Rafael Palomino (Complutense): Legal Dimensions of Secularism: Challenges and Problems. Craig Calhoun on religion’s many powers: An excerpt from The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere, with chapters by Judith Butler, Jurgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and Cornel West. The introduction to The Joy of Secularism: 11 Essays for How We Live Now. A review of The Secular Outlook: In Defense of Moral and Political Secularism by Paul Cliteur. Disenchantment and the mind-dependence of the moral: How does secularism crowd values out of our picture of the world? An interview with Richard Dawkins about the shortcomings of religion, the grandeur of reality and the God Gene. Unreasonable Doubt: The reasons for unbelief are more complex than many atheists let on. A review of The Soul Hypothesis: Investigations into the Existence of the Soul. Damon Linker reviews The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life by Jesse Bering. In trying to make religion sound more logical and scientific, are educated Indians actually having a crisis of faith? 200 years ago Percy Bysshe Shelley was expelled from Oxford for publishing The Necessity of Atheism; Jonathan Ree reassesses the romantic poet’s rationalism. From Arion, how did God get started? Far from providing aid and comfort to those who seek evidence for a Creator, the quantum computer universe makes not only the existence of a Creator unnecessary, it makes it unlikely. A review of The Unbelievers: The Evolution of Modern Atheism by ST Joshi. Is secular humanism a religion? Andrew Hartman investigates. A review of The Errors of Atheism by J. Angelo Corlett. What would “evidence” for God look like? Bernard Schweizer on why some people hate God. Why would (otherwise intelligent) scholars believe in "religion"? Pascal Boyer wants to know.
Emre Gokalp (Anadolu): Pride and Anger: Orhan Pamuk's Nobel Prize and Discourses of Nationalism. From Jacobin, by revealing the increasing impotence and irrelevance of the American empire, the people of Egypt and Libya helped free us to concentrate on our own domestic struggles (and an addendum). On Libya’s Revolutionary Road: Robert F. Worth on the sudden, bloody transformation of normal citizens into rebels. A review of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet (and more and more). Pat Kane on ten years of the Play Ethic: There's nothing like the tenth anniversary of your own cultural meme to help you mark the passage of time. Canada, how does it work? Michelle Dean on Canada, its politics and the upcoming election. Donald Trump, birther: Will the Republican candidates for 2012 make Obama's birth certificate a primary issue? A new obsession sweeps Japan: With hundreds of thousands of people displaced and many still missing, anything with the barest hint of luxury invites condemnation in post-tsunami Japan. Let’s talk about the differences between environmentalists and scientists. The first sexual revolution and its discontents: How the sex freedom of the 1920s sexual revolution was not intended to promote true freedom, especially not for women. The first chapter from Mafias on the Move: How Organized Crime Conquers New Territories by Federico Varese. An interview with Alex Steffen of Worldchanging: "The big open secret about sustainability work is not how bad things are. It is how good things can get". Mark Phelan argues that our judgements about the intentions of others are not as simple as they seem.
From the inaugural issue of Interdisciplinary Political Studies, a special issue on the European Union. From Economic Sociology, a special issue on the euro and the global financial crisis. From The Guardian, getting to know our neighbours better: An in-depth look at four European countries. Frank Jacobs looks at the United Diagrams of Europe. Diogo De Sousa e Alvim (Macau): Secessionist Movements in Western Europe: Is It a Case of Self-Determination? Conundrums of geopolitical classification: Martin W. Lewis on how the Netherlands is no longer a low country. Liana Giorgi (ICCR): Tariq Ramadan vs. Daniel Cohn-Bendit or Why a European Model of Society Based on Weak Citizenship is Not Such a Good Idea. A review of The Nordic Way: Shared Norms for the New Reality. Research suggests Denmark, Finland and Belgium have best democracies. Unified Italy reaches its 150th anniversary — but Italians still lack a national identity. A review of The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, its Regions and their Peoples by David Gilmour (and more and more). Cooperate or Fail! Ulrich Beck on the way out of the Euro crisis. From e-flux, Peio Aguirre on the state of Spain: Nationalism, critical regionalism, and biennialization; Sven Lutticken on heteronomous hobby: Report from the Netherlands; and Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen on the turn towards liberal state racism in Denmark. The multiculturalism the European right fears so much is a fiction — it never existed. Scared of instability and waves of immigration, European governments have wrongly privileged their own national interests over democracy in the Middle East. Michael Schuman on Europe's other “Germany problem”. From Reuters, a special report on how lobbyists rewrite Europe's laws. What is left of the promise that was Europe? A review of Perry Anderson’s The New Old World.
Benjamin J. Richardson (UBC): A Damp Squib: Environmental Law from a Human Evolutionary Perspective. From the Graduate Journal of Social Science, a special issue on Transgender Studies. An interview with Dean Spade, America’s first openly transgendered law professor, on the power of zines, the sacrifice social movements require, and the limits of legal reform. After Three Mile Island: Christian Parenti on the rise and fall of nuclear safety culture. Still crusading, but now on the inside: Samantha Power, President Obama’s adviser on foreign policy, champions the idea that nations have a moral obligation to prevent genocide. Revolution and liberalism just don’t mix: Simmering just beneath the ideals is something far less noble — the pull of solidarity. The Island Nation: Japan will rebuild, but not how you think — and 20 years of misread history holds the clues. While defining prostitution as "sex work" implies entitlements, it also glosses over gendered inequality; can the abolitionist arguments of the nineteenth century provide the basis for an alternative? A look at what reindeer herding reveals about communism. Gaffes, lies, and dumb mistakes, which politicians spread falsehoods? From Palin to Bachmann to Biden, The Daily Beast ranks the country’s 10 most ill-informed leaders. From Popular Mechanics, a series on how to disaster-proof your life. Deeper into commodification: Social media represents new threats to and possibilities for the perceived moral basis of capitalism. The Manhattan Meltdown Scenario: Antinuclear activist Helen Caldicott on how New York’s nightmare would unfold. The Fukushima nuclear disaster: How will U.S. energy policy be affected? How pornography drugs and changes your brain: The mind likes what it sees and then rewards (with pheromones) the body.
From Logos, Eduardo Mendieta (Stony Brook): Interspecies Cosmopolitanism: Towards a Discourse Ethics Grounding of Animal Rights; and Paola Cavalieri on Cetaceans: From bare life to nonhuman others. From Yes!, a special issue: "Can Animals Save Us?" Racism versus speciesism: Are white animal rights advocates who promote veganism inherently racist by not taking into account different cultures’ perspectives on animals? The creature connection: Our love for animals can be traced to our capacity to infer the mental states of others, which archaeological evidence suggests emerged more than 50,000 ago. Clare Palmer on her book Animal Ethics in Context. Is meat eating justified by the fact that millions of animals would never exist should no one care to eat them? An excerpt from Practical Ethics by Peter Singer. A review of The Moral Lives of Animals by Dale Peterson. A review of Animalkind: What We Owe to Animals by Jean Kazez. An interview with Jonathan Safran Foer on Eating Animals. From The Believer, an interview with Gary Francione, co-author of The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation? It's a dog's life, and it matters: With the rise of utilitarianism in the 18th century, the ability to feel pain became central to moral calculus, guiding how we treat animals. Animal welfare does not damage competitiveness: EU farmers hold their own well in competition with the rest of the world, despite the comparatively high demands the EU places on agricultural production. Emotional power broker of the modern family: Pets alter not only a family’s routines but also its hierarchy, social rhythm and web of relationships. Why don't farm animals get the respect pets do?
Michael Detlefsen (Notre Dame) and Andrew Arana (KSU): Purity of Methods. From Plus, the fact is mathematics has been moving on somewhat shaky philosophical ground for some time now; Steve Humble on creating your own mathematical mysteries; and what makes an object into a musical instrument? Mathematicians have embarked on a three-year project to create their own version of the periodic table that will provide a vast directory of all the possible shapes in the universe across three, four and five dimensions. From PUP, the first chapter from The Best Writing on Mathematics 2010; and the introduction to Loving and Hating Mathematics: Challenging the Myths of Mathematical Life by Reuben Hersh and Vera John-Steiner (and more). Research finds that hidden fractals may suggest an answer to an ancient math problem. Does mathematical training increase our risk tolerance? New math theories reveal the nature of numbers. A review of Maths 1001: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know About Mathematics in 1001 Bite-sized Explanations by Richard Elwes. A study finds math skills rely on language, not just logic. Where the next dictator will fall: The mathematics of complex systems could be used to predict political instability. A review of Hidden Harmonies: The Lives and Times of the Pythagorean Theorem by Robert Kaplan and Ellen Kaplan. A new paper first defines "mediocracy" as "a society in which people with little (if any) talent and skill are dominant and highly influential" — and then gets down to the hardcore algebra. The mathematics of being nice: Our ability to cooperate is the secret of humanity's success, says Martin Nowak, who tackles some of biology's biggest questions using mathematics. John Milnor wins the the Abel Prize, "Nobel of maths", for his manifold works (and more). Here is a case of a mathematician committing a shocking act of violence. It’s March Math-ness: Basketball tournament pools are games of chance, statistics, and game theory — here’s how to increase your odds.
Penny Crofts (UTS): Brothels: Outlaws or Citizens? From Vice, a special issue on fashion, including Walter Mercado on the celestial importance of style. From Public Discourse, Patrick Lee, Robert P. George and Gerard V. Bradley on marriage and procreation — the intrinsic connection (and part 2). From Mother Jones, will Japan's disaster halt a US nuclear renaissance? Boosters aren't backing off yet, but a change in public opinion could threaten the industry's rebirth; and is the government's nuclear regulator up to the job? Japan's nuclear crisis turns the spotlight on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's spotty record. From Quadrant, Rob Nugent on the decline of reading in an age of ignorance. Who’s winning in the sexual market? Michelle Rafferty comes up with a chart to sort all the data out. Martin Lewis on confusion about Syria’s Alawites. It's already clear that the earthquake and tsunami that hit northern Japan is the latest tragic example of our inability to predict when it matters most — what can the Edge community bring to the table? Tools for Thinking: David Brooks on how science offers some help in the everyday as we navigate the currents of this world. How to be happy: A review of Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will and This Is Water: Some Thoughts Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life by David Foster Wallace. From Lacan.com, Shahriar Vaghfipour on how psychoanalysis works. We can't do without our private places to read and think, says novelist Philip Pullman. From The Hedgehog Review, Zygmunt Bauman on privacy, secrecy, intimacy, human bonds — and other collateral casualties of liquid modernity. Here are 12 vintage style posters pointing out political absurdities. Save it for HBO: A review of The Fugitive in Flight: Faith, Liberalism and Law in a Classic TV Show by Stanley Fish. Anis Shivani on the death of the New York Times Book Review and why that is a very good thing for books. Misinformation is as close as your inbox: New research suggests e-mail is an all-too-effective way of spreading false political rumors. Pamela S. Karlan on the health care challenge threatens all regulation.
From U.S. Intellectual History, Andrew Hartman on the Culture Wars: Notes towards a working definition (and more and more and more and more). Robert Westbrook reviews The Age of Fracture by Daniel T. Rodgers (and more and more and more). Is 2011 the dawn of America's new optimism? Charles Simic on the new American pessimism. Peter Dale Scott on the Doomsday Project, deep events, and the shrinking of American democracy. What we have seen in North Africa and the Middle East is that a dictatorship can be taken down; what we are seeing in the US is that a stable democracy can be chipped away at as well. From The Economist, a debate on whether America's political system is broken. Is America ungovernable? If you want to see the future of America, look at Europe of the 192s and 30s. A review of Mad as Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Right by Dominic Sandbrook (and more). From Time, are America's best days behind us? Fareed Zakaria investigates (and a response by Joseph Nye); and David Von Drehle on why you shouldn't bet against the United States; and more on how to restore the American Dream. Why America will stay on top? An interview with Paul Johnson. Sam Roggeveen on America should be aware of its own decline. A review of Bruce Ackerman's The Decline and Fall of the American Republic. Is America in a race to the bottom, or are we going through what the Austrian born economist Joseph Schumpeter would call a process of “creative destruction”? Why the fall of American Empire can be a good (and peaceful) thing. David Bromwich on the US as a superpower bypassed by history. A panel on The End of Arrogance: America in the Global Competition of Ideas by Steven Weber and Bruce W. Jentleson. Joseph Grosso on the mythology of American exceptionalism. Stuff of Legend: American exceptionalism is a flawed idea, but Obama should still use it. How did "American exceptionalism" become a conservative shibboleth? Comic-book hero Captain America makes his film debut later this year; his big-screen appearance — and that of other superheroes — reveals the US’s new unease.
From Cato Unbound, C. Bradley Thompson on Neoconservatism Unmasked. Is the world really a stage? Actor Wallace Shawn on why he calls himself a socialist. It is a queer fact, indeed, that none of the most outspoken and anti-authoritarian radicals in this country are under 65 years old. A review of The Conservative Foundations of the Liberal Order: Defending Democracy Against Its Modern Enemies and Immoderate Friends by Daniel J. Mahoney (and more and more). Beyond the crisis of liberalism: There is a groundswell of popular resistance to the forces of reaction, but the left must break out of its defensive posture. Michael Kleen on the enigma of American Fascism in the 1930s. Russell Jacoby reviews Envisioning Real Utopias by Erik Olin Wright (and a response). Making History: The right has been relentless in explaining American history through a conservative prism. Not Dead Yet: Lawrence Wittner on the state of the American Peace Movement. Michael Knox Beran on Lionel Trilling and the social imagination: The liberal hero rejected the left-liberal idea that we could engineer the human soul. A review of Libertarianism Today by Jacob H. Huebert. A review of The "S" Word: A Short History of An American Tradition... Socialism by John Nichols (and more). The New Frontier: A review essay on neoconservatism. From New Socialist, here is a letter to a new anti-capitalist. Michael Lind on how the neoliberal approach to governing ignores a crucial fact: Government is best when it is big. A review of The High Tide of American Conservatism by Garland Tucker. A review of Roberto Mangabeira Unger's The Left Alternative and Michael Berube's The Left at War. Libertarian Left: Sheldon Richman on free-market anti-capitalism, the unknown ideal. Is there anything more to say about the Rosenberg case? Staughton Lynd investigates. A review of The Conservative Turn: Lionel Trilling, Whittaker Chambers, and the Lessons of Anti-Communism by Michael Kimmage. Sam Webb on a party of socialism in the 21st century: What it looks like, what it says, and what it does (and a response).
From NYRB, Robert Darnton on six reasons Google Books failed (and more). Adam Serwer presents a Birtherism Lexicon. From the Yale University Press, a blog discussion of Terry Eagleton’s new book, Why Marx Was Right, beginning at Bensonian.org. Peter Beinart on Obama's moral case for war and why consistency in foreign policy is overrated. Was a Vanity Fair editor secretly working for the Church of Scientology? A review of The Hollywood Sign: Fantasy and Reality of an American Icon by Leo Braudy. End of the road: Some thoughts on the death of the station wagon. “OMG! LOL! Dictionaries Are Funny!”: Alexandra Petri is right — the O.E.D. is not a pedophile. Here are 7 reasons why the "authentic" travel experience is a myth. Flight of the Valkyries: Charli Carpenter on what gender does and doesn’t tell us about Operation Odyssey Dawn. Pain without purpose: Right now, the global economy is suffering a grand mal seizure of slack demand and high unemployment — we know the cures, yet we seem determined to inflict further suffering on the patient. The Closing of the American Erotic: What happened to films in which sex matters more than violence? An article on 5 personality flaws that science will cure in our lifetime. From U.S. Intellectual History, Ben Alpers on the Cronon Affair and the political culture of the GOP (and more and more and more and more). The art and music worlds, compared: "Where the art world has been open and omnivorous, the world of high-brown music has been snobby and exclusionary". From Rolling Stone, a special report on how U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan murdered innocent civilians and mutilated their corpses — and how their officers failed to stop them. From The Weekly Standard, the paranoid style in liberal politics: Matthew Continetti on the left’s obsession with the Koch brothers (and a response by Jonathan Chait at TNR). Quoth the detective: Edgar Allan Poe’s case against the Boston literati. From Big Think, is your big idea worth spreading? A review of Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice by Mark Singleton.