Philosophy

Spirit of Zen

Sam van Schaik— Peace of mind The earliest Zen teachers talked about meditation in terms of peace of mind, a state free of the anxieties and irritations which afflict us all. They taught that this peace is not to be obtained through our usual preference of surrounding ourselves with what

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Understanding Empathy

Susan Lanzoni— “Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin?” asked the philosophers Andy Clark and David Chalmers in 1998, considering the case of Otto, a patient suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Otto always carried with him a simple spiral notebook as a memory aid, in which

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The Prosperous Brain

Kelly Lambert, Ph.D.— Although scholars have debated the exact meaning of Thomas Jefferson’s reference to the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence, the phrase can be traced to seventeenth-century philosopher John Locke’s “life, liberty, and property” philosophical trinity and his declaration that the pursuit of happiness was our

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The Origin of Empathy

Susan Lanzoni— Is it possible to empathize with lines in an abstract design, with the expansive reach of a tree, the sweep of a bird’s flight, or the imposing rise of a range of mountains? Can we “feel into” forms and shapes? If today we know empathy as a way

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Standing Rock

Thomas Grillot— The mobilization against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in the winter of 2016-2017 has made headlines throughout the world. In the first days of September 2016, the challenge raised by members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to the unbridled exploitation of natural resources in their region and

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What Happened to Enlightenment?

Caroline Winterer— What happened to enlightened ideas after the long eighteenth century? As more scholars are placing ideals of enlightenment in their global contexts, we are learning that the conventional understandings of the fate of enlightenment no longer hold. Enlightenment did not end with the movement called Romanticism, its ideals

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The Future of War

A.C. Grayling— The history of drones is surprisingly long, as a special form of ‘unmanned aerial vehicle’ (UAV) long since developed to undertake tasks considered ‘too dull, dirty or dangerous’ for human beings. UAVs were in rudimentary use before the First World War for target practice, they served as flying

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Workers of the World

Niall Kishtainy—  A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of communism.’ This is the first line of The Communist Manifesto, which was written in the middle of the nineteenth century and is perhaps the most famous political pamphlet ever. The spectre – something scary and menacing – was the threat to

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Leaving Gracefully

Mark C. Taylor— Far too many people today have forgotten how to leave, and so stay on, and on, and on until they become a burden to others.  Though leaving can occur at any time, it is most consequential near the end – the end of a relationship, a career,

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Inside Our Awakening Universe

John F. Haught— Scientists now know that the universe is a story still unfolding. Geology, biology, cosmology, and other sciences have demonstrated that our Big Bang universe is almost 14 billion years old.  Very recently, as the story goes, on planet Earth in the Milky Way galaxy a new species

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