August 2010

Self Deception

Self-deception is rampant in human affairs. And although too much self-deception is probably a bad thing, a little self-deception may be just what a person needs to get through the day. One should never underestimate the power of positive illusions. For example, psychological studies show that people who are overly optimistic about their own abilities often have enhanced motivation, which enables them to do better in the face of challenges than people with more realistic assessments of their own talents.

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Humanism

Here are the fifteen points of the original AHA Manifesto --- for later revisions, see their website. FIRST: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created. SECOND: Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as a result of a continuous process. THIRD: Holding an organic view of life, humanists find that the traditional dualism of mind and body must be rejected.

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Bodies for Sale

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William James

James was a precursor to contemporary philosophers, in that he was really a cognitive scientist / philosopher. He was in both departments at Harvard. His two-volume PRINCIPLES OF PSYCHOLOGY was the bible of psychologists at the time. It still makes fascinating and rewarding reading. His book THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE, which is a combination of philosophy, psychology and sociology, virtually originated the serious study of the psychology of religion.

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William James and the Squirrel Example

Russell Goodman, who was our guest a couple of weeks ago, for our episode on William James sent the following remarks as a follow up to our on-air conversation. They are posted here with his permission.  

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