There is a phrase you are as likely to find in a serious philosophy text as you are in the wackiest self-help book: ‘Know thyself!’ The phrase has serious philosophical pedigree: by Socrates’ time, it was more or less received wisdom (apparently chiselled into the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi) though a form of the phrase reaches back to Ancient Egypt. And ever since, the majority of philosophers have had something to say about it.
The best of the philosophical internet from The Guardian, Aeon, Quartz, Skeptic, Brain Pickings, Big Think, Literary Hub, The Spectator, The Times Literary Supplement, The Conversation, the APA, The New York Times, The Jerusalem Post, Vulture, Bustle, HuffPost, BBC Ideas, KALW and Reason.
A meandering and at times highly questionable article in The Guardian titled “How feelings took over the world” can be summarized in brief with a few quotes. Ok, it’s not really a summary but a distillation of the article’s most interesting ideas. So what? To all those exhaustive types out there—sue me.
We all know the most famous bit of ancient advice inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi: Know thyself. It’s a powerful and daunting recommendation. If you take it seriously, you will begin to push through all of the misconceptions you have, not only about yourself but about human beings generally. You will begin to think deeply about who you really are and who you ought to be.
Leafing through this old A-to-Z of celebrities is like finding a Mad Magazine from the nineteenth century. The book’s lyrics and images wondrously lampoon the– mostly– old men of European civilization. Instead of being revered as timeless sages, they are brought low, returned to us as fallen flesh-and-blood creatures. Their everyday lives get the tabloid treatment. And, just like today, lust is the common sin that most often brings these high and mighty men crashing down to earth.
Have we become unreasonable? In democracies around the world, anxious commentators exhort their fellow citizens to be more open-minded, more willing to engage in good-faith debate. In our era of hyperpolarization, social-media echo chambers and populist demagogues, many have turned to civility as the missing ingredient in our public life.
The best of this week’s philosophical internet from The New York Times, The Atlantic, Philosophy Now, Sam Harris, Medium, The Irish Times and The New York Review of Books.
“Studying philosophy may be about to pay off,” writes an Irish Times editor in a recent article. This is so, he claims, because the ethical challenges accompanying the rise of artificial intelligence, big data and biotech are simply too great, and apparently there is nobody around to address them.