Suggested readings, #15

Here are some interesting articles I’ve come across recently, for your consideration:

You would think this does not need to be said, and yet: Let the professors run the university. Faculty members need to reassert themselves as the people who direct discourse on campuses. (Inside Higher Education)

No, we probably don’t live in a computer simulation, very sensibly says physicist Sabine Hossenfelder. (BackReaction)

Democracy is for the gods, and it should be no surprise that humans cannot sustain it. (New York Times)

Social physics: despite the vagaries of free will and circumstance, human behavior in bulk is far more predictable than we like to imagine. (Aeon)

Socrates’ critique of 21st-Century neuroscience: the ancient thinker saw limits to what natural science can tell us about ourselves. (Scientific American)

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Massimo is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He blogs at and He is the author of How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life.

4 thoughts on “Suggested readings, #15”

  1. The Socrates article tried to push a point that I sort of agreed with (I guess human anatomy doesn’t help us understand why Socrates is in jail, and yeah it doesn’t teach us ethics, I agree with the “scientism” critique) but don’t you think it all felt really forced, and not just because of the dubious connection between the insights of modern science and Socrates’ complaint back then.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What …. you didn’t include that “neuroarchaelogy” piece I sent on Twitter?

    Aeon piece is good. Everybody who claims a “No True Scotsman” about some major movement like, say, libertarianism, needs to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Neuroscience can only answer low-level ‘what” questions about human behaviour. Sciences such as psychology and cognitive science can handle a higher level of abstraction and express their propositions in a language a little closer to natural language while I feel that philosophy gets the job of handling the high-level concepts as well as providing justifications for high-level positions.

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