Beyond Anger

Anger is the emotion that has come to saturate our politics and culture. Philosophy can help us out of this dark vortex, says Martha Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago. Her latest book, based on her John Locke Lectures at Oxford University, is Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice (2016).

Nussbaum focuses on the example of Nelson Mandela and cites the influence of the Stoic Emperor Philosopher Marcus Aurelius but curiously doesn’t refer to fellow Stoic Philosopher Seneca, author of one of the most famous treatises on anger.

Read the full article at Aeon.


Want to improve NAPLAN scores? Teach children philosophy

“Philosophical thinking skills are transferable skills that assist a child to do well on tests as well as in the real world.

Rather than simply delivering information, philosophy helps children to think for themselves.

Critical thinking is a tool we use every day. Students use their critical discernment when deciding which job or career they want.

Distinguishing between important information and political rhetoric in the media requires critical thinking. Understanding complex ideas such as how policies might affect the economy, how certain drugs will affect certain patients, or how to design software all require critical thinking.

This is especially important given the increasing proportion of jobs available in STEM fields in the future.

Students who study philosophy also achieve better results overall.

In the US, philosophy majors score the highest out of all disciplines in the LSAT and GRE, tests used for admissions into law school and graduate programs respectively.

The benefits of philosophical training extend beyond doing well on tests, as philosophy majors then go on to have the highest non-STEM earnings of any major, and even earn more than accountants. Not bad for a degree which may be dismissed as not having an obvious vocational application.”

Just as well we’ve made Philosophy compulsory for all Year 9 MHS students next year, then…

Read the full article, by Adam Piovarchy, PhD Candidate, Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney; and Laura D’Olimpio, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Notre Dame Australia at The Conversation.


“You’ve probably seen some of the line art portraits of logicians we’ve commissioned. They were done by Calgary illustrator and graphic designer Matthew Leadbeater. We’re pleased to release them all now under a Creative Commons BY-NC license: anyone is free to use them in their own work, to create derivative works from them, and to share them, provided (a) credit to Matt Leadbeater is properly given and (see license terms!) (b) they are not used for any commercial purposes.”

View them all at The Open Logic Project

The tolerant philosopher

“Pierre Bayle, a French thinker who died in Rotterdam in 1706, is the ­forgotten hero of the Enlightenment. His name sometimes rings a bell for historians of philosophy, but apart from them I cannot remember when I last met anyone who had heard of him. In the 18th century, however, Bayle’s admirers included Frederick the Great, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire. They revered him for his defence of religious liberty and his genius for undermining conventional ideas. Voltaire said that the “immortal” Bayle was the greatest reasoner who ever set pen to paper.”

Read the rest of the article by Anthony Gottlieb at The New Statesman.

A Harvard philosopher’s argument for not loving yourself just as you are

‘The importance of loving yourself is a common catchphrase among feel-good gurus and the subject of countless self-help books.

‘But Harvard University’s Michael Puett argues that loving yourself—and all your flaws—can actually be quite harmful. Puett, who earlier this year published a book on what Chinese philosophy can teach us about the good life, suggests that ancient Chinese philosophers would strongly disapprove of today’s penchant for self-affirmation.

‘Quartz spoke to Puett as part of an occasional series that attempts to apply serious thinking from the world of philosophy to everyday life. What can great thinkers teach us about how to navigate your career path? Do people ever really change? Can philosophy inform our search for true love? The Chinese philosophy Puett studies raises questions about whether we should we accept and celebrate ourselves as we are or strive to change and improve upon our fundamental nature. And, for that matter, does our “fundamental nature” even exist?’

Read the rest of Olivia Goldhill’s article at Quartz

Would it be immoral to send out a generation starship?

‘If human beings are ever to colonise other planets – which might become necessary for the survival of the species, given how far we have degraded this one – they will almost certainly have to use generation ships: spaceships that will support not just those who set out on them, but also their descendants. The vast distances between Earth and the nearest habitable planets, combined with the fact that we are unlikely ever to invent a way of travelling that exceeds the speed of light, ensures that many generations will be born, raised and die on board such a ship before it arrives at its destination.


‘As well as the technological and social challenges confronting the designers of such ships, there are fascinating philosophical and ethical issues that arise. The issue I want to focus on concerns the ethics of a project that locks the next generation into a form of living, the inauguration of which they had no say over, and that ensures their options are extremely limited.’

Read the rest of Neil Levy’s article at Aeon