In his book The Quest for Character, Massimo Pigliucci asks: can good character be taught? Through an exploration of Greek and Roman philosophy, and especially the interaction of Socrates and Alcibiades, Pigliucci helps us understand what makes a good leader, and how we can educate others, and ourselves, to be better people and citizens. ProducedContinue reading “Video: Socrates, Alcibiades, and ‘The Quest for Character’”
Author Archives: Massimo
Three cheers for the end of the world?
by Massimo Pigliucci These days most thinking persons are—or should be!—preoccupied with a number of major challenges facing humanity, from international financial crises to cold and hot wars to the big elephant in the room: climate change. Some people, however, are taking a very different approach to these issues, wishing instead for humanity as aContinue reading “Three cheers for the end of the world?”
Suggested reading: If it was good enough for Socrates, it’s good enough for sophomores
by Molly Worthen This is the season for final exams, but maybe we should drop the pencils, paper and keyboards and start talking instead. The thought is scary at first. If Chidera Onyeoziri had known that her introductory sociology course required oral exams, “I’m not sure I would have taken the class,” she told me.Continue reading “Suggested reading: If it was good enough for Socrates, it’s good enough for sophomores”
Book to consider: 2312
by Kim Stanley Robinson The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity’s only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confrontContinue reading “Book to consider: 2312”
Everything you always wanted to know about Greek philosophy
by Massimo Pigliucci My academic semester is just about to end. Indeed, today will be my last class. Not only that: I’m about to go on sabbatical, which means that I will neither teach nor participate to administrative meetings for the entire 2023. Just reading and writing about Hellenistic philosophies and about Cicero, the topicsContinue reading “Everything you always wanted to know about Greek philosophy”
Suggested reading: Is B.M.I. a scam?
by Alice Callahan There are few single measures in health care that seem to carry as much weight as body mass index, or B.M.I. We encounter it not just at doctor’s offices, but with online calculators and smart scales, at gyms and even when determining eligibility for the Covid vaccine. Its formula is simple: Take your weight (inContinue reading “Suggested reading: Is B.M.I. a scam?”
Book to consider: Skepticism — From Antiquity to the Present
edited by Diego Machuca and Baron Reed Skepticism: From Antiquity to the Present is an authoritative and up-to-date survey of the entire history of skepticism. Divided chronologically into ancient, medieval, renaissance, modern and contemporary periods and featuring 50 specially-commissioned chapters from leading philosophers, this comprehensive volume is the first of its kind. By exploring each ofContinue reading “Book to consider: Skepticism — From Antiquity to the Present”
Podcast: A graphic novel about Marcus Aurelius
Rob and Massimo talk to Donald Robertson, the author of the graphic novel Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. What were the challenges of presenting history and philosophy in pictorial form? Was the emperor Hadrian really such a bad character? Why did Marcus appoint his son Commodus to succeed him? Join us for theseContinue reading “Podcast: A graphic novel about Marcus Aurelius”
How to keep an open mind with Sextus Empiricus
by Massimo Pigliucci What do you know? Not much, and you? That was the tagline of a Public Radio International comedy quiz show that ran for three decades hosted by Michael Feldman (and which is now a podcast, of course). But it could just as well describe the skeptical philosophy known as Pyrrhonism. Named after Pyrrho ofContinue reading “How to keep an open mind with Sextus Empiricus”
Suggested reading: Is spreading medical misinformation a doctor’s free speech right?
by Steven Lee Myers When Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that would punish California doctors for spreading false information about Covid-19 vaccines and treatments, he pledged that it would apply only in the most “egregious instances” of misleading patients. It may never have the chance. Even before the law, the nation’s first ofContinue reading “Suggested reading: Is spreading medical misinformation a doctor’s free speech right?”