I think therefore I exercise. Do you believe you are two different kinds of things (an immaterial mind and a material body), or do you believe that the mind is not an immaterial substance that is different from the physical world? It turns out that your belief one way or the other might have any important real-world consequences on your health.
Did Descartes doom Terri Schiavo? “The plea … to prolong Ms. Schiavo’s feeding, against the wishes of her husband or what courts determined to be her own expressed inclinations, echoed the teachings of Aristotle, who considered existence itself to be inviolable. On the other side, the argument that Ms. Schiavo’s life could be judged as not worth living echoed Descartes, the Enlightenment philosopher who defined human life not as biological existence – which might be an inviolable gift from God – but as consciousness, about which people can make judgments.”
Five books on ancient philosophy and modern life. Jules Evans “explores philosophy lessons of the ancients relevant to our globalised, information age – by way of cognitive behavioural therapy, and government measures of happiness.”
Bob, his Bugatti, and what we owe others. Peter Singer’s 1999 New York Times article asking: “Now you, too, have the information you need to save a child’s life. How should you judge yourself if you don’t do it?” Many more articles by Singer, including “What Should a Billionaire Give – and What Should You?”
And what about the Bugatti? Bugatti: 1,001 horsepower, $1.24 million and 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic sells for a record $30+ Million.
Matters of life and death. David Edmonds’ excellent review of the runaway trolley and its many variations. “Interest in ‘trolleyology’—a way of studying moral quandaries—has taken off in recent years. Some philosophers say it sheds useful light on human behaviour, others see it as a pointless pursuit of the unknowable.”
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.
Why do the battles over ancient Athens still rage, and were the Athenians too aggressive or not aggressive enough? What does “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must” really mean?