March 26, 2012: Week in Review

News and happenings from the week of March 26, 2012. Warn your kids about philosophy; Why getting a philosophy degree beats a business degree; FBI questions philosophy prof.; delaying death and its implications; UFO sighted; new books

calendar_smThank you to all our readers who helped us break the 1000 “Likes” mark for the first time ever on one of our posts (in fact, as of this writing, the post has over 4000 likes!). If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the “PSA” warning parents to protect their kids from philosophy before it’s too late.

Stephen Law reposted this gem on why getting a philosophy degree may be a better choice than getting a degree in business. At the very least, if one is going to get a degree in business, she should double major and study philosophy too. If you’re not sure why, consider this piece on the value of philosophy. Thanks to Andrew Smith for the pointer.

Brian Leiter posted this article about the FBI questioning a philosophy prof over his syllabus. While I’m not clear how terrorists work, it seems fairly obvious that if the professor was going to do something violent, he probably wouldn’t have put the intention in his syllabus (though he says he does encourage his students to break “unjust” laws).

More in the “confirmation bias” category: a young girl captures a flying object on her video camera and thinks it might be a UFO. It actually was a UFO – until the local authorities identified it. Thanks to skeptics.com for the pointer.

Philosophy Now has a interesting survey of recent philosophical work being done on the implications of delaying death – they consider the prospect and impact of humans living 200-300 years. They point out both the benefits and the unintended consequences. I read a book a while ago called The Next Fifty Years in which the contributors consider possible advances humans will make by 2050 long life being one of those.  One important consideration is whether death becomes more of a psychological factor (and problem) when one lives a long life because one has much more at stake. Loss at 80 of a person who has had an important impact on the world is difficult. Loss at 280 would seem to be exponentially so.

I just started reading Robert McKim’s new book, On Religious Diversity which appears to be an expansion of a core argument of his excellent Religious Ambiguity and Religious Diversity. The latter book was very instrumental in helping me form some of my core ideas about religious belief and I’m expecting this new book to continue to refine that thinking.

The Howard-Snyders and Ryan Wasserman just released a new edition of their excellent logic text, The Power of Logic. This is a fine text that I’ve used in logic courses before. Very helpful aids throughout the book, solid use of color coding to help students find relevant material for reference, and extremely thorough. The text can be used for introductory or advanced courses.

Favorite quote of the week: “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” Frederick Nietzche

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