The Fountainhead is a 1943 novel by Russian-American author Ayn Rand, her first major literary success. The novel's protagonist, Howard Roark, is an intransigent young architect, who battles against conventional standards and refuses to compromise with an architectural establishment unwilling to accept innovation. Roark embodies what Rand believed to be the ideal man, and his struggle reflects Rand's belief that individualism is superior to collectivism.
Roark is opposed by what he calls "second-handers", who value conformity over independence and integrity. These include Roark's former classmate, Peter Keating, who succeeds by following popular styles but turns to Roark for help with design problems. Ellsworth Toohey, a socialistarchitecture critic who uses his influence to promote his political and social agenda, tries to destroy Roark's career. Tabloid newspaper publisher Gail Wynand seeks to shape popular opinion; he befriends Roark, then betrays him when public opinion turns in a direction he cannot control. The novel's most controversial character is Roark's lover, Dominique Francon. She believes that non-conformity has no chance of winning, so she alternates between helping Roark and working to undermine him. (Full article...)
Sir Bernard Arthur Owen Williams, FBA (21 September 1929 – 10 June 2003) was an English moral philosopher. His publications include Problems of the Self (1973), Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy (1985), Shame and Necessity (1993), and Truth and Truthfulness (2002). He was knighted in 1999.
In political philosophy, a throffer is a proposal (also called an intervention) that mixes an offer with a threat which will be carried out if the offer is not accepted. The term was first used in print by political philosopher Hillel Steiner; while other writers followed, it has not been universally adopted and it is sometimes considered synonymous with carrot and stick. Though the threatening aspect of a throffer need not be obvious, or even articulated at all, an overt example is: "Kill this man and receive £100; fail to kill him and I'll kill you."
Steiner differentiated offers, threats and throffers based on the preferability of compliance and noncompliance for the subject when compared to the normal course of events that would have come about were no intervention made. Steiner's account was criticised by philosopher Robert Stevens, who instead suggested that what was important in differentiating the kinds of intervention was whether performing or not performing the requested action was more or less preferable than it would have been were no intervention made. Throffers form part of the wider moral and political considerations of coercion, and form part of the question of the possibility of coercive offers. Contrary to received wisdom that only threats can be coercive, throffers lacking explicit threats have been cited as an example of coercive offers, while some writers argue that offers, threats and throffers may all be coercive if certain conditions are met. For others, by contrast, if a throffer is coercive, it is explicitly the threat aspect that makes it so, and not all throffers can be considered coercive. (Full article...)
The Augustinian theodicy, named for the 4th- and 5th-century theologian and philosopher Augustine of Hippo, is a type of Christiantheodicy that developed in response to the evidential problem of evil. As such, it attempts to explain the probability of an omnipotent (all-powerful) and omnibenevolent (all-loving) God amid evidence of evil in the world. A number of variations of this kind of theodicy have been proposed throughout history; their similarities were first described by the 20th-century philosopher John Hick, who classified them as "Augustinian". They typically assert that God is perfectly (ideally) good, that he created the world out of nothing, and that evil is the result of humanity's original sin. The entry of evil into the world is generally explained as consequence of original sin and its continued presence due to humans' misuse of free will and concupiscence. God's goodness and benevolence, according to the Augustinian theodicy, remain perfect and without responsibility for evil or suffering.
Augustine of Hippo was the first to develop the theodicy. He rejected the idea that evil exists in itself, instead regarding it as a corruption of goodness, caused by humanity's abuse of free will. Augustine believed in the existence of a physical Hell as a punishment for sin, but argued that those who choose to accept the salvation of Jesus Christ will go to Heaven. In the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas – influenced by Augustine – proposed a similar theodicy based on the view that God is goodness and that there can be no evil in him. He believed that the existence of goodness allows evil to exist, through the fault of humans. Augustine also influenced John Calvin, who supported Augustine's view that evil is the result of free will and argued that sin corrupts humans, requiring God's grace to give moral guidance. (Full article...)
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects (1792), written by British philosopher and women's rights advocate Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797), is one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy. In it, Wollstonecraft responds to those educational and political theorists of the eighteenth century who did not believe women should receive a rational education. She argues that women ought to have an education commensurate with their position in society, claiming that women are essential to the nation because they educate its children and because they could be "companions" to their husbands, rather than mere wives. Instead of viewing women as ornaments to society or property to be traded in marriage, Wollstonecraft maintains that they are human beings deserving of the same fundamental rights as men.
Wollstonecraft was prompted to write the Rights of Woman after reading Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord's 1791 report to the French National Assembly, which stated that women should only receive domestic education. From her reaction to this specific event, she launched a broad attack against double standards, indicting men for encouraging women to indulge in excessive emotion. Wollstonecraft hurried to complete the work in direct response to ongoing events; she intended to write a more thoughtful second volume but died before completing it. (Full article...)
Atheism, in the broadest sense, is an absence of belief in the existence of deities. Less broadly, atheism is a rejection of the belief that any deities exist. In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.
Political Animals and Animal Politics is a 2014 edited collection published by Palgrave Macmillan and edited by the greenpolitical theoristsMarcel Wissenburg and David Schlosberg. The work addresses the emergence of academic animal ethics informed by political philosophy as opposed to moral philosophy. It was the first edited collection to be published on the topic, and the first book-length attempt to explore the breadth and boundaries of the literature. As well as a substantial introduction by the editors, it features ten sole-authored chapters split over three parts, respectively concerning institutional change for animals, the relationship between animal ethics and ecologism, and real-world laws made for the benefit of animals. The book's contributors were Wissenburg, Schlosberg, Manuel Arias-Maldonado, Chad Flanders, Christie Smith, Clemens Driessen, Simon Otjes, Kurtis Boyer, Per-Anders Svärd, and Mihnea Tanasescu. The focus of their individual chapters varies, but recurring features include discussions of human exceptionalism, exploration of ways that animal issues are or could be present in political discourse, and reflections on the relationship between theory and practice in politics.
Heliade Rădulescu is considered one of the foremost champions of Romanian culture from the first half of the 19th century, having first risen to prominence through his association with Gheorghe Lazăr and his support of Lazăr's drive for discontinuing education in Greek. Over the following decades, he had a major role in shaping the modern Romanian language, but caused controversy when he advocated the massive introduction of Italianneologisms into the Romanian lexis. A Romantic nationalist landowner siding with moderate liberals, Heliade was among the leaders of the 1848 Wallachian revolution, after which he was forced to spend several years in exile. Adopting an original form of conservatism, which emphasized the role of the aristocratic boyars in Romanian history, he was rewarded for supporting the Ottoman Empire and clashed with the radical wing of the 1848 revolutionaries. (Full article...)
The title-page of the 1759 edition published by Cramer in Geneva, which reads, "Candide, or Optimism, translated from the German of Dr. Ralph."
Candide, ou l'Optimisme (/kɒnˈdiːd/kon-DEED, French: [kɑ̃did](listen)) is a French satire written by Voltaire, a philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment, first published in 1759. The novella has been widely translated, with English versions titled Candide: or, All for the Best (1759); Candide: or, The Optimist (1762); and Candide: Optimism (1947). It begins with a young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenicparadise and being indoctrinated with Leibnizian optimism by his mentor, Professor Pangloss. The work describes the abrupt cessation of this lifestyle, followed by Candide's slow and painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world. Voltaire concludes Candide with, if not rejecting Leibnizian optimism outright, advocating a deeply practical precept, "we must cultivate our garden", in lieu of the Leibnizian mantra of Pangloss, "all is for the best" in the "best of all possible worlds".
Candide is characterized by its tone as well as by its erratic, fantastical, and fast-moving plot. A picaresque novel with a story similar to that of a more serious coming-of-age narrative (Bildungsroman), it parodies many adventure and romance clichés, the struggles of which are caricatured in a tone that is bitter and matter-of-fact. Still, the events discussed are often based on historical happenings, such as the Seven Years' War and the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. As philosophers of Voltaire's day contended with the problem of evil, so does Candide in this short theological novel, albeit more directly and humorously. Voltaire ridicules religion, theologians, governments, armies, philosophies, and philosophers. Through Candide, he assaults Leibniz and his optimism. (Full article...)
Anarky is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Co-created by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle, he first appeared in Detective Comics #608 (November 1989), as an adversary of Batman. Anarky is introduced as Lonnie Machin, a child prodigy with knowledge of radical philosophy and driven to overthrow governments to improve social conditions. Stories revolving around Anarky often focus on political and philosophical themes. The character, who is named after the philosophy of anarchism, primarily espouses anti-statism and attacks capitalism; however, multiple social issues have been addressed through the character, including environmentalism, antimilitarism, economic inequality, and political corruption. Inspired by multiple sources, early stories featuring the character often included homages to political and philosophical texts, and referenced anarchist philosophers and theorists. The inspiration for the creation of the character and its early development was based in Grant's personal interest in anti-authoritarian philosophy and politics. However, when Grant himself transitioned to the philosophy of Neo-Tech, developed by Frank R. Wallace, he shifted the focus of Anarky from a vehicle for social anarchism and then libertarian socialism, with an emphasis on wealth redistribution and critique of crony capitalism, to a Neo-Tech economy.
Originally intended to only be used in the debut story in which he appeared, Grant decided to continue using Anarky as a sporadically recurring character throughout the early 1990s, following positive reception by readers and Dennis O'Neil. The character experienced a brief surge in media exposure during the late 1990s when Breyfogle convinced Grant to produce a limited series based on the character. The 1997 spin-off series, Anarky, was received with positive reviews and sales, and later declared by Grant to be among his "career highlights". Batman: Anarky, a trade paperback collection of stories featuring the character, soon followed. This popular acclaim culminated, however, in a financially and critically unsuccessful ongoing solo series. The 1999 Anarky series, in which even Grant has expressed his distaste, was quickly canceled after eight issues. (Full article...)
Wallace did extensive fieldwork, first in the Amazon River basin. He then did fieldwork in the Malay Archipelago, where he identified the faunal divide now termed the Wallace Line, which separates the Indonesian archipelago into two distinct parts: a western portion in which the animals are largely of Asian origin, and an eastern portion where the fauna reflect Australasia. He was considered the 19th century's leading expert on the geographical distribution of animal species, and is sometimes called the "father of biogeography", or more specifically of zoogeography. (Full article...)
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, was an Englishphilosopher, statesman and essayist but is best known for leading the scientific revolution with his new 'observation and experimentation' theory which is the way science has been conducted ever since. He was knighted in 1603, created Baron Verulam in 1618, and created Viscount St Albans in 1621; though both peerage titles became extinct upon his death. Bacon did not propose an actual philosophy, but rather a method of developing philosophy; he wrote that, whilst philosophy at the time used the deductive syllogism to interpret nature, the philosopher should instead proceed through inductive reasoning from fact to axiom to law.
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Marcus Tullius Cicero, the author of the Consolatio
Consolatio (Latin: [koːnsoːˈlaːtɪ.oː]; Consolation) is a lost philosophical work written by Marcus Tullius Cicero in the year 45 BC. The work had been written to soothe his grief after the death of his daughter, Tullia, which had occurred in February of the same year. Not much is known about the work, although it seems to have been inspired by the GreekphilosopherCrantor's ancient work De Luctu ("On Grief"), and its structure was probably similar to a series of letter correspondences between Servius Sulpicius Rufus and Cicero.
Fragments of the work survive, having been quoted by Lactantius, and Jerome makes note of the work in a consolatory letter to Heliodorus of Altino. A popular piece of writing until its loss, the Consolatio is widely accepted as the distinct work that transmitted the earlier consolatio literary tradition to the Romans of the late Republic. In 1583, Italian scholar Carlo Sigonio claimed to have discovered a non-fragmentary version of the Consolatio, although most scholars now agree that this work was a fake, with modern stylometric methods backing this up. (Full article...)
The hard–easy effect is a cognitive bias that manifests itself as a tendency to overestimate the probability of one's success at a task perceived as hard, and to underestimate the likelihood of one's success at a task perceived as easy. The hard-easy effect takes place, for example, when individuals exhibit a degree of underconfidence in answering relatively easy questions and a degree of overconfidence in answering relatively difficult questions. "Hard tasks tend to produce overconfidence but worse-than-average perceptions," reported Katherine A. Burson, Richard P. Larrick, and Jack B. Soll in a 2005 study, "whereas easy tasks tend to produce underconfidence and better-than-average effects."
The hard-easy effect falls under the umbrella of "social comparison theory", which was originally formulated by Leon Festinger in 1954. Festinger argued that individuals are driven to evaluate their own opinions and abilities accurately, and social comparison theory explains how individuals carry out those evaluations by comparing themselves to others. (Full article...)
New Age meditation group at the Snoqualmie Moondance festival, 1992
New Age is a range of spiritual or religious practices and beliefs which rapidly grew in Western society during the early 1970s. Its highly eclectic and unsystematic structure makes a precise definition difficult. Although many scholars consider it a religious movement, its adherents typically see it as spiritual or as unifying Mind-Body-Spirit, and rarely use the term New Age themselves. Scholars often call it the New Age movement, although others contest this term and suggest it is better seen as a milieu or zeitgeist.
Dreamtime opens with the premise that many of those accused of witchcraft in early modern Christendom had been undergoing visionary journeys with the aid of a hallucinogenic salve which was suppressed by the Christian authorities. Duerr argues that this salve had been a part of the nocturnal visionary traditions associated with the goddess Diana, and he attempts to trace their origins back to the ancient world, before looking at goddesses associated with the wilderness and arguing that in various goddess-centred cultures, the cave represented a symbolic vagina and was used for birth rituals. (Full article...)
The theory holds that moral reasoning, a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for ethical behavior, has six developmental stages, each more adequate at responding to moral dilemmas than its predecessor. Kohlberg followed the development of moral judgment far beyond the ages studied earlier by Piaget, who also claimed that logic and morality develop through constructive stages. Expanding on Piaget's work, Kohlberg determined that the process of moral development was principally concerned with justice and that it continued throughout the individual's life, a notion that led to dialogue on the philosophical implications of such research. (Full article...)
Su Song was the engineer for a hydro-mechanicalastronomicalclock tower in medieval Kaifeng, which employed an early escapement mechanism. The escapement mechanism of Su's clock tower had been invented by Tang dynasty BuddhistmonkYi Xing and government official Liang Lingzan in 725 AD to operate a water-powered armillary sphere, although Su's armillary sphere was the first to be provided with a mechanical clock drive. Su's clock tower also featured the oldest known endless power-transmitting chain drive, called the tian ti (天梯), or "celestial ladder", as depicted in his horological treatise. The clock tower had 133 different clock jacks to indicate and sound the hours. Su Song's treatise about the clock tower, Xinyi Xiangfayao (新儀象法要), has survived since its written form in 1092 and official printed publication in 1094. The book has been analyzed by many historians, such as the British biochemist, historian, and sinologist Joseph Needham. The clock itself, however, was dismantled by the invadingJurchen army in 1127 AD, and although attempts were made to reassemble it, the tower was never successfully reinstated. (Full article...)
The illusory truth effect (also known as the illusion of truth effect, validity effect, truth effect, or the reiteration effect) is the tendency to believe false information to be correct after repeated exposure. This phenomenon was first identified in a 1977 study at Villanova University and Temple University. When truth is assessed, people rely on whether the information is in line with their understanding or if it feels familiar. The first condition is logical, as people compare new information with what they already know to be true. Repetition makes statements easier to process relative to new, unrepeated statements, leading people to believe that the repeated conclusion is more truthful. The illusory truth effect has also been linked to hindsight bias, in which the recollection of confidence is skewed after the truth has been received.
In a 2015 study, researchers discovered that familiarity can overpower rationality and that repetitively hearing that a certain statement is wrong can paradoxically cause it to feel right. Researchers attributed the illusory truth effect's impact on participants who knew the correct answer to begin with, but were persuaded to believe otherwise through the repetition of a falsehood, to "processing fluency". (Full article...)
Manilal Nabhubhai Dwivedi (pronounced [məɲilal nəbʰubʰai dvivedi](listen); 26 September 1858 – 1 October 1898) was a Gujarati-language writer, philosopher, and social thinker from British India, commonly referred to as Manilal in literary circles. He was an influential figure in 19th-century Gujarati literature, and was one of several Gujarati writers and educators involved in the debate over social reforms, focusing on issues such as the status of women, child marriage, and the question of whether widows could remarry. He held Eastern civilisation in high esteem, and resisted the influence of Western civilisation, a position which drew him into conflicts with other social reformers of a less conservative outlook. He considered himself a "reformer along religious lines".
Manilal's writings belong to the Pandit Yuga, or "Scholar Era" – a time in which Gujarati writers explored their traditional literature, culture and religion in order to redefine contemporary Indian identity when it was subject to challenge from the influential Western model introduced under colonial rule. His works include Atmanimajjan, a collection of poems on the theme of love in the context of Advaita (non-duality) philosophy; Kanta, a play combining Sanskrit and English dramatic techniques; Nrusinhavatar, a play based on Sanskrit dramatic traditions; Pranavinimaya, a study of yoga and mysticism; and Siddhantasara, a historical critique of the world's religious philosophies. His faith in Shankara's Advaita philosophy provided the fundamental underpinning for his philosophical thought. He was invited to present a paper at the first Parliament of World Religions, held in Chicago in 1893, but financial considerations made his participation there impossible. (Full article...)
Portrait of Saint Augustine, the oldest proponent of the Divine command theory.
Divine command theory (also known as theological voluntarism) is a meta-ethical theory which proposes that an action's status as morallygood is equivalent to whether it is commanded by God. The theory asserts that what is moral is determined by God's commands and that for a person to be moral he is to follow God's commands. Followers of both monotheistic and polytheistic religions in ancient and modern times have often accepted the importance of God's commands in establishing morality.
Title page of a Song dynasty (c. 1100) edition of the I Ching
The I Ching or Yi Jing (Chinese: 易經, Mandarin:[î tɕíŋ](listen)), usually translated Book of Changes or Classic of Changes, is an ancient Chinese divination text that is among the oldest of the Chinese classics. Originally a divination manual in the Western Zhou period (1000–750 BC), the I Ching was transformed over the course of the Warring States and early imperial periods (500–200 BC) into a cosmological text with a series of philosophical commentaries known as the "Ten Wings". After becoming part of the Five Classics in the 2nd century BC, the I Ching was the subject of scholarly commentary and the basis for divination practice for centuries across the Far East, and eventually took on an influential role in Western understanding of East Asian philosophical thought.
As a divination text, the I Ching is used for a traditional Chinese form of cleromancy known as I Ching divination, in which bundles of yarrow stalks are manipulated to produce sets of six apparently random numbers ranging from 6 to 9. Each of the 64 possible sets corresponds to a hexagram, which can be looked up in the I Ching. The hexagrams are arranged in an order known as the King Wen sequence. The interpretation of the readings found in the I Ching has been endlessly discussed and debated over the centuries. Many commentators have used the book symbolically, often to provide guidance for moral decision making as informed by Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. The hexagrams themselves have often acquired cosmological significance and been paralleled with many other traditional names for the processes of change such as yin and yang and Wu Xing. (Full article...)
The Hubble Ultra-Deep Field image shows some of the most remote galaxies visible with present technology, each consisting of billions of stars. (Apparent image area about 1/79 that of a full moon)
The universe is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy. The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological description of the development of the universe. According to this theory, space and time emerged together 13.787±0.020 billion years ago, and the universe has been expanding ever since the Big Bang. While the spatial size of the entire universe is unknown, it is possible to measure the size of the observable universe, which is approximately 93 billion light-years in diameter at the present day.
Image 6Oscar Wilde reclining with Poems, by Napoleon Sarony, in New York in 1882. Wilde often liked to appear idle, though in fact he worked hard; by the late 1880s he was a father, an editor, and a writer.
Image 7The center third of Education (1890), a stained glass window by Louis Comfort Tiffany and Tiffany Studios, located in Linsly-Chittenden Hall at Yale University. It depicts Science (personified by Devotion, Labor, Truth, Research and Intuition) and Religion (personified by Purity, Faith, Hope, Reverence and Inspiration) in harmony, presided over by the central personification of "Light·Love·Life".
Philosophy ponders the most fundamental questions humankind has been able to ask. These are increasingly numerous and over time they have been arranged into the overlapping branches of the philosophy tree:
Aesthetics: What is art? What is beauty? Is there a standard of taste? Is art meaningful? If so, what does it mean? What is good art? Is art for the purpose of an end, or is "art for art's sake?" What connects us to art? How does art affect us? Is some art unethical? Can art corrupt or elevate societies?
Epistemology: What are the nature and limits of knowledge? What is more fundamental to human existence, knowing (epistemology) or being (ontology)? How do we come to know what we know? What are the limits and scope of knowledge? How can we know that there are other minds (if we can)? How can we know that there is an external world (if we can)? How can we prove our answers? What is a true statement?
Ethics: Is there a difference between ethically right and wrong actions (or values, or institutions)? If so, what is that difference? Which actions are right, and which wrong? Do divine commands make right acts right, or is their rightness based on something else? Are there standards of rightness that are absolute, or are all such standards relative to particular cultures? How should I live? What is happiness?
Logic: What makes a good argument? How can I think critically about complicated arguments? What makes for good thinking? When can I say that something just does not make sense? Where is the origin of logic?
Metaphysics: What sorts of things exist? What is the nature of those things? Do some things exist independently of our perception? What is the nature of space and time? What is the relationship of the mind to the body? What is it to be a person? What is it to be conscious? Do gods exist?
Political philosophy: Are political institutions and their exercise of power justified? What is justice? Is there a 'proper' role and scope of government? Is democracy the best form of governance? Is governance ethically justifiable? Should a state be allowed? Should a state be able to promote the norms and values of a certain moral or religious doctrine? Are states allowed to go to war? Do states have duties against inhabitants of other states?