At a time of religious zealotry, Spinoza’s fearless defence of intellectual freedom is more timely than ever Steven Adler, professor of Jewish Studies, in Aeon.
"Like his legendary Hogg, The Mad Man, and the million-seller Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany’s major new novel Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders—explicit, poetic, philosophical, and, yes, shocking—propels readers into a gay sexual culture unknown to most urban gay men and women, a network of rural gay relations—with the twist that this one is supported by the homophile Kyle Foundation, started in the early 1980s by a black multi-millionaire, Robert Kyle III, to improve the lives of black gay men." [more inside]
"In order for somebody to understand something, belief is a necessary precondition." On Descartes vs. Spinoza, the necessity of the suspension of disbelief to the creation of belief, the rarity of skepticism and the myths we refuse to stop telling ourselves. Finance blogger Edward Harrison of Credit Writedowns uses an essay by analyst by analyst James Montier citing the work of Daniel Gilbert to ponder whether we are doomed to be destroyed by distraction, and suggests that " financial calamity and economic collapse are really the only way" to destroy the Efficient Markets Hypothosis.
Public concern over ecological damage inflicted by human activity has led to growing recognition of the general importance of issues relating to biological science. Unfortunately, the dispute between creationists and upholders of the theory of evolution tends to overshadow public discussion of other more pertinent matters. Specifically, there are significant but relatively unpublicized initiatives underway to promote holistic approaches to biology. The Nature Institute in New York is one such initiative... [more inside]
I Feel, Therefore I Am. Consider the work of Dr. Antonio Damasio, humanist and neuroscientist, who has turned the Mind and Body debate between René Descartes and Benedictus de Spinoza upon its head--or at least the heads of Phineas Gage and one Elliott--via his research and writings such as The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness, Descartes' Error: Emotion, reason, and the human brain and Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain. He's influenced writers like Ian McEwan and David Lodge, and via his thoughts on the perception of music, inspired a composition. (More Inside)