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, March 18, 2013

Ian’s Picks

by Ian Pollock

* Intrade recently shut down, for reasons that have yet to be clarified but look pretty suspicious. This is a big disappointment for prediction market fans like me, because they have the potential to be really useful and salutary for our political discourse.

* Cosma Shalizi’s fantastic linked notebooks on... a whole bunch of topics.

* Hyperphysics is a concise compendium of physics knowledge, an excellent reference.

* The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on torture. One interesting aspect is that the article (unlike most in the SEP) comes to some fairly strong conclusions: (1) an absolute moral prohibition on torture is implausible, and (2) institutionalized torture is a terrible idea.

* I am halfway through Red Plenty by Francis Spufford. It’s hard to pigeonhole this book into a genre, but its aim is roughly to novelize a discussion of how the Soviet economy of the 60s worked (or not). Highly recommended.


  1. Highly recommended.

    Crooked Timber had an interesting discussion of it.

    1. Yes! I am saving that for after I finish, but it's bound to be good.

  2. Thanks Ian - Those Shalizi notebooks in particular look to be a goldmine of info !


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