October 2015

What is Cultural Appropriation?

This Halloween we’ll see kids, college students, and other revelers dressed in costumes ranging from scary to hilarious: Chewbaccas, spandex police officers, Harry Potters, Frodos… even Elvis. But at any party, we have a good chance of seeing cultural appropriation. We might see white people glibly dressed in mock Native American headdresses, frat brothers dressing “ghetto”, people who have no real connection to India wearing red dots on their foreheads, would-be Zulus, Geishas (from Texas), and of course a gringo in a sombrero.

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In Praise of Love - Plato's Symposium meets Bernstein's Serenade

Plato's Symposium is by turns hilarious, emotionally resonant, and always philosophically deep. It’s a fun and inspiring read. If you haven’t ever read it, you really should. It certainly inspired Leonard Bernstein., who apparently read it repeatedly. Bravely, Bernstein sets out to reproduce in music something of both the philosophical content and literary structure of the Symposium.

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The Logic of Regret

  This week we're thinking about the Logic of Regret. Regret is a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that's happened or been done… especially a loss or missed opportunity. Seems normal enough -- so what’s the puzzle? Well, for starters, it seems irrational to regret the past.  You can’t change the past, so why waste time feeling sad about it? 

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Social media, knowledge of others, and self-knoweldge

A recent Radiolab podcast relates an amazing story about Allen Funt, the creator of the television show, Candid Camera.  Funt found himself on a plane that was being hijacked.  However, as Funt was by then well-known as the creator of the show, one of the passengers on the hijacked plane spotted Funt, started to grin and, pointing at Funt, yelled out, “we’re on Candid Camera!”  The rest of the people on the plane began to recognize Funt as well and, despite Funt’s protestations t

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Bioethics – Myths and Realities

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