Philosophy In The News, Weekly: January 7 – 13, 2019

Books that Helped Me. Albumen silver print by Underwood & Underwood (1901). | The J. Paul Getty Museum

The best of the philosophical internet featuring advice on how to reason with a flat earther; a self-help revolution (forget your transformative crap and just accept yourself as you are); and ruminations on an afterlife of torment.


“What kind of university do they want to be? Do they want to be one that supports freedom of inquiry and the pursuit of truth? Or one that pushes and protects ‘social justice’ at all costs?” Peter Boghossian, one of the three tricksters who submitted absurd papers to academic journals (many of which were published), now fears he could lose his job over the group’s very illuminating prank. | Fox News

“A Haitian ethics professor who sought asylum in the United States and spent two years in detention is unimpressed by the ethics of his asylum process.” Chased out of Haiti by a local gang that works with corrupt government officials, Ansly Damus has a lot to say about the low ethical standards and injustice of the American judicial system. | Quartz


Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Mark Cuban and other supposedly ‘frugal’ billionaires remind writer Sam Barry of some of the principles behind Ancient Stoic philosophy. | Entrepreneur

“We’re making philosophy sexy again. You can see the results in people having a deeper sense of purpose again.” Several reasons philosophy may help us survive our technological age. | Forbes

“Can you prove the world is round? Maybe you point to the (often artificially assembled) photos of Earth from space. Or possibly you rely on the testimony of astronauts. The flat earther knocks it all back. The standard of proof is higher, they say. You haven’t been to space. You haven’t seen the round earth.” On how to reason with a flat earther. | Alter Net


“We must understand the mentality behind the denial and be able to tell the story of science with its failures and triumphs, so that the deniers’ story changes, too.” On understanding the history of science to “keep the world from falling apart.” | Quartz

“If Murdoch does not blur the lines between literature and philosophy in her fiction, she does so in her essays, which energize and inspire as well as instruct.” On Gary Browning’s Why Iris Murdoch Matters. | Los Angeles Review of Books

“Brilliant leader, kind horseman and friend of Socrates: Xenophon’s writings inspire a humane, practical approach to life.” Life lessons from a neglected writer. | Aeon

“There has been a noticeable change of tone in the world of self-help, a publishing genre historically dedicated to promising massive, near-effortless transformation overnight, or in a couple of weeks at most. For a while now, that hyperbole has been losing ground to a spirit of anti-utopianism – of accepting yourself as you are, building a good-enough life, or just protecting yourself from the worst of the world outside.” On a spate of recent books flirting with the idea that happiness equals reality minus expectations. | The Guardian

Podcasts & Video

A look at the new book, Not Working by Josh Cohen who argues that we become more creative when we work less hard, and that everyone fits into four categories of worker: burnouts, daydreamers, slobs and slackers. Also some other exciting reads in 2019. | The Guardian

“Statics show that Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, even a quarter of people with no religious affiliation think there is something after death for bad people. But what is it?” On thinking about hell. |Wbur