Philosophy In The News, Weekly: December 22 to 28, 2018

The best of the philosophical internet featuring reasons to forget those New Year’s resolutions; Enlightenment advice on facing Trump’s bullying; insight from the unsettling and properly radical Sigmund Freud; and Jane Austen on cultivating good character via reading.


Olivia Goldhill gives us some philosophical reasons to give up on your typical New Year’s resolutions. | Quartzy

“Advice from the Enlightenment: In the face of crude bullying and humorless lies, try wit and a passion for justice.” Historian of the French Enlightenment Robert Darnton says that to deal with Trump we should look to Voltaire and recommit to “the cause of civilization.” | The New York Times


“For millenniums, humans had wondered what it might be like to look back at themselves from a great distance.” A gallery of ancient maps shows the earth as it was imagined before space travel. | The New York Times

“Third-wave [post-civil rights] anti-racism makes sense, and fits into the longer struggle, but it’s a dead end.” John McWhorter diagnoses the religious tropes in the left’s moral crusade for racial justice. |The Atlantic

“Happiness is a momentary experience that arises spontaneously and is fleeting. Meanwhile, satisfaction is a long-term feeling, built over time and based on achieving goals and building the kind of life you admire.” Cognitive psychologist Daniel Kahneman, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics, explains that rather than pursue happiness, most of us try to maximize satisfaction. | Quartz

“If I want to read someone whose work truly explains what is happening now, and who is unsettling and properly radical, it is Sigmund Freud I turn to.” Suzanne Moore on why the founder of psychoanalysis explains the world as it is, and not as Marxists would like it to be. | The Guardian

Suzanne Moore’s enthusiasm for Freud’s ideas leads to an abundantly rational debate over his legacy. | The Guardian

“At face value, business and philosophy might seem poles apart, but the interdisciplinary approach has changed me and my business for the better.” On using Stoic principles to run a company. | Forbes


“[P]art masterwork of poetic scholarship, part contemplative memoir concerned with the most fundamental question of human life: What gives our existence meaning?” Maria Popova on John J. Kaag’s Hiking with Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You Are.| Brain Pickings

“He [Nietzsche] focuses on a key question: without Christianity, how can we live by a Christian morality, blindly accepting its rules concerning good and evil? Or as Prideaux sums it up: ‘What happens when man cancels the moral code on which he has built the edifice of his civilisation? What does it mean to be human unchained from a central metaphysical purpose? Does a vacuum of meaning occur? If so, what is to fill that vacuum?’” Patrick West on a new biography of the famously misunderstood philosopher. | spiked

“Mark Edmundson is one of the believers in the beyond, and he wants to save your soul.” On Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals. | Los Angeles Review of Books

“Austen’s wisest, most admirable characters are those who turn to books for knowledge of things outside themselves—truths about the human nature common to us all. For these readers, among them Anne Elliot and Elizabeth Bennet, good character is cultivated in learning to read literature, other people, and oneself well.” On how Jane Austen’s novels gave audiences a model for reading and living well. | The Atlantic


“Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the development of ideas about hope, left in Pandora’s box either as a consolation or as another evil, later the companion of faith and love.” On hope. | In Our Time

Part two of a philosophical and psychological discussion on suicide in Durkheim, Socrates and the Stoics, with guest Drew Pinsky. | The Partially Examined Life

“What happened over the past twelve months that challenged our assumptions and made us think about things in new ways?” Philosophers celebrate the examined year, 2018. | Philosophy Talk

David Rutledge interviews Barry Lam, creator and host of Hi-Phi Nation, about his podcast that fuses philosophy with storytelling. | The Philosopher’s Zone



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