About Rationally Speaking

Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Massimo's Picks

by Massimo Pigliucci
* Should dead men be allowed to father children? The bioethics of post-mortem reproductive biology.
* Is Twitter writing or speech? Does it matter?
* How to convince people to quit homeopathy...
* The new Rationally Speaking: Why Should We Care About Teaching the Humanities?
* Jon Stewart explains to Donald Trump how to eat pizza, and what it means to be a real New Yorker.
* What a bizarre idea: teach ethics to in high school!
* The funny course of normal human development...
* Three theories of why we send our kids to college.
* Here's a thought: why not study the economics of unhappiness?
* Children are good critical thinkers, if adults don't censor them.
* Prayers do help athletes. Just like a sugar pill would.
* The assault on academic freedom: Dean at UC-San Diego says you can't criticize colleague.
* The optimism bias: better looking at the glass as half full because you are less likely to spill it.
* What are museums for? Good question, a couple of very different answers.


  1. Teach Ethics in High School? What a good idea...we'll get a whole generation of vegans!

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  3. Several thoughts ...
    1. The "don't regulate the Net" story sounds like the normal libertarian screed with the tech-libertarian angle of "analog=old and out of date" vs "digital=GOOD!" Please. There may be rational arguments for the Internet not being the Wild West, but that wasn't one of them.

    "Twitter is my grad school"? As a newspaper editor who's a few years older, Yucck. Twitter's a tool and nothing more.

    Optimism? Everything said in that story, including about its benefit and its hard-wiredness, has also been said about pessimism. Not saying the article is wrong, just that it is not that deep, in the first 2-3 pages. That said, the self-reinforcement of optimism, mentioned at the end, is good. BUT, it should have been the starting point for the whole story.

    That said it IS Tali Sharot, the latest "Positivity Guru," who wrote that. My thoughts on Sharot's commencement thoughts: http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2011/05/positivity-bs.html


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