Gut bacteria might guide the workings of our minds. A professor of medicine and psychiatry at U.C.L.A. “thinks the bacteria in our digestive systems may help mold brain structure as we’re growing up, and possibly influence our moods, behavior and feelings when we’re adults.”
Nazis, lies, and videotape. Is it morally permitted to lie to Nazis today to obtain information for the historical record about the Holocaust? “Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah consists in large part of an extensive interview with former SS-Unterscharfuhrer Franz Suchomel who worked at the Treblinka and Sobibor death camps. Lanzmann told him that the interview will be taped but the tape will not be released for thirty years due to the sensitivity of its content. In addition Lanzmann filmed the interview with a secret camera secreted in a briefcase.”
“Live Like a Stoic Week is happening for the second year. It will be taking place from November 25 to December 1. Everyone who is interested in Stoicism, or who practices it today, is encouraged to take part, get involved in an event or activity, and help spread the word.” Stoicism may be just what you need for Thanksgiving week.
Do we live in the Matrix? “Tests could reveal whether we are part of a giant computer simulation — but the real question is if we want to know…” Red pill or blue … the ultimate appearance v. reality question?
The school of Arthur Danto. Crispin Sartwell remembers philosopher Arthur Danto. “And that’s what I most want us to hold on to: Danto’s proof that philosophy can be a lovely thing as well as a quest for truth, his demonstration of the identity of philosophy with art – not as a premise of his argument that art is at an end, but as actually enacted in his writing.”
A philosopher-general. To succeed in battle, study philosophy. “People used to tell me that business administration is for the practical life and philosophy is for the spirit. … Through the years I found it is exactly the opposite — I used philosophy much more practically. Philosophers that spoke about how to balance, how to prioritize principles in a right way. … [t]his is something that I find very helpful.”
Beware toxic fatalism, in its atheistic and theistic forms. Jules Evans thinks: “I don’t think the main battle line in our culture is between theists and atheists. The main dividing line, for me, is between those who believe in free will, and those who don’t. It’s between those who think we can use our conscious reason – however weak it is – to choose new beliefs and new directions in our life; and those who think we are entirely automatic machines, without the capacity to choose.”
The moral life of babies. An interview of Yale psychology professor Paul Bloom. Bloom finds the origins of morality in infants.
The addict also rises. Clancy Martin’s review of White Out. Martin is one of the authors/editors of Introducing Philosophy.