Suggested readings, #105

Here it is, a rundown of interesting articles I’ve come across recently, to consider for your weekend readings:

Where Do Posthumanist Fantasies of Tech-Enabled Life Fit Into Evolution? (LitHub)

The fight against fake-paper factories that churn out sham science. Some publishers say they are battling industrialized cheating. A Nature analysis examines the ‘paper mill’ problem — and how editors are trying to cope. (Nature)

Where science and miracles meet. Recent speculations in physics reveal that believers and nonbelievers may have more in common than they think. (The Atlantic)

I have come to bury Ayn Rand. A prominent evolutionary biologist slays the beast of Individualism. (Nautilus)

Huxley’s warning. Orwell vs. Huxley, fear vs. pacification, and the battleground of individuality. (Medium)

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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.

5 thoughts on “Suggested readings, #105”

  1. But of COURSE David Sloane Wilson pivots from an attack on Randianism to a touting of group selectionism. But, isn’t he open to petard hoisting? Isn’t group vs. group a new version of Individualism, per, say, Ed Wilson on an ant colony as an individual?

    Re the Medium piece, I’ve long thought Huxley was more prescient than Orwell.

    And, Lightman I think is right about some cosmologists holding a quasi-religion. Pre dark matter etc., I thought the same about those cosmologists who hoped the universe was “closed.”

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  2. Hi Massimo,

    First thanks again for your weekly suggested readings.

    On ‘Fantasies of Tech-Enabled Life’, after all these years it’s a bit of a let down to realize how much these kinds of ideas are still popular considering the amount of holes in a lot of the thinking behind most of them.

    On ‘Fight against fake-paper factories’, ugh. I didn’t realize it was this systemic.

    On ‘Where science and miracles meet’. Lots to agree with and think about. It’s nice to have something like this to mull over for a while.

    On ‘I have come to bury Ayn Rand’. I think, as you said, putting too much emphasis on group selection is just as problematic as putting too much on within group.

    On ‘Huxley’s warning’. Like Huxley’s story I find her article a bit dystopian and I think many of her observations can be supported by alternative explanations. Still lots of interesting passages, and a nice counter point to William’s article on Rand with how here she fears our “compliant sacrifice of individuality”.

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