April 2019

Philanthropy vs. Democracy

This week we’re asking whether philanthropy is bad for democracy. Philanthropy funds scholarships for needy students. It builds libraries, hospitals, and museums. What's not to like? For starters, we shouldn't let those good things blind us to the corrosive harm that philanthropy does—especially to democracy.

Read more

Authority and Resistance

We live in an age in which many of the old, top-down authority structures are collapsing before our very eyes. In large measure, the collapse of top-down authority is due to “democratizing” effect of technology, which is having an effect on our politics, on the media, on medicine, even on education.

Read more

Wanting to Want for Its Own Sake

Here is one of the most surprising findings from social psychology: rewarding a kind of action does not boost motivation to perform that action because rewards provide only extrinsic motivation. So how do we change extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation, the motivation you have to do something for its own sake?

Read more

Hacking the Brain

Are humans limited to the senses we’re born with? Or is it possible to hack the brain and create new senses? Even if we could, would we want more senses than we already have? This week we’re thinking about hacking the brain: perception beyond the five senses.

Read more

Sexy Beasts

Love it or hate it, Freud’s decades long exploration into the nature and power of human sexuality is something that any philosopher of sex needs to contend with. I turn to this curiously under-explored region of the philosophical landscape in the final installment of my Philosophical Freud series.

Read more

Ken's Big Announcement

In the spirit of Plato, I am pleased to announce that I am throwing my hat in the ring for 2020! Just as Plato envisioned an ideal republic, I envision a new republic built on the ashes of the old. It is time for the philosopher-kings to take up their rightful place in this new republic.

Read more