I recently wrote Whose Pleasure? Whose Pain? Applying the Hedonic Calculus to Public Policy for the latest issue of The Humanist, where I discuss whether it makes sense to apply the Epicurean ethical method of hedonic calculus at the collective level. After some considerations, in the piece I argue
Added by Hiram on April 23, 2015 at 12:02pm — No Comments
"The scientist has a lot of experience with ignorance and doubt and uncertainty, and this experience is of very great importance, I think. When a scientist doesn't know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty darned sure of what the result is going to be, he is in some doubt. We have…
Added by Joan Denoo on April 6, 2015 at 5:16pm — No Comments
One of my favorite pieces of literature is the last chapter of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Despite Tolkien's famous dislike of allegory the fact is that his stories resonate so strongly in us because of their multifaceted ie. allegorical nature. In the story, the heroes return victorious only to discover their homeland overtaken by the very philosophy against which they were fighting. What sets the heroes apart from their native cohabitants is two fold: perspective and…Continue
Added by Čenek Sekavec on January 21, 2015 at 11:18am — No Comments
The following piece was originally written for The Autarkist.
After reading Sam Harris’ The Moral Landscape, I’ve decided to finally articulate some of the praise and criticism that, for some time now, Harris and his work have inspired in me.
"So, you're an atheist. What does that mean other than you think you are a gift to the world?"
"How can you call yourself an atheist and support abortion?"
"Atheist men tend to be misogynists."
"Where do you get the right to determine what is right or not? You're an…Continue
Several people have questioned the dominance of mechanistic thought in the sciences, and I must admit that my understanding of the scientific community comes from reading historical accounts and from conversations with scientific colleagues who began their careers half a century or more ago now -- and from reading works by scientists whose belief systems also go back a number of decades.
The gist of the conversations I recall was that people without an acknowledged commitment…Continue
Added by Joseph Hilton on July 25, 2014 at 7:36am — No Comments
The usual way of creating a myth is very straightforward: You simply take an entity as it has come to be defined in ordinary experience and grandly alter some of its basic attributes to remove its limitations.
In Christianity, for example, the god myth was created by…Continue
My new book Tending the Epicurean Garden is now live on amazon. I am very thrilled that, after the many months of hard work that went into the book, I'm finally able to take others on this adventure with me to discover Epicureanism on its own terms.
There are sources on Epicureanism, but many are indirect and some are hostile. It's important for us in the Epicurean movement that…Continue
Added by Hiram on June 11, 2014 at 5:12pm — No Comments
If you want to understand a species, observe the behaviors of it's members over time. Bears have specific behaviors that have been exhibited throughout bear history. Bears forage, hibernate, are omnivorous, and so on. While the reactions of one bear in a particular situation may be unpredictable, the…
The above link is to the tumblr page; it has many shareable secular humanist memes, links to articles, quotes, etc. that can be easily shared on social media. Please share them!
January 2014 saw the inaugural issue of the Society of Friends of Epicurus’ newsletter, titled Happy 20th. SFE is the first contemporary attempt a Humanist missionary work of this kind and is dedicated to the teaching mission of the Epicurean Gardens. If you’re interested in Humanism, philosophy, prudence, criticizing consumerism, living a frugal and simple…Continue
Originally posted in the Society of Friends of Epicurus page.
Karl Marx’s fascination with the ancient atomists led him to base his dissertation on Democritus and Epicurus: an early symptom of his future career as a materialist philosopher. However, from their respective vantage points in history, Marx and Epicurus both reacted against…Continue
Added by Hiram on December 24, 2013 at 6:15pm — No Comments
A few months ago, The New York Times published a bizarre opinion piece by philosopher Gary Gutting called Did Zeus Exist? With apparent earnestness, Gutting argues that not only did the ancient Greeks have good reason to believe in the existence of Zeus (and presumably their other gods) but that we should take seriously the possibility that they might just have been right. Not that they were right, but that…Continue
Added by Hiram on July 14, 2013 at 10:49am — No Comments
For an introduction to this project please see this post.
Here's a string of ideas I aim to draw on to create discourse for thinking about ourselves as having evolved:
Professionally I advertise myself as a “language expert,” which is quite accurate (see www.language-expert.net ), and I get a wide range of contacts from attorneys and private citizens regarding anonymous letters, plagiarism, contract interpretation, copyright infringement, and other issues where money, reputation, or something else of value is at stake.
I also get questions about grammar and usage, which I answer gratis, just to…Continue
“Now that I’ve shed my skin completely, One true reality alone exists.”
Zen monk: “How should I escape birth and death?” Zen Master Shih-kung: “What is the use of escaping it?”
“In this world, we eat, shit, sleep and wake up. After that all we have to do is die.”
Once again it’s Groundhog Day, which was nothing more than a rather witless locally-oriented celebration (and an American…Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on February 2, 2013 at 12:30pm — No Comments
There has been some discussion about the topic of Hell over at Psychology Today recently. (I have a blog there by the way in case anyone's interested!) You might even say it's a hot topic! (Sorry.) Psychologist Nathan Heflick wrote about the psychological aspects of the subject…Continue