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.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Massimo's Picks

by Massimo Pigliucci

* A campus free America likely to be a disaster.

* Secularists share the blame for the perceived threat of secularism.

* The Vagina Ideologues...

TED and corporate interests.

* On the various meanings of "materialism."

* Is taste a context-dependent experience?

* What's the point of nihilism if...

* The rhetoric of "soon-to-haves."

* Nice article in Nature on epigenetics and evolution. Yours truly got cited...

* What a surprise, there is a climate denialism conspiracy.

* Why is vaccine rejectionism so appealing?

Homer Simpson as philosopher.

* Science's masters or science's slaves?

* A new onslaught of imaginary mental diseases?

* The difference between the Ivory Tower and the Tower of Gold.

Religious exemptions for piety and for profit...

* Critics of government money are glad to receive it, of course.


  1. Boy, McArdle has some good points about the possible effects of expanding e-learning. Since many institutions are already trying to become more business-like, I don't doubt that, to a degree at least, most of this is likely to happen. I don't think it will help poor smart students, though. Many are less likely to have access to ultra-high-speed internet outside of the tiny screens and sometimes unreliable delivery of mobile phones.


    Great column on TED, including the one link off it near the end of the page. I agree with a lot of what Morozov has to say in general. In the newspaper biz, I agree in specific with a lot of his critiques of not just Jarvis but also Shirky and Rosen.

  2. Re: Nihilism

    There is a sense in which nihilism (in the sense in which it denotes the proposition that there is no ultimate meaning of or purpose to existence) is a welcomed truth: Pace Nietzsche, we can rejoice in that we are at liberty to give purpose to our own existence and to determine our own values without having them imposed upon on us from a transcendent authority. In a nutshell, god is dead and we are the better for it!

  3. A campus-free America would be indeed a disaster - and I notice the article speaks of "University of Chicago's business school, every class was curved to a 3.25. Most other business schools don't curve", when I don't think "Business Schools" have any place anywhere near a seat of learning.

  4. I see that lots of people are paying attention to Julian Baggini now, and with good reason. He is a fantastic author & thinker. I recommend his podcast (microphilosophy) as well.

  5. Cavall de Quer: um, why? I don't see why people shouldn't be able to go to a university to study business.


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