iai.tv news RSS feed https://iainews.iai.tv/articles Weinstein, Philosophy and Structures of Abuse https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/weinstein-westminster-and-philosophy-structures-of-abuse-auid-978 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-weinsteinwestminsterphilosophy.png" /><br />The recent revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s serial predatory sexual harassment – and worse – over a period of more than 30 years have caused some serious debate and reflection. Crucial to this reflection is the realisation that Weinstein is not a monster – if by dubbing him a ‘monster’ the implication is that he is a freak, a one-off, someone whose behaviour can simply be shrugged off as an aberration so that we can (most of us) happily carry on as though none of this has anything to do with us. There is a spectrum here, from sexist comments and an unwelcome but (in the circumstances) non-threatening hand on your knee at one end to rape and serious sexual assault at the other. What puts all of these behaviours on the same spectrum is that typically they are done by men who – whether by virtue of their position of power or authority, or simply because they are men and they are used to getting away with it – are doing it (again, typically) to women. That Weinstein managed to sink so ... Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:59:35 +0000 Helen Beebee https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/weinstein-westminster-and-philosophy-structures-of-abuse-auid-978 Forget about catharsis, rapture or frissons – we are all shippers now https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-is-shipping-auid-1027 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-shipping.png" /><br />Do you want Rey and Kylo Ren to become a couple? Ross and Rachel? Hermione and Harry? Or are you really against these pairings? If so, you’re a shipper. Shipping is the dominant way of engaging with fiction now – and it has a great impact on contemporary literature, film and TV. You are shipping a couple if you really, really want two fictional characters of a TV show or film franchise (or any other serialized narrative) to have a romantic relationship. The term ‘shipping’ comes from ‘relationshipping’ and it has a long history going back all the way to Star Trek. It became widely used when the world was fascinated with the apparent sexual tension between Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, the two main characters of the TV show, The X-Files. And shipping became a truly global phenomenon with two extremely popular serialized narratives, Harry Potter and Friends. The creators of Friends discovered something revolutionary from a marketing point of view: You can double, triple or quadruple the nu... Mon, 22 Jan 2018 13:11:03 +0000 Bence Nanay https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-is-shipping-auid-1027 How Illness Transforms Philosophy https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-dont-philosophers-pay-more-attention-to-illness-auid-1029 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-cancer.png" /><br />Illness is a breathtakingly intense experience. It unsettles, and sometimes shatters, the most fundamental values and beliefs we hold. It is physically and emotionally draining. It can be physically and psychologically debilitating. Illness requires serious effort and continuous work to adapt practically to its limitations and to adjust psychologically to the pain, restricted horizons and frustration it brings. It forces the ill person and those around her to confront mortality in its most direct manifestation. In all of these ways illness requires labour, attention, and a conscious and sustained effort. But, as I argue in my latest book, Phenomenology of Illness (OUP 2016), illness is also existentially and intellectually demanding – and potentially rewarding – in ways hitherto unexplored. Illness can challenge our most fundamental beliefs, expectations and values and this accords it a distinct and important philosophical role. For example, the belief that a longer life is better than... Fri, 26 Jan 2018 13:05:46 +0000 Havi Carel https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-dont-philosophers-pay-more-attention-to-illness-auid-1029 Living On When Love Dies https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/living-on-when-love-dies-auid-1033 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-christopher-hamilton-image-2.jpg" /><br />There’s a theory propounded by some historians that modern divorce is a substitute for death. In the past, so the theory goes, most people died young and so hardly any couples lived on together for many years. One – or both of them – died. These days, where lots of us are lucky enough to have a good chance of living to three score years and ten, we spend a great deal more time in couples, and so have a much greater chance of getting thoroughly sick of each other. Your partner will probably not die, and nor will you, so the next best thing is divorce. Not very consoling, you might think. But maybe it is. It shows that relationships are trickier than we admit, and that the fact they might end doesn’t mean they weren’t worthwhile. All relationships are failures The first thing to remember is that relationships don’t just fail by ending. Even the best relationships are riddled with failure, just as the best person is. Human desire and need are limitless, and even the kind of life that loo... Mon, 05 Feb 2018 14:08:42 +0000 Christopher Hamilton https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/living-on-when-love-dies-auid-1033 When Virtue Destroys You https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-rousseau-can-teach-us-on-authenticity-in-love-auid-1035 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-daniel-apodaca-536418.jpg" /><br />In the age of selfies and social media, the dichotomy between being and appearance is more and more apparent. Although he didn't use the word 'authenticity' per se in his multifaceted work, Jean Jacques Rousseau still provides us with key insights of unsurpassed relevance today, when advertisers abuse authenticity, and deconstructionist philosophers deride it. Just as we wonder about the impact of globalisation on the individual, 18th century Parisians wondered what kind of subjectivity was shaping up in the largest European metropolis. Rousseau was a central figure in directing this transformation. A tale of authenticity violated More than in The Social Contract, Emile or his “Discourses”, Rousseau’s groundbreaking insights on authenticity are found in his 18th century bestselling novel Julie, or the New Heloise.[1] Julie d'Etange, the daughter of a nobleman, and Saint-Preux, her teacher of no social or economic standing, become secret lovers. Lord Bomston, an affluent British friend ... Mon, 05 Feb 2018 14:21:25 +0000 Alessandro Ferrara https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-rousseau-can-teach-us-on-authenticity-in-love-auid-1035 Kierkegaard's Existential Lover https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/kierkegaards-existential-lover-auid-1038 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-kierkegaard-image-1.jpg" /><br />It was the autumn of 1841. About a year earlier, Regina Olsen had happily accepted a marriage proposal from her beloved Søren Kierkegaard, but now, without providing any proper explanation, he had broken off their engagement. Nothing helped to change his mind. A couple of years later, she became engaged to another and he began writing and publishing his (often provocative) works, which, in the years to come, would put Denmark on the map of Western philosophy. He died young, at the age of 42, and lived alone, seemingly indifferent to the joys and sorrows of romantic love - but only seemingly. His lost Regina was, in his eyes as good as dead – but not forgotten. Like a haunting ghost, the recollection of her hovers around many of his writings, indicative not only of his broken heart but, more significantly, of his philosophical interest in the nature of love. When it comes to love, then, death is not necessarily the end; on the contrary, it can be seen as playing a crucial role in active... Mon, 12 Feb 2018 16:40:34 +0000 Sharon Krishek https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/kierkegaards-existential-lover-auid-1038 What Polyamory Teaches Us About Jealousy https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-polyamory-teaches-us-about-jealousy-auid-1042 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-teh-dreamers.jpg" /><br />As Western culture has shifted perspectives on open relationships, perhaps it can also learn how to understand and manage jealousy better. In the twenty years since we published the first edition of our book The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, and Other Freedoms in Sex and Love, the word “polyamory” has evolved from a scrap of niche jargon to a headline on the cover of Newsweek; one in five Americans reports having participated in an open relationship; consensual non-monogamy has been positively portrayed in many television shows and movies. Twenty years ago, it was common to hear polyamorous folks accusing each other of jealousy as if it were a deadly sin ­– whereas today, a “jelly moment,” or attack of jealousy, may be understood as inevitable and even as a potential source of personal growth. ___ &quot;Surmounting jealousy is made more difficult by a culture that treats it as an overwhelming emotion, possibly the worst emotion a human can have.&quot;  ___ Sur... Wed, 14 Feb 2018 10:52:02 +0000 Janet W. Hardy https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-polyamory-teaches-us-about-jealousy-auid-1042 Infidelity: A Stoic's Perspective https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/infidelity-a-stoics-perspective-auid-1043 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-briefencounter.png" /><br />Infidelity seems to be coming back into fashion, if it ever went away. I’m not talking about tabloid articles obsessing over the latest outrageous behavior by this or that celebrity. I’m referring to serious authors like psychotherapist Esther Perel, who is of the opinion that infidelity is common, “and yet it is shrouded in secrecy, filled with shame, and often addressed with major judgment. That’s not helpful to the people who are actually experiencing it — or to society as a whole.” Perel’s take is that affairs are the result of a natural yearning for extra-monogamous affairs, and they are thus likely inevitable, if painful. That sounds all very well and good, but quite a bit of what makes us different from most other species is precisely that we have an ability to reflect on whether something is good or not, and to act on that judgment. A propensity for violence is also natural for Homo sapiens, and yet we don’t condone it among either children or adults, because we think there are... Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:40:52 +0000 Massimo Pigliucci https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/infidelity-a-stoics-perspective-auid-1043 Why Do We Fall in Love With Fictional Characters? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-do-we-fall-in-love-with-fictional-characters-auid-1041 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-keira-knightley-as-anna-karenina-keira-knightley-1366x7681.jpg" /><br /> Generations of Russians have — at least so Russians believe — been ‘in love with’ Natasha Rostova, the vivacious, honest, sensitive, passionate heroine of War and Peace. Such characters take on a semi-autonomous life in their readers’ memory and imaginations (assisted, as the case may be, by stage, film and television adaptations). In this extra-textual life, the characters do things even when the narrative eye is not upon them, and they might choose to behave otherwise than they seem to do (this is what the genre of realism asks us to believe, in any case). Were the reader to somehow enter the fictional universe, therefore, they might elicit the character’s love; or, if they are characters (assisted, as the case may be, by paintings, posters and figurines) who imaginatively exist outside of not only the words, but the universes of their literary works, then such a relationship might be managed — is indeed managed — in an imaginary version of the reader’s present. ___ &quot;Iris Murdoch ar... Tue, 13 Feb 2018 15:55:13 +0000 Catherine Brown https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-do-we-fall-in-love-with-fictional-characters-auid-1041 Why There Is No Self: A Buddhist Perspective for the West https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-there-is-no-self-a-buddhist-perspective-for-the-west-auid-1044 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-no-self-magic.png" /><br /> Buddhism is famous for its doctrine of no-self (anātman).  Do Buddhists really believe that we have no self? Yes. Isn’t that crazy? No. Do you mean that none of us exist? No. But we don't exist as selves.  And to believe that you do exist as a self is a serious, albeit common, pathology. Let me explain. The Buddhist doctrine of no-self is not a nihilistic denial of your reality, or that of your friends and relatives; instead, it is a middle way between such a nihilistic denial and a reification of the existence that you do have. That reification is instinctive, and then forms the basis for lots of bad religion and metaphysics, as well as for some really problematic ethical thought and conduct, all of which lead to a mass of suffering. Since Buddhism is all about the release from suffering (they call it nirvāṇa), and the belief in a self is regarded as a cause of suffering, extirpating that belief is a central project of Buddhist philosophy. Let us begin by identifying the self whose e... Mon, 19 Feb 2018 12:05:52 +0000 Jay Garfield https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-there-is-no-self-a-buddhist-perspective-for-the-west-auid-1044 What You Should Know About Contemporary African Philosophy https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-you-should-know-about-contemporary-african-philosophy-auid-1047 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-ifeyani-menkiti-blue.png" /><br />‘Westerners’ tend to romanticize traditional African beliefs when they treat them as inherently a-rational; we see ‘African beliefs’ as offering an escape from the constraints of a rationally disenchanted modern world. But anyone who expects to find a refuge from rationality in modern African philosophy should stop reading now: African philosophy is just as critically rational, professional, and institutionalized as its Western relative. Anyone who is interested in philosophy in general, has at least two reasons to be interested in African philosophy. First, African philosophy queries the habitual universality claims of Western philosophy; second, African philosophy offers insights into dimensions of human experience made uniquely available through African metaphysical beliefs and normative commitments. Below, I shall briefly speak to both these points in the course of reflecting on the rise of post-independence African philosophy. I shall focus on Anglophone West African philosophical... Mon, 12 Mar 2018 11:41:46 +0000 Katrin Flikschuh https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-you-should-know-about-contemporary-african-philosophy-auid-1047 Does Pessimism Have a Future? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-pessimism-be-a-philosophical-school-auid-1028 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-pessimism-as-a-philosophy.jpg" /><br />We’re Doomed Pessimism is the night-side of thought, a melodrama of the futility of the brain, a poetry written in the graveyard of philosophy. Pessimism is a lyrical failure of philosophical thinking, each attempt at clear and coherent thought, sullen and submerged in the hidden joy of its own futility. The closest pessimism comes to philosophical argument is the droll and laconic “We’ll never make it,” or simply: “We’re doomed.” Every effort doomed to failure, every project doomed to incompletion, every life doomed to be unlived, every thought doomed to be unthought. Pessimism is the lowest form of philosophy, frequently disparaged and dismissed, merely the symptom of a bad attitude. No one ever needs pessimism, in the way that one needs optimism to inspire one to great heights and to pick oneself up, in the way one needs constructive criticism, advice and feedback, inspirational books or a pat on the back. No one needs pessimism, though I like to imagine the idea of a pessimist acti... Mon, 22 Jan 2018 14:02:08 +0000 Eugene Thacker https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-pessimism-be-a-philosophical-school-auid-1028 Existentialism is a Humanism – but not in Erdogan's Turkey https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/existentialism-is-a-humanism-but-not-in-turkey-auid-1026 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-camusturkeyban.png" /><br />It is indeed quite absurd – but not in the sense which Albert Camus deemed philosophically interesting. In 2017, the works of philosophers Baruch Spinoza and Albert Camus were reportedly confiscated from Turkish public libraries because they were labelled as active members of a terrorist organisation. Their names were mentioned in the notebooks of a journalist who was brought to court for membership in a terrorist organisation. According to a Deutsche Welle report in November 2017, owning and reading books by Spinoza or Camus was apparently, and however briefly, an arrestable offence. If true, that is absurd. After all, Camus won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He wrote literature about real human conflict, and about the importance of loyalty. His novels are preoccupied with the most extreme situations (such as in The Plague) as well as the everyday. They provide close studies of personality as well as revelations of historical worlds. Camus’ novels are also concerned with how ... Mon, 22 Jan 2018 12:15:37 +0000 Tanja Staehler https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/existentialism-is-a-humanism-but-not-in-turkey-auid-1026 How to Become A Philosophical Foodie https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/how-to-become-a-philosophical-foodie-auid-999 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-sartredebeauvoir.png" /><br />Very few things are so important to our lives as food, but most of us don’t think much about it. Sure, we think about what to eat every day and, even more so, what not to eat, but we don’t really think about food. Where does it come from? Who produced it? Who picked these tomatoes or apples? How far has it travelled? Even less do we reflect on other more remote issues, but central to food, such as, hunger, population growth, migration, sustainable agriculture, human rights, animal rights, waste, GMOs, etc. It seems clear that we cannot continue to be ignorant of these issues. I suggest we should make them part of our lives and our food choices. It is becoming clear that our food system involves massive problems that will take all our ingenuity and resolve to come to terms with, and which cannot be solved unless we change our own habits. Most researchers studying this agree that people in certain parts of the world (foremost North America and Europe) need to eat less and food production... Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:04:14 +0000 Henrik Lagerlund https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/how-to-become-a-philosophical-foodie-auid-999 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/SetWidth150-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 Ingrid Robeyns https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-limitarianism-save-the-world-an-interview-with-ingrid-robeyns-auid-988 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/SetWidth150-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 p... 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 https://iainews.iai.tv/articles Editor https://iainews.iai.tv/articles Why Philosophy Matters https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-philosophy-matters-auid-973 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-whyphilosophymatters.png" /><br />This November marks the 12th anniversary of World Philosophy Day, a moveable feast endorsed by UNESCO and aimed at underlining the significant and often overlooked impact and value of philosophy on everyday life and human thought. The benefits of philosophy on intellectual development have been well-documented, with a recent wide-ranging study in UK schools demonstrating that children who spent an hour each week participating in philosophical discussion, debate and reflection over the course of a year saw significant gains in maths and literacy skills, with disadvantaged students reaping the greatest benefits in terms of improvement. This of course attests to philosophy’s demonstrable social and economic ‘impact’ – a word quickly that has, quite deservedly, become anathema in humanities departments – but doesn’t speak to philosophy’s broader implications for self-reflection, confidence and reasoned deduction. At at a fundamental level, philosophy equips us with the tools to ask the qu... Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:30:28 +0000 IAI News Editorial Staff https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-philosophy-matters-auid-973 Travels with Heidegger https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/travels-with-heidegger-auid-914 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-heideggerhiking.png" /><br />For decades tourism scholars took as their starting point a binary distinction between “travelers” (assumed to be in search of their selves) and “tourists” (assumed to be passive recipients of packaged experiences). This reductionist approach masked a clear class bias: people with taste and social acumen allegedly don’t tour, they travel – even when they join tours, as with adventure outfits such as REI. This distinction has morphed into an emphasis on existential authenticity in the study of tourist motivation. We travel, theorists now claim, to counter the alienation we experience in our everyday lives at home. While drawing mainly on Martin Heidegger’s work, this claim reflects a distinctly Euro-American philosophical focus running from Rousseau to Schiller, Kierkegaard to Nietzsche, and Heidegger to Sartre, on what it means to be authentic. If life at home is self-alienating, journeys elsewhere would appear to be a clear improvement. Of course, this perspective rests on the questio... Mon, 30 Oct 2017 17:01:53 +0000 Robert Shepherd https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/travels-with-heidegger-auid-914 Yoga Is Philosophy of Mind in Practice https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-philosophy-of-yoga-auid-1012 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-ivan-tejero-yoga.jpg" /><br />1.       The Purpose of Yoga: Liberation In recent years, especially in the West, Yoga has increasingly been reduced to practising postures/asanas and practitioners in general are quite oblivious to the fact that Yoga is an important philosophical system whose aim is to achieve mokṣa (moksha/liberation) for the practitioner. Patañjali, the author of the key texts of Yoga, the Yoga Sutras, who is considered to have lived in the 3rd century BCE, hardly talks about the āsanas. He is recognised as the first person to have brought all the yogic concepts, that had been scattered around since 2500BCE, in a structured framework, which presented the Yoga philosophy in the Yoga Sutras. Patañjali’s emphasis is on Yoga as a philosophical system only, that could help one attain moksha. Vyāsa, the first commentator of the Yoga Sutras, who probably lived around 5th century CE, mentions a few āsanas but doesn't focus on them much. While Indian philosophy has the concepts of ego and a ‘sense-of-I’, whi... Tue, 09 Jan 2018 10:19:45 +0000 T. S. Rukmani https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-philosophy-of-yoga-auid-1012 Sober Reflections: A Philosopher's Advice On Going Dry https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/a-philosophers-counsel-on-dry-january-auid-1017 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-thomas-picauly-65648.jpg" /><br />Feasting and fasting are two sides of the same coin: altered attitudes to eating that reflect special moments in the year, changes of moods or attempted corrections. The heady spectacle of the Venice Carnivale celebrates a return to meat after religious abstinence and a need for excess, just as excessive fasting suggests a necessary correction to overindulgence. Each enjoyable in its own way because they mark a departure from the everyday and we know they will make us feel different. Endless feasting would soon pall into a dulling of the senses, and, like excessive fasting, would end up as a form of pathology. However, these states reflect different attitudes and have entirely different time courses. To feast is to look forward, to anticipate more and more pleasures, but while each item is enjoyed as much or more than the last there will come a time when eating anything else is unsustainable. It reminds me of Kingsley Amis’s apt remark that getting drunk was very pleasurable but that b... Mon, 15 Jan 2018 12:34:45 +0000 Barry C. Smith https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/a-philosophers-counsel-on-dry-january-auid-1017 Simone de Beauvoir's #MeToo https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/simone-de-beauvoirs-metoo-auid-1019 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-beauvoir-metoo.jpg" /><br />Highlights: Among the problems in the Le Monde - #MeToo debate is that ‘#MeToo feminism’ does not have a manifesto, and that social media exacerbates reckless formulations. French and American feminist traditions, outlining sex-positive attitudes, are more intertwined than is currently admitted in the Deneuve-Hollywood controversy. Recognizing women’s freedom is “not to eliminate poetry, love, adventure, happiness, and dreams: it is only to ask that behavior, feelings, and passion be founded upon the truth.&quot;   Last week’s #MeToo backlash defending men’s ‘right to bother’ women has provoked a series of reactions from feminists and cultural critics. The much-discussed letter in Le Monde was written with lamentably incendiary prose and regrettably little nuance or compassion for those who have had reason to post #MeToo. Deneuve’s apology to victims of ‘heinous acts’ in Liberation on Sunday has brought further comment, including the claim by Anastasio Colosimo (of Sciences Po, Paris)... Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:52:12 +0000 Kate Kirkpatrick https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/simone-de-beauvoirs-metoo-auid-1019 What Should You Worry About and Hope For in 2018? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-should-you-worry-about-and-hope-for-in-2018-auid-1022 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-planet-what-we-should-worry-about.jpg" /><br />As we're sobering up from the end-of-year celebrations, it's time to ask: what should we reflect on, and hope for, in 2018? Can we do anything about it? Philosophers Julian Baggini and Barry Smith, gender theorist Jack Halberstam, psychiatrist David Nutt, astrophysicist Liv Boeree, Times columnist Philip Collins and literary critic Stanley Fish speak about the biggest challenges we face in 2018 and how we could overcome them.   Jack Halberstam, Author of GaGa Feminism and Professor of English and Gender Studies at University of Columbia ___ &quot;I hope that we can change everything. And if we cannot, I hope everything can change us.&quot; ___ The short answer to the question “What should you worry about?” is: everything. The long answer is also everything. That’s the bad news. The good news?  Well, the good news is that under the intense pressure of a cascading series of crises - political, environmental, social and economic - we are being forced to think beyond the usual liberal language of ... Tue, 16 Jan 2018 16:35:14 +0000 Editor https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-should-you-worry-about-and-hope-for-in-2018-auid-1022 Are we all suffering from collective amnesia? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/are-we-all-suffering-from-historical-collective-amnesia-auid-1048 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Make-rhodes-history.jpg" /><br />The student campaign to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes from Oriel College at Oxford University failed. One may speculate about the true reasons behind the staunch resistance by this institution against the students’ protest. In the official defence of this choice, something no one can object to was called upon: freedom of speech. Both Chris Patten and Mary Beard argued in favour of keeping the statue because removing statues of individuals with whose views one disagrees is contrary to freedom of speech and historical accuracy. However, there is nothing free and open about the contribution of these statues to our discourse on British History. In fact, monuments make us forget more than they help us remember. By prompting some thoughts, statues suppress others, thus promoting an ideological view of the past. Seeing figurative public art every day subtly manipulates our minds. Surely, I hear you say, this is preposterous! Statues are not a means of mind control. Perhaps not, but consid... Tue, 13 Mar 2018 17:15:28 +0000 Alessandra Tanesini https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/are-we-all-suffering-from-historical-collective-amnesia-auid-1048 Laughing and Crying About the Second World War https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/do-we-remember-the-second-world-war-wrongly-auid-1049 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-immortal.png" /><br />My existence represents peace. I am born of a post-war Anglo-German union, my elder uncles having fought on both sides. My German grandfather served first in France and then in the East. After the war, perhaps by conscious or unconscious compensation, my uncle worked with the Russian-German refugees in his small Rhineland town. His learning of Russian later encouraged my own, and his godson, who lives in the closed city of Seversk which is attached to Tomsk, visits me regularly in London. How all so inconceivable in 1945. As I write, we are living through the last phase of live memories of killing, injuring, and being injured. Britain The Second World War is less commemorated in Britain than the First, not just despite but because of the fact that the First is less a source of celebration. The First World War’s large, prominent and ubiquitous public monuments both acknowledge the large loss of life and try to justify it, whilst the Second World War is often a stonemason’s addition cove... Mon, 19 Mar 2018 11:10:52 +0000 Catherine Brown https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/do-we-remember-the-second-world-war-wrongly-auid-1049 Should people be punished for crimes they can’t remember committing? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/should-people-be-punished-for-crimes-they-cant-remember-committing-what-john-locke-would-say-about-vernon-madison-auid-1050 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-lockememroyredux.png" /><br />In 1985, Vernon Madison murdered a police officer, Julius Schulte, in Mobile, Alabama. Madison was due to be executed by lethal injection in January this year, but was given a last-minute stay of execution. After several strokes, he suffers from dementia and memory impairment, and can no longer remember committing the crime. The Supreme Court will now hear his case. The legal issue hinges on the letter of the law. In 1986, the Supreme Court ruled that executing someone who cannot understand the reason for their execution violates the 8th Amendment to the US Constitution’s ban on ‘cruel and unusual punishment’, and in 2016 the Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that ‘according to his perception of reality he never committed murder’ and hence cannot ‘understand the reason’ for his execution. (That ruling was later overturned by the Supreme Court, which now appears to be having second thoughts about that.) The legal question, then, seems to turn on whether someone who can’t remember committing... Tue, 20 Mar 2018 18:13:32 +0000 Helen Beebee https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/should-people-be-punished-for-crimes-they-cant-remember-committing-what-john-locke-would-say-about-vernon-madison-auid-1050 The Roots of Anxiety and How to Escape It https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-roots-of-anxiety-and-how-to-escape-it-auid-1065 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-steve-taylor-pic-jpeg.jpg" /><br />Before we look at ways of dealing with anxiety, it’s a good idea to define what we mean by the term. I think it’s helpful to think in terms of three different kinds of anxiety. First of all, there is ‘instinctive anxiety,’ which is based on threats or dangers to our survival. This is what we experience when walking near the edge of a high cliff, in deserted city streets at night, or when someone verbally abuses us or threatens us with violence. We instinctively feel anxiety in such situations, as a warning to be on our toes, or to flee from the potential danger. Instinctive anxiety is healthy. It has evolved over tens of thousands of years of human history, and we probably wouldn't be here without it. Secondly, there is what I call ‘traumatic anxiety.’ This is anxiety related to traumatic life experiences, usually in early life, that have left behind some degree of psychological sensitivity and vulnerability. Traumatic anxiety arises very strongly when we face situations that remind of... Mon, 09 Apr 2018 09:35:31 +0000 Steve Taylor https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-roots-of-anxiety-and-how-to-escape-it-auid-1065 Why Do We Need A Diagnosis to See Mental Disorders As Real? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-do-we-need-a-diagnosis-to-see-mental-disorders-as-real-auid-1067 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-pickard.png" /><br />If headlines are to be believed, we are facing a crisis in mental health of epidemic proportions. In the UK and the US, lifetime prevalence rates are estimated to be roughly 1 in 6 and rising. What explains these rates and what ought we to do about them?  An important, preliminary point is that the distribution across the population is not even. A disproportionate burden falls on women and those who suffer socio-economic disadvantage and other forms of adversity and hardship. Equally, the increase is not uniformly distributed across kinds of disorder. Rates of autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder are relatively stable, with lifetime prevalence estimated to be roughly 1 in 100. The increase lies predominantly with anxiety disorders, depression, and addictions. There are three possible and related explanations for these rates. The first is that the social stigma surrounding these mental disorders is decreasing. Today’s patients are more able to be open about their problems and see... Thu, 12 Apr 2018 12:50:37 +0000 Hanna Pickard https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-do-we-need-a-diagnosis-to-see-mental-disorders-as-real-auid-1067 A Black Existentialist Response to Kanye West https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/kanye-west-from-freedom-to-license-auid-1083 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Lewis-Gordon.jpg" /><br />'When you hear about slavery for 400 years ... For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.'Rapper Kanye West’s interview on TMZ caused a furore on social media, with many accusing him of advocating for a ‘white freedom, a freedom without consequence’. We spoke about how vulnerability can birth lies, and about the difference between freedom, liberty and license with philosopher Lewis Gordon, one of the most prominent thinkers in black existentialism and post-colonial phenomenology. —Paula Erizanu    PE: What were your first thoughts when you read about Kanye West’s interview on TMZ? LG: I wasn’t surprised. But my response was a little different from other people, mainly because I knew his mother. From the moment his mother died — I saw her a few months before she went to LA, I was wondering how he’ll be dealing with the trauma. She was a presence. She was a professor of English. When I met her she had dreadlocks, like me. Then when she went to Los Angeles to be Kanye’s manager she straigh... Tue, 08 May 2018 16:56:48 +0000 Lewis Gordon https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/kanye-west-from-freedom-to-license-auid-1083 Why You Should Hate Your Job https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-you-should-hate-your-job-auid-1075 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-john-danaher-jpeg.jpg" /><br />Do you like your job? Maybe you do, but I think you should reevaluate. At the very least, I think you should be uncomfortable with the fact that you live in a system that compels you to have a job, particularly if that job is neither necessary for your own well-being nor the well-being of others. Thanks to advances in robotics and AI, we may be close to building a society in which work, as we currently know it, is no longer necessary for either of these things. Far from being a cause for concern, this is something we should welcome. The work ethic is a cultural virus, something that has infected our minds and our institutions. We need to be inoculated. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that there is no place for determined effort, self-improvement and ambition in the well-lived life. Mastering skills, making a contribution to one’s society, and achieving goals are all key elements of the good life. They are also, as the philosophers Anca Gheaus and Lisa Herzog point out, things that are mad... Tue, 01 May 2018 11:17:18 +0000 John Danaher https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-you-should-hate-your-job-auid-1075 My Job, My Self: How Work Defines Us https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/my-job-my-self-how-work-defines-us-auid-1078 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-sisyphus-al-gini-my-job-my-self.jpg" /><br />Work is not something detached from the rest of human life. It rather is synonymous with life. In the words of Pope Piux XI, we humans are “born to labor, as a bird is born to fly.” As adults there is nothing that more preoccupies our lives than work. For 95% of us, work is an entirely non-discretionary matter. We must work. We do not sleep, spend time with our families as much as we work, eat or recreate or rest as much as we work. Whether we love our work or hate it, succeed in it or fail, achieve fame or infamy through it, we are all – like Sisyphus – condemned to push and chase that thing we call our job, our career, our occupation, our calling or our vocation all our days. “Even those of us who desperately don’t want to work,” said the American poet Ogden Nash, “must work in order to earn enough money so that they won’t have to work anymore.” I have been fascinated by work.            I come from a family of workers who immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s and who, b... Thu, 03 May 2018 17:14:45 +0000 Al Gini https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/my-job-my-self-how-work-defines-us-auid-1078 The Death of the 9-5 https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-death-of-the-9-5-auid-1074 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-tom-wells-pic-1-edited.jpg" /><br />Machines powered by self-learning algorithms and internet connections are displacing humans from all kinds of jobs, from driving to legal discovery to acting in movies. Will there be any work left for us to do? Economics says yes. Will it be awful or will it be nice? That is up to us. Firstly, basic economic principles and the history of technological revolutions show that displacement does not mean replacement. Humans are not going to run out of economically valuable things to do for each other. We will not share the fate of horses in the early 20th century. History shows that human labour not only survives technological revolutions but even becomes better paid. Economic principles explain why: technologies like automation increase productivity - the amount of economic value a society can produce with the same inputs of labour and raw materials. That means we can have all the things we used to have, plus we now also have some spare labour left over. We can use that spare labour to pro... Tue, 01 May 2018 09:32:56 +0000 Thomas R. Wells https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-death-of-the-9-5-auid-1074 Post-Work Won’t Work https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/post-work-wont-work-auid-1081 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-sarathy-selvamani-69218-unsplash.jpg" /><br />Many people are anxious about work. Fear of unemployment and under-employment is widespread, especially amongst young people. Youth unemployment has skyrocketed since the financial crisis of 2008 and is at scandalous levels in many countries. Then there's job insecurity. Many are anxious about the future, not just those with insecure employment contracts or the self-employed, but also those with regular jobs who wonder how long they can cope with the stress of it all, all the ‘bullshit’. Discontent with work is rife. This much we can agree on: we are in the midst of a malaise around work. But how should we respond to this malaise? A common response is the post-work view. According to the defenders of post-work, the whole system of work is a fraud and needs a complete overhaul. We have been duped into thinking that work is good for us, but all it gives us is pain and dishonour. The work ethic, the idea that we should love our work and the injunction always to work harder, is a sham. Wha... Fri, 04 May 2018 16:34:15 +0000 Nicholas Smith https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/post-work-wont-work-auid-1081 Can Our Jobs Make Us Happy? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-our-jobs-make-us-happy-auid-1073 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-stephen-mumford-jpeg.jpg" /><br />Bertrand Russell famously argued in defence of idleness, depicting work as a necessary evil. It had no intrinsic value. Instead, we should look at what we produce for its own sake: literature, art and philosophy. The value of these achievements is revealed in their very uselessness and it is only when we have adequate leisure that we can turn to their creation (Russell, In Praise of Idleness, 1935). But Russell’s view can be resisted. There is value, too, in what Russell dismissed as mere useful work. Russell’s argument reveals an aristocratic view of what counts as work and unreasonably relegates the value of certain forms of human activity to worthlessness. Work is a necessity, Russell argues, only because nature is unkind to us, failing to provide easily all that we need in order to survive, bringing the occasional famine too. Even so, it is still up to us what social arrangements are put in place to ensure such work as is necessary is properly conducted and rationally apportioned. ... Mon, 30 Apr 2018 16:23:26 +0000 Stephen Mumford https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-our-jobs-make-us-happy-auid-1073 Are Addicts Truly Powerless? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/are-addicts-truly-powerless-auid-1060 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-addiction.png" /><br />Addiction is often connected with the idea of powerlessness, compulsion, or having one’s agency ‘hijacked’. That idea shows up, for example, in the first of Alcoholics Anonymous’s 12 steps: 1.    We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.AA is an incredibly popular organization. Organizations that take the same approach to addiction, but focus on different objects of addiction – e.g. narcotics, food, sex – are also globally successful. So, the idea that addiction involves powerlessness has resonated with a vast number of people who have first-hand experience of addiction. It deserves to be taken seriously. Should we also take it literally? Well, that depends on working out what it would mean to take it literally. And that turns out not to be obvious. It might help to focus on this question to have an example in view. Susan is an alcoholic who is having some early success in being abstinent and is slowly putting her life back together. She has c... Thu, 05 Apr 2018 14:06:09 +0000 Daniel Morgan https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/are-addicts-truly-powerless-auid-1060 Issue 64: Memory https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/issue-64-memory-auid-1055 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-editorial-image.jpg" /><br />Why do we forget? Are memories just stories we tell ourselves? What happens when our identity depends on our capacity to remember? Memory provides limitless material for philosophy and fiction and continues to be an object of scientific investigation. But what role does this “diary that we all carry with us” – as Oscar Wilde called memory – play in our lives? Locke’s notion that memories create a continuity of self that forms our identity is now commonplace. But what if the brain undergoes trauma, damaging its capacity to remember? And what of talk therapies like psychoanalysis, founded on our understanding of memory? Might they risk reactivating rather than transcending trauma? Memories remain mysterious to us, but studies continue to expose how vulnerable they are to manipulation and how easily we create false ones. In a post-truth world, how might fake news affect what we remember? How can we form an understanding of the world when the truth of our experience, past and present, is u... Tue, 03 Apr 2018 14:24:48 +0000 Editor https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/issue-64-memory-auid-1055 David Bowie and the Theatre of Self https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/david-bowie-and-the-theatre-of-self-auid-1045 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-bowie.jpg" /><br />Change, and the apparent necessity and at least the endless capacity for it, subtends the entire process that was David Bowie.  Bowie scoffed in interviews that he was a “chameleon”, involved deeply and publicly in a continual process of “self-reinvention.”  In that case, one has to wonder what to make of Bowie’s apparent dismissal of Ziggy Stardust and other personas as merely participants in so many stories about whom there is nothing we need to understand.  Bowie confessed that he put on guises, collected voices and then acted them out. And also that he took from Buddhism the transience of it all. So the so-called chameleon of rock, spiritually impressed by the transience of existence, disdains the transience of his own flow of characters and characterizations. But what is change?—or, what is fundamental change?  From the early Greek philosopher Parmenides, we hear that change is movement from where something is to where it is-not.  The problem for Parmenides was the status of this ... Fri, 02 Mar 2018 18:13:54 +0000 Ted Ammon https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/david-bowie-and-the-theatre-of-self-auid-1045 Hawking, Dawkins, Einstein: Are Celebrity Scientists Just Memes? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/hawking-dawkins-einstein-are-celebrity-scientists-just-memes-auid-1052 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-einstein-dawkins.png" /><br />Stephen Hawking's recent death was on the front pages of newspapers and trended on social media. Cher and Katy Perry tweeted about it. It's not often that science or scientists get so popular. In this interview with Columbia University philosopher of science Philip Kitcher, author of multiple books including Science in a Democratic Age, we discuss how and when (some) scientists turned into celebrities, and what are the benefits and costs we derive from that, in a culture that celebrates memes and distrusts experts  —Paula Erizanu    PE: Could you explain the appeal of Hawking, Dawkins and Einstein as celebrity scientists? PK: So Dawkins and Hawking are very different cases.  There’s a really healthy side to the celebrity science movement and that is the tremendous increase in our acceptance that scientists, including eminent scientists, might write for a broader public. I think that’s something that’s happened over the past 40 years. Forty years ago scientists who wrote popular science... Tue, 27 Mar 2018 16:26:09 +0000 Philip Kitcher https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/hawking-dawkins-einstein-are-celebrity-scientists-just-memes-auid-1052 On Forgiving and Forgiveness https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/on-forgiving-and-forgiveness-auid-1059 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-forgiveness.png" /><br />What is forgiveness? Is forgiving always a moral and praiseworthy thing to do? Or are there certain acts that are so terrible that they are deemed ‘unforgivable’? Is there, furthermore, a distinction between personal and political forgiveness? These are some of the central questions under discussion in the burgeoning contemporary literature on forgiveness. Let us begin with how to define ‘forgiveness’. The central debate here is between those who endorse an emotional model, on the one hand, and those who embrace a pluralistic one, on the other. According to the emotional model, forgiveness is conceptualised as an internal matter requiring a change of heart. On this account, forgiveness consists in the renouncing of negative emotions on moral grounds, which exist as a natural response to having being wronged. Although there exists considerable debate about exactly which emotions forgiveness should overcome, many contemporary theorists maintain that forgiveness consists in the overcoming... Thu, 05 Apr 2018 12:56:37 +0000 Paula Satne https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/on-forgiving-and-forgiveness-auid-1059 Can the Concept of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Be Harmful? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-the-concept-of-ptsd-be-harmful-auid-1054 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-joshua-sortino-431615-unsplash.png" /><br /> I have worked over many years with victims of torture, rape, institutional abuse and deprivation as well as those who have suffered serious traumatic events in the course of their ‘ordinary’ lives. I have had the privilege to work with individuals, families and communities in rural Ireland, inner-city settings in the UK, various countries in Africa, Asia and New Zealand. I have come to the conclusion that the assumptions involved in the concept of PTSD: hyponarrativity, commitment to a cognitivist/computational model of mind and an inbuilt linear approach to psychological time mean that it cannot capture the complexity of human responses to traumatic events. Because of these implicit assumptions, the discourse of PTSD serves to individualise and decontextualise human suffering. In doing this, it distorts the way in which we understand healing and recovery. The psychiatric diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has become increasingly popular since it was first introduced i... Tue, 03 Apr 2018 09:36:50 +0000 Patrick Bracken https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-the-concept-of-ptsd-be-harmful-auid-1054 How to Cope With Sorrow and Loss: the Advice of Al-Kindi https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/how-to-cope-with-sorrow-and-loss-the-advice-of-al-kindi-auid-1005 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-al-kindi.jpg" /><br />Al-Kindī was the first thinker in the Islamic world to think of himself as a “philosopher” (in Arabic faylasūf), a proud heir to the wisdom of the Greeks. He played a crucial role in the transmission of Greek science and philosophy into Arabic, and was honored with the epithet “philosopher of the Arabs.” None of which prevented him from falling prey to a court intrigue during the reign of Mutawakkil in the middle of the ninth century CE. Thanks to the conniving of rival scholars, al-Kindī fell from favour and was beaten, and his library was confiscated. I like to think that in this testing moment, he was able to put into practice what he preached in a little treatise he composed called “How to Dispel Sorrow.” Like just about everything al-Kindī wrote, the work is an original composition yet takes inspiration from Greek exemplars. There is an extended version of a metaphor that already appeared in the Stoic Epicetetus, which compares our life here on earth to a sojourn on land that inte... Mon, 18 Dec 2017 10:17:54 +0000 Peter Adamson https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/how-to-cope-with-sorrow-and-loss-the-advice-of-al-kindi-auid-1005 Can rituals save us from loneliness? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-rituals-save-us-from-loneliness-auid-984 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-alastair-mcintosh-edited4.jpg" /><br />The festive season is coming – Winter Solstice, Christmas, the New Year. Rolling over into January, we have the 25th in Scotland to celebrate with whisky and haggis the poetry of Robert Burns. Then there’s Bridgit’s Eve, or Saint Bride’s night, on the 31st. At the risk of bringing on refrains from Burns’ Tam o’ Shanter, pursued by witches, what all these share in common for me is summed up in an old expression, “a good funeral”. I don’t know where your cultural reference points might lie, but in Scotland I’ve observed two things about a good funeral. First, there is the obvious: the provision of beverages. As a Ros Levenstein advert had it in the early 1970s, “I’m only here for the beer.” But second, and pressing deeper, there’s the spiritual spirit. A “good funeral” can be a fleeting but enduring portal into deeper life. Human minds work differently when we come together round a common cause for constellation. The transpersonal realm of interconnection can kick in. Alternate ways of s... Tue, 05 Dec 2017 13:14:29 +0000 Alastair McIntosh https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-rituals-save-us-from-loneliness-auid-984 Being in the Digital World https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/being-in-the-digital-world-auid-995 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Being-in-the-Digital-World.png" /><br />Two true stories. After sitting down on a bus, a girl of about ten takes a vacated seat with her father and little brother at her sides, and then pulls out a paper fortune teller she obviously made herself. She asks two women sitting across the way for colours and numbers, working the folds in the fortune teller once they answer. Both were clearly amused as the girl told them their futures. There was something strange in this scene: strangers talking on a bus in a good-natured way. But there was equally something missing. A couple of weeks later, four students sit at a round table in a busy cafeteria at the university where I teach. They’re chatting, joking, and like the people on the bus, happy to be there. But about a foot or so in front of their faces they’re holding smartphones like cherished religious icons, repeatedly glancing at them during their conversation. Their talk takes place around, over, and through their iPhones, now an essential part of their worlds. They can’t leave ... Wed, 06 Dec 2017 18:19:50 +0000 Doug Mann https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/being-in-the-digital-world-auid-995 The Most Popular Philosophers of the Year https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/who-were-this-years-most-popular-philosophers-on-wikipedia-auid-1009 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-philosophers.jpg" /><br />Who’s who in philosophy on Wikipedia? Who gets dragged out of the comfortable or more ascetic ivory towers? Is it Immanuel Kant or Karl Marx? Friedrich Nietzsche or Niccolo Machiavelli? Slavoj Zizek, Noam Chomsky or Judith Butler? Socrates, Plato or Aristotle? Simone De Beauvoir, Albert Camus or Jean-Paul Sartre? Have a guess and then check out how the battle has turned out. Apparently, we look up philosophers in the cold months of autumn and winter, perhaps when we're more likely to get existential angst and melancholy from little sun and vitamin D deficiency. Since it’s cold outside now, enjoy your snapshot of philosophy in the (digital) polis. A glimpse into the stats may not tell you about the darkest corners of your soul (may you want to get there) but it may reveal how narratives and digital trends get created, and how philosophy can get out there, to wider audiences. In the spirit of the internet, we also brought you a quote from each of the philosophers in the top that might se... Fri, 22 Dec 2017 16:30:12 +0000 Paula Erizanu https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/who-were-this-years-most-popular-philosophers-on-wikipedia-auid-1009 On Identity Politics and the Left in Decline: An Interview with Mark Lilla https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/on-identity-politics-and-the-left-in-decline-an-interview-with-mark-lilla-auid-1082 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-marklillainterview.png" /><br />Should we stop talking about who we are and start talking about what unites us? Mark Lilla considers the future of liberalism and our need for political authority An American political scientist, historian of ideas and professor of humanities at Columbia University in New York City, Mark Lilla is a prize-winning essayist and frequent contributor to The New York Times. He is best known for his books The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics, The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West, and The Shipwrecked Mind: On Political Reaction. He considers himself a liberal, but believes that liberalism has lost its way with its focus on Identity Politics. He set out this position in his most recent book The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics which came out this spring. It has been discussed, praised and critiqued by many, as Identity Politics and its consequences for the Left and Right alike dominate the political discourse. We talked over Skype, about his recent ... Tue, 08 May 2018 15:46:35 +0000 Mark Lilla https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/on-identity-politics-and-the-left-in-decline-an-interview-with-mark-lilla-auid-1082 Between Good and Evil https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/between-good-and-evil-auid-887 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-janne-image-4.PNG" /><br />Can we know how far we would go under other circumstances? No. But we can know the equation and many of the variables that steer us. And the better we know these, the easier we can improve on ourselves and be assured that we would know where to draw the line, where to halt steps down an avenue of human wrongs. The only obstacle is self-deception. When in 1993-94 I worked in Mozambique for the United Nations peace process, I was involved in daily negotiations with leaders of both the government and the rebel movement RENAMO, most of whom we knew had ordered or personally committed horrendous atrocities during the civil war. It had been a seventeen-year long destabilization war mostly targeting the civilian population rather than being a confrontation of armies. The rebels had terrorized by the power of the gun in guerrilla style ambushes. The government soldiers had looted their own population with the indemnity of state power; chopping off breasts, noses or ears, mass rapes and killing... Thu, 28 Sep 2017 14:21:19 +0000 Janne Teller https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/between-good-and-evil-auid-887 The Transcendent Necessity of Rituals https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-transcendent-necessity-of-rituals-auid-985 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-mark-vernon-jpeg.jpg" /><br />All cultural endeavours require rituals. There could be no modern science without the rituals of the lab and academy, say. There could be no modern art if people did not understand the rituals of the gallery, and how to make the right gestures to break them. And, of course, human community and religious practice is unimaginable without rituals, from shaking hands to lighting candles. So what is a ritual? Well, there are many answers to this question. But I'd like to focus on one that highlights the link between rituals and the transcendent. The psychologist, Abraham Maslow, called it B-cognition, as opposed to D-cognition. D-cognition is to do with the humdrum. The D stands for &quot;deficiency&quot; and Maslow saw this cognition as the kind of knowledge required for the daily business of striving and surviving, which is largely a process of finding what we lack. Hence, deficiency. In B-cognition, the B is for &quot;being&quot;, and this is the kind of understanding with which rituals and the transcendent... Tue, 05 Dec 2017 13:34:08 +0000 Mark Vernon https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-transcendent-necessity-of-rituals-auid-985 Could ritual spaces encourage collaboration over domination? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/could-ritual-spaces-encourage-collaboration-over-domination-auid-986 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-urban-spaces-jpeg.jpg" /><br />Do rituals have a place in modern life? Are they ultimately pointless, or rather essential for social life? Can rituals themselves become specific places where meaning and belonging can emerge? Might they offer social skills to “make-oneself-at-home” (Bergmann) in a world of homelessness and displacement? Exploring questions like these demands an open and comprehensive mind-set. Rituals are sociocultural mediums that invoke the ordered relationships between human beings and non-immediate sources of power, authority and value. According to Bell, they enable people to embody assumptions about their place in a larger order of things. Ritualizations are those actions that transform a practice into a ritual. The older assumption that religion and ritual would decline with the process of modernisation has, as we know from many studies, not come true. Instead one can follow and analyse processes of ritualization in different social spheres. One can even wonder if the skill to ritualise repres... Tue, 05 Dec 2017 13:40:50 +0000 Sigurd Bergmann https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/could-ritual-spaces-encourage-collaboration-over-domination-auid-986 Christmas - the Orgy of Stuff https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/christmas-the-orgy-of-stuff-auid-1004 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-christmas-orgy-of-stuff.jpg" /><br />Pretty clearly, we really like our Christmas heavy on consumption, and light on religion. Let us call this Christmas tradition the Orgy of Stuff. It’s dark, it’s cold, and the wait will be long. The street outside the store is poorly lit, adding to the gloom. Some have brought sleeping bags and pillows, hoping to catch a few hours of sleep while they hold their place. And if the rain returns, they’ll get drenched. Still, there are hundreds of people in line, stretching around the block and out of sight. Why? Why would anyone endure such conditions? There are bargains to be had! In the retail world, the Christmas shopping season can make or break a company’s annual sales. And in the United States, Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday, can make or break a brick and mortar store’s Christmas season. So far, the 2017 Christmas shopping season looks promising. Total sales for the season are estimated to exceed $680 billion, up several percentage points over 2016’s total of a... Fri, 15 Dec 2017 15:23:29 +0000 Scott Lowe https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/christmas-the-orgy-of-stuff-auid-1004 Could the Force Really Be With Us? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/could-the-force-really-be-with-us-auid-1006 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-reyiainews.png" /><br />Highlights: Physics tells us precisely nothing about the nature of physical reality, wrote Eddington. The only thing we really know about the nature of matter is that some of it has consciousness. On this basis, Eddington argued that all of reality is infused with consciousness - a theory that is extremely close to the Jedi religion. How can we explain the ongoing mass appeal of Star Wars? Of course they are great action films, and of course the sci-fi elements of aliens, lightsabers and intergalactic travel spark our imagination. But what really distinguishes Star Wars from its rivals are its mythical themes. We have the perennial fight between good and evil, the saga of the David versus Goliath fight between the plucky rebels and the powerful evil empire. And most unusually for a sci-fi action film we have a prominent role for religion. Indeed, if our official records are to be believed, the mystical religion of the Jedi has moved from myth to reality: 390,127 people in England... Tue, 19 Dec 2017 13:39:27 +0000 Philip Goff https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/could-the-force-really-be-with-us-auid-1006 The Universal Basic Income: For the Sceptics https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-universal-basic-income-for-the-sceptics-auid-1076 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-lucas-favre-489526-unsplash.jpg" /><br />Contrary to popular belief, the case for basic income does not rest on the assumption that robots and artificial intelligence will bring about mass unemployment, nor that it would be a more efficient way of relieving poverty and reducing inequality (although it would). As set out in my recent book Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen, the arguments for wanting everyone in society to have a basic income are ethical rather than instrumental: a basic income would serve social justice, enhance individual and social freedom, and provide the basic security that people need to be healthy and functional. Predictably, the growing interest in basic income has been met by a host of objections, all of which can be and have been refuted. Nevertheless, they persist. The two main criticisms are that basic income is unaffordable and that it will make people lazy. Take affordability. This tends to be the immediate response – we cannot afford to give everyone a basic income. Often, this disguises... Thu, 03 May 2018 14:29:55 +0000 Guy Standing https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-universal-basic-income-for-the-sceptics-auid-1076 Could fake news create fake memories? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/could-fake-news-create-fake-memories-auid-1051 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-fake-news.jpg" /><br />My wife was recently telling some mutual friends an amusing anecdote about the time she was changing our then-baby son’s nappy in the toilet of a busy café, only for him to urinate all over the groin region of her trousers, meaning she had to return to the crowded eating area displaying a deeply suspicious stain. Big laughs all round. It is a very amusing story, in fairness. There’s just one slight problem with it; it never happened. Not to her, at least. It happened to me. I pointed this out, and she was genuinely shocked, and baffled as to how one of my memories could end up in her head. I suggested that it may be because she has many memories of hearing me tell that story multiple times over the years, and also has many memories of changing that specific baby in public places, so it wouldn’t require much effort for her brain to merge the two and create something effectively new. A ‘false memory’, if you like. You marry a neuroscientist, and this is the sort of thing that’ll happen. ... Mon, 26 Mar 2018 12:34:48 +0000 Dean Burnett https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/could-fake-news-create-fake-memories-auid-1051 Forgetting Plasticity: Catherine Malabou and the Brain Beyond Memory https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/forgetting-plasticity-catherine-malabou-and-the-brain-beyond-memory-auid-1053 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-exploding-brain-pic.jpg" /><br />Nowadays, we are nothing but our brains. Whereas we used to be composed of the intangible and unknowable secrets of mental or spiritual life, now we insist on the mechanistic materiality of the physical brain as the site of human being. This is the argument of Jan De Vos in his book Metamorphoses of the Brain, who describes the ongoing process of “neurologization” in which the brain has become the scientific and cultural obsession of our times. We celebrate the brain as the seat of humanity’s supposed intellectual superiority: a bio-chemical marvel of invention, imagination, and memory.  This celebration of the brain increasingly focuses on the discovery of (neuro)plasticity: the brain’s capacity to be “plastic” and mutable, to adapt and reform itself throughout life in response to experience or injury. In this way, it goes, our brains sculpt our identity – or do we sculpt out brain’s identity? – just as an artist sculpts a sculpture or other works of plastic art. Individual identity i... Thu, 29 Mar 2018 17:06:20 +0000 Benjamin Dalton https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/forgetting-plasticity-catherine-malabou-and-the-brain-beyond-memory-auid-1053 Do You Have to Kill to Be a Murderer? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/do-you-have-to-kill-to-be-a-murderer-auid-1085 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-mitchel-lensink-220106-unsplash.jpg" /><br />LaKeith Smith was 15 when, in February 2015, he and several friends burgled two homes in Millbrook, Alabama. When police arrived, some of Smith’s friends, including 16-year-old A’Donte Washington, engaged in gunfire with the police officers, and one of the officers shot and killed Washington. Now Smith has been charged and convicted of Washington’s murder even though Smith himself did not participate in the shootout (he did not even have a gun). In April 2018 a judge sentenced him to 30 years in prison for Washington’s death, plus an additional 35 years for two counts of theft and one count of burglary. The case is worrisome for a host of reasons. We might reasonably object to sentencing a person to 65 years in prison for crimes that occurred when he was 15 years old. We might also object that the 35-year prison term for the burglaries themselves is a disproportionately harsh sentence. And we might worry about the role played by plea deals in this case. Smith went to trial after refusi... Mon, 14 May 2018 10:44:16 +0000 Zachary Hoskins https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/do-you-have-to-kill-to-be-a-murderer-auid-1085 Why Schools Must Give Up the Myth of Success https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-schools-must-give-up-the-myth-of-success-auid-1032 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-school-and-failure.jpg" /><br /> We need to inject a little more humility into education. In a culture of ‘stretch’ and ‘striving’ where everyone has to be all they can be, this may seem sacrilegious, even if grand utopic visions have a tendency to leave things in a mess for the ordinary folks caught up in their wake. Samuel Beckett worked hard to rid us of the remnants of delusions, illusions, utopias, salvation narratives or ideals that give false comfort to a human life. His works articulate an ethical position that, rather than taking refuge in speculation about how the world ought to be, help human beings to respond courageously to how things are – ‘how it is’. “If humanity learns to forgo personal ambition and think in terms of cooperation, compassion and companionship, it will be happier” – this is what publisher John Calder said is the message of Samuel Beckett’s work.  Whether or not Calder is correct in his analysis, it serves as an interesting provocation to those of us working and participating in systems... Mon, 05 Feb 2018 12:24:06 +0000 Aislinn O'Donnell https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-schools-must-give-up-the-myth-of-success-auid-1032 Sex with Sartre https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/sex-with-sartre-auid-1034 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-sartre.jpg" /><br />Sartre famously said that he liked to masturbate women but did not think much of the sexual act. This was because, according to Simone de Beauvoir (his companion for many years, including intellectual companion), he could never let himself go and become incarnated in his body; he had to remain in control in his head. He wanted to remain active and could not stand being passive. Not to mention the fact that he infamously describes in Being and Nothingness the female sex organ as a ‘voracious mouth which devours the penis and brings about the idea of castration: the sexual act is castration of a man but, above all, the female sex organ is a hole’. In a letter to Beauvoir, Sartre admits that he does not know how to be sensual. According to the author of The Second Sex, sex with Sartre could be exhausting, waiting for him to climax. In a little-known text on courtly love, Sartre writes that entering into love is a form of death, explaining that when giving or being robbed of one’s empirica... Mon, 05 Feb 2018 14:16:54 +0000 Jean-Pierre Boulé https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/sex-with-sartre-auid-1034 How To Escape The Dangers of Overthinking https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/how-to-escape-the-dangers-of-overthinking-auid-1068 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-dangers-of-overthinking.jpg" /><br />&quot;Thinking hurts&quot; — this is how the German philosopher Georg Simmel is said to have consoled his students. The Jewish philosopher Martin Buber (1878-1965) would give this ironic remark of his teacher an ethical twist by noting that &quot;thinking&quot; can also hurt others. For in our encounter with our fellow human beings we often tend to allow established categories of thought to determine how we relate and perceive them. In doing so, Buber held, they in effect become objects of thought, an &quot;It&quot;, rather than indivuals whose existential reality is impervious to the markers that thought constructs. To be sure, these markers — concepts and categories — may be intrinsically benign and essential to navigating the multiple by-ways of life. We need them to recognise others and position them in the sociological landscape of everyday life: the other may be a physician, an electrician, a priest, a rabbi; elderly, young, tall, slim. But these markers, as indispensable as they may be, cannot comprehend tha... Mon, 16 Apr 2018 17:29:54 +0000 Paul Mendes-Flohr https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/how-to-escape-the-dangers-of-overthinking-auid-1068 Chasing Intensity: The Philosophy of Martial Arts https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/chasing-intensity-the-philosophy-of-martial-arts-auid-1069 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-chasing-intensity.jpg" /><br />It is impossible to be brief in Asian martial arts. To begin training these arts is to commit to a gradual process of remaking yourself, body and soul.   Martial arts today are not about self-defense on the streets. The world is not so dangerous for the 99 percent of the middle-class Western people who fill the training studios. Also, a lot of what we diligently train is of limited use against typical urban threats. Some evenings, for instance, see my colleagues and I chasing each other with four-foot bamboo swords.   The threats we are most likely to encounter on our urban streets involve a handgun or a knife. Self-defense against handguns is very advanced. One might train in Asian martial arts for years without learning it. But the worst-case scenario in self-defense is knife crime. The disarming techniques against knife attacks all carry a dangerous amount of risk.   So there is a big gap between what Asian martial arts concentrate on and practical training in self-defense. Contempo... Thu, 19 Apr 2018 15:30:51 +0000 Barry Allen https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/chasing-intensity-the-philosophy-of-martial-arts-auid-1069 Cosmopolitanism and the Mixed Blessings of the Windrush Scandal: An Interview with Kwame Anthony Appiah https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/kwame-anthony-appiah-cosmopolitanism-and-the-mixed-blessings-of-the-windrush-scandal-auid-1070 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-kwame-portrait-2.jpg" /><br />‘Mother-of-five Windrush kid in UK for 50 YEARS branded illegal immigrant’, ‘Brits born in Caribbean are fired, denied NHS care and could be deported’, read the headlines in The Sun newspaper. The political crisis over the deportations of people who came to the UK between 1948 and 1971 from the Caribbean has changed the discourse on immigration in the UK. Is the British identity being redefined, as a result? We asked leading theorist of cosmopolitanism Kwame Anthony Appiah ahead of his appearance at the HowTheLightGetsIn Festival in May 2018, to comment on the case. Raised by a Ghanaian father and an English mother in the UK, and now living in the US, where he is professor of philosophy and law at New York University, Appiah discusses how public attitudes to race and national identity have transformed over his and his father’s lives, and whether cosmopolitanism can be a solution for all. —Paula Erizanu PE: What were your first thoughts when you read about the Windrush crisis? KAA: I s... Mon, 23 Apr 2018 10:57:54 +0000 Kwame Anthony Appiah https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/kwame-anthony-appiah-cosmopolitanism-and-the-mixed-blessings-of-the-windrush-scandal-auid-1070 Stupidity Is Part of Human Nature https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-stupidity-is-part-of-human-nature-auid-1072 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-stupid.png" /><br />“There is more to be said for stupidity than people imagine. Personally I have great admiration for stupidity” – the sentiment behind Oscar Wilde’s bonmot is strangely fashionable these days. For a good reason. The music we are listening to influences our opinion of the wine we drink, the weight of the spoon influences how creamy we find the yoghurt and our moral assessment of strangers depends on what movie we have just watched. I call this paradigm of empirical findings the ‘We’re All Stupid’ paradigm. Scientists and academics in general are in the business of giving rational and logical explanations. So they may feel threatened by this deluge of evidence of our irrationality. And they do. But the standard response is that while the reasoning abilities of the hoi poloi may be subject to these biases, scientists, and experts in general, are safe: the ‘We’re All Stupid’ paradigm becomes the ‘They’re All Stupid’ paradigm. A somewhat elitist move, no doubt, but it is also factually incor... Wed, 25 Apr 2018 17:29:59 +0000 Bence Nanay https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/why-stupidity-is-part-of-human-nature-auid-1072 What Michelangelo’s David Can Teach Us About Radical Politics https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-michelangelos-david-can-teach-us-about-radical-politics-auid-1016 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-David-radicalism.jpg" /><br />A well-known May 1968 slogan reads: &quot;Be realistic, demand the impossible!&quot; Is that just an affected Parisian provocation, or does it contain a useful insight? Suppose you've every reason to believe that your political dreams are unachievable. Your ideals yield prescriptions--things we ought to try to bring about--that just won't happen. Not now, not anytime in the foreseeable future. Or maybe your ideals don't even lead to prescriptions: perhaps all they tell you is that the status quo is rotten and ought to be replaced by something else, though you don't know what. But the question is, as they say, academic, since the revolution isn't happening anyway. If that's what your political ideals tell you, what should you do about it? And does thinking in that way make you a political failure? To avoid answering the latter question in the affirmative, most philosophers would answer the former in one out of two ways. The first answer is to say that, well, you should revise your ideals, for the... Fri, 12 Jan 2018 13:39:16 +0000 Enzo Rossi https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-michelangelos-david-can-teach-us-about-radical-politics-auid-1016 Are We Doomed to Fail? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/predestined-to-fail-auid-1015 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-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 What if the One Isn't the One? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/dances-with-norms-auid-1011 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-ardian-lumi-dances-with-norms.jpg" /><br />“Received wisdom” is a kind of cultural white noise: it comes at us all the time, and we mostly tune it out. It comes at us from TV, radio, Twitter, news, fake news, family, friends, fake friends, colleagues. A continuous feed of messages we’ve heard so often we don’t even hear them any more. Left unchallenged, they become foundation notes for our lives. The effects of this can be incredibly intimate. These days, I only wear underwear from the company that advertises on all my favourite podcasts. Our closest relationships are at least as intimate as our underwear, and they can be influenced in the same way. I work on isolating and questioning implicit signals about love and romance buried in the white noise. Let’s tune in for a moment and make a few of these messages explicit. First message: love (especially romantic love) is the best thing there is. Second message: it’s something money can’t buy. Third message: it’s what a truly good person wants out of life (as opposed to wealth, pow... Tue, 02 Jan 2018 10:28:31 +0000 Carrie Jenkins https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/dances-with-norms-auid-1011 Lost Ceremonies https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/lost-ceremonies-auid-983 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-quincianera-alison-millbank.jpg" /><br />Ours is a culture that has lost the ritual dimension to life and is suspicious of any ceremonial element to behaviour. By contrast, while visiting a church in Puebla, Mexico, I was privileged to see a fiesta de quinceañera, in which a young girl celebrated with enormous excitement her achievement of womanhood after puberty. Wearing a tiara and a lovely long dress, she was greeted as an adult for the first time by the congregation, and then departed for a celebration with her family and friends. Such rites of passage can easily become commercialised, but the principle is something we desperately need in Britain. Our culture is lacking in communal rituals in which we discover our roles and responsibilities, our value and dignity: literally our place in the world. Yet we cannot accept such rites because they counter the individualism of our conception of what it is to be human. Any group identity is now regarded as a denial of selfhood, and a rite of passage assumes you move from one stag... Tue, 05 Dec 2017 12:37:29 +0000 Alison Milbank https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/lost-ceremonies-auid-983 Issue 60: Authenticity, Reality and Being https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/issue-60-authenticity-reality-and-being-auid-923 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-editorial-image-1-jpeg.jpg" /><br />Co-opted by brands and corporations, has authenticity become an empty fantasy? Where can you find the ‘real you’? How can we have authentic relationships in a world of inequality? Does authenticity mean the same thing for everyone?  We have long been obsessed with the authentic. 50 years after the Existentialists expounded the dangers of bad faith, self-help entreaties to ‘be true to yourself’ join a torrent of brands proclaiming themselves the ‘real deal’. Yet living authentically is far from simple. As Sartre said, “If you seek authenticity for authenticity’s sake you are no longer authentic. What does it mean to ‘be oneself’? Does authenticity promise fulfilment? And in a world where #nofilter selfies are posted for likes and plain-speaking politicians trade re-tweets for votes, is being ‘real’ a sham? In this issue of IAI News, we tackle authenticity. Our contributors examine this contested concept, investigating its role in philosophy, politics and popular culture. They ask wheth... Tue, 07 Nov 2017 10:15:35 +0000 Editor https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/issue-60-authenticity-reality-and-being-auid-923 10 Soviet Philosophers You Should Know https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/ten-soviet-philosophers-you-should-know-auid-915 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-CominternIV.jpg" /><br />Given the radical ideological change that the November 1917 Russian Revolution brought, it's peculiar how little we speak about Soviet philosophers. One obvious explanation is that the government used philosophy to reinforce its ideology rather than allowing it to be a space for critical thinking and open debate. Fearful of giving philosophers too much autonomy, Soviet institutions not only exiled rebels but eventually marginalized even its main ideologues. Despite all these challenges, at least ten thinkers are worth our attention. There is one thing they all share - an interdisciplinary approach to their subjects. None of the thinkers below solely pursued philosophy – perhaps a happy by-product of the Soviet interference in academia. ___  “We have been nodding for so long that today we should learn anew how to distinguish life from death, reality from dream […] Diminished, in the Soviet way and without any energy, we lost the ability to understand politics […] The unreality of things... Thu, 02 Nov 2017 15:32:38 +0000 Paula Erizanu https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/ten-soviet-philosophers-you-should-know-auid-915 The Being of Replicants https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-being-of-replicants-auid-911 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-replicantbeing2.png" /><br />It’s a common observation that Blade Runner inspires us to reflect on what it means to be human. The principal cause for such reflection is, of course, the cast of replicants – the bioengineered humanoid creatures originally produced by the Tyrell Corporation to work on off-world colonies. As the opening, scene-setting text famously informs us, following a bloody off-world mutiny by a group of Nexus 6 replicants, the creatures are declared illegal on Earth and are hunted down and terminated (‘retired’) by special police units known as blade runners. Against this backdrop, the replicants repeatedly engage our thoughts and emotions by blurring the distinction between the human and the non-human. Confronted by an event such as Rachael’s distressed reaction when Deckard exposes the truth about her ‘memories’ or Roy Batty’s poetic dying speech, we ask ourselves one of those stubborn and demanding existential questions: ‘what does it mean to be human?’. Unsurprisingly, this is a question tha... Mon, 23 Oct 2017 16:47:15 +0000 Michael Wheeler https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-being-of-replicants-auid-911 Beyond Dark Matter https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/beyond-dark-matter-auid-902 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Marcel-Pawlowski-image-1.jpg" /><br />In deep underground laboratories, buried below rock and shielded from cosmic radiation, physicists have build extremely sensitive detectors aimed at solving one of the Universe’s greatest mysteries. They are awaiting signals of a new kind of particle, promised to them by cosmologists and astrophysicists: Dark Matter. The highly elusive particle is thought to dominate the mass budget of our galaxy and of the Universe as such. There should be about six times more Dark Matter than ordinary, “baryonic” matter (which includes everything from interstellar gas clouds, stars, and planets, to the screen you are reading this on, and you yourself). Dark Matter has not yet been directly detected, despite numerous experiments, their painstaking efforts to reduce background signals, and thus ever increasing sensitivity. Many researchers nevertheless remain confident that a detection is within reach. Yet some worry: what if we are chasing a phantom? What if Dark Matter does not exist? There are sever... Mon, 02 Oct 2017 11:50:36 +0000 Marcel Pawlowski https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/beyond-dark-matter-auid-902 Gravity and the Dark Side of Science https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/gravity-and-the-dark-side-of-science-auid-901 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Valia-Allori-image-1.jpg" /><br />If anti-gravity existed, the book that explains it would be impossible to put down. Unfortunately, anti-gravity does not exist. Or does it? It is not a settled question, and there is a sense in which it will never be. Nonetheless, that does not matter much. How can that be? Keep reading! There are two ingredients at play in this: theory and evidence. And their connection is more complicated than one may initially think. Let me start with theory. Gravity is responsible for stuff falling on the ground, as well as for planets moving in the sky. Scientific theories have been proposed to account for these phenomena: Newton’s theory of gravity first and Einstein’s general relativity later. Newton’s gravity is a force that acts instantaneously to pull bodies closer in virtue of their mass. In other words two massive bodies, no matter how distant, feel each other’s presence instantly and tend to get together. Here now comes evidence. Newton’s theory has been very successful. The theory predict... Mon, 02 Oct 2017 11:45:17 +0000 Valia Allori https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/gravity-and-the-dark-side-of-science-auid-901 The Riddle of Gravity https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-riddle-of-gravity-auid-900 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-don-howard.jpg" /><br /> Gravity is weird. On the one hand, gravity is a good thing, because it keeps me from floating away into space and makes possible my building stable shelters from the storm. On the other hand, gravity is a major cause of natural evil, as when buildings collapse during earthquakes or people fall through cracks in the ice and drown. The quirky American businessman, Roger Babson, was so alarmed by the evil consequences of gravity that in 1948 he founded the Gravity Research Foundation in New Boston, New Hampshire with the explicit aim of understanding gravity so as to defeat it. So how does gravity work? What keeps my feet planted firmly on the ground but then sends me tumbling painfully to the earth when I trip over a rock? Aristotle on Free Fall In the fourth century, BCE, Aristotle thought that he had the answer. He taught that every element had a natural place in the universe and a corresponding natural tendency to seek that place. The natural place of the element earth was a sphere a... Mon, 02 Oct 2017 11:35:54 +0000 Don Howard https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-riddle-of-gravity-auid-900 Gravity: The Popper Problem https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/gravity-the-popper-problem-auid-899 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-David-Merritt-edited-image-1.jpg" /><br />The universe is expanding, and Einstein’s theory of gravity makes a definite prediction about how the expansion rate should change over time: it should decrease, since the gravitational attraction between all the matter in the universe continually opposes the expansion. The first time this prediction was observationally tested, around 1998, it was found to be spectacularly in error. The expansion of the universe is accelerating, not decelerating, and the acceleration has been going on for about six billion years. How did cosmologists respond to this anomaly? If they adhered to the ideas of philosopher Karl Popper, they would have said: “Our theory of gravity has been conclusively disproved by the observations; therefore we will throw our theory out and start afresh.” In fact, they did something very different: they postulated the existence of a new, universe-filling substance which they called “dark energy”, and endowed dark energy with whatever properties were needed to reconcile the ... Mon, 02 Oct 2017 11:20:26 +0000 David Merritt https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/gravity-the-popper-problem-auid-899 The Memory Monopoly https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-memory-monopoly-auid-879 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Yasser-digital-memories-image-3.jpg" /><br />The internet does not forget but we people do. And we do it quicker than ever. Are the Internet and information bombardment of social media responsible for our shortening attention spans? Or does the ever-lasting memory provided by the Internet enable us to recall past events perpetually? Does social media decide what to bring to our attention and what to quietly hide behind the flood of information? “Yes and no” is probably the right answer to all these questions. There has been little research on these topics so far, but the existing research suggests that depending on the conditions, the design of the platform, the level of engagement of the users, and other parameters, online tools could have a great influence on the way we distribute our attention and rather limited memory between the competing items in the attention market. __   &quot;We do not exactly know who the gate-keepers of our attention are, but whoever they are, they could manoeuvre the whole flow of attention at the societal... Mon, 04 Sep 2017 13:45:47 +0000 Taha Yasseri https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-memory-monopoly-auid-879 Is Space-Time Fluid? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/is-space-time-fluid-auid-897 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Sabine-Hossenfelder-edited-image-1.jpg" /><br />Physicists have gathered evidence that space-time can behave like a fluid. Mathematical evidence, that is, but still evidence. If this relation isn’t a coincidence, then space-time – like a fluid – may have a substructure. We shouldn’t speak of space and time as if the two were distant cousins. We have known at least since Einstein that space and time are inseparable, two hemispheres of the same cosmic brain, joined to a single entity: space-time. Einstein also taught us that space-time isn’t flat, like paper, but bent and wiggly, like a rubber sheet. Space-time curves around mass and energy and this gives rise to the effect we call gravity. That’s what Einstein said. But turns out if you write down the equations for small wiggles in a medium – such as soundwaves in a fluid – then the equations look exactly like those of waves in a curved background. Yes, that’s right. Sometimes, waves in fluids behave like waves in a curved space-time; they behave like waves in a gravitational field. ... Mon, 02 Oct 2017 10:50:18 +0000 Sabine Hossenfelder https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/is-space-time-fluid-auid-897 Gravity: The Story So Far https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/gravity-the-story-so-far-auid-896 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-george-ellis-new.jpg" /><br />The basic issue Gravity holds us to the Earth and makes apples drop to the ground when they fall off a tree. It controls how the Moon moves round the Earth and how the Moon causes tides on Earth. It controls how the Earth moves round the Sun and how the Sun moves round the Galaxy. But it’s not a force. That was Einstein’s great discovery. How can we say that? Well because you can, at least for a while, simply make it vanish! How do you do that? Just let go! In other words, jump off a building, and you’ll feel no gravity as you fall down (hitting the Earth does not count as falling down). More gently, join a freely orbiting space station crew, and you’ll find life difficult because there will be no felt gravity to hold you down on your seat or to hold your coffee in a cup. In short, what appears to be a gravitational force actually depends, locally at least, on how you are moving. You can make it go away by allowing yourself to fall freely. The reason why The reason this is true is beca... Mon, 02 Oct 2017 10:44:00 +0000 George Ellis https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/gravity-the-story-so-far-auid-896 Is Facebook Making Us Less Free? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-big-brotherhood-of-digital-giants-is-taking-away-our-freedom-auid-884 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-facebook-3198088-1920.jpg" /><br />Imagine the position of women in relation to their men in a society where husbands have legal power over their wives: the power, for example, to determine where they may appear in public, who they may associate with, what church they may attend, and so on. And now imagine a woman whose husband dotes on her, as Torvald dotes on Nora in Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House, giving her carte blanche: allowing her, in effect, to act as she wills within the range, intuitively, of personal liberty. Does Nora free enjoy freedom of choice in that domain, thanks to Torvald’s indulgence? Surely not. Nora can act as she wishes in that range of choice, it is true. But she can only act as she wishes because Torvald is willing to let her act as she wishes. She depends on his will for being able to act as she wills, so that it is his will that is ultimately in charge. Like a horse that is given its head, to invoke an old metaphor, she may enjoy free rein. But it is Torvald who is in the saddle, able to pull ... Wed, 13 Sep 2017 12:07:41 +0000 Philip Pettit https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-big-brotherhood-of-digital-giants-is-taking-away-our-freedom-auid-884 Virtual Monopolies and The Workers' Voice https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/virtual-monopolies-and-the-workers-voice-auid-881 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-online-work-image-1.jpg" /><br />In 2017, over half of the world’s population will have joined the Internet. Many of these three and a half billion connected people will look to so-called ‘online labour platforms’, such as Freelancer.com and Fiverr, for work. These platforms allow workers to escape some of the constraints of their local labour markets and find work that they might not otherwise have been able to obtain. This same ability for clients – potentially located anywhere in the world- to access labour power – also potentially located anywhere – has created a $5 billion market for online work that is served by 48 million workers. In the UK 11% of the labour force earn income from what has become known as the gig economy and 3% do so regularly. Online labour platforms connect individual workers with clients to carry out a wide range of contingent digital projects ranging from data entry to software programming. The Online Labour Index measures the utilisation of online labour platforms and suggests that their u... Mon, 04 Sep 2017 13:57:15 +0000 Alex J. Wood https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/virtual-monopolies-and-the-workers-voice-auid-881 Shadow of the Golem in Silicon Valley https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/shadow-of-the-golem-myths-in-silicon-valleyauid-880-auid-880 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-mosco-myth-and-sublime-image-2-edited.png" /><br />We make myths whenever we make technology. To assert that the telegraph would bring world peace, that the telephone would speed gender equality, that radio would end war, and if not radio, then television, was to make a myth of communication technology. Today, myths about technology anchor sublime visions contained in the promise of using digital systems to extend life, even achieve immortality, in what mythmakers call the Singularity, the merging of humans and machines. Inspired especially by the Internet of Things, another mythology is taking hold: the ability to make things come alive. They are both key myths propelling the Next Internet and masking the significant social problems facing citizens in the digital world. The concept of the Singularity has been around in one form or another since the 1950s when the polymath John van Neumann used the term to describe a process whereby machines equipped with artificial intelligence enter an accelerated learning phase to produce a superint... Mon, 04 Sep 2017 13:52:21 +0000 Vincent Mosco https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/shadow-of-the-golem-myths-in-silicon-valleyauid-880-auid-880 The Battle for the Real You https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-battle-for-the-real-you-auid-917 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-varga-image-2.jpg" /><br />The glorification of the “real” in Western societies is reaching new heights. Or perhaps new lows, I should say. Craving the “real” to satiate ourselves, we eagerly embark on the quest to find our “real” and “authentic” self, without giving much thought to the cost. After all, even in the midst of the haunting fear of failing in any of our social roles, one of our greatest fears is—as Richard Rorty has accurately pointed out—the horror of finding oneself “to be only a copy or a replica.”[1] But what kind of a promise does the idea of authenticity hold that makes it so desirable? Well, the strongly simplified answer is that it holds a promise to provide an “inner bastion”—a sanctuary offering a strong sense of self and purpose in a rapidly changing environment. But several critics have argued this is an illusion and self-defeating. The philosopher Theodor W. Adorno warned that the “liturgy of inwardness” is an empty substitute for lost ethical values, and it relies on a crude picture of... Mon, 06 Nov 2017 17:40:18 +0000 Somogy Varga https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-battle-for-the-real-you-auid-917 On Being A Stoic At Christmas https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/how-to-be-a-stoic-at-christmas-auid-1010 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-christmas-tree.jpg" /><br />The question is whether Stoics are all Scrooges. At least inwardly, since they have been represented as lacking a rich emotional life. (That is flatly false, by the way, but a topic for another time.)  Christmas is an extended festival of joyful hope, gift-giving, concern for each other's welfare, and special concern and care for children, the sick, the poor, the old, and those who are overburdened. It is organized around the retelling of an event of great emotional potency and complexity for believers – the birth of a child whose existence is directly intended by God, in circumstances which are impoverished and dangerous, and who is destined to be executed as a common criminal, only to be resurrected and become the Savior to all those – and only those – who believe in him. The festival is typically organized in a way that emphasizes the joy at the sight of a healthy mother and her newborn, dresses up the impoverished physical circumstances with shepherds and wise men arriving with gif... Fri, 22 Dec 2017 17:47:15 +0000 Lawrence C. Becker https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/how-to-be-a-stoic-at-christmas-auid-1010 Trump: The Post-Modern Nightmare https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/trump-the-post-modern-nightmare-auid-784 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Milbank-2-New.JPG" /><br />A student in my seminar this week asked his classmates to decide whether Gandhi or Donald Trump more closely embodied Nietzsche’s celebrated superman. Unsurprisingly, they plumped for Trump, as the one who made his own values, compelling others to interpret the world in his terms. He is certainly untainted by asceticism or Christian meekness. It is one of the ironies of the present time that the liberal intelligentsia, which has so embraced Nietzsche’s idea that there is no objective truth or reason, is now faced with their dark doppelgänger in Trump and his alternative facts. Arguments about bias, which had formerly been used as critiques of patriarchal or colonial ideas of truth, are now employed by a cheerful misogynist who would like to rid the United States of undesirable immigrants. How are we to respond? Does the Trump phenomenon reveal a need to return to utopian Enlightenment ideals? Ideals with rationality as the common currency of a universal Oxbridge high table in the sky? ... Mon, 27 Feb 2017 15:48:11 +0000 Alison Milbank https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/trump-the-post-modern-nightmare-auid-784 A.I. and the Medicine of the Future https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/a-i-and-the-medicine-of-the-future-auid-970 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-parashkev-edited-and-cropped-JPEG.jpg" /><br />Every generation needs an object of revolutionary fervour. For medicine at the end of the last century, it was the idea that all treatment should be founded on evidence. The revolutionaries demanded data behind each and every medical decision; the reactionaries argued that the void of data is precisely what a doctor’s expertise is supposed to fill. Those of us then only just entering the field simply wondered on what, if not evidence, medicine could have been based all this time. As so often happens in the world of ideas, each side was wrong on a cardinal point they both agreed on. The error is not easy to see, so let’s proceed step-by-step. The subject of medicine is the individual patient, its task to determine what to do in his or her specific case. Such judgment must naturally be drawn from the study of other patients, and so depends on how knowledge of individuals is distilled from knowledge of populations. This has traditionally been done with little formality, more often than no... Tue, 14 Nov 2017 12:18:16 +0000 Parashkev Nachev https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/a-i-and-the-medicine-of-the-future-auid-970 Should I kill myself or have a cup of coffee? The Stoics and Existentialists agree on the answer https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/should-i-kill-myself-or-have-a-cup-of-coffee-the-stoics-and-existentialists-agree-on-the-answer-auid-924 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-camusmassimoskye.png" /><br />When every day many of us wake up to read about fresh horrors on our fresh horrors device, we might find ourselves contemplating the question as to whether, as Albert Camus supposedly put it, one should kill oneself or have a cup of coffee. If there is any philosopher who is famous for contemplating suicide, it’s Camus who, in a more serious tone, proposed that, “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.”[1] The existentialists and Stoics are notorious for being at loggerheads on many issues. Yet Simone de Beauvoir, who was much less famous for her views on suicide than Camus, gives an example that shows the existential answer isn’t so far removed from the Stoic one – a fascinating case of philosophical convergence, two millennia apart. In 1954, Beauvoir was awarded France’s most prestigious literary prize for her book The Mandarins, in which the main character Anne contemplates suicide. When once she saw the world as vast and inexhaustible, she now look... Wed, 08 Nov 2017 15:04:38 +0000 Skye C. Cleary https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/should-i-kill-myself-or-have-a-cup-of-coffee-the-stoics-and-existentialists-agree-on-the-answer-auid-924 The Big Money and Digital Masterminds https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/dirty-money-and-digital-masterminds-auid-877 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Allen-image-1.jpg" /><br />Does digital technology have an inequality problem? Based on recent news coverage, you’d certainly think so. One common theme is robots and AI (Artificial Intelligence) taking over jobs, particularly less skilled jobs, threatening to increase the wage inequality that has been rising in the developed world since the 1970s and 80s. Uber is working furiously to replace their drivers with autonomous vehicles. Amazon appears to be swallowing retail sector after retail sector. A now infamous Oxford University study estimated that 47% of all US jobs are at risk to be automated over the next 20 years. Another common theme is stories of gender and ethnic inequality in technology. Women and ethnic minorities are already seriously under-represented in technology industries. Media accounts of tech culture range from unsupportive, to openly hostile (see stories of Uber’s Las Vegas escapades for an eye-opening example). Technology seems to be uniquely resistant to this type of equality. Since 1980, ... Mon, 04 Sep 2017 13:14:04 +0000 Jonathan P. Allen https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/dirty-money-and-digital-masterminds-auid-877 The Paradox of Authenticity https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-paradox-of-authenticity-auid-922 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-ferreraredux.png" /><br />Never in history has authenticity loomed so large within so many influential practices affecting countless people and yet been sneered at, literally or metaphorically, by so many pundits of deconstructionism, postcolonial and cultural studies and other trendy philosophical schools. There are two sides to this paradoxical predicament. Let's look at the first side. Authenticity – the exemplary, disinterested alignment of the subject's inner states and outer conduct or, in Bernard Williams' phrase, “the idea that some things are in some real sense really you, or express what you are, and others aren't”[1] – between 1760 and 1960 played a pre-romantic, romantic, lebensphilosophisch and finally existentialist second fiddle to the mainstream notion of “autonomy”. Born as an antagonistic ideal of total truthfulness, critical of received social scripts, authenticity seems now co-opted and enervated by powerful economic forces: by the late 20th century it climbed to an unequalled popularity in ... Mon, 06 Nov 2017 18:04:53 +0000 Alessandro Ferrara https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-paradox-of-authenticity-auid-922 Authenticity and Modernity https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/authenticity-and-modernity-auid-921 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-bowieredux.png" /><br />In Sincerity and Authenticity (1972) liberal critic Lionel Trilling distinguished between two particular ways of being in the modern world. Being ‘sincere’ (from Latin sincerus, of things, ‘whole, clean, pure, uninjured, unmixed’), ‘true to oneself’ by not ‘dissembling’, becomes an ideal during the early emergence of bourgeois individualism. Its new significance coincides with the increase in social mobility, mobility which also offered more chances for pretending to be what one wasn’t. Shakespeare’s plays often deal with this issue. However, being true to oneself by not pretending to be other than one’s social role dictates subsequently often comes to be seen as merely a kind of conformism that precisely lacks ‘authenticity’. This demands doing things on one’s own authority, which can be seen in terms of being ‘author of oneself’. Diderot’s Rameau’s Nephew (1761), a dialogue with an eccentric man who is able to play character roles at will but who cannot stably adhere to any role for ... Mon, 06 Nov 2017 18:00:39 +0000 Andrew Bowie https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/authenticity-and-modernity-auid-921 Authenticity, Alienation and Privilege https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/authenticity-alienation-and-privilege-auid-920 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-rossiredux.png" /><br />Picture a bunch of relatively impecunious PhD students, in an effortlessly mangy pub, in a Scottish fishing village. A fellow apprentice philosopher, American, puffs at her cigarette and coughs out some angst: “So I guess this grad school thing isn’t working out for me. No jobs, no nothing. I’m going back to California and, like, get a cushy job with my family’s real estate company.” Me, inadequately: “Mmm-hmm.” Her: “Y’know, imagine me at a party, telling someone I’m a realtor. People are gonna run a mile. And I’m gonna be bored out of my mind.” “In a sense”, I reply, “You might be right.” Was she? It seems to me there are two things going on in our friend’s lamentation. First, the worry about becoming a centrifugal force for fellow partiers. I’m going to suggest that’s about authenticity, or lack thereof. Second, the worry about bottomless tedium. Arguably that’s about alienation. Let’s take the two issues in turn, and then see how they may relate to each other. Authenticity: the rou... Mon, 06 Nov 2017 17:54:40 +0000 Enzo Rossi https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/authenticity-alienation-and-privilege-auid-920 Sincerity and Superstars https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/sincerity-and-superstars-auid-919 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-bicknellredux.png" /><br />In February 2016 when Beyoncé dropped “Formation” the first single from her album Lemonade, nearly all of the critics agreed on two things: the song and video were a critical success, and the lyrics and images were deeply personal. Discussing the song in the New York Times, Jenna Wortham wrote that Beyoncé, “wants us to know — more than ever — that she’s still grounded, she’s paying attention and still a little hood.” And compared to her previous album, Lemonade feels like, “a rebuttal or perhaps an addendum to her thesis statement about who she is and what she stands for, but on her own terms of course.” Did Beyoncé protest these assumptions? Did she try to introduce some distance between her inner life and her music? Hardly. In a gesture she surely knew would not remain private, she sent Wortham flowers and a note that read in part, “Thanks for understanding my heart.” That critics and fans alike make connections between a singer’s repertoire and her personal life – and that performe... Mon, 06 Nov 2017 17:50:23 +0000 Jeanette Bicknell https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/sincerity-and-superstars-auid-919 What is authentic love? A View from Simone de Beauvoir https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-is-authentic-love-a-view-from-simone-de-beauvoir-auid-918 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Kate-Kirkpatrick-Authentic-Love.png" /><br />Simone de Beauvoir spent more time talking about inauthentic love than authentic. But that is because she thought authentic love is so hard to achieve. From the vantage point of 2017, aspects of Beauvoir’s view of authentic love look rather dated and pessimistic: for one thing, it presents men and women in binary terms that are unlikely to resound with many readers. Today’s women have greater access to education and employment than women did in 1949, and may be less likely to see love as life, as Beauvoir charged, instead of a part of life. Although structural inequality persists, relationships between men and women – or men and men, or women and women, etc. – theoretically have better chances of proceeding on an equal footing. But nevertheless many cultural portrayals of love (from Puccini to pop) continue to depict it as a game between unequals – as conquest or domination, seduction or entrapment – where the boundaries are drawn along distinctly gendered lines. Such dynamics, on Beau... Mon, 06 Nov 2017 17:46:36 +0000 Kate Kirkpatrick https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-is-authentic-love-a-view-from-simone-de-beauvoir-auid-918 When the Winner Takes All https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/when-the-winner-takes-all-in-favour-of-digital-monopolies-auid-873 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Deirdre-image-3-edited.png" /><br />The premise of the discussion here is wrong, which is, after all, a common problem with discussions of public policy.  “Trade is zero sum.”  Wrong.  “People do not respond to incentives.”  Wrong.  “Socialism had nothing to do with the collapse of the Venezuelan economy.”  Wrong.  Or in the present case, “When a company such as Facebook or Google has suddenly grown, it must be a dangerous monopoly and needs to be regulated by wise heads in Whitehall.”  Wrong. Sure, in the short run we are all terrified that the big shoe company will sell us only its own shoes, or that Cadbury under Kraft will change the formula for Whole Nut, or that in other ways “the corporations” such as Google will upset our lives.  There are two things wrong with such a premise.  For one thing, it is not at all obvious, in the case of the computer giants no less than in the case of New Balance or Cadbury, that the government can do better.  Suppose the Monopolies Commission or the Anti-Trust Division of the Departm... Mon, 04 Sep 2017 12:47:39 +0000 Deirdre McCloskey https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/when-the-winner-takes-all-in-favour-of-digital-monopolies-auid-873 How to Read a Mind https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/how-to-read-a-mind-auid-852 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-How-To-Read-a-Mind-Keith-Frankish.jpg" /><br />In Julian Barnes’s novel Staring at the Sun, teenage Jean Serjeant is struck by the firmness of her parents’ moral views. Their opinions seem to her like ‘honking frogs’ compared with her own ‘twitching, vulnerable tadpoles’. How can people be so sure of what they think, Jean wonders: ‘How could you know your own mind without using your mind to discover your mind in the first place?’ It seems almost circular, putting Jean in mind of ‘a dog circling in pursuit of its own cropped tail’.[1] Jean’s questions provoke further questions. How do we discover what we think? If we must use our minds to discover our minds, then can we make mistakes about them? Can you be wrong about what you think, just as you can be wrong about what somebody else thinks? I express liberal views on most political and social issues, but can I be sure I really believe the things I say? Perhaps I just say them to fit in and get my friends’ approval? The suggestion that we might make mistakes about our own minds runs ... Mon, 31 Jul 2017 09:55:11 +0000 Keith Frankish https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/how-to-read-a-mind-auid-852 Trust, Technology and The Young https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/trust-technology-and-the-young-auid-878 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Davies-children-online-image-1.jpeg" /><br />Two concepts have recently emerged that invite us to rethink the relationship between children and digital technology: the datafied child (Lupton &amp; Williamson, 2017) and children’s digital rights (Livingstone &amp; Third, 2017).  The datafied child highlights the amount of data that is being harvested about children during their daily lives and the children’s rights agenda includes a response to ethical and legal challenges the datafied child presents. Children have never been afforded the full sovereignty of adulthood (Cunningham, 2009) but both these concepts suggest children have become the points of application for new forms of power that have emerged from the digitisation of society. The most dominant form of this power is called platform capitalism (Srnicek, 2016). As a result of platform capitalism’s success, there has never been a stronger association between data, young people’s private lives, their relationships with friends and family, their life at school, and the broader polit... Mon, 04 Sep 2017 13:23:29 +0000 Huw Davies https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/trust-technology-and-the-young-auid-878 Newton's Leap https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/newtons-leap-auid-898 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Janiak-image-1.jpg" /><br />An apple falls from a tree and a young man from the English countryside jumps up and shouts: “Eureka!” He immediately sees that the force of gravity, which makes apples fall out of trees, must be the same force that makes the moon orbit the earth, the earth the sun, and so on. It all comes together in his fertile and amazingly creative mind. This is an often-told tale about the young Isaac Newton, who was home visiting from his college at Cambridge University in the 1660s. He himself told something like this neat little story later in his life. If you want, you can go to Cambridge, England, and see, not Newton’s actual apple tree but one that is a relative of his. It takes pride of place in the local botanical garden. Unfortunately, there’s just one problem. Like many good stories that make up our narratives of the past, this little episode never happened. Manuscripts and letters show us clearly that it took much more than a single moment under the shade of a little apple tree for Newt... Mon, 02 Oct 2017 10:58:35 +0000 Andrew Janiak https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/newtons-leap-auid-898 The Networks of Control https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-networks-of-control-dangers-of-digital-monoplies-875-auid-875 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-stucke-edited.png" /><br />Are monopolies extinct in the data-driven economy?  Some argue yes. Pointing to the transformative powers of disruptive innovation, they reject concerns about monopolization. As Google’s chairman said, “the reason that you should trust us is that if we were to violate that trust people would move immediately to someone else.”[1] Barriers to entry are negligible, he noted, “because competition is just one click away.”[2] Others disagree. While competitors may be a click away, competition is not. Digital giants may abuse their power, push out competitors, and exploit users. Illustrative is the EU Commission’s recently fining Google 2.4 billion Euros.[3] As a complainant in that case said: “For well over a decade, Google’s search engine has played a decisive role in determining what most of us read, use and purchase online. Left unchecked, there are few limits to this gatekeeper power. Google can deploy its insidious search manipulation practices to commandeer the lion’s share of traffic ... Mon, 04 Sep 2017 13:01:54 +0000 Maurice E. Stucke https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-networks-of-control-dangers-of-digital-monoplies-875-auid-875 Privacy and the Dark Side of Control https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/privacy-the-dark-side-of-control-auid-882 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-hartzog-edited.png" /><br />To hear some in industry and government tell it, the answer to our modern privacy dilemma is simple: give users more control.  There is seemingly no privacy-relevant arena, from social media to big data to biometrics that cannot be remedied with a heaping dose of personal control. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said “What people want isn’t complete privacy. It isn’t that they want secrecy. It’s that they want control over what they share and what they don’t.”[1] Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella summarized his company’s focus on user control by stating, “Microsoft experiences will be unique as they will…keep a user in control of their privacy”, adding that the company will “[a]dvocate laws and legal processes that keep people in control.”[2] Google asserts that it “builds simple, powerful privacy and security tools that keep your information safe and put you in control of it.”[3] Privacy regulators love the concept of control, too. The Federal Trade Commission, one of the chief pri... Mon, 04 Sep 2017 14:22:56 +0000 Woodrow Hartzog https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/privacy-the-dark-side-of-control-auid-882 Can plastic surgery make you more authentic? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-plastic-surgery-make-you-more-authentic-auid-971 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-gary-bendig-cosmetic-surgery-luna-dolezal.png" /><br />It is only very recently that elective cosmetic surgery has entered the mainstream as a routine and socially acceptable way to alter appearance. In the 1950s, for example, aesthetic plastic surgery was a largely marginal and unknown medical practice. Just a few decades later, in the present day, it is a recognized medical speciality, not to mention a highly lucrative multi-billion dollar global industry. Although cosmetic surgery is regularly performed on men, it is by and large a female practice. In 2016, for instance, in the United States, ninety-two per cent of surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures were performed on women, and only eight per cent on men. (Interestingly, although women are by and large the primary recipients of cosmetic surgery, approximately eight out of every nine cosmetic surgeons are male.) These figures are mirrored precisely in the UK, where women, in 2015, made up about 91% of cosmetic surgery recipients. It is commonly argued that women who undergo co... Tue, 14 Nov 2017 17:09:29 +0000 Luna Dolezal https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-plastic-surgery-make-you-more-authentic-auid-971 The Minds of Strangers https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-minds-of-strangers-auid-855 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-mindsofothersredux.jpg" /><br />How we know others has been a problem perplexing philosophers for centuries (exactly when the problem arises in the history of philosophy is a matter of some speculation). For as long as there has been a problem, there has also been an acknowledgement that the way in which we know others and the way we know ourselves is substantially different. One very early statement of the problem can be found in St. Augustine’s De Trinitate (written in the 4th century AD): “Know thyself” is not said to the mind as…”know the will of that man”, for it is not within our reach to perceive at all, either by sense or understanding, unless by corporeal signs set forth….&quot; It should be remembered that when philosophers talk about knowing oneself and others they are not talking about having deep insight into character but are asking a rather more superficial question: how can I know what another is thinking or feeling? St Augustine points out that we cannot perceive the mind of another (using the will as an ... Mon, 31 Jul 2017 10:59:27 +0000 Anita Avramides https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-minds-of-strangers-auid-855 The Factory of Virtual Fantasies https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-factory-of-virtual-fantasies-auid-857 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-vituralfantasyredux.png" /><br />“It is a pair of goggles through which you see a totally different world where the story is all about you and you are in it.” If you read this text in 2017, you may have assumed it to be the advertisement of the latest virtual reality, or VR, headset.  However in 1935 people read a similar text in Stanley Weinbaum’s scientific fiction Pygmalion's Spectacles.  Amazed at the eye-opening imagination, few would have imagined it to become reality in the near future. We live in such an age that things that appeared in scientific fictions merely a few decades ago have been making themselves part of our everyday lives. Ecstasy, first, then anxiety ensues — in the face of VR technology where is the boundary between the real world and the virtual world? Are we still authentic human beings if one day we spend more time in the virtual world than in the ‘real’ world? Such anxiety is actually nothing new. For thousands of years, human beings have never stopped examining the meaning of life, what is ... Mon, 31 Jul 2017 11:42:19 +0000 Xinyuan Wang https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-factory-of-virtual-fantasies-auid-857 Spotting the Killers On Our Streets https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/spotting-the-killers-on-our-streets-auid-854 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-killerstreetredux.png" /><br />‘I can’t believe it was him.’ ‘He seemed like such a normal person.’ ‘Everyone on this street liked him so much.’ ‘He was always so polite and nice to everyone.’ Those were just some of the comments made by friends and neighbors of infamous serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and Dennis Rader (the BTK Killer). And the reasons behind such remarks are simple. Psychopaths, viewed by many psychiatrists as “society’s most dangerous individuals”, don’t act or look crazy. They’re not mentally ill. They don’t suffer seizures, blackouts, or lose track of reality due to their condition. In fact, they’re not only masters at appearing normal to everyone around them, they’re also experts at gaining people’s trust. Now allow me explain why that is. A Psychopath’s main characteristic is what psychologists call “severe emotional detachment”, or SED for short. SED is one of the hardest “mental abnormalities” to diagnose - harder than schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psych... Mon, 31 Jul 2017 10:23:52 +0000 Chris Carter https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/spotting-the-killers-on-our-streets-auid-854 Issue 56: Morality and Prejudice https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/issue-56-morality-and-prejudice-auid-828 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Morality-and-Prejudice-1-NEW.JPG" /><br />Is virtual murder morally wrong? Could we chemically enhance morality? Might prejudice be a force for good?From burkas to bikinis, love unions to arranged marriages, we recognise that different cultures have different moral codes. Yet faced with ISIS brutality or genital mutilation, there seems a threshold past which we want to express definitive moral outrage. In a culturally relative world why are we so wedded to moral judgment? Without a divine underpinning, has morality become no more than a means to give authority to prejudice? Or are there universal principles which form the basis of all cultures? In this issue of IAI News, we investigate the perils of moral conviction. Each of our contributors will be testing the limits of different ethical frameworks to see if morality is, at the end of the day, nothing more than a fig leaf for prejudice.The Future of Moral EnhancementJulian Savulescu &amp; Sylvia Terbeck – Director of the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics &amp; Lecturer in Psychology at P... Thu, 18 May 2017 16:13:33 +0000 Editorial https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/issue-56-morality-and-prejudice-auid-828 Smoke and Mirror Neurons https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/smoke-and-mirror-neurons-auid-853 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-pashkavnewsredux.png" /><br />The negligent student of biology will be forgiven for thinking individual survival is the only naturally prescribed goal. The anomaly of constitutionally communal species aside—ants, bees, and the like—the replicating unit is the single animal, compelled to interact with its kin only by the necessity of procreation and, for some, the expediency of collaborative hunting or defence. Even then, others seem merely instrumental, adopted and discarded as individual goals dictate. Examples of sacrifice, say, in the animal kingdom are seen as either aberrations or illusory anthropomorphizing. Our biological selfishness is inescapable, we are told, for it is itself the product of another: the selfishness of genes, competing in evolution's lawless market. What is it, then, that makes us “kind”, “considerate”, “sympathetic”, “humane”? The traditional view is that these characteristics develop in spite of biology not because of it, the outcome of social forces operating outside its domain. The res... Mon, 31 Jul 2017 10:11:05 +0000 Parashkev Nachev https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/smoke-and-mirror-neurons-auid-853 The Secrets of Experience https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-secrets-of-experience-auid-850 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-heilcorrectaspect.png" /><br />Could you ever hope to observe – visually or otherwise – the conscious experiences of others? Before venturing an answer to this question, it is important to understand what is being asked and why answers have proved so elusive. Philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists vigorously debate solutions to what David Chalmers calls the Hard Problem of consciousness: how are conscious experiences to be reconciled with our emerging understanding of the material world? Many who accept that consciousness has a neurological ‘substrate’ reject the reduction of the mental to the physical because this seems effectively to eliminate the mental. On the one hand, we seem intimately familiar with qualities of our conscious experiences, experiences that mediate our awareness of the physical universe. On the other hand, the qualitative nature of these experiences seem altogether to elude the physical sciences. From the scientific perspective, conscious phenomena seem alien and utterly mysterious. W... Mon, 31 Jul 2017 09:14:37 +0000 John Heil https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-secrets-of-experience-auid-850 Issue 57: Knowing Others and Knowing Our Selves https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/issue-57-knowing-others-and-knowing-our-selves-auid-858 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Editorial-other-minds.jpg" /><br />Can we ever know the minds of others? Will we ever experience their lives as they do? Is technology distorting identity? “No man is an island” wrote Donne. We are social animals and through shared experiences we come to know ourselves and others. Yet such is the nature of consciousness that our thoughts and feelings are ultimately hidden, private and inscrutable. From our loved ones to strangers on the street, it remains impossible to truly know anyone. Meanwhile, with the parade of perfect lives exhibited by social media, or twitter and its anonymous trolls, the gap between appearance and reality is growing. And now neuroscience claims we even dupe ourselves to gain social advantage. Are our minds profoundly unknowable? Are we as much a mystery to ourselves as we are to each other? Or is experience inextricably social and identity created through interaction with the world? In this issue of IAI News, we tackle problem of other minds. Our contributors will be asking if it’s possible to... Mon, 31 Jul 2017 12:55:57 +0000 Editorial https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/issue-57-knowing-others-and-knowing-our-selves-auid-858 Subversive Rituals – How I Become A Drag Queen https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/becoming-a-drag-queen-auid-982 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-subversiverituals.png" /><br />Drag performance has its roots in ancient ritual.  In Greece’s Golden Age, Antigone and Medea were played by male actors in the annual theater contest that was part of the week-long ritual to celebrate Dionysus.  Contemporary drag culture is ritualistic, but the ritual has a different form and a very different purpose.  For many modern gay man like me, drag is a two-tiered ritual of empowerment and acceptance. The first part of the ritual is personal.  Each queen has her own process.  Here is mine: I sit at my mirror.  Staring back is the face of the boy who was bullied and teased for being feminine and different. As a child, being called a girl was the worst possible insult.  I tried to fit in, butch it up, play a sport.  The result? More taunting: “Sissy!” “You throw like a girl!” “Fag!”  Eventually, I protected myself by squashing my nature, muting any flamboyance, conforming to a limited sense of masculinity.  I hid under drab clothes.  Awkward.  Self-conscious.  Afraid of myself. ... Tue, 05 Dec 2017 11:35:03 +0000 Domenick Scudera https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/becoming-a-drag-queen-auid-982 Cyberspace and the Self https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/cyberspace-and-the-self-auid-851 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-cyberspacenewsredux.png" /><br />If you needed to date the point at which “cyberspace” ceased to exist and the internet simply became a part of our corporeal existence, you could do worse than pick the first, unrecorded moment when someone said ‘lol’ instead of actually laughing out loud. We might well think there’s something affected and just plain fake about swapping text speak for such a visceral, bodily reaction. Still, internet abbreviations wouldn’t jump the fence into spoken conversation if they didn’t have some utility – IMHO, anyway – so it’s worth taking them seriously. And like any other part of our language, they can be simultaneously useful and deeply confused. Consider ‘IRL,’ or ‘in real life.’ We’ve long used that expression for actors – “He always plays baddies, but in real life he’s a sweetheart” – which makes sense, insofar as actors portray characters in fictional worlds wholly discontinuous from ours. As Bernard Williams once put it [1], you may be sitting a few yards from Laurence Olivier, but you... Mon, 31 Jul 2017 09:34:42 +0000 Patrick Stokes https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/cyberspace-and-the-self-auid-851 The Future of Moral Enhancement https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-future-of-moral-enhancement-auid-831 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Savulescu-1.jpg" /><br />Humans are prejudiced. Some more than others, but it would be difficult to find an individual who shows no biases at all. Prejudice is a positive or negative attitude towards a social group, typically based on judgments about race, gender, age, ethnicity, or religion. Prejudice can also be based on diverging ideologies or political perspectives, on different accents, different body shapes, sexual orientation, nationality, location, income, etc. Both in the past and today, we find prejudice all over the world. Most importantly, much prejudice and bias is unconscious or implicit - we don't know just how prejudiced we all are. So why are people prejudiced? There are many contributing factors, but one key factor is that humans tend to form groups: in-groups and out-groups. Indeed, one could argue that prejudice only exists because of categorisation. If we didn't form groups or see differences, there would be no prejudice. Prejudice may also have had evolutionary advantages. Being distrustf... Fri, 19 May 2017 08:48:02 +0000 Julian Savulescu https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-future-of-moral-enhancement-auid-831 What We Cannot Know https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-we-cannot-know-auid-787 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Du-Sautoy-3.jpg" /><br />The pace of scientific discovery in the last few decades has been extraordinary. We’ve discovered new particles; seen habitable planets orbiting distant stars; detected gravitational waves; mapped the complete neuronal network of a C Elegans worm; and built new forms of carbon called graphene. In 2014 the science journal Nature reported that the number of scientific papers published has been doubling every 9 years since the end of World War Two.  So is there anything science cannot answer? Or could we possibly know it all? Identifying the known unknowns was the task I set myself on the journey I’ve been on for the last three years writing my new book What We Cannot Know. Not just things we don’t know now. I wanted to identify whether there are any problems that are intrinsically unanswerable. One of the motivations for my journey comes from a proof that my own subject of mathematics has provable limits. Called Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem, the discovery made by Austrian logician Kurt... Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:15:48 +0000 Marcus Du Sautoy https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-we-cannot-know-auid-787 Can Prejudice Enhance Morality? https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-prejudice-enhance-morality-auid-830 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Adam-4.jpg" /><br />We commonly consider an open mind essential to fair-minded moral, political and legal judgment. To have a closed mind is to resist the possibility of persuasion, to be dogmatic, recalcitrant, even bigoted. But what exactly is an open mind?  According to one familiar conception, an open mind is an impartial one – free of particular interests, loyalties and preconceptions, capable of adopting the perspective of anyone anywhere.  We could call it the “prejudice-free” mind. It has stood as a prominent ideal ever since Immanuel Kant defined enlightenment as “the emancipation from prejudices generally.” But I want to suggest that an “open mind” wholly unoccupied by preconceptions is a mistaken ideal. Not only is it unrealistic. It also overlooks the possibility that certain preconceptions can enable good judgment rather than hinder it. Consider two examples: Take grading student papers. Some teachers and professors prefer to grade papers without knowing the names of the students who wrote th... Thu, 18 May 2017 16:43:24 +0000 Adam Sandel https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/can-prejudice-enhance-morality-auid-830 Issue 55: A Tribal World https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/issue-55-a-tribal-world-auid-817 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-a-tribal-world-editorial.JPG" /><br />Is science nothing more than a creed? Are tribes the building blocks of civilisation? Does progressive politics need to embrace nationalism?We see community and society as the bedrock of civilisation. But communities are also fortresses of privilege and conformity, as migrants know only too well. With Trump aiming to reinstate the Muslim ban and preparation for Brexit underway, it seems the spirit of internationalism is well and truly under siege.While in Europe Marine Le Pen hopes her France first focus will win the hearts of the people, those who fear the spirit of nationalism grow increasingly intolerant and shut down debate. And all the while the echo chambers of the internet continue to alienate and entrench both sides of the political spectrum. Is the tribe, from the Facebook group to the nation, to be feared and contained? Or is finding our place in a larger group at the core of what it is to be human?In this issue of IAI News, we tackle the dangers of community. Examining the n... Wed, 12 Apr 2017 16:16:36 +0000 Editor https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/issue-55-a-tribal-world-auid-817 How to Create a Cult https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/21st-century-cults-auid-566 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-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 Beautiful Game https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/prejudice-on-the-pitch-auid-819 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-David-Papineau-4.jpg" /><br />In the modern world, sport is a crucial part of national identity. A victory over historical rivals can lift a country, a defeat can cast it down. Labour’s loss in the 1970 general election is widely attributed to England’s elimination from the World Cup a few days earlier. Half a million Czechoslovakians thronged the streets when their team beat the Russians in the 1969 World Ice Hockey Championship. When Uruguay upset Brazil in the 1950 World Cup Final, most of the bars and restaurants in Rio closed their shutters. The make-up of national teams comes to function as a visible symbol of national character. The people representing us on the field show us what kind of country we are. And this means that the rules governing eligibility for national selection assume a critical importance. Who is entitled to play for the national team? The answer is an important marker of attitudes towards immigrants and refugees. Consider Adnan Januzaj, who has been on Manchester United’s books since short... Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:51:19 +0000 David Papineau https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/prejudice-on-the-pitch-auid-819 The Future of Sex Robots https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-future-of-sex-robots-auid-761 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-The-Future-of-Sex-Robots.jpg" /><br />Science fiction loves a dystopia. Our literary visions of the future give us a chance to explore the worries and fears we have about today’s society and the changes we are powerless to halt. We can’t guarantee what will happen and so, in the face of this loss of control, we create new worlds as warnings. From some of the earliest surviving stories in history through to the latest Hollywood blockbusters, we are shown examples of the terrible horrors that can occur when we play gods and build humans. But, actually, it just might be okay. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is big news at the moment. We see the results of AI research all around us - or rather, we don’t see them, because more often than not they blend seamlessly into our lives. The customer help on that e-commerce website you used earlier? More likely than not, it was a chatbot: automated AI. Those advertisements on social media that seem to read your thoughts? Machine learning algorithms, trawling vast sets of data to tailor sal... Mon, 23 Jan 2017 17:50:37 +0000 Kate Devlin https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-future-of-sex-robots-auid-761 What I Learned From Utopia https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-i-learned-from-utopia-auid-764 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-What-I-learned-2.jpg" /><br />Ten years ago I quit my job, sold my house, and used the proceeds to set up a post-apocalyptic commune in the Scottish Highlands. We would try to live as if we had survived the collapse of modern civilisation. We would re-learn skills that had been largely forgotten in industrial economies – growing and catching our own food, building our own accommodation, and making everything else we needed to survive. Although the post-apocalyptic narrative was very pessimistic, the commune itself would be quite the opposite.It would be a phoenix arising from the ashes of civilisation, a return to a simpler way of life free of the many problems of modernity. It would be a kind of utopia.Needless to say, it didn’t quite work out that way. In fact, things got so bad that I ended up in a psychiatric hospital for a month. I have told this story in detail in The Utopia Experiment (Picador, 2015), so I won’t repeat myself here. Instead, I’ll tell you what I gained from this unusual experience, and how it... Mon, 23 Jan 2017 18:18:00 +0000 Dylan Evans https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/what-i-learned-from-utopia-auid-764 A Woman's World https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/a-feminist-utopia-auid-766 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-A-Feminist-Utopia.jpg" /><br />I have just returned from the Women’s March on Washington D.C., an apt moment at which to introduce the essay I wrote on feminist utopias. To a degree I didn’t dare imagine, the March represented at least a utopian moment: a moment when women embraced all the marginalised, trivialised, overlooked, undervalued of the earth. Cynics would ask: what was the programme, what was the strategy, who are the leaders? There was no programme except: turn up. Be counted. Don’t be afraid. And don’t be silent. For many women, that in itself represents utopia: seeing and hearing one another and making an impact. Yes we did. If you ask most women what their concept of utopia might be, they’ll mostly scoff and look at you as though you’re crazy: we raise the world’s children, wash the world’s clothing, take the world’s parents to the doctor. What makes you think we have time for daydreams? Since the poor of the world are disproportionately female, dreaming of intellectual utopias is a luxury few can aff... Wed, 25 Jan 2017 12:10:38 +0000 Margaret Heffernan https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/a-feminist-utopia-auid-766 The New Utopianism https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-new-utopianism-auid-763 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-the-new-utopianism-5.jpg" /><br />The term “utopia” is used in two distinct ways: 1)       As a term of criticism; as in: “Your ideas are utopian; they are uselessly over-idealistic, they could never work.” 2)       As a term of positive appraisal; as in: “These utopian ideas give one real hope: the utopia they describe would be worth aiming for.” The standard view is that it is utopian in the first sense to seek to radically transform our society. This unfortunately tends to rule out the possibility of utopia in the second sense. And I believe it is that possibility which we have great need of, at the present time.Why? Because without it, we are probably finished. I mean: we are now in a situation which makes it the case that without radical transformation, without radical hope, we are doomed. Mere reformism will not be enough to save us from climate catastrophe and its causes: rampant fossil fuel interests; uncontrolled capitalist accumulation and commodification; the hegemony of economic growthism; continual product... Mon, 23 Jan 2017 18:10:32 +0000 Rupert Read https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-new-utopianism-auid-763 Issue 54: The Limits of Reason https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/issue-54-the-limits-of-reason-auid-791 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Hacker-1-New.JPG" /><br />Is reason no more than a powerful tool of oppression? Will post-truth turn out to be a good thing? Are emotions a better guide to life than rationality?In this issue of IAI News, we’ll be testing the limits of reason. Each of our contributors will be arguing whether or not we it's time to abandon reason, examine its impact and go in search of new ways to understand the world.In a time of uncertainty and doubt, many think reason alone leads to truth. But in a world where “post-truth” and “alternative facts” have taken hold, it’s no longer clear that reason is destined to put us on the right path. Nor is it clear that reason and rationality are the neutral but powerful tools they once seemed. Is the enlightenment project over? Should we be sceptical of the claims of logic and rationality and pursue intuition and emotion instead? Or would this allow blind prejudice to rule?In Defence of Post-TruthSteve Fuller – post-modern sociologist at WarwickCould post-truth actually be a good thing? L... Wed, 01 Mar 2017 11:25:55 +0000 Editor https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/issue-54-the-limits-of-reason-auid-791 Screw the Fairytale https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/screw-the-fairytale-auid-804 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Croydon-1-New.JPG" /><br />When I say to people that I don’t fancy marriage and kids, they look shocked, as if they have not imagined life any other way. Sometimes they make an aphorism about growing old with cats. Some get concerned that I may be lonely when I reach 70. Now, I don’t want to sound myopic, but I’m 37! Going on a hunt to find a permanent partner now to ward off a hypothetical state of loneliness several decades from now seems as shrewd as taking out a life insurance policy.   Besides, I hardly imagine that septuagenarians will have a problem with loneliness in the 2050s. The way technology is going we’ll have all manner of sophisticated social networking apps, location-mapping us wherever we go, linking us to niche social groups that share our interests. It’s not that I’m against a relationship. Falling in love is one of the greatest human highs there is. But it’s not one of my life goals, as it is for so many. In our modern world, where we champion independence, seek convenience and strive for au... Thu, 16 Mar 2017 17:32:02 +0000 Helen Croydon https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/screw-the-fairytale-auid-804 Morality, Neuro-myths, and the Spurious Seduction of Evolutionary Ethics https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/morality-neuro-myths-and-the-spurious-seduction-of-evolutionary-ethics-auid-829 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-rose-1.jpg" /><br />Here’s a thought experiment. Suppose you are an aid agency providing food for children in a refugee camp. You have limited resources and could either feed all the hungry children inadequately, in which case they will soon starve, or feed a few adequately so they will survive but the others will all die. It’s a moral choice between equity and efficiency. What do you do – especially if your head is in an fMRI brain imager when you are confronted with the dilemma? According to the authors of this neuroscientific quandary, who claim to be measuring the brain correlates of distributive justice, one brain region, the insula, encodes inequity while the putamen region encodes efficiency.[i] This typifies the beliefs of the new discipline of neuroethics that absolute moral values are inscribed in the brain. But how did we get here? For as long as oral traditions or written records have been available, moral injunctions have been laid down as representing the word of God, the wisdom of philosoph... Thu, 18 May 2017 16:30:28 +0000 Steven Rose https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/morality-neuro-myths-and-the-spurious-seduction-of-evolutionary-ethics-auid-829 The Sex Lives of Philosophers https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-sex-lives-of-philosophers-auid-806 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Sex-lives-of-philosophers-New.JPG" /><br />In the 2002 biographical documentary on Jacques Derrida the director Amy Ziering Kofman asks the philosopher what he would most like to see in a film about Kant, Hegel or Heidegger. Derrida takes his time before answering. Then he responds: “their sex lives”. Kofman is taken aback. “Why?” she asks. Derrida explains that these philosophers never speak about their own sex lives in their philosophy. They present themselves as asexual. But, he wonders, what could be more important to them and to their writing than love, those they love, and the making of love? Philosophy has a lot to say about love in general. Perhaps philosophy even began with this question: what is love? And yet, according to Derrida, individual philosophers have little to say about their own love lives, at least in their philosophical texts. Philosophy concerns the depersonalised construction of logical and universal systems of thought. Traditionally there should be no room in it for biographical introspection about one... Thu, 16 Mar 2017 17:40:09 +0000 Martin McQuillan https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-sex-lives-of-philosophers-auid-806 Intuition vs Reason https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/intuition-vs-reason-auid-790 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-intuitionvreason.jpg" /><br />Consider the following puzzle, borrowed from Nobel-prize winner Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast And Slow:     A bat and ball cost $1.10.     The bat costs one dollar more than the ball.     How much does the ball cost? The puzzle naturally evokes an intuitive answer: 10 cents (the correct answer is 5 cents). The puzzle is a very simple math puzzle that is easily solved using careful reasoning. But when we are intellectually lazy, we tend to follow our gut instincts or intuitions, even when the task is not the kind of task that should be handled in this way. Mathematical and logical exercises typically cannot be solved using our gut instinct. Daniel Kahneman and his colleague Amos Tversky, however, have taken this insight one step further. They have argued that we do not reason rationally in everyday circumstances and regularly are subject to cognitive illusions, produced by heuristics, or rules of thumb, that we rely on when we reason fast. The mistake we make in these cases is to rel... Tue, 28 Feb 2017 13:32:53 +0000 Berit Brogaard https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/intuition-vs-reason-auid-790 The Iron Cage of Reason https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-iron-cage-of-reason-auid-789 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Mottier-2-New.JPG" /><br />The history of Western culture is the history of the rise of the authority of ‘Reason-with-a-big-R’. Since the Enlightenment, we have come to believe that modes of knowledge that are guided by rationality are intrinsically more valuable, more ‘true’ than others. This is reflected in the power of scientific discourses in modern society: today, science occupies the throne which religion occupied in earlier times, as the key source of knowledge and truth. We have gained a lot of things in this process, including the many benefits that medical discoveries using rationalist scientific methods have brought us. But it is also important to ask ourselves: what have we lost? What has been pushed out by this historical march of Reason, what are we not seeing when we assume that rational thought automatically brings ‘progress’, and what areas of our human experience have come to be devalued? Nietzsche pictured the history of Western culture as a struggle between Apollo, the Greek god of orderly ra... Tue, 28 Feb 2017 13:31:05 +0000 Véronique Mottier https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/the-iron-cage-of-reason-auid-789 Anarchy, Open Borders and Utopia https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/anarchy-open-borders-and-utopia-auid-762 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-Kukathas-New-3.jpg" /><br />Over the past century, many human freedoms have expanded. But even as people living under the tyrannies of the communist world or the alien rule of colonialism have secured a greater measure of liberty, one freedom has been noticeably diminished. The freedom in question is freedom of movement.It would be an exaggeration to say that it is now entirely lost. Indeed some – particularly the richest among us – may even have enhanced their ability to travel, and today enjoy a greater opportunity to settle wherever they choose. But for most people that freedom is much reduced. And for the poorest or most desperate it is almost gone – unless they choose to risk their lives and the pitiless justice of the law to cross borders of states they have no right to enter. We live in a world in which more people traverse borders than ever before – last year more than 360 million people entered the United States alone – but we also live in a world in which movement is more tightly controlled than at any ... Mon, 23 Jan 2017 17:55:30 +0000 Chandran Kukathas https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/anarchy-open-borders-and-utopia-auid-762 A Cyborg's Take on Utopia https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/a-cyborgs-take-on-utopia-auid-765 <img src="https://iainews.iai.tv/assets/Uploads/_resampled/SetWidth150-The-Future-of-Human-Enhancement.jpg" /><br />Looking back to the use of fire and sticks, humans have long since enhanced their abilities through external measures. We witness this now aeroplanes for flying, telephones for communication and computers for just about everything else. Even if we wish to enhance our looks this can be done through makeup and clothing. More drastically this can be achieved through medical intervention, referred to as cosmetic surgery. Sometimes this might be in order to restore an individual to their original appearance after an accident but in many cases it is simply because that person wishes to look different (arguably better) in some way.We also have a plethora of medical interventions which act as therapeutic aids.  Everything from life-saving surgical technology to cochlea implants overcoming hearing difficulties, pacemakers that assist heart malfunctions to deep brain stimulation treating the effects of Parkinson’s Disease and Clinical Depression. Twenty years ago, the idea of blasting lasers int... Mon, 23 Jan 2017 18:45:32 +0000 Kevin Warwick https://iainews.iai.tv/articles/a-cyborgs-take-on-utopia-auid-765