Philosophy Essential Reads

Democracy and the Pro-social Impulse

Governments answerable to the people can exist only due to the fact that we’re emotional, social creatures, not isolated, rational, strictly selfish individuals. A better appreciation of human nature can help us secure a democratic future.

Can God Be Its Own Cause?

Many humans find First Cause arguments for the existence of God compelling. Why? There are two collaborating reasons: Our confusion over infinity, and our lack of confusion over the strange notion of being self-caused -- a property often attributed to God. Both of these implicate our amazing and puzzling ability to conceive.

Self-Deception Has Many Faces

Procrastination is a stealth form of self-deception

No Virginia, Gay Marriage Won’t Lead to 900,000 Abortions

Gene Schaerr’s recently argued, before the Supreme Court, that gay marriage will lead to more abortions--900,000 more! But his argument wouldn't even receive a passing grade in my sophomore level logic class.

The Deepest War Wound May Be the Anguish of Moral Injury

By Nancy Sherman Ph.D. on April 28, 2015 in Afterwar
That the military code—never abandon a buddy, bring all your troops home, don't put innocents at risk—is impossible to meet doesn't always register deep down. The result may be shame, and all too often suicidal shame.

Getting Existential with Josh Rouse

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on April 17, 2015 in Brick by Brick
Josh Rouse shares how he has been able to conquer anxiety through mindfulness.

The Brain Is Wider Than the Sky

Neuroscientists often quote Emily Dickinson's poem that begins, "The brain is wider than the sky," in support of their view that the mind is nothing but the brain. But they interpret the poem too narrowly, and miss its deeper meaning. Her poetry can teach us about the brain and mind, in ways that neuroscience can't.

The Key To Diagnosing Narcissism Diagnosers

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on April 10, 2015 in Ambigamy
Psychology Today's most popular articles are about how to diagnose narcissists. What drives our interest? Here are some factors to consider.

The Ghost in the Machine

By Neel Burton M.D. on April 02, 2015 in Hide and Seek
What makes you who you are?

Equality Under the Law ≠ Equality of Outcomes

By Gad Saad Ph.D. on April 01, 2015 in Homo Consumericus
I describe the equality bias, a form of faulty reasoning wherein equality under the law is confused with equality of outcomes. Legal equality does not translate into equal potentiality or equal life trajectories.

Sex in the Head

What is sexual desire? Is it raw, animal instinct? Or is it something more mindful?

10 Things Your Psychology Professors Want You to Know

An education in psychology is enormous - including information on such diverse topics ranging from how infants perceive shapes to how rats learn to complete mazes - and more. Way more. The list found here distills a traditional education in psychology to 10 things that psychology professors really want their students to walk away with.

Are Muslim Arabs Especially Fatalistic?

Many commentators claim that Muslim Arabs are fatalistic, that they believe what happens in life is mostly beyond their control. Are these claims valid?

A Landmark Case for the Legal Rights of Dogs?

Legal precedents establishing the rights of dogs under the law may have been set when, for the first time, a dog charged with murdering a cat was tried in front of a judge and jury.

Complaining About Young Women

Today's young women are somehow obsessed with their own victimhood? Where do ideas like this come from?

How to Feel Better When You’re Feeling Bad

When you feel down, discouraged or frustrated, Buddhist concepts and techniques that focus you in the immediate present can offer surprising relief. Here's some starter key ideas, and info on an accessible and engaging guide that can help you to learn more.

“Islamic Extremism” vs “Violent Extremism”

By Neil Farber M.D, Ph.D. on February 20, 2015 in The Blame Game
Some refuse to use the term "Islamic Extremists" to describe the terrorist group, ISIS, calling them "Violent Extremists." By attributing cause and accountability, we are better able to define who they are, delineate their mission and goals, and derive solutions to stop them. Naming them DOES NOT blame, or indict non-violent Muslims - not guilt by religious association.

Moving Toward Compassion in the Psychological Sciences

By Steven C. Hayes Ph.D. on February 17, 2015 in Get Out of Your Mind
We practice a kind of hypocrisy in the behavioral health area that’s not only embarrassing but counterproductive.

The Risks of Not Choosing to Vaccinate

A number of parents make the decision not to vaccinate their children. While parents clearly have the right to choose the kinds of medical care for their children, are the risks for other children and, indeed, the world worth it? The key question is the balance between individual rights and what is in the best interests of society.

The Upside of Envy

Envy is the universal emotion no one seems to have. We're all too ashamed of it to discuss it with others and sometimes even to admit it to ourselves. Blogger Josh Gressel takes the plunge and describes an incident of his own envy as a way to practice what he wants to teach: that we need to get more comfortable with our envy so that we can learn from it.

On Vaccines and Autism: An Open Letter to Larry Wilmore

By David Kyle Johnson Ph.D. on January 29, 2015 in A Logical Take
Larry Wilmore, the host of The Nightly Show, knows that vaccines are safe and effective. Unfortunately, he has no idea how to host a show that communicates that fact.

Is Curiosity Good for Your Relationship?

By Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D. on January 27, 2015 in In the Name of Love
Curiosity is usually regarded as a virtue, since it widens our horizons and develops our capacities. However, our natural romantic curiosity is contrary to the natural need to deepen the romantic connection. Distinguishing between two types of romantic curiosity may solve this enigma.

Normative Happiness

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on January 24, 2015 in One Among Many
Is happiness a subjective, inner, feeling, or is it subject to analytical examination? If so, can your life and your happiness be objectively evaluated? Many philosophers but few psychologists believe so.

Don't Take Your Medications as Prescribed? You’re Not Alone

By Peter Edelstein M.D. on January 24, 2015 in Patient Power
Are you one of the millions who fails to take your prescription medications as directed, or at all? Have you ever not even filled a prescription? Why do so many of us fail to take medications prescribed to help us remain healthy? Here are some common reasons for non-compliance, and some advice for Shark Surfers, Credit Carders, and Different Drummers.

The Most Important Lesson You'll Ever Learn

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on January 20, 2015 in How To Do Life
The danger of looking back, the power of looking forward.

Framing Life

By Frances Kuffel on January 14, 2015 in What Fat Women Want
Here are the two things I’ve learned in editing photos in the last 24 hours. I should also add that these discoveries happen to be about pictures of dogs.

The Truth About Lies

By Glenn C. Altschuler Ph.D. on January 14, 2015 in This Is America
In The Devil Wins, Dallas Denery provides an informative and thought-provoking account of the efforts of theologians and philosophers from the early Christian era to the Enlightenment to define lies and understand their ethical, social, and political implications. In the "fallen world" of early modern Europe, he argues, lying became natural and naturally useful qualities.

Charles Darwin's Daily Walks

What Charles Darwin's daily walk did for his mind

Keeping Jealousy to Yourself

By Peter Toohey on January 11, 2015 in Annals of the Emotions
Can you keep jealousy to yourself? Or is it acted out, publicly, like a madman or a fool?

How to Win

Smart effort is a good thing. It might well win Urban Meyer another national championship. But he learned the hard way that bottomless, pull-your-hair-out effort produces more stress than success.