The Afterlife

Samuel Scheffler on the importance of the afterlife … seriously.   “Astonishing though it may seem, there are ways in which the continuing existence of other people after our deaths — even that of complete strangers — matters more to us than does our own survival and that of our loved ones.”

What is time?

Reviews of Lee Smolin’s Time Reborn. See especially TensersTime Regained!, and Resetting the Clocks, Smolin explains: “I used to believe in the essential unreality of time. Indeed, I went into physics because as an adolescent I yearned to exchange the time-bound, human world, which I saw as ugly and inhospitable, for a world of pure, timeless truth…. I no longer believe that time is unreal. In fact I have swung to the opposite view: Not only is time real, but nothing we know or experience gets closer to the heart of nature than the reality of time.” Even the laws of nature, Smolin says, are in time and change over time.

Examined lives

What it means to lead a good life. A. C. Grayling’s review of James Miller’s Examined Lives. “His conclusion is a negative one: the combination of wisdom, self-understanding, and self-possession that Socrates’s successors took to be the gold standard for the philosophical life proved impossible for most of them to attain, and, in some cases, what they preached and what they practised fell widely apart.” Sarah Bakewell’s review in New York Times.