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Tag: politics

Review: Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman’s “Big Friendship”

Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman’s Big Friendship is a little book with a lot of heart. Having written an essay on the nature of friendship last year, this is a topic about which I am very passionate. Sow and Friedman’s take on the subject is energetic, and in its best moments manages to also be profound. I’ll [...]

Review: Madeleine Thien’s “Do Not Say We Have Nothing”

In his 2011 book Confucian Role Ethics, philosopher Roger T. Ames reflects on the relationship between individual identity, family dynamics, and music in the Confucian tradition: The timelessness and broad appeal of the teachings of Confucius begins from the insight that the life of almost every human being, regardless of where or when, is played out within [...]

Review: Charles Wheelan’s “Naked Statistics”

Charles Wheelan’s Naked Statistics provides a serviceable summary of a field most people don’t properly understand and often misinterpret. “The paradox of statistics,” Wheelan writes, “is that they are everywhere––from batting averages to presidential polls––but the discipline itself has a reputation for being uninteresting and inaccessible” (xii). He makes a spirited though imperfect effort to resolve this paradox [...]

Notes From a Pandemic: September 18th, 2020

Greetings, dear friends of the present and curious citizens of the future. It’s still dark out as I type these words, but a few minutes ago I heard a sound I’ve been longing for since June: raindrops pattering on the roof above my head. It’s probably just a momentary shower, but it’s the first earnest [...]

(De)Liberation: John Dewey’s “Human Nature and Conduct” in the 21st Century

Author’s Note: This essay was originally published as a three-part series by Science and Philosophy on Medium (see posts here, here, and here). This is the original unedited version, which includes an additional section in Part Three that I edited out when submitting for publication. Introduction: (De)Liberation in Times of Crisis In 1918, the world was reeling from [...]

Review: Ada Palmer’s “The Will to Battle”

The Will to Battle, the penultimate installment of Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota Quartet, is somewhat stranger than its predecessors but every bit as brilliant and entertaining. It’s an in-between tale––a bridge from one place to another. Such stories always run the risk of being needlessly convoluted or just tiresome, but Palmer manages to keep the pacing and [...]

Review: Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to Be an Antiracist”

Following the tragic killing of George Floyd in May and subsequent protests, the concept of antiracism has come to dominate our national conversation about America’s brutal legacy of slavery and racism. While this is a complex topic with many possible interpretations, Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist has emerged as one of the authoritative texts to [...]

Review: Scott Barry Kaufman’s “Transcend”

In 2020––a year painfully riddled with death, loss, and uncertainty––cultivating our capacities for compassion, love, and flourishing seems both harder and more necessary than ever. In this crucial project, I can think of no better text to guide us than Scott Barry Kaufman‘s Transcend. This enlightening and joyous voyage into humanity’s psychological history, present, and possible futures arrived [...]

Notes From a Pandemic: August 7th, 2020

Greetings, dear friends of the present and curious citizens of the future. It’s been nearly three months since my last pandemic journal. I wish I could say the interval has been uneventful, marked only by the steady progress of sensible folks coping with inordinate strain. But this is 2020 America, where we blend flavors of [...]

Review: Ada Palmer’s “Seven Surrenders”

Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota Quartet continues to delight and astound me. Since Seven Surrenders was originally planned as the second half of Too Like the Lightning, please start with my review of that book; I won’t repeat key information about the series that was covered there. Better yet, just stop reading this review and get your hands on a copy of Too [...]