Dissolving the ego

http://ift.tt/2sHNdYG In 1969, the British writer Philip Pullman was walking down the Charing Cross Road in London, when his consciousness abruptly shifted. It appeared to him that ‘everything was connected by similarities and correspondences and echoes’. The author of the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials (1995-2000) wasn’t on drugs, although he had been reading a […]

how emotions are made

http://ift.tt/2tnHtAo Lisa Barrett in Delancey Place: "Emotions are … thought to be a kind of brute reflex, very often at odds with our rationality. The primitive part of your brain wants you to tell your boss he’s an idiot, but your deliberative side knows that doing so would get you fired, so you restrain yourself. This […]

Beard vs Taleb: Scientism and the Nature of Historical Inquiry

http://ift.tt/2wgfubW Massimo Pigliucci at the Institute of Art and Ideas: Before reading this essay, you may want to watch this short BBC cartoon, aimed at an audience of children, and explaining basic facts about Ancient Roman life in Britain. Done? Okay, what did you think of it? This 5’30” video sparked a really nasty Twitter war […]

Freud the philosopher

http://ift.tt/2uWZYNG David Livingstone Smith in Aeon: Most people think of Sigmund Freud as a psychologist or a psychiatrist. But he was neither. He was trained as a neuroscientist and went on to create a new discipline that he called ‘psychoanalysis’. But Freud should also be thought of as a philosopher – and a deeply insightful […]

Moral Tragedy?

http://ift.tt/2jhIqKG by Scott F. Aikin and Robert B. Talisse It was probably Aristotle who first took careful notice of the special role that the concept of happiness plays in our thinking about how to live. Happiness, he argued, is the final end of human activity, that for the sake of which every action is performed. […]

This ancient mnemonic technique builds a palace of memory

http://ift.tt/2hhjvmt In Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective novel A Study in Scarlet (1887) we learn that Sherlock Holmes used the most effective memory system known: a memory palace. Although imagined memory palaces are still used by memory champions and the few who practice the memory arts, they are best known from Greco-Roman times when great orators, […]

Electric honeycomb: Pakistani teen in scientific first

http://ift.tt/2xsGEs9 Image copyright Supplied Only 17-years-old and he is already a recognised scientist. Muhammad Shaheer Niazi’s research on electric honeycomb was recently published in the Royal Society Open Science journal. Physicists have known the phenomenon of electric honeycomb for decades. It occurs when a layer of oil is placed in an electric field between a […]

Scientists say they can measure your charisma with only six questions

http://ift.tt/2zgYoZZ I have a select few friends I would call genuinely charismatic — the rest are kind, and/or funny, and/or outgoing, but aren’t quite there yet. The thing is, I can’t tell you exactly how I made that distinction. It’s more of an intuitive judgement. But a team of researchers at the University of Toronto, […]

The drugs do work: antidepressants are effective, study shows

http://ift.tt/2BHFRsX Antidepressants work – some more effectively than others – in treating depression, according to authors of a groundbreaking study which doctors hope will finally put to rest doubts about the controversial medicine. Millions more people around the world should be prescribed pills or offered talking therapies, which work equally well for moderate to severe […]

It’s official: antidepressants are not snake oil or a conspiracy – they work

http://ift.tt/2CcucU8 It’s official: antidepressants work. They are not a multibillion-dollar conspiracy dreamed up by Big Pharma Bond villains. They are not a snake oil distilled in secret laboratories, designed to stupefy us all. They are not a futile cop-out from overextended family doctors. They are an effective treatment to alleviate symptoms of depression, a global […]