Hobbits

The most comprehensive study on the bones of Homo floresiensis, a species of tiny human discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003, has found that they most likely evolved from an ancestor in Africa and not from Homo erectus as has been widely believed.

Read about the discovery here.

“Our Souls at Night”

Our Souls at Night
A Novel
by Kent Haruf
Knopf, 2015
Review by Bob Lane
Oct 20th 2015 (Volume 19, Issue 43)

Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters, place, and narrative point of view. Stories are the fabric of a culture. Once in a while a story teller appears who brings those ingredients together in way that moves us deeply, that speaks to our soul. Let me say from the start that when I use the word ‘soul’ I do not mean a Cartesian soul – immaterial, existing separately from body, eternal; but rather that divinity and spirit which are to be found not through blind faith but through finding and sending down roots to the deepest part of one’s unique self. As is true in botany, those roots spread out into the wider community and can nourish us and give us a healthy life. How do we know when we are living in the best place for those roots to grow? In so much as we do indeed “grow a soul” we should consider carefully the garden in which that soul grows.

Read the review.

Mozart and Einstein – reblog

Episyllogism


A Genius Finds Inspiration in the Music of Another – New York Times: “A Genius Finds Inspiration in the Music of Another
By ARTHUR I. MILLER

Last year, the 100th anniversary of E=mc2 inspired an outburst of symposiums, concerts, essays and merchandise featuring Albert Einstein. This year, the same treatment is being given to another genius, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, born on Jan. 27, 250 years ago.

There is more to the dovetailing of these anniversaries than one might think.

Einstein once said that while Beethoven created his music, Mozart’s ‘was so pure that it seemed to have been ever-present in the universe, waiting to be discovered by the master.’ Einstein believed much the same of physics, that beyond observations and theory lay the music of the spheres — which, he wrote, revealed a ‘pre-established harmony’ exhibiting stunning symmetries. The laws of nature, such as those of relativity theory, were…

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Happiness

WORKSHOP: VIRTUE, HAPPINESS, AND THE MEANING OF LIFE

English: A Venn diagram analysis of major phil...
English: A Venn diagram analysis of major philosophical approaches. It is possible to categorize philosophers according to three dimensions: those who see the essence of virtue as (1) wisdom (2) love (3) power. It is possible to describe different philosophers in this context which allows mixtures of different approaches. Source of diagram: here (see public domain declaration at top). Questions: write me at my Wikipedia talk page or email me at thomaswrightsulcer@yahoo.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stockholm University
May 5–6, 2017

In recent years, psychologists, neuroscientists, economists, and other scientists have turned their attention to traditional philosophical themes of happiness, virtue, and the meaning of life. Perhaps not coincidentally, philosophers’ interest in these themes appears to have been rekindled. This two-day workshop aims to close the gap between empirical and philosophical approaches to questions of happiness, virtue, and the meaning of life, in the interest of encouraging the development of an empirically informed philosophy and a science with philosophical awareness.

Goals include to explore the degree to which the conclusions of philosophical reflection and systematic empirical study of issues of happines, virtue, and the meaning of life are converging (or not); what in general contemporary scientists can learn from philosophy, its history and methodology, and what contemporary philosophers stand to gain from engaging with the empirical literature; what in particular recent work has revealed about the nature of happiness (e.g., if it includes an account of the meaning of life) and virtue (e.g., whether it can be understood as a self-transcendent practical orientation); what the power and limitations of empirical methods are in addressing philosophical questions; and whether there remains a space for armchair philosophizing in addressing the topics.

The workshop is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at Stockholm University in collaboration with the project “Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life” <http://virtue.uchicago.edu&gt; which is made possible by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

SPEAKERS

Jennifer Frey (University of South Carolina) “Self-Love and Self-Transcendence” (Keynote)

Candace Vogler (University of Chicago) “Synderesis” (Keynote)

Anna Alexandrova (Cambridge University)  “Science and Individual Well-Being”

More here.

On Happiness

*** ANNOUNCEMENT ***

WORKSHOP: VIRTUE, HAPPINESS, AND THE MEANING OF LIFE

Stockholm University
May 5–6, 2017

In recent years, psychologists, neuroscientists, economists, and other scientists have turned their attention to traditional philosophical themes of happiness, virtue, and the meaning of life. Perhaps not coincidentally, philosophers’ interest in these themes appears to have been rekindled. This two-day workshop aims to close the gap between empirical and philosophical approaches to questions of happiness, virtue, and the meaning of life, in the interest of encouraging the development of an empirically informed philosophy and a science with philosophical awareness.

Goals include to explore the degree to which the conclusions of philosophical reflection and systematic empirical study of issues of happines, virtue, and the meaning of life are converging (or not); what in general contemporary scientists can learn from philosophy, its history and methodology, and what contemporary philosophers stand to gain from engaging with the empirical literature; what in particular recent work has revealed about the nature of happiness (e.g., if it includes an account of the meaning of life) and virtue (e.g., whether it can be understood as a self-transcendent practical orientation); what the power and limitations of empirical methods are in addressing philosophical questions; and whether there remains a space for armchair philosophizing in addressing the topics.

The workshop is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at Stockholm University in collaboration with the project “Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life” <http://virtue.uchicago.edu> which is made possible by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.