Philosophy In The News, Weekly: December 29, 2018 to January 6, 2019

New Years Morning, Preparing to Call. Hand-colored albumen stereograph on card mount by George Stacy (Made between 1861 and 1866). The photograph is of a staged interior scene showing men dressing and grooming in preparation for social calls on New Year's Day. | Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The best of the philosophical internet featuring the Gospel according to You… Saint Narcissist; Francis Fukuyama’s ‘end of history’ idea (sorry man, it’s back and pissed off); and a glittery Socrates-esque seductress on YouTube.

News

“We live in a culture of selfism—a culture that puts tremendous emphasis on self, on self-care and self-display.” David Brooks lampoons the modern Gospel of “Saint You.” | The New York Times

“How should we live?” The words and works of David Wojnarowicz, a feral artist from the 1980s, pose the right questions, the big ones. | The Times Literary Supplement

“He chose all the right ideas and associations. His writing appealed to the right readers. But the world he desired was gone before he was. It was something in space that was lost to time.” On the passing of famed Israeli writer Amos Oz, and the near death of his secular-Jewish nationalism. | The New Yorker

Ideas

“In the case atheists vs. religious belief, Ludwig Wittgenstein is called to the stand. Whose side does his testimony serve?” Stephn Law on Wittgenstein and religion. | Aeon

“Because she brings together ideas from both the left and the right to battle increasing inequality, Anderson may be the philosopher best suited to this awkward moment in American life.” On American thinker Elizabeth Anderson, one of the leading theorists of democracy and social justice. | The New Yorker

“The best way to overcome it [fear of death] is to make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river: small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being.” An excerpt from Bertrand Russell’s “How to Grow Old.” | My Modern Met

“There is no present or future; only the past happening over and over again… Are we locked in some never-ending cycle, a death spiral from which we cannot pull ouwestern liberal democracy? When you look at our world today you would be forgiven for thinking so.” It has been 30 years since political scientist Francis Fukuyama declared “the end of history”—i.e. the triumph of Western liberal democracy. But now history is back and it’s pissed off. | ABC News

“Looking over the year that has passed, it is a nice question whether human stupidity or artificial intelligence has done more to shape events. Perhaps it is the convergence of the two that we really need to fear.” On the future of AI. | The Guardian

“Nietzsche’s critique of modernity has fascinated thinkers on the Right and Left—but in its essence, it belongs to the Right. The Left must advance an alternative modernity.” When thinking becomes burdensome, just try political pigeonholing as Jacobin Magazine loves to do. | Jacobin

“ContraPoints offers compelling speech aimed at truth, rendered in the raucous, meme-laden idiom of the internet. In particular, [Natalie] Wynn has managed the remarkable feat of bringing the spirit of Socratic dialogue to one of the most vicious battlefields of the online culture wars.” On a left-leaning YouTube channel that began as a cult hit and now boasts nearly 400,000 subscribers. | The Atlantic