Philosophy Essential Reads

Plato on Democracy, Tyranny, and the Ideal State

By Neel Burton M.D. on July 26, 2016 in Hide and Seek
What would Plato have to say about today’s democracies?

Teaching AI to Think Like Us

Does AI threaten human existence? Perhaps not, but it's complicated.
Harold Lloyd and Wesley Stout, An American Comedy / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

The Perils of Pursuing Pleasure

Is your philosophy of happiness making you unhappy? See why it's important to put pleasure in its place.

The Political Gender Gap: Do Women Care More About Fairness?

One reason women tend to prefer candidates who seem more committed to economic equality and a strong social safety net may be that women are less overconfident about the future.

Work-Life Balance: Luxury or Ethical Necessity?

Are long hours and difficulties unplugging making you a worse person?

The Lure of Beauty

By Rolf Reber Ph.D. on June 12, 2016 in Critical Feeling
That beauty attracts is well known – from people to mathematical proofs. Do we always have to circumvent the lure of beauty?

In Defense of Authenticity and Being Yourself

In the New York Times, Adam Grant argues against authenticity and being yourself. In this post, I stand up in their defense.
K. Ramsland

To Be or Not To Be: Philosophical Serial Killers

Some serial killers find justification and solace in heady philosophical notions.

Is a Philosophy Degree Useful?

If your son or daughter comes home and informs you that they want to major in philosophy, don't panic! They'll be able to do much more than ask about french fries.

Political Correctness is All about Slave Morality

It is useful to look at political correctness as an example of a system that emphasizes slave morality.

Do Scientific Fields Differ in Their Influence?

Whether we like it or not, there is definitely a hierarchy of influence among the social sciences.

Men's Lives: The Confluence, Fly-Fishing, Tall Tales and Art

The Confluence, a new book about men's lives, reminds us that life's most rewarding journeys don't have to involve danger or loss.

Designing Robots That Avoid The Uncanny Valley

Although we generally prefer robots that have humanlike features, new research suggests that machines that look too much like people are perceived as less inviting and trustworthy.

Tough Love

By Katherine Hawley Ph.D. on April 11, 2016 in Trust
Think of the people you trust. Think of the people you count as true friends. Are these the same people? Can there be friendship without trust?

How Using Your GPS Too Much Could Kill You

Relying exclusively on our smartphone's GPS function not only erodes our personal spatial skills, but could adversely affect our brain. Also, it cuts us off from the real world

Why Psychiatry Should Discard The Idea of Free Will

If psychiatry is a medicine of the mind, but our common ideas of the mind are wrong, where does that leave the medicine?

Donald Trump Is a Black Swan

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on March 25, 2016 in Excellent Beauty
Human psychology and the unpredictable -- a dangerous mix, forcing us to explain the unexplainable. Trump's ascendency was a complete surprise, in spite of whatever you think.

Does Your Pet Have a Mind?

By Kurt Gray on March 22, 2016 in Minding Morality
Are pets people? It's a matter of perception.

Is Tact Useful in Romantic Love?

Tact is a virtue that is commonly praised and rarely practiced, especially in our current society. Is tact valuable in sex and romantic love? How can we nurture tact?

The Illusion of Free Will and Mental Illness Stigma

Why we prefer needing the help of a neurologist rather than a psychiatrist.

The 3 Big Questions of Philosophy

We must take the great questions of philosophy seriously. Our very existence is being threatened by the deep existential confusion of our times.

What's So Fascinating About the Letter "X"?

Because it’s been employed in so many fields—from algebra, to genetics, to aerospace, to sex and spirituality—X’s many meanings make it the most mystifying letter of the alphabet.

What Can Dung Beetles Teach Us About War?

Years of looking for beetles on the underside of elephant dung in Africa led biologist Doug Emlen to keen insights into human warfare. Here’s how.

What Are We Here For?

Only once we know the function of something, such as human behavior, can we actually understand it.

We Need to Value Intellectual Integrity

By Gregg Henriques Ph.D. on February 21, 2016 in Theory of Knowledge
Intellectual integrity is a core human value. It is a deep concern that Trump wears his disdain for intellectual integrity on his sleeve.

Moral Responsibility and the Strike Back Emotion

By Gregg D. Caruso Ph.D. on February 21, 2016 in Unjust Deserts
Where does the belief in moral responsibility come from?

Why Should Professors Excel in Both Teaching and Research?

University professors are required to excel at both teaching and research - in spite of the fact that these are actually unrelated endeavors.

What Happens When You Take Ayn Rand Seriously?

By Denise Cummins Ph.D. on February 17, 2016 in Good Thinking
Among Ayn Rand's devotees are highly influential celebrities, such as Brad Pitt and Eva Mendes, and politicos, such as Paul Ryan and Ted Cruz. Here's why that's a problem.

Love, Good Chemistry And How They're Different

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 14, 2016 in Ambigamy
With love we bond but we also bond with glue. So what's the difference, and why do we blur the distinction as though love were just good chemistry?

Maybe It’s Harder to Kill Yourself Than You Picture

By Peter Toohey Ph.D. on February 09, 2016 in Annals of the Emotions
Is thinking about suicide ever therapeutic?