# Philosophy

• ## Most Topular Stories

• ### Hermann von Helmholtz

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
31 Jul 2014 | 1:05 am
[Revised entry by Lydia Patton on July 31, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Hermann von Helmholtz (1821 - 1894) participated in two of the most significant developments in physics and in the philosophy of science in the 19th century: the proof that Euclidean geometry does not describe the only possible visualizable and physical space, and...
• ### Ethics, Children & Immigration

Talking Philosophy
30 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/175704968 While children, accompanied or not, have been immigrating to the United States from Central America for quite some time, this matter has attracted considerable attention as the number of children has increased (although not as dramatically as some media coverage would suggest). Not surprisingly, this has become a political issue within the larger context of the immigration policy debate and both Republicans and Democrats are struggling to figure out how to best exploit the opportunity (or best avoid disaster). To focus the moral discussion, I will…
• ### Question about Ethics, Love, Sex - Allen Stairs responds

31 Jul 2014 | 11:32 am
Is adultery really immoral? The act itself is mostly legal, so why can't it be mostly moral? I'm a male bachelor, so I can only argue from my point of view. Adultery is a simple biological urge that manifests itself onto two persons, one or both of whom are married. Marriage today is becoming more and more a simple legal contract, routinely terminated and routinely redefined by judges and plebiscites. The ease with which marriages can be terminated either on paper or in practice is just a reflection of the fact that people often change in their feelings towards one another--love fades within…
• ### New Books in July

Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog
31 Jul 2014 | 2:24 pm
Authors and/or publishers kindly sent me these new books this month: Omissions: Agency, Metaphysics, and Responsibility by Randolph Clarke (Oxford University Press, 2014). Faith & Wisdom in Science by Tom McLeish (Oxford University Press, 2014). Equal Recognition: The Moral Foundations...
• ### CFA: Dominating Speech at UConn

Ethics Etc
31 Jul 2014 | 9:14 pm
Dominating Speech Conference at UConn November 21-23, 2014 Keynotes: Ishani Maitra (Michigan) Jason Stanley (Yale) The Injustice League in the Philosophy Department at the University of Connecticut seeks abstracts on topics related to the conference theme. Suggested topics include: hate speech, slurs, propaganda, slut-shaming, bragging, and gossip. Philosophical work from a variety of subfields, including: […]
• ## Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

• ### Hermann von Helmholtz

31 Jul 2014 | 1:05 am
[Revised entry by Lydia Patton on July 31, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Hermann von Helmholtz (1821 - 1894) participated in two of the most significant developments in physics and in the philosophy of science in the 19th century: the proof that Euclidean geometry does not describe the only possible visualizable and physical space, and...
• ### Wittgenstein's Aesthetics

30 Jul 2014 | 5:14 pm
[Revised entry by Garry Hagberg on July 30, 2014. Changes to: Bibliography] Given the extreme importance that Wittgenstein attached to the aesthetic dimension of life, it is in one sense surprising that he wrote so little on the subject. It is true that we have the notes assembled from his lectures on aesthetics given to a small group of...
• ### Evidence

28 Jul 2014 | 8:07 pm
[Revised entry by Thomas Kelly on July 28, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] For my own part, I think that if one were looking for a single phrase to capture the stage to which philosophy has progressed, 'the study of evidence' would be a better choice than 'the study of language'. - A.J. Ayer, Philosophy in the Twentieth...
• ### 18th Century German Philosophy Prior to Kant

28 Jul 2014 | 7:38 pm
[Revised entry by Brigitte Sassen on July 28, 2014. Changes to: Bibliography] In Germany, the eighteenth century was the age of enlightenment, the age, that is, that called for the independence of reason. Although the ethos of this age found its clearest (and certainly its most famous) articulation towards the end of the century with Immanuel Kant and his...
• ### Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

24 Jul 2014 | 6:31 pm
[Revised entry by Jan Faye on July 24, 2014. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] As the theory of the atom, quantum mechanics is perhaps the most successful theory in the history of science. It enables physicists, chemists, and technicians to calculate and predict the outcome of a vast number of experiments and to create new and advanced technology...

• ## Talking Philosophy

• ### Ethics, Children & Immigration

30 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/175704968 While children, accompanied or not, have been immigrating to the United States from Central America for quite some time, this matter has attracted considerable attention as the number of children has increased (although not as dramatically as some media coverage would suggest). Not surprisingly, this has become a political issue within the larger context of the immigration policy debate and both Republicans and Democrats are struggling to figure out how to best exploit the opportunity (or best avoid disaster). To focus the moral discussion, I will…
• ### The Sharing Economy III: Resources (Human & Other)

28 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
Olathe Human Resources (Photo credit: City of Olathe, KS) In my previous two essays I wrote about the new sharing economy, focusing on regulations and taxes. In this essay I will cover resources (human and other). As noted in the previous two essays, the new sharing economy is exemplified by companies such as Uber and Airbnb that serve to organize transactions between individuals. In the case of Uber, people can serve as drivers for Uber selling rides in their own cars—without (as of this writing) all the usual costs and regulations of operating a cab. In the case of Airbnb, people can rent…
• ### The Sharing Economy II: Taxes

25 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
Sheraton Hotel (Photo credit: kevin dooley) In my previous essay on the new sharing economy I discussed the matter of regulation in regards to such companies as Uber and Airbnb. In this essay, I’ll cover the subjects of taxes. As with regulation, some people are quite opposed to taxes. Other people are fine with taxes—at least with imposing taxes on others. In general, though, people prefer to not pay taxes. As such, it is hardly a surprise that the new sharing economy includes various attempts to avoid taxes. One example of this is the case of services like Airbnb. On the face of it,…
• ### The Sharing Economy I: Regulation

23 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
Airbnb logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The rising success of companies such as Airbnd and Uber have created considerable interest in what has been called the sharing economy. The core idea behind the sharing economy is an old one: people provide goods and services as individuals rather than acting as employees or businesses. One classic example of this is paying a neighborhood kid who mows lawns or babysits. Another classic example is paying a friend’s gas money for a ride to the airport. The new version of the sharing economy does make some changes to the traditional model. The fundamental…
• ### Academic Freedom & State Schools

21 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
(Photo credit: Wikipedia) Academic freedom is a longstanding and generally well-supported right. In terms of its underpinnings, the obvious foundation is freedom of expression—the right to express views and ideas without being silenced. In the case of academic freedom, the expression is (obviously enough) in an academic context. It is typically taken as being more than just protection regarding making specific claims in that it is supposed to provide fairly broad protection in such matters as selecting books, developing curriculum and so on. It is also supposed to protect professors…

• ### Question about Ethics, Love, Sex - Allen Stairs responds

31 Jul 2014 | 11:32 am
Is adultery really immoral? The act itself is mostly legal, so why can't it be mostly moral? I'm a male bachelor, so I can only argue from my point of view. Adultery is a simple biological urge that manifests itself onto two persons, one or both of whom are married. Marriage today is becoming more and more a simple legal contract, routinely terminated and routinely redefined by judges and plebiscites. The ease with which marriages can be terminated either on paper or in practice is just a reflection of the fact that people often change in their feelings towards one another--love fades within…
• ### Question about Mind - Stephen Maitzen responds

31 Jul 2014 | 9:34 am
Hi, I'll just share my experiences as below and would just like to ask what principle or theory that could possibly explain the phenomenon? And what term you call it? I'm a computer programmer. Sometimes there are program logic related problems that I was trying to solve for hours, and yet cannot figure out the answers. But when I ask a colleague regarding the problem, in an instant, even before my colleague answers my question, I was able to draw the answer from my mind. Then, I'm going to tell my colleague, "uhm, ok, I know already! Thanks". It always happen. Sometimes, just the presence of…
• ### Question about Mind - Jonathan Westphal responds

31 Jul 2014 | 9:34 am
Hi, I'll just share my experiences as below and would just like to ask what principle or theory that could possibly explain the phenomenon? And what term you call it? I'm a computer programmer. Sometimes there are program logic related problems that I was trying to solve for hours, and yet cannot figure out the answers. But when I ask a colleague regarding the problem, in an instant, even before my colleague answers my question, I was able to draw the answer from my mind. Then, I'm going to tell my colleague, "uhm, ok, I know already! Thanks". It always happen. Sometimes, just the presence of…
• ### Question about Philosophy - Nickolas Pappas responds

31 Jul 2014 | 9:18 am
I have a question about reading certain philosophers, specifically Kant in my case, as "pre-requisites" for other philosophers. I'm not particularly interested in Kant, but I've been interested in Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Heidegger for a long time now. I've heard though that to appreciate any of these three, you have to understand Kant first, so I recently started to read A Critique of Pure Reason. I'm sure I'll get something worthwhile out of the book if I stick with it, but I'm wondering whether you think it's worth taking on this demanding project just to prepare me for reading other…
• ### Question about Education - Eddy Nahmias responds

31 Jul 2014 | 9:17 am
Hello everyone. I am a sophomore starting a philosophy club at my high school. No other high school in the district has one. To get straight to the point, I need a clever acronym for the club's name. Although this isn't really a philosophical question, can you please take your time and possibly give me a good, witty name? We cover all fields of philosophy. Response from: Eddy Nahmias Well, I was going to say "High Phi" but then I googled it and remembered that it's the name of an organization trying to get philosophy into high schools. See here:…

• ## Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog

• ### New Books in July

31 Jul 2014 | 2:24 pm
Authors and/or publishers kindly sent me these new books this month: Omissions: Agency, Metaphysics, and Responsibility by Randolph Clarke (Oxford University Press, 2014). Faith & Wisdom in Science by Tom McLeish (Oxford University Press, 2014). Equal Recognition: The Moral Foundations...
• ### Henry Siegman on Gaza: an interview at "Democracy Now"

31 Jul 2014 | 5:45 am
Here. An excerpt: [Israel] has what seems on the surface a justifiable objective of ending these attacks, the rockets that come from Gaza and are aimed—it’s hard to say they’re aimed at civilians, because they never seem to land anywhere...
• ### Senators unveil new legislation addressing sexual assault on campus

31 Jul 2014 | 4:45 am
IHE has an account.
• ### Haaretz editorial denounces Bar-Ilan Dean for his "McCarthyist values"

31 Jul 2014 | 4:10 am
Here.
• ### Philosopher Samir Chopra and other academics arrested in New York at protest against slaughter in Gaza

31 Jul 2014 | 4:05 am
Prof. Chopra's account here.
• ## Ethics Etc

• ### CFA: Dominating Speech at UConn

31 Jul 2014 | 9:14 pm
Dominating Speech Conference at UConn November 21-23, 2014 Keynotes: Ishani Maitra (Michigan) Jason Stanley (Yale) The Injustice League in the Philosophy Department at the University of Connecticut seeks abstracts on topics related to the conference theme. Suggested topics include: hate speech, slurs, propaganda, slut-shaming, bragging, and gossip. Philosophical work from a variety of subfields, including: […]
• ### Special Issue on Frances Kamm in Journal of Moral Philosophy

23 Jul 2014 | 11:00 am
The Journal of Moral Philosophy has just published a special issue on Frances Kamm’s book, Ethics for Enemies. Commentators include Professors Caspar Hare, Suzanne Uniacke, Tom Hurka, Jeff McMahan, Gabriella Blum and John C. P. Goldberg. Professor Kamm als provides a Précis and Responses to the Commentators. Here’s the content of the issue: Summary of […]
• ### CFP: Austin Graduate Ethics and Normativity Talks

23 Jul 2014 | 10:39 am
Submission Deadline: August 1, 2014 The second annual Austin Graduate Ethics and Normativity Talks (AGENT) will take place on October 10-11, 2014 at the University of Texas at Austin. Professor Ruth Chang (Rutgers) will give this year’s keynote address. Submissions of high-quality papers from graduate students in any area of philosophy related to normativity and […]
• ### Tasioulas Takes Up the Yeoh Chair of Politics, Philosophy & Law at KCL

9 Jul 2014 | 12:28 pm
Many congratulations to Professor John Tasioulas who will be joining The Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College London on 1 September 2014 as the inaugural Yeoh Chair of Politics, Philosophy & Law and founding Director of the Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy & Law! John is a leading international figure in […]
• ### CFP: Ethical Underpinnings of Climate Economics

7 Jul 2014 | 9:43 am
Helsinki 11-13 November 2014 Confirmed speakers: John Broome (University of Oxford) John O’Neill (University of Manchester) The debates around climate change have renewed the interest in the relation between ethics and economics. The most recent indication of this is the Working Group III report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which takes the […]

• ## European Journal of Philosophy

• ### The Limits of Learning: Habermas' Social Theory and Religion

28 Jul 2014 | 10:17 pm
Abstract Habermas' view that contemporary philosophy and social theory can learn from religious traditions calls for closer consideration. He is correct to hold that religious traditions constitute a reservoir of potentially important meanings that can be critically appropriated without emptying them of their motivating and inspirational power. However, contrary to what he implies, his theory allows for learning from religion only to a very limited degree. This is due to two core elements of his conceptual framework, both of which are key features of his account of postmetaphysical thinking.
• ### Kierkegaard's Phenomenology of Spirit

7 Jul 2014 | 7:27 pm
Abstract Kierkegaard's preoccupation with a separation between the ‘inner’ and the ‘outer’ runs through his work and is widely thought to belong to his rejection of Hegel's idealist monism. Focusing on The Concept of Irony and Either/Or, I argue that although Kierkegaard believes in various metaphysical distinctions between inside and outside (the inwardness of faith and the outwardness of ethics and language; the inwardness of emotion and the outwardness of behavior), he nonetheless understands the task of the philosopher as that of making outside and inside converge in a…
• ### Darwall on Second-Personal Ethics

16 Jun 2014 | 1:47 am
• ### Heidegger the Metaphysician: Modes-of-Being and Grundbegriffe

13 Jun 2014 | 9:55 pm
Abstract Modes-of-being (Seinsarten) figure centrally in Heidegger's masterwork Being and Time. Testimony to this is Heidegger's characterisation of two of his most celebrated enquiries—the Existential analytic and the Zeug analysis—as investigations into the respective modes-of-being of the entities concerned. Yet despite the importance of this concept, commentators disagree widely about what a mode-of-being is. In this paper, I systematically outline and defend a novel and exegetically grounded interpretation of this concept. Strongly opposed to Kantian readings, such as those advocated…
• ### Whistling in 1929: Ramsey and Wittgenstein on the Infinite

5 May 2014 | 6:32 pm
Abstract Cora Diamond has recently criticised as mere legend the interpretation of a quip of Ramsey's, contained in the epigraph below, which takes him to be objecting to or rejecting Wittgenstein's Tractarian distinction between saying and showing. Whilst I agree with Diamond's discussion of the legend, I argue that her interpretation of the quip has little evidential support, and runs foul of a criticism sometimes made against intuitionism. Rather than seeing Ramsey as making a claim about the nature of propositions, as Diamond does, we should understand him as making a claim about the…
• ## Philosophia Mathematica - Advance Access

• ### Beauty Is Not Simplicity: An Analysis of Mathematicians' Proof Appraisals

25 Jul 2014 | 11:12 pm
What do mathematicians mean when they use terms such as ‘deep’, ‘elegant’, and ‘beautiful’? By applying empirical methods developed by social psychologists, we demonstrate that mathematicians' appraisals of proofs vary on four dimensions: aesthetics, intricacy, utility, and precision. We pay particular attention to mathematical beauty and show that, contrary to the classical view, beauty and simplicity are almost entirely unrelated in mathematics.
• ### Nominalism, Trivialism, Logicism

16 Jun 2014 | 7:24 pm
This paper extracts some of the main theses in the philosophy of mathematics from my book, The Construction of Logical Space. I show that there are important limits to the availability of nominalistic paraphrase functions for mathematical languages, and suggest a way around the problem by developing a method for specifying nominalistic contents without corresponding nominalistic paraphrases. Although much of the material in this paper is drawn from the book — and from an earlier paper — I hope the present discussion will earn its keep by motivating the ideas in a new way, and by…
• ### Logic, Mathematics, and the A Priori, Part II: Core Logic as Analytic, and as the Basis for Natural Logicism

12 Jun 2014 | 2:12 am
We examine the sense in which logic is a priori, and explain how mathematical theories can be dichotomized non-trivially into analytic and synthetic portions. We argue that Core Logic contains exactly the a-priori-because-analytically-valid deductive principles. We introduce the reader to Core Logic by explaining its relationship to other logical systems, and stating its rules of inference. Important metatheorems about Core Logic are reported, and its important features noted. Core Logic can serve as the basis for a foundational program that could be called Natural Logicism, an exposition of…
• ### A Dilemma for Neo-Fregeanism

31 May 2014 | 3:06 am
Neo-Fregeans need their stipulation of Hume's Principle — $NxFx=NxGx \leftrightarrow \exists R (Fx \,1\hbox {-}1_R\, Gx)$ — to do two things. First, it must implicitly define the term-forming operator ‘Nx...x...’, and second it must guarantee that Hume's Principle as a whole is true. I distinguish two senses in which the neo-Fregeans might ‘stipulate’ Hume's Principle, and argue that while one sort of stipulation fixes a meaning for ‘Nx...x...’ and the other guarantees the truth of Hume's Principle, neither does both.
• ### Logic, Mathematics, and the A Priori, Part I: A Problem for Realism

9 May 2014 | 10:26 pm
This is Part I of a two-part study of the foundations of mathematics through the lenses of (i) apriority and analyticity, and (ii) the resources supplied by Core Logic. Here we explain what is meant by apriority, as the notion applies to knowledge and possibly also to truths in general. We distinguish grounds for knowledge from grounds of truth, in light of our recent work on truthmakers. We then examine the role of apriority in the realism/anti-realism debate. We raise a hitherto unnoticed problem for any Orthodox Realist who attempts to explain the a priori.
• ## Feminist Philosophers

• ### Mansfeel Park

31 Jul 2014 | 6:36 pm
From a Buzzfeed article: “Manfeels Park is a new web comic that takes actual comments from men on the internet and puts them into scenes from Jane Austen’s stories. Because basically, that’s where they belong. In the 19th century.”   Check it out here.  I thought this one was particularly good.
• ### New sexual assault legislation planned

31 Jul 2014 | 6:46 am
From Inside Higher Ed New sexual assault legislation unveiled WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of eight U.S. Senators on Wednesday unveiled legislation aimed at holding colleges more accountable for preventing and dealing with the sexual assaults that occur on campuses. The lawmakers, led by Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, both Democrats, said that the bill responds to a national problem of campus sexual assault and the publicized cases of colleges mishandling investigations. … [One measure:] The legislation would require all…
• ### SWIP-Ireland, call for abstracts

30 Jul 2014 | 11:15 am
Call for Abstracts Society for Women in Philosophy, Ireland Annual Conference and General Meeting 21st – 22nd November 2014, Newman House, Dublin 2, Ireland Conference Theme: Women’s Bodies Recent decades have seen unprecedented scholarly interest in the body, particularly the gendered body. This interest has been fostered by critical work emanating from the fields of philosophy, sociology, gender studies, cultural studies, medical humanities, and politics. Traditional concepts such as sex and gender have also come under scrutiny outside of the academy, where feminists and LGBT activists…
• ### The Girls Obama Forgot

30 Jul 2014 | 11:10 am
…by philosopher Kimberlé Crenshaw in the NYT: My Brother’s Keeper highlights one of the most significant contradictions of his efforts to remain a friend to women while navigating the tricky terrain of race. It also amounts to an abandonment of women of color, who have been among his most loyal supporters.
• ### Why do women fare worse in negotiations?

30 Jul 2014 | 11:00 am
Well, one reason is that people are more likely to lie to them. And more likely to let men in on secrets. The study is here.

• ## In Socrates' Wake

• ### Newest issue of Teaching Philosophy

22 Jul 2014 | 10:50 am
Here she is, in all its summertime glory: Teaching Philosophy, vol. 37, no. 3:(A reminder: The journal is always looking for excellent contributions on the scholarship of teaching and learning. Submit your manuscript here!) Vanessa CarbonellHow to Put Prescription Drug Ads on Your SyllabusThe purpose of this essay is to make the case that the ethical issues raised by the current U.S. practice of direct-to-consumer (DTC) prescription drug advertising are worthy of study in philosophy courses, and to provide instructors with some ideas for how they might approach teaching the topic, despite the…
• ### Is it possible to give too much feedback?

2 Jul 2014 | 8:20 am
Recently, in the course of a presentation I was giving, I made a statement that is evidently controversial:Many conscientious instructors give too much feedback to students on their work.(I'm thinking mainly about student essays here.) Several audience members were taken aback (and this post at Philosophers' Cocoon suggests that at least some philosophers share such sentiments). But in my own defense, here's my rationale.That students respond positively to, appreciate, etc., extensive feedback on their work doesn't entail that this helps them learn. I don't doubt that many students like…
• ### A non-policy electronic device policy?

9 Jun 2014 | 7:00 am
The evidence that (a) we simply cannot multitask, and (b) in-class electronic devices probably hurt students as learners more than they help them, continues to mount. This is an issue we've addressed before. What options are there besides an outright ban on devices? One position: "it's you're funeral". Some require students to post their electronic notes. Others try to turn the technology to their advantage, allowing students to send questions electronically.I'd like to share what I tried this term (and which seemed to work, based on my unsystematic observation):I don't think I can…
• ### A Chance to Try Again

9 May 2014 | 6:15 am
This semester I asked students in my classes to give presentations on their papers. I've been very generous in grading these presentations. And I realized that part of the reason I was being so generous was because I was only giving them a chance to present once. In the past, when I've had students present I give them a chance to do it twice and I am much more critical in my grading. This made me think that I operate under the following grading policy: Only grade a particular assignment harshly if students had a chance to try that kind of assignment before. So, for example, if you are going…
• ### 2014 Lenssen Prize winners

14 Apr 2014 | 6:42 pm
Let's extend congratulations to Ann Cahill and Stephen Bloch-Schulman. Their article, "Argumentation step-by-step: Learning critical thinking through deliberative practice," Teaching Philosophy v. 35, no. 1 (2012), pp. 41-62 is the winner of the biennial Lenssen Prize for the best article on the teaching of philosophy. Congratulations to Ann and Stephen!
• ## Philosophy by the Way

• ### Criticism

20 Jul 2014 | 4:03 pm
Pyrrho van ElisLast week I bought a book by Antoine Compagnon on Montaigne and I immediately started to read it. Compagnon is an authority on Montaigne and he has published several books and articles on this philosopher. The book I bought is titled “Un été avec Montaigne” (A summer with Montaigne). It contains mini-essays like my present blogs are. Originally the pieces had been broadcast on the radio for a broad public. I can recommend everybody to read the book, also if you have read already a lot on and by Montaigne. Montaigne’s Essays are so rich in content that any book on…
• ### Killing in war: Does it happen?

13 Jul 2014 | 4:44 pm
Caterpillar Cemetery, Longueval, FranceOnly yet a few weeks to go and the commemorations of the centennial of the First World War will begin. When one thinks of war, one thinks of at least two opposing parties and one thinks of killing. Both are essential for what one calls war: There is no reason for fighting, if two parties do not disagree, and killing is the ultimate and often not so ultimate means for getting the other on his knees if he doesn’t give way. It is not difficult to find both elements in World War One. The immediate cause was a conflict between two countries (Austria and…
• ### How to make perfect photos

6 Jul 2014 | 4:08 pm
My exhibition in the Capitainerie in Stenay, Meuse, France“Nobody is perfect”. It’s a well-known saying. Implicitly it says that perfection is the norm. It’s something we have to strive for. And so we do, at least often, or at least many of us. In our work. When we educate our children. Advertisements tell us what the best products are for looking great, ... and we buy them. Some writers tend to work infinitely on a book, for as long as it is not perfect they do not want to publish it. Look around and you’ll see plenty of instances in which perfection is the goal or where it is…
• ### Trust (2)

29 Jun 2014 | 4:49 pm
Actually I thought it had become old-fashioned, like privacy has in the days of the Internet since it has become increasingly easier to intrude into another person’s life. Even in cases that it is explicitly illegal, privacy is violated, as we all know from recent publications in the media. For what is possible is done, in spite of any laws prohibiting it. I thought that trust had gone as well.Trust is relying on the reliability of another, for example that she or he will do what s/he says, without having any explicit guarantee that the other will really carry out what s/he is expected to…
• ### Privacy and public photos

22 Jun 2014 | 5:04 pm
Privacy is an important part of our life. Maybe it hasn’t been always so for in premodern times and certainly in prehistoric times, people lived in small communities and it was difficult to keep anything secret for your environment (and I don’t mean your family, who actually belong to your private life, but the people in your hamlet, village or even little town). But societies and values change so today privacy is considered important by most people, although one can wonder whether there isn’t a difference between what people say and what they actually do. Time and again I am surprised…
• ## The Brooks Blog

• ### Political theory & public policy

31 Jul 2014 | 7:56 am
Political theorists can offer invaluable insights for policymakers. This may be surprising – and strike some readers as an oxymoron: what could sound, evidence-based policy gain from theorists? The answer is three things. First, political theorists can provide conceptual clarity. Their craft is to probe such questions further: what does it mean to ‘restore’ and what precisely is restored through restorative justice? Secondly, political theorists bring perspective. It can be easy for policy analysts to work in a disciplinary vacuum and fail to take stock of the larger picture. Political…
• ### On "Crime: How to Solve It"

30 Jul 2014 | 7:27 am
British television presenter Nick Ross has published recently an engaging work, Crime: How to Solve It, which I've reviewed for Progress (a Labour Party-affiliated political group) here.
• ### Immigration to an independent Scotland - fact sheet

17 Jul 2014 | 5:34 am
. . . can be found in my latest Durham Law School briefing available HERE. It attempts to clarify the known knowns, known unknowns...and unknown unknowns.
• ### Customs at Gretna Green? Neither side is telling the whole truth on this one

14 Jul 2014 | 8:03 am
. . . is my latest piece for The Conversation - here focusing on the implications for immigration law and policy if Scotland votes for independence. The essay can be found here.
• ### Paper-hungry courts to go on a digital diet

4 Jul 2014 | 6:09 am
. . . piece found here remains as true now as when published originally.

• ## Continental Philosophy

• ### Derrida (2002)

31 Jul 2014 | 5:30 pm
Watch Derrida (2002)   Documentary about Algerian French philosopher Jacques Derrida who has had a global impact, and continues to provoke surprisingly emotional responses among the partisans of the Analytic tradition. Directors: Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering (as Amy Ziering Kofman) Stars: Jacques Derrida, Marguerite Derrida, René Major (from IMDB)
• ### Rosa Luxemburg Conference 2014, Berlin – ‘Manifestation against Imperialist Wars’

31 Jul 2014 | 4:57 pm
EIGHT HOUR VIDEO: Rosa Luxemburg Conference in English, Portuguese and German   About the Conference Since 1996, the International Rosa-Luxembourg-Conference in Berlin will take place on the second Saturday in January. It was initiated by the national Marxist party independent daily newspaper Junge Welt. Focus of the event include presentations and discussions on experiences, analysis and activities of left movements and parties worldwide, as well as the exchange of developments and political struggles in Germany. On the Rosa Luxembourg Conference meet regularly up to 2000 people from…
• ### Nietzsche and the Troubadours – Symposium in France, August 2, 2014

31 Jul 2014 | 4:49 pm
Maison Gai Saber & The New York Nietzsche Circle Present a Symposium on: Nietzsche and the Troubadours With Yunus Tuncel, Horst Hutter & guests. Date: Saturday August 2nd from 10am to 5pm. Location: Maison Gai Saber, 1 place de l’église ?86230, Leigné sur Usseau, ?France. Registration and further info: fyprevost@gmail.com www.maisongaisaber.com ncinfo@nietzschecircle.com 0033 9 80 37 16 67 www.nietzschecircle.com
• ### Laclau & Mouffe – Democracy and Populism. Are the compatible?

31 May 2014 | 10:13 pm
[ There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video. ]
• ### CFP: Studia Phaenomenologica vol. XV (2015) – Early Phenomenology

30 May 2014 | 7:59 pm
Guest Editors: Dermot Moran and Rodney K.B. Parker The 2015 issue of Studia Phaenomenologica will be dedicated to the topic of Early Phenomenology. The early phase of the phenomenological movement is an under researched area in the history of philosophy. Despite the efforts made by Herbert Spiegelberg, Karl Schuhmann, and Eberhard Avé-Lallemant in documenting the figures of this movement and in interpreting and elaborating on their ideas, many of Husserl’s followers remain cloaked in obscurity. Luckily, there has been a recent resurgence in the study of the early phenomenologists,…
• ## In Living Color

• ### Leiter and Pollitt on Hobby Lobby

10 Jul 2014 | 10:33 am
I've been busy with this and that, so haven't had time to read the Hobby Lobby decision myself.  For those trying to get a grip, Brian Leiter's interview on Point of Inquiry is illuminating and so is Katha Pollitt in The Nation. They both do a good, careful job of articulating why, despite the good of religious freedom, we should be bothered by this decision, especially as women, or on behalf of
• ### Gender Gaps

7 Jul 2014 | 7:33 am
There's a lot of worry in philosophy about the gender gap: Why does it exist? What should we do about it?  I sometimes wonder why this is thought to be so vexing and urgent, compared to other gender gaps.  The person who fixes our air conditioning is always a man. The people who mow our lawn are 100% male.  The folks who service our car are all male.  The people who try to sell you a car are
• ### Borderline Cases

24 Jun 2014 | 9:36 am
Anne Fausto-Sterling's books are informative and fascinating.  She writes in an exploratory, non-dogmatic way that I really appreciate.  She is hard to pin down and I (often) like authors who are hard to pin down. But one argument she seems to make in her books does not convince me much -- the argument that sex must be socially constructed, based on there being intersex individuals who wind up

20 Jun 2014 | 8:08 am
I just raced through John Colapinto's fascinating book As Nature Made Him and now I'm reading Anne Fausto-Sterling's Sexing the Body, so my head is filled with intersex states and genital accidents. But also with some curious questions about how we know our own gender.  Colapinto's book is about David Reimer, a man who started life as one of identical twin boys and then lost his penis in a
• ### Had to take down a post

17 Jun 2014 | 10:07 am
I had to take down the recent post "Campus Rape Statistics" because certain links in it were creating strange problems in other posts--a sentence linking to another website kept floating on top of other posts.  After an hour of trying to fix the problem I gave up!  Sorry, especially to those who left comments.
• ## gonepublic: philosophy, politics, & public life

• ### Lefteris Kretsos on the crisis in Greece

29 Jul 2014 | 4:57 pm
Noelle McAfee:So it has been a long while since my traumatic post of Spring 2014 on being incarcerated. That unfortunate experience has led to much interest in our totally fucked up incareral state, which I’ll blog about soon. But also I am currently very interested and worried about the neoliberal austerity measures that are destroying much of southern europe, including my own country of Greece. I’m writng about this and have recently been in correspondence with the social scientist Lefteris Kretsos. Hence this reblog. Originally posted on Marketization in Europe: Over the past…
• ### My New Year’s Day in Jail

22 May 2014 | 5:49 pm
On New Year’s Day 2014, before I’d had a chance to settle on my resolutions, I was thrown in jail. The day began full of resolve: by noon I had gotten in an hour of research on my new book, a quick workout, and started the dinner we were serving to homeless youth that evening for my son’s volunteer project (quiche I’d picked up at the farmer’s market, Greek roasted potatoes, black-eyed peas for good luck on New Year’s Day, green salad with a lemon vinaigrette, rolls, and maybe a dessert I’d pick up somewhere in the afternoon). Shortly after noon I headed out in my morning…
• ### Feminist Political Philosophy in the SEP

1 Apr 2014 | 7:04 pm
My newly revised entry on feminist political philosophy has just been published in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  This version has more on the history of feminism and a new taxonomy that expands on difference feminisms, diversity and postcolonial feminism (though it could still use much more on the latter), and a much expanded section on what I am calling performative feminism. Many thanks to Mary G. Dietz, Ann Garry, Bonnie Honig, Eva Kittay, Carole Pateman, R. Claire Snyder-Hall, Shay Welch, and Ewa Ziarek for their suggestions for this revision.
• ### Kristeva Circle 2014

1 Apr 2014 | 6:55 pm
Julia Kristeva skyped in to the Kristeva Circle meeting at Vanderbilt this past Sunday to give a brief talk and take questions for over an hour. For a Skype session, it was amazingly intimate and personal, a great way to end an amazing meeting organized by Kelly Oliver and Rebecca Tuvel. I had the pleasure of being part of a panel on Saturday on Concepts of Women, Visions of Feminism. I talked about Kristeva’s recent article published in the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association.
• ### Philosophy’s Big Data and why that is good

24 Mar 2014 | 4:56 pm
The American Philosophical Association’s Executive Director Amy Ferrer guest posted today on the newapps blog.  I’m heartened that the APA is committed to collecting and reporting data on the profession in a rigorous and data-driven manner, unlike those blogs and rankings (actually I’m thinking of just one in particular) that are biased from the bottom up. It’s time to take the profession back from those who just use it for their own gain. Here’s a snippet of Ferrer’s post and a link to the whole thing: Perhaps the most powerful tool we have to increase…

• ## Alexander Pruss's Blog

• ### A problem for easy ontology arguments

31 Jul 2014 | 8:16 am
Consider this "easy ontology" argument: There are no unicorns. So, there are zero unicorns. So, there is a zero. This seems fine. Now consider the parallel: Every leprechaun is a fairy. So, the set of leprechauns is a subset of the set of fairies. So, there is a set of leprechauns. If there is a set of leprechauns, it's empty. (There aren't any leprechauns!) So, there is an empty set. That seems fine as well. So far so good. But now: Every non-self-membered set (set a that isn't one of its own members) is a set. So, the set of non-self-membered sets is a subset of the set of all sets. So,…
• ### Space, time, spacetime and difficulty of causally affecting

30 Jul 2014 | 7:15 am
I have previously speculated that the concept of spatial distance might be closely to connected to the difficulty of causally affecting. Roughly speaking, the further apart two things are, the harder it is for one to affect the other. This morning I was thinking about what happens if you bring time into this. Consider events a and b in spacetime, with a earlier than b. Then, keeping spatial distance constant, the greater the temporal distance, intuitively the easier it is for a to affect b. The greater the temporal distance, the greater the number of slow-moving influences from x to y that…
• ### Ex nihilo nihil

26 Jul 2014 | 8:14 am
Nothing comes from nothing. Take that as a given. But a mountain's coming from molehill[note 1], while not literally a case of something from nothing, would be just as bad. There is a Polish proverb that even Solomon cannot pour a drink from an empty container. But, likewise, even Solomon cannot pour wine from a container of water (at least without help from something greater than Solomon). The more doesn't come from the less. What doesn't have something cannot give it. Now, obviously, this principle needs to be limited. You can get a headache from playing a videogame for too long, but the…
• ### Another EEG

24 Jul 2014 | 12:56 pm
Josh Rasmussen encouraged me to run the toy EEG while I was writing book chapter, presumably as a way to get me to make more progress on our joint book arguing for a necessary being.  So, here it is. Looks to me slightly intermediate between the graphs for blogging and for feeding in the earlier EEGs. The topic of the chapter is the same as that of the post I was doing in the earlier EEG. In case anybody is curious, here's how raw data (not from the above, just from some software testing I was doing) looks like. Amusingly, one can also touch the electrode to one's chest, put one's…
• ### EEG of me blogging vs. feeding/cleaning

24 Jul 2014 | 7:50 am
• ### The Science, Politics, and Ontology of Life-Philosophy

31 Jul 2014 | 10:13 pm
2014.08.01 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Scott M. Campbell and Paul W. Bruno, The Science, Politics, and Ontology of Life-Philosophy, Bloomsbury, 2013, 267pp., \$37.95 (pbk), 9781472591586. Reviewed by Keith Ansell-Pearson, University of Warwick In their Introduction the editors state that they wish this book to help restore life to a fundamental place within philosophical discourse and practice. It is an ambitious collection of essays of mixed quality that aims to retrieve and extend the work of the classical philosophers of life, notably Nietzsche, Dilthey, and…
• ### Self-Love vs. Vanity

31 Jul 2014 | 7:11 pm
The love of one’s self is a virtue, one that takes time and thought to cultivate. Vanity, however, is a vice. Clancy Martin parses the distinction… more»Continue reading . . . News source: Arts & Letters Daily
• ### Geoff Dyer at the Geoff Dyer Conference

31 Jul 2014 | 7:11 pm
“The only time I’ve ever been in a seminar where I have been the leading authority on the subject.” Geoff Dyer attends the Geoff Dyer conference… more»Continue reading . . . News source: Arts & Letters Daily
• ### The Hi-Tech Mess of Higher Education

31 Jul 2014 | 7:10 pm
Universities used to be committed to the preservation of cultural memory. Now it’s standardized tests, cost-benefit readouts, and human-resources questionnaires… more»Continue reading . . . News source: Arts & Letters Daily
• ## The Mindful Word

• ### THE POWER OF LOVE: A universal current of compassion

30 Jul 2014 | 7:25 am
Excerpted from How to Survive Life (and Death): A Guide for Happiness in This World and Beyond by Robert Kopecky.  Love is the current of compassion running […] Continue reading at The Mindful Word journal of engaged living [http://www.themindfulword.org]
• ### THE FRUITS OF THE EARTH: An introduction to crystal healing

28 Jul 2014 | 2:39 pm
Excerpted from Earth Blessings: Using Crystals for Personal Energy Clearing, Earth Healing & Environmental Enhancement by Judy Hall, a past-life therapist and karmic astrologer with more than […] Continue reading at The Mindful Word journal of engaged living [http://www.themindfulword.org]
• ### ALTERNATING CURRENT: Sometimes you need to get lost in the flow, before you can be found

25 Jul 2014 | 1:13 pm
Part I 1. Odds are, reader, you’ve never had ECT, short for electroconvulsive treatment and colloquially known as shock treatment. If that’s so, you may […] Continue reading at The Mindful Word journal of engaged living [http://www.themindfulword.org]
• ### THE MIDDLE PATH: How our desires and aversions make us suffer

23 Jul 2014 | 2:44 pm
What if spirituality could be reduced to the knowledge of a pair of simple rules promulgated by nature itself? To live by these rules would lead to […] Continue reading at The Mindful Word journal of engaged living [http://www.themindfulword.org]
• ### SPARK OF THE SOUL: The wisdom of mystic Meister Eckhart

22 Jul 2014 | 3:12 pm
Meister Eckhart was a late-thirteenth- and early-fourteenth-century preacher and mystic, yet like Rumi and Hafiz, he remains relevant today. He speaks to so many and […] Continue reading at The Mindful Word journal of engaged living [http://www.themindfulword.org]

• ## Philosophy Walk

• ### Aesthetically Speaking

28 Jul 2014 | 3:49 am
Philosophy Walk Philosophy Walk - Official Site of the Podcast Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy that asks the hard questions when it comes to art. Not only what art is, but also why we find certain things beautiful? Are judgements about art objective or subjective statements? Can those statements or judgements be modified with training, education, or experience? Or does the appreciation of art speak to our cultural values? The post Aesthetically Speaking appeared first on Philosophy Walk.
• ### Philosophy Walk TV Kickstarter Campaign

27 Jul 2014 | 12:40 pm
Philosophy Walk Philosophy Walk - Official Site of the Podcast The ‘Philosophy Walk TV’ Kickstarter Campaign has officially launched!  PWTV is an ambitious project and needs your help!  The focus will be on easy to access introductory videos on Philosophy.  The campaign will help to fund and produce the first 25 videos.   See it here at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/92462351/philosophy-walk-tv The post Philosophy Walk TV Kickstarter Campaign appeared first on Philosophy Walk.
• ### The Matrix Rebooted Act 2

21 Jul 2014 | 1:55 am
Philosophy Walk Philosophy Walk - Official Site of the Podcast In our search for as yet undiscovered laws of nature we often turn to simulations ourselves. In Act 2 of "The Matrix Rebooted" we are going to slightly deeper look into what science is doing to test the bounds of reality and consciousness. The post The Matrix Rebooted Act 2 appeared first on Philosophy Walk.
• ### The Matrix Rebooted

14 Jul 2014 | 2:13 am
Philosophy Walk Philosophy Walk - Official Site of the Podcast In a sequel to the episode "Is This A Simulation" we once again look at the Matrix. It was in 2003 that philosopher Nick Bostrom presented his paper "Are You Living in a Computer Simulation". What if this is true, and is science doing anything about it? The post The Matrix Rebooted appeared first on Philosophy Walk.
• ### Panpsychism

7 Jul 2014 | 1:58 am
Philosophy Walk Philosophy Walk - Official Site of the Podcast The theory of the mind has many philosophers banging their heads against the wall.  Especially physicalists who face the problem that, if everything in the universe is physical, then how does one explain mental cognition? Or qualia?  The experience we feel when we bite into an apple? Something extraordinary that can’t be explained by looking at […] The post Panpsychism appeared first on Philosophy Walk.
• ## The Philosophers' Cocoon

• ### Having trouble publishing? Try overproducing

30 Jul 2014 | 8:55 am
"The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas." - Linus Pauling I've written several times about how one of the best pieces of professional advice I've ever received--independently from several different, very successful people--is to write and send out a lot of papers. To review, my first couple years out I was having a really hard time publishing. I published a very short reply piece my first year out of grad school, but that was all--and I mostly spent my days slaving away over a couple of pieces from my dissertation, which kept getting rejected (though…
• ### CFP: Analytic Existentialism

30 Jul 2014 | 8:17 am
My attention has been brought to this CFP for a conference on analytic existentialism: The department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium, is pleased to host a workshop on "Analytical Existentialism," October 20–21, 2014 Keynote: LA Paul (UNC): "Transformative Experiences"We welcome abstracts on topics related to Analytical Existentialism, which is the use of an analytical style to investigate topics that matter to us as human beings capable of feelings and anxieties or joys while doing justice to our first-person (even phenomenological)…
• ### Reader Question: A broken faculty life-cycle?

28 Jul 2014 | 8:15 am
A reader emailed me this weekend: What do you make of this:  http://theprofessorisin.com/2014/07/25/adjuncts-assistant-professors-and-a-broken-faculty-life-cycle/ - one idea I thought was interesting: Kelsky says the current market is damaging to new faculty members (and I would further and say it's damaging to others too), even the lucky ones who make it: "My point was, tenure track hires today are often harmed by the destructive conditions of the job market, even when they have been successful in it. They are harmed by the years of anxiety, the pervasive sense of panic and…
• ### Weekend Wavelengths

25 Jul 2014 | 1:34 pm
For your weekend-listening pleasure, one of the more beautiful rock ballads written... And for good measure...

25 Jul 2014 | 6:37 am
I came across this blog post yesterday, "The Worst Advice Grad Students Get", and thought it touches on issues that might be worth discussing here. According to the author, one of the worst pieces of advice grad students get is to focus on the dissertation and leave publishing for later. She describes a case where she received interest in her dissertation from an editor at a prestigious academic press, and a faculty member told her not to follow up. No, no, no, Faculty Mentor said. Your dissertation is not done, and a dissertation is not a book. “Keeping in touch” would end up…
• ## Re-constructing Strategy

• ### 5 Pillars of Muslim Thoughtlessness

27 Jul 2014 | 12:11 pm
Say anything enough times, and irrespective of the underlying reality, people will start to believe. The Muslim community is no exception. Over the years, I’ve come across several incorrect assertions by imams and the heterogeneous community, assertions that have become accepted mantra. Here is my top 5 list: “Islam is unlike any other religion because it is a way of life”. Following Manchester United is a way of life…. as is homosexuality…. as are all the great religions. Just ask anybody who lives near Old Trafford and what kind of religion it is that they follow. There’s…
• ### Beyond Sovereignty

21 Jul 2014 | 2:14 pm
The conventional wisdom is that the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 marked the ascendancy of the international political system of sovereign nation-states. It was then that the Roman Catholic church, so most historians suggest, lost its right to influence the internal machinations of Europe’s states… a maneuver which I can hardly imagine helped Pope Innocent X down his bacon and eggs. I of course assume he wasn’t lucky enough to get his hands on a bowl of Oatibix. At its core, the concept of national sovereignty has it that all countries are independent and autonomous in their physical…
• ### The Israeli – Palestinian Conflict: The Real Bad Guys

13 Jul 2014 | 5:44 pm
There are few crimes as disturbing as the killing of innocent people en masse. The recent massacres of Palestinians in Gaza, brought into our palms by social media, have been a particularly nauseous episode in the conflict’s troubled past. At the time of writing, more than 170 Palestinians were killed and a further 17,000 have sought refuge with UN agencies. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters have all been ripped to shreds by the Israeli bombardment. The Muslim and Arab response has been to demonize all things Jewish and Israeli. Hitler has suddenly become quite popular…
• ### The Madness of Wimbledon

6 Jul 2014 | 2:51 pm
Since 2007, the Championships tennis tournament at Wimbledon has awarded the gentlemen’s and ladies’ champion respectively equal prize money. This year Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitova each won £1.76m for jobs well done. I am fasting because it’s Ramadan but even then this equality doesn’t quite stack up. Neither brain cell in my skull is firing any cylinders. What specifically is it that seems out of place? For a start, the ladies game only extends to a maximum of three sets, which contrasts the gentlemen’s maximum of five sets. The average ladies’ match lasts a couple of hours…
• ### Is Islam Inherently Anti-Semitic?

29 Jun 2014 | 12:55 pm
That was indeed the question posed to me this week by a political scientist from the University of Toronto. I was half tempted to respond with my usual vitriol about the epistemological and ontological bankruptcy of the political science industry in North America. I resisted the temptation and instead engaged the question. And as I responded, I thought it might be a good thing to float my response on my blog. First, it’s hard for a religion founded by a Semite, initially dominated by Semites and with more Semites in its ranks than has any other religion to somehow be anti-Semitic. Mohammed…

• ## iai.tv news RSS feed

• ### Under the Microscope

29 Jul 2014 | 7:18 pm
“Heresy should be encouraged because that’s how breakthroughs happen.” We often like to think we live in an age of reason. The fruits of modern science and technology are all around us: from smartphones and 3D printers to cures for some of history's most devastating diseases. We now have the highest life-expectancy our species has ever experience. Despite all this, a backlash seems to be emerging against certain aspects of science. Lately the revered process of peer review has been coming under fire – especially in the field of medical science. A recent piece in The Economist even…
• ### Sex, Lies and Revolution

29 Jul 2014 | 6:31 pm
Laurie Penny is a columnist for New Statesman and the author of Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism. Her new book, Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution is published by Bloomsbury. In this wide-ranging interview, she discusses pornography, online abuse and the many different strands of contemporary feminism.   The feminism you articulate in this book seeks to speak for and liberate the marginalised, the ‘other’ in capitalist society. How did you come to this conception of feminism? Well I wouldn’t say the kind of feminism that represents women who aren’t necessarily…
• ### We are the Disaster

29 Jul 2014 | 8:43 am
Simon Ings is a novelist, science writer and editor of Arc, New Scientist's magazine about the future. His latest novel, Wolves, explores an imagined future world where Augmented Reality reigns. Here, he speaks to Vassili Christodoulou about science fiction, J.G. Ballard, and whether Google Glass will ever really take off.   Wolves is identified as a tribute to Ballard. What do you consider his influence on you as a writer and contemporary literature and science fiction as a whole? It's much more an homage to John Wyndham than to Ballard. Wyndham lived near my home town and the house where…
• ### Dethroning Consciousness

28 Jul 2014 | 10:11 am
Barry C Smith is a Director of the Institute of Philosophy at the Institute of Advanced Studies at University of London. His interests range from the philosophy of wine to Chomskyan theory of mind and language. Here, he discusses free will, philosophy of mind, and our changing conception of consciousness thanks to recent advances in neuroscience.   Do you think that neuroscience can tell us what the mind is? I think neuroscience can give us a bigger and more precise account of the many things that go on in the mind. For a long time we've relied on what we consciously have access to, or the…
• ### Who Wants to Live Forever?

28 Jul 2014 | 10:02 am
The prospect of immortality has been with humanity for as long as we have understood our own mortality. It has been explored in culture after culture through mysticism, religion and, latterly, medical technology. The prospect of immortality is a uniquely human optimism created in answer to a uniquely human curse – the ability to contemplate our own existence, and its inevitable end. As our technology improves, the prospect of immortality is beginning to look less and less ludicrous. Perhaps not true immortality any time soon, but the idea that in the mid-to-distant future we might be able…