Philosophy In The News, Weekly: February 17 – February 24, 2019

The Death Lock. Stereoscopic albumen silver print by John P. Soule (1874). | The J. Paul Getty Museum

The best of the philosophical internet featuring another attack by anti-Marxist vandals; why quitting your job to travel the world kinda sucks; the Good-Enough Life; Daniel Dennett on AI; and a new book on how the world thinks.

News

“The front of his memorial now reads ‘Memorial to Bolshevik Holocaust, 1917 – 1953, 66,000,000 dead.'” Other comments include: “Ideology of starving” and “Architect of genocide, terror and oppression, mass murder” and “Doctrine of hate.” The grave of Karl Marx in London’s Highgate Cemetery was subjected to another hammer attack, but this time the vandals left some graffiti, indicating their motives. The recent acts of defacement have sparked a debate on Marx’s role in history. | Comic Sands

“Though his theory of an infinite universe was only one of many heretical ideas that landed him in trouble with the Catholic church, it has gained him a reputation in recent years as the first martyr for modern science.” Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno, who was burned for heresy in 1600, has become a symbol of free expression and tolerance in Italy’s swing towards right-wing populism. | The Guardian

Ideas

“In 13 years of living this philosophy, here are my top five life-changing learnings and transformational questions. These principles won’t just help your peace and sanity at work, they can transform your personal life, too.” Five questions from the Reality-Based Leadership philosophy that could completely change your life. | Thrive Global

“Any place you love is the world to you.” Quotes from 19-century Irish writer Oscar Wilde could change the way you travel. | Travel + Leisure

“It is not so much the idea that there exists a truth about things that comes under attack, as the notion that there can be any such thing as objective inquiry into it.” On teaching objectivity in a post-truth era. | New Statesman

“It’s easier to deal with the uncertainties of travel when you have a nice, warm bed to come back to, even if it’s 5,000 miles away.” On the idea that quitting your job to travel the world actually sucks. | Cosmopolitan

“The Romantic poets and philosophers extend this vision of good-enoughness to embrace what they would call ‘the ordinary’ or ‘the everyday.’ This does not refer to the everyday annoyances or anxieties we experience, but the fact that within what is most ordinary, most basic and most familiar, we might find a delight unimaginable if we find meaning only in greatness.” On the Good-Enough Life or how our desire for greatness can be an obstacle to our own potential. | The New York Times

Philip Goff on accepting religion without faith – or, at least, rejecting the “crude literalism” of Richard Dawkins and other atheist critics. | The Times Literary Supplement

“Habits are powerful: Students should be in the habit of considering how the code they write serves the public good, how it might fail or be misused, who will control it; and their teachers should be in the habit of calling these issues to their attention.” Fixing tech’s ethical problems begins in the classroom. | The Nation

“AI in its current manifestations is parasitic on human intelligence. It quite indiscriminately gorges on whatever has been produced by human creators and extracts the patterns to be found there—including some of our most pernicious habits. These machines do not (yet) have the goals or strategies or capacities for self-criticism and innovation to permit them to transcend their databases by reflectively thinking about their own thinking and their own goals.” American philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett on artificial intelligence. | Wired

Books

“I don’t think I asked too many philosophical questions out loud as a child but I do remember having, what I’d consider, philosophical experiences. I clearly remember being struck with a deep sense of wonder and confusion by the most ordinary of things, like a door.” Author Brendan O’Donoghue on what drove him to write Adventures in Philosophy: Stories & Quests for Thinking Heroes, a book for kids that places storytelling at the heart of philosophy. | Irish Times

“Our safety net is built for what I call settlers, people who work at the same job, in the same place, all their lives. While today we have become hunters. We move quickly between jobs, entrepreneurship is more important and we are constantly on the move.” According to Frenchmen Nicolas Colin this disconnect is at the root of today’s political and social upheavals. | Ozy

Podcasts

Philosopher and author Julian Baggini speaks about his new book, How the World Thinks, a global history of philosophy. | History Extra, BBC World Histories Magazine