Bits and Pieces – Emotional prescription / Standpoint statements

by Daniel A. Kaufman Emotional prescription Does it make sense to speak of “prescribing” or “critically examining” an emotion or feeling? People often say things like this: “You should be happy.” “You should care about what happens to your sister.” “You shouldn’t be mad about that.” What do we ask of a person by way... Continue Reading →

A Close Look at “Stranger Things”

by David Ottlinger This essay assumes that one has watched Netflix's Stranger Things, Season One, and contains spoilers.  Season Two has just aired and will be the subject of a future essay. There was no particular reason I should have loved Stranger Things. It followed the usual formula for a streaming show: a dense plot,... Continue Reading →

Self-Discovery and Political Opinion

by Mark English How do we come to have the political views we have? Genetics (and, more broadly, biology) plays a part, but only, I think, to the extent that genetics/biology contributes to determining broad psychological characteristics, relating to personality type for example. The main contributing factors are no doubt socio-cultural and relate to one’s... Continue Reading →

Three Boys and a Hole in a Fence

by Daniel A. Kaufman These last few days, I have been in NY – Long Island to be precise – staying with my mother, while my father is traveling.  This has become something of a ritual.  My parents are elderly – my father will be ninety in June and my mother just turned eighty-six, last... Continue Reading →

Art and Emotion

by Mark English Experience has taught me, when I am shaving of a morning, to keep watch over my thoughts, because, if a line of poetry strays into my memory, my skin bristles so that the razor ceases to act. This particular symptom is accompanied by a shiver down the spine; there is another which... Continue Reading →

Self-Sufficiency and Human Flourishing

by Daniel A. Kaufman It is no secret that my friend and colleague, Massimo Pigliucci, is a practicing modern Stoic.  Indeed, working within and promoting the modern Stoic form of life has become one of his chief projects, including a blog devoted exclusively to the topic – How To Be a Stoic – and a... Continue Reading →

The Scope of Morality

by Daniel Tippens Every decision is a moral decision. Every dollar you spend on yourself is a dollar that could instead be donated to a good cause. Every minute you spend is a minute you could have done something more kind or helpful than what you actually did. Every person you see, you could greet... Continue Reading →

The Ripeness is All: Hamlet and the Problem of Uncertainty

E. John Winner Although the Italian Renaissance produced important works prefatory to the arrival of Modernity, three texts actually announce it.  Surprisingly, given modern biases, none of them are works of science or philosophy.  Instead, they are literary fictions, and notably, each had a profound effect on the very structures of the languages in which... Continue Reading →

Knowledge and Illusion

by Mark English Writer’s block it is not. The problem – if it is a problem – is more along the lines that the sorts of topics and themes I know best are not (for various reasons) all that interesting to me, or only in a negative way. And most of the topics that I... Continue Reading →

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