Are Certain Beliefs and Desires The Same Things?

Eric Schwitzgebel makes an interesting case that in some cases believing and desiring may be the same thing, or at least close enough to each other as to be inseparable from each other: In the usual taxonomy of mental states (usual, that is, among contemporary analytic philosophers of mind) belief is one thing, desire quite another. They play very different roles in the economy of the mind: Desires determine our goals, and beliefs determine the perceived means to achieve them,… Read more

“Wedding” Young Girls So They Can Be Executed

This story out of Iran is nightmarish and devastating to read: He said he had been a highly regarded member of the force, and had so “impressed my superiors” that, at 18, “I was given the ‘honor’ to temporarily marry young girls before they were sentenced to death.” In the Islamic Republic it is illegal to execute a young woman, regardless of her crime, if she is a virgin, he explained. Therefore a “wedding” ceremony is conducted the night before… Read more

Consigning Minority Rights To Majority Vote Would Make Constitution Unnecessary

David Boies sums up the case he and Ted Olson are making in favor of a constitutional right to gay marriage: Countries as Catholic as Spain, as different as Sweden and South Africa, and as near as Canada have embraced gay and lesbian marriage without any noticeable effect — except the increase in human happiness and social stability that comes from permitting people to marry for love. Several states — including Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont –… Read more

Is Cohabitation A Bad Way To Trial Run Marriage?

This research suggests so: Those couples who had lived together before making a commitment to marriage (e.g., before getting engaged) reported significantly lower quality marriages and a greater potential for divorce than those who didn’t live together at all, or those who lived together only after getting engaged.The researchers’ findings remained significant even when they controlled for other potentially explaining variables, such as length of the marriage, religiousness, and education levels. The researchers also did not find any significant differences… Read more

Roadkill Toys

The perfect gift for the psychopathic child who has everything: Read more

Sotomayor Dodges Judicial Philosophy Questions

Clive Crook wanted more from Sotomayor and thinks she got off easy on the most crucial questions: It seemed to me she did not so much clarify the liberal-sounding speeches and remarks (“wise Latina woman” and so on) that have so preoccupied her critics as simply retract them. And both sides let her do it. In my mind, these serial disavowals kept raising the question: well, what does she actually believe?Again and again when substantive issues were posed, her answer… Read more

UK Doctor Opts To Leave Adoption Panel Rather Than Support Gay Adoptions

Sheila Matthews’s story: The paediatrician had asked to be allowed to abstain from voting in cases involving same-sex couples. But that led to her being barred from the panel altogether. The married mother of one said she had been ‘made to pay for being honest and upholding my personal integrity’. ‘I don’t feel that placing children for adoption with same-sex couples is the best place for them,’ said the 50-year-old doctor. ‘As a Christian, I don’t believe it’s an appropriate… Read more

10 Basics Of Group Dynamics

Go here for the explanations of each of the 10 basic “psych 101” points and also to find further articles on the topic.  I found point 6 most interesting and so included it in full below: 1. Groups can arise from almost nothing 2. Initiation rites improve group evaluations 3. Groups breed conformity 4. Learn the ropes or be ostracised 5. You become your job 6. Leaders gain trust by conforming A high-profile, high-status role in any group is that… Read more

Letting Go Of God

Julia Sweeney, of It’s Pat! from Saturday Night Live fame, has a film in which she describes her journey out of religion. Here is a trailer for the film: Here is a performance of the first 15 minutes of her stage show: Greta Christina recommends it as highly as possible: Sweeney is more than just a good, funny storyteller. She has an intellectual courage that is enviable: a willingness to rigorously investigate her ideas and beliefs… and to change them… Read more

Peter Singer Argues We Must Ration Health Care

His article is long, here are just a few key pieces: In Britain, everyone has health insurance. In the U.S., some 45 million do not, and nor are they entitled to any health care at all, unless they can get themselves to an emergency room. Hospitals are prohibited from turning away anyone who will be endangered by being refused treatment. But even in emergency rooms, people without health insurance may receive less health care than those with insurance. Joseph Doyle,… Read more

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