Essential Reads

Democracy and the Pro-social Impulse

Can there be democracy without idealism?

Can God Be Its Own Cause?

First cause arguments and human conceiving

Self-Deception Has Many Faces

Self-deception involves incongruity between beliefs, actions, and the world

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

A logical examination Gene Schaerr’s Supreme Court argument

Recent Posts on Philosophy

Self-Knowledge, Character, and Friendship

By Michael W Austin on December 13, 2011 in Ethics for Everyone
Some work in contemporary psychology confirms the philosophy of Aristotle, which can also be useful in our quest for self-knowledge. Good character and good friends are conducive to self-knowledge.

Which 'Love Language' Suits You? And Your Partner?

By Gretchen Rubin on December 13, 2011 in The Happiness Project
Over the weekend, I read Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages, and I found it fascinating. (I have to confess: the book caught my attention because it's always clustered near, and above, The Happiness Project on the New York Times bestseller list.)

The Honesty Bar

By Diogo Gonçalves on December 12, 2011 in There Are Free Lunches
Pay-what-you-can pricing can be a good instrument to deal with the tensions between altruistic and egoistic economic behavior.

A Banker-Philosopher’s Request for a Second Date

By Michael Bruce on December 12, 2011 in Angst!
Yes, you might say things that hurt me, but my feelings are already hurt. Sending me an email response (instead of talking on the phone) would better than no response at all, but I think it would be better to talk on the phone. Email communication has too much potential for misinterpretation, etc.

Recursive Incentive Scheme to Get Lots of Help in a Hurry

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on December 11, 2011 in Memory Medic
Got a project you need a lot of help with and need results fast? Here is a research design, called "recursive incentivization," that research has shown seems to work better than other strategies.

Can Listening to the Beatles Reverse Aging?

By Michael L. Anderson Ph.D. on December 10, 2011 in After Phrenology
In science, as in life, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Catalogs: Don't Look At 'Em, Big Time Suck

By Gretchen Rubin on December 09, 2011 in The Happiness Project
Kelly Corrigan is a writer well-known for her books, The Middle Place and Lift, and also from her YouTube video, Transcending, which has been viewed more than 4.75 million times.

Know Thyself?

By Michael W Austin on December 08, 2011 in Ethics for Everyone
Self-knowledge is important for fulfillment, but it is sometimes difficult to acquire. However, there are steps we can take to help us cultivate our capacity for self-knowledge.

The Key to Happiness: Strong Relationships

By Gretchen Rubin on December 08, 2011 in The Happiness Project
For the last month of this year, instead of tackling a theme, I'm going to discuss a question: What is the key to happiness? That's a question that can be answered in different ways, depending on what framework you use to address the issue of happiness. The resolution for each week will reflect that week's answer.

7 Happiness Theories I Reject

By Gretchen Rubin on December 07, 2011 in The Happiness Project
As audacious as it may seem to contradict venerable figures such as John Stuart Mill, Flaubert, or Sartre, I disagree with some of their views about the nature of happiness.

Sunny, Anal, and Balanced: Puzzling Over Personalities

By Anthony Synnott Ph.D. on December 06, 2011 in Rethinking Men
How do we know how to know ourselves? From our parents and friends? But they are biased. So are our enemies, though they may be less tactful and more truthful. From our therapists? By introspection? Perhaps from personality tests?

Sex Addiction: The Null Hypothesis

By David J Ley Ph.D. on December 06, 2011 in Women Who Stray
Science is a human enterprise, like any other. Good science thus works in ways that try to minimize the effects of politics and human convictions. If sex addiction cannot be proven to exist, then scientists must accept the null hypothesis, that it most likely does not.

Don't Fall Into "Decision Quicksand"

By Gretchen Rubin on December 06, 2011 in The Happiness Project
I'm always gratified when I learn that one of my Secrets of Adulthood reflects not merely my idiosyncratic experience, but also has some science behind it.

Think of Yourself in the Third Person

By Gretchen Rubin on December 06, 2011 in The Happiness Project
I remember reading somewhere that writer Anne Lamott thinks about herself in the third person, to take better care of herself: “I’m sorry, Anne Lamott can’t accept that invitation to speak; she’s finishing a book so needs to keep her schedule clear.”

Good Tidings: Violence at an All-Time Low

By Karen Franklin Ph.D. on December 06, 2011 in Witness
Your date asks you out to the theater to watch a live cat slowly lowered into a fire and burned to death, howling with pain as it is singed, roasted, and finally carbonized. Sound like fun?

If You Love Me, You'll Divorce Me

By David Niose on December 04, 2011 in Our Humanity, Naturally
There's lots of talk nowadays about the sanctity of marriage. But to some, the underlying strength of a relationship far overshadows the man-made institution of marriage. What about the sanctity of love?

Lessons My Daughter Taught Me

By Ruth C. White Ph.D. on December 03, 2011 in Culture in Mind
Having children is a big experiment. A bigger experiment than anything science can conjure. The experiment is not just about how the child will turn out but also what kind of lessons we will learn about ourselves and about life in the process.

Contradictions and Differences

By Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. on December 03, 2011 in Am I Right?
Let in that which complements your deficiencies and reject that which cancels your uniqueness.

Dystopian "In Time" and Inequalities in Our Time

By Emily Smith Beitiks on December 02, 2011 in Genetic Crossroads
The dystopian future of Andrew Niccol's new film, In Time, resonates with current inequalities.

Dehumanization, Genocide, and the Psychology of Indifference

What is it about the human mind that makes it possible for us to think of other people as subhuman creatures? David Livingstone Smith explains.

The Eight Splendid Truths of Happiness

By Gretchen Rubin on December 01, 2011 in The Happiness Project
In my study of happiness, I've labored to identify its fundamental principles.

What's Your "Pigeon of Discontent"?

By Gretchen Rubin on November 30, 2011 in The Happiness Project
For the past few years, for the weekly video as part of the Happiness Challenge, I've proposed a resolution for your consideration...

Who Was the Buddha?

By Toni Bernhard J.D. on November 30, 2011 in Turning Straw Into Gold
This is the story of how a young man came to be known as The Buddha ("Buddha" means "awakened one"). He was not a god. He was a human being like you and me. As with all ancient tales, we can't know what is to be taken literally and what is to be taken metaphorically. It doesn't matter to me. I'm inspired by his story either way.

Motherhood versus Career: The Epic Battle that Need Not Be

Motherhood versus career. It's the quintessential double bind that sets the stage for the epic battle so many women in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have waged, mostly against themselves.