell-the-children-auid-280 Psychiatry's Death Grip https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/psychiatry-s-death-grip-auid-262 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/enhanced-buzz-wide-31786-1349114258-crop8.jpg" /><br />Steve Fuller is an American philosopher and sociologist, and an expert in the field of science and technology studies. Born in New York City, Fuller has written over 18 books, including the highly acclaimed Kuhn vs. Popper and Science vs. Religion? Since 2011, Fuller has been the holder of the Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology at the University of Warwick.We spoke to him about the power of psychiatry.How can sociology help us understand psychiatry?Sociology can provide insight into the source and nature of the authority that psychiatry exerts, despite the highly contested character of its knowledge claims. This character is periodically in open display with each new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, as happened in May of this year, when the fifth edition was published. The DSM is often dubbed the Bible of psychiatry, which is apt not because its knowledge claims are inviolate but because, as the &quot;sacred text&quot;, many interested parties seek le... Sat, 23 Nov 2013 13:43:45 +0000 Editor https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/psychiatry-s-death-grip-auid-262 Who Wants to Live Forever? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/who-wants-to-live-forever-auid-389 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/Immortality.jpg" /><br />The prospect of immortality has been with humanity for as long as we have understood our own mortality. It has been explored in culture after culture through mysticism, religion and, latterly, medical technology. The prospect of immortality is a uniquely human optimism created in answer to a uniquely human curse – the ability to contemplate our own existence, and its inevitable end. As our technology improves, the prospect of immortality is beginning to look less and less ludicrous. Perhaps not true immortality any time soon, but the idea that in the mid-to-distant future we might be able to prevent ageing and eradicate most diseases is at least conceivable. But before we allow ourselves to become hopeful, it is important to give serious philosophical thought to the pros and cons of living indefinitely. Are there any convincing objections to the prospect of immortality? The most common dismissal of the desirability of individual immortality is the point that it would not be worth livi... Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:02:33 +0000 Evie Prichard https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/who-wants-to-live-forever-auid-389 The Rights of Journalism https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-rights-of-journalism-auid-285 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/eye-for-news.jpg" /><br />“It’s the newspapers I can’t stand”In Tom Stoppard’s play Night and Day, one character remarks to another: “I’m with you on the free press. It's the newspapers I can't stand.” I don’t think that our discussions of the proper configuration of press freedom have moved very far from this impasse in the thirty years since the play was published. This is evident in the fruitless reiteration of rival claims about supposed speech rights, both by those who think the media – at least the print media – should be self-regulating, and that anything else will lead to censorship, and by those who think that the media – including the print media – should be restricted or regulated in various ways. At present those who oppose regulation are particularly keen to counter any claims that any right to privacy should receive legal or regulatory protection at the expense of media freedom. For example, Paul Dacre has claimed robustly, but with little argument, that those who seek to use regulation to secure ... Thu, 05 Dec 2013 14:31:01 +0000 Onora O'Neill https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-rights-of-journalism-auid-285 Animal Morality: 3 questions with Mark Rowlands https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/animal-morality-3-questions-with-mark-rowlands-auid-260 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/223145696b6ef05973co.jpg" /><br />Mark Rowlands is a Welsh writer and philosopher, who is currently Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami. He is perhaps best known for his 2008 book, The Philosopher and the Wolf, which describes the decade he spent living and travelling with a wolf. Recent publications include Running with the Pack and Can Animals be Moral? Can animals be moral in precisely the same way as humans? Not really. But the question is badly formed. There are a variety of ways in which humans can be moral. Sometimes we work out what is the best thing to do by bringing to bear abstract moral principles or rules. But sometimes we act unreflectively on the basis of emotions that have, as their focus, concern for the welfare of others. One jumps into a shallow pond to save a drowning child, for example. In such circumstances, not only do we not reflect – reflection might actually be an immoral thing to do. In Can Animals Be Moral? I argue that the moral behaviour of animals is more like the second ca... Sat, 23 Nov 2013 13:28:44 +0000 Editor https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/animal-morality-3-questions-with-mark-rowlands-auid-260 What Death Tells Us About Life https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-death-tells-us-about-life-auid-263 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/ScaleWidthWzE1MF0/how-to-live-forever-2.jpg" /><br />Human life is finite. It consists of time – hours, minutes, seconds – ticking away. We are both conscious of time and in denial of its meaning. We often hurry through activity-packed days, rushing from one commitment to another. We yearn for the end of the school year, the end of winter, the end of a busy period at work. But we also hate to think about growing old, dwindling away and eventually dying. We exist in time, but it is also that which measures the passing of our days. It is the events which punctuate human life – big birthdays, finishing school, having children – that arouse our consciousness of time. They make us pause and evaluate our life: where we got to, where we’d like to be, and the often bewildering distance between the two. As Marilyn Monroe put it in Some Like it Hot, “A quarter of a century makes a girl think!”.So time rushes onwards, bringing new events and experiences in its fold, but it also, with every passing moment, brings us closer to death. And because we a... Sat, 23 Nov 2013 15:04:44 +0000 Havi Carel https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-death-tells-us-about-life-auid-263