Aeon: L-P
Hains (Brigid) & Hains (Paul)
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Website “About”1

  1. Since 2012, Aeon has established itself as a unique digital magazine, publishing some of the most profound and provocative thinking on the web. We ask the big questions and find the freshest, most original answers, provided by leading thinkers on science, philosophy, society and the arts.
  2. Aeon has three channels, and all are completely free to enjoy:
    1. Essays – Longform explorations of deep issues written by serious and creative thinkers
    2. Ideas – Short provocations, maintaining Aeon’s high editorial standards but in a more nimble and immediate form. Our Ideas are published under a Creative Commons licence, making them available for republication.
    3. Video – A mixture of curated short documentaries and original Aeon productions
  3. Through our Partnership program, we publish pieces from university research groups, university presses and other selected cultural organisations.
  4. Aeon was founded in London by Paul and Brigid Hains. It now has offices in London, Melbourne and New York. We are a not-for-profit, registered charity, operated by Aeon Media Group Ltd.
  5. We are committed to big ideas, serious enquiry and a humane worldview. That’s it.



In-Page Footnotes ("Hains (Brigid) & Hains (Paul) - Aeon: L-P")

Footnote 1:
BOOK COMMENT:



"Laing (Olivia) - Me, myself and I"

Source: Aeon, 19 December, 2012

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Loneliness can be a shameful hunger, a shell, a dangerous landscape of shadowy figures. But it is also a gift ."
  • See Web Link



"Lam (Barry) - Is it moral to respect the wishes of the dead, above the living?"

Source: Aeon, 16 June, 2017

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Laqueur (Thomas) - Ghosts and ghouls haunt the living with a message about life"

Source: Aeon, 11 January, 2017

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Larson (Vicki) - A temporary marriage makes more sense than marriage for life"

Source: Aeon, 16 November, 2015

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Lawton (Rebecca) - The healing power of nature"

Source: Aeon, 06 September, 2017

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "The idea that immersing yourself in forests and nature has a healing effect is far more than just folk wisdom."
  • See Web Link



"Lee (Jihyun) - Why the most successful students have no passion for school"

Source: Aeon, 06 March, 2017

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Lewis (Marc) - The addiction habit"

Source: Aeon, 14 December, 2016

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Addiction changes the brain but it's not a disease that can be cured with medicine. In fact, it's learned – like a habit. "
  • See Web Link



"Lewis (Marc) & Shelly (Shaun) - We need ecstasy and cocaine in place of Prozac and Xanax"

Source: Aeon, 15 May, 2017

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Lilienfeld (Scott O.) - Microaggressions?"

Source: Aeon, 27 June, 2017

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Prejudice remains a huge social evil but evidence for harm caused by microaggression is incoherent, unscientific and weak."
  • See Web Link



"Martinho (Antone) - Pigs, parrots and people: the problem of animal personality"

Source: Aeon, 18 April, 2017

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Matthes (Erich Hatala) - Palmyra’s ruins can rebuild our relationship with history"

Source: Aeon, 08 March, 2017

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Mayor (Adrienne) - Bio-techne"

Source: Aeon, 16 May, 2016

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Half-human soldiers, robot servants and eagle drones – the Greeks got there first. Could an AI learn from their stories?"
  • See Web Link



"Mayyasi (Alex) - Of money and morals"

Source: Aeon, 07 July, 2017


Author’s Introduction
  1. ‘A banker and a theologian’ sounds like the start of a bad joke. But for David Miller it’s merely a job description. After working in finance and business for 16 years, Miller turned to theology, and received his PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2003. Now he’s a professor of business ethics and the director of Princeton University’s Faith and Work Initiative, where his research focuses on Christianity, Judaism and Islam. ‘How to Succeed without Selling Your Soul’ is the students’ popular nickname for his signature course.

Author’s Conclusion
  1. It shouldn’t be so strange for a big bank to hire a theologian such as Miller; what should be strange is that we find it strange. It’s our modern talk of unfettered free markets and shareholder value that’s the anomaly. When Miller talks to bankers and executives, they often tell him that they feel as if what they learn in church or synagogue has no place at work. Even he was embarrassed about using the word ‘calling’ when he told his former co-workers that he was leaving for the seminary.
  2. But neither secular nor religious authorities offer much guidance to bankers trying to link what they do to some kind of ethical tradition. In seminaries and divinity schools there’s a total lack of attention to the economy and the marketplace, Miller says. ‘Clergy may be quick to throw stones at the latest corporate excess on the front pages,’ he told me, ‘but there is not much constructive work.’ The public criticises bankers for their ethical failings, but the bankers themselves have also been failed by our ethical authorities.
  3. Anyone interested in reclaiming ethics’ place in the world of finance, however, can build on a several-thousand-year-old foundation. ‘Aristotle, Kant, Bentham – are they dead people who have nothing of interest to offer?’ Miller muses. ‘Or were they on to something? Our economy would be unrecognisable to them. But the questions are still relevant.’


COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Moneylending has been taboo for most of human history. So how did usury stop being a sin and become respectable finance? "
  • See Web Link



"McConnachie (James) - The truth about tarot"

Source: Aeon, 24 May, 2017

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Whether divining ancient wisdoms or elevating the art of cold reading, tarot is a form of therapy, much like psychoanalysis."
  • See Web Link
  • Note also the connection to Dummett (Michael), who's written extensively on the topic.



"McCumber (John) - America’s hidden philosophy"

Source: Aeon, 18 July, 2017

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "When Cold War philosophy tied rational choice theory to scientific method, it embedded the freemarket mindset in US society. "
  • See Web Link



"McDougall (Sara) - How the illegitimate heir became a ‘bastard’ in medieval Europe"

Source: Aeon, 12 June, 2017

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"McEwen (Bruce) - When is stress good for you?"

Source: Aeon, 11 July, 2017


Author’s Conclusion
  1. These insights have led to a new view of epigenetic changes over the life course. Epigenetic changes determine trajectories of health and disease and the plasticity of the brain. But they also offer opportunities for changing the trajectory as life goes on.
  2. We can never roll back the clock and reverse the effects of experiences, positive or negative, or the epigenetic change they produce. But we can move through those experiences to recovery and redirection; also, we can develop resilience through epigenetic change. New trajectories can engender compensatory changes in the brain and body over the life course.
  3. This perspective has led to a new field of study, called ‘life course health development’ (LCHD), spearheaded by Neal Halfon, a researcher and paediatrician at the University of California, Los Angeles. LCHD emphasises the importance of events prior to conception and in the womb because of their ability to generate epigenetic change; for the same reason, LCHD looks to the influence of income, education and abuse.
  4. In synch with this, our increasing knowledge of brain plasticity is giving rise to therapies based on self-regulation. These cognitive techniques, tapping mindfulness, breathing and more, can reduce toxic stress to at least more tolerable stress. Metabolic and cardiovascular health, not to mention memory and mood, can all be enhanced by a healthy diet, positive social interactions, adequate sleep, and regular physical activity. Government policies and business cultures that promote these values are key – whether dealing with housing, transportation, healthcare, education, flexible working hours or vacations, decisions at the top can dramatically impact health-span of the population throughout life. Healthy behaviours and humanistic policies can ‘open a window’ of plasticity and allow the wisdom of the body to exert itself. With the windows open, targeted behavioural interventions – for instance, intensive physical therapy for stroke – can shape brain circuits in a more positive direction. Even if one has gotten off to a bad start in life, the trajectory can be changed by understanding how to lower the allostatic load and banish toxic stress.


COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "The subtle flows and toxic hits of stress get under the skin, making and breaking the body and brain over a lifetime. "
  • See Web Link



"McNeill (Leila A.) - The struggle of women in science is written in the stars"

Source: Aeon, 16 August, 2016

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Medlock (Ben) - The body is the missing link for truly intelligent machines"

Source: Aeon, 14 March, 2017

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Melechi (Antonio) - What lurks beneath"

Source: Aeon, 19 April, 2017

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "The grand drama of Freud’s ideas has obscured the reality: every school of psychology needs a theory of the unconscious."
  • See Web Link



"Merali (Zeeya) - The idea of creating a new universe in the lab is no joke"

Source: Aeon, 14 June, 2017


Author’s Conclusion
  1. We will not be creating baby universes anytime soon, but scientists in all areas of research must feel able to freely articulate the implications of their work without concern for causing offence.
  2. Cosmogenesis is an extreme example that tests the principle. Parallel ethical issues are at stake in the more near-term prospects of creating artificial intelligence or developing new kinds of weapons, for instance.
  3. As Sandberg put it, although it is understandable that scientists shy away from philosophy, afraid of being thought weird for veering beyond their comfort zone, the unwanted result is that many of them keep quiet on things that really matter.


COMMENT:



"Millard (Chris) - Fatal nurture: what a rare disorder says about ‘bad mothers’"

Source: Aeon, 25 July, 2017

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Miller (Kenneth D.) - Will You Ever Be Able to Upload Your Brain?"

Source: NY Times, 11th October 2015

COMMENT:



"Miller (Kenneth) - Night school"

Source: Aeon, 02 October, 2015

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "New evidence suggests that we can learn while we sleep, but do we really want to put our hours of rest to work?"
  • See Web Link



"Minerva (Francesca) & Rorheim (Adrian) - What are the ethical consequences of immortality technology?"

Source: Aeon, 08 August, 2017

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Mireault (Gina) - Five-month-old babies know what’s funny"

Source: Aeon, 20 June, 2017

COMMENT:



"Montague (Jules) - Why is the brain prone to florid forms of confabulation?"

Source: Aeon, 17 April, 2017

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Montero (Barbara Gail) - Against flow"

Source: Aeon, 01 May, 2017

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "In the myth of flow, the performer soars when the music starts. But it's grit and self-analysis until the very last bar."
  • See Web Link



"Moore (Adrian W.) - Infinity and beyond"

Source: Aeon, 08 March, 2017

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Georg Cantor showed that some infinities are bigger than others. Did he assault mathematical wisdom or corroborate it?"
  • See Web Link



"Moore (Richard) - There is a moral argument for keeping great apes in zoos"

Source: Aeon, 17 February, 2017

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Moran (Joe) - The crystalline wall"

Source: Aeon, 17 July, 2013

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Shyness is a part of being human. The world would be a more insipid, less creative place without it ."
  • See Web Link



"Moyer (Melinda Wenner) - Against the grains"

Source: Aeon, 17 June, 2014

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "A carbs-rich diet has been blamed for the alarming explosion of obesity and chronic disease. What does the science show?"
  • See Web Link



"Mullaney (Tom) - How Cold War rivalry helped launch the Chinese computer"

Source: Aeon, 14 September, 2016

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Musser (George) - Consciousness creep"

Source: Aeon, 25 February, 2016

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Our machines could become self-aware without our knowing it. We need a better way to define and test for consciousness. "
  • See Web Link



"Nadler (Steven) - Why Spinoza still matters"

Source: Aeon, 28 April, 2016

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "At a time of religious zealotry, Spinoza’s fearless defence of intellectual freedom is more timely than ever."
  • See Web Link



"Naiman (Rubin) - Falling for sleep"

Source: Aeon, 11 July, 2016

COMMENT:



"Neiman (Susan) - History and guilt"

Source: Aeon, 12 August, 2013

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Can America face up to the terrible reality of slavery in the way that Germany has faced up to the Holocaust?"
  • See Web Link



"Newman (Sandra) - Why men rape"

Source: Aeon, 30 March, 2017

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "It’s not a profound mystery, or explained by deep psychosocial complexity. For rapists, rape is easy. And that must stop."
  • See Web Link



"Nichols (Tom) - The crisis of expertise"

Source: Aeon, 06 June, 2017

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Experts are either derided or held up as all-seeing gurus. Time to reboot the relationship between expertise and democracy."
  • See Web Link



"Nussbaum (Martha) - Beyond anger"

Source: Aeon, 26 July, 2016


Author’s Summary
  1. A wronged person who is really angry, seeking to strike back, soon arrives, I claim, at a fork in the road. Three paths lie before her.
    1. Path one: she goes down the path of status-focus, seeing the event as all about her and her rank. In this case her payback project makes sense, but her normative focus is self-centred and objectionably narrow.
    2. Path two: she focuses on the original offence (rape, murder, etc), and seeks payback, imagining that the offender’s suffering would actually make things better. In this case, her normative focus is on the right things, but her thinking doesn’t make sense.
    3. Path three: if she is rational, after exploring and rejecting these two roads, she will notice that a third path is open to her, which is the best of all: she can turn to the future and focus on doing whatever would make sense, in the situation, and be really helpful. This may well include the punishment of the wrongdoer, but in a spirit that is deterrent rather than retaliatory.
  2. So, to put my radical claim succinctly: when anger makes sense (because focused on status), its retaliatory tendency is normatively problematic, because a single-minded focus on status impedes the pursuit of intrinsic goods. When it is normatively reasonable (because focused on the important human goods that have been damaged), its retaliatory tendency doesn’t make sense, and it is problematic for that reason. Let’s call this change of focus the Transition. We need the Transition badly in our personal and our political lives, dominated as they all too frequently are by payback and status-focus.


COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Anger is the emotion that has come to saturate our politics and culture. Philosophy can help us out of this dark vortex."
  • See Web Link



"Ohlson (Kristin) - The great forgetting"

Source: Aeon, 30 July, 2014

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Our first three years are usually a blur and we don’t remember much before age seven. What are we hiding from ourselves?"
  • See Web Link



"Okrent (Arika) - Is linguistics a science?"

Source: Aeon, 17 July, 2017

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Much of linguistic theory is so abstract and dependent on theoretical apparatus that it might be impossible to explain. "
  • See Web Link



"Olson (Eric) - Why Is Death Bad?"

Source: Aeon, 22 April, 2016


Author’s Introduction
  1. Most of us think it’s a bad thing to die. I certainly don’t want to die any time soon, and you probably don’t either. There are, of course, exceptions. Some people actively want to die. They might be unbearably lonely, or in chronic pain, or gradually sliding into senile dementia that will destroy their intellect without remainder. And there might be no prospect of improvement. They wake up every morning disappointed to find that they haven’t died in their sleep. In these cases, it might be better to die than to continue a life not worth living. But most of the time death is unwelcome, and we do all we can to avoid it.
  2. Death is bad not only for those left behind. If I were to die today, my loved ones would be grief-stricken, my son would be orphaned, and my colleagues would have to mark my students’ exams. That would be terrible for them. But death would be terrible for me, too. Much as I care about my colleagues’ wellbeing, I have my own selfish reasons for staying alive. And this isn’t peculiar to me. When people die, we feel sorry for them, and not merely for ourselves at losing them – especially if death takes them when they’re young and full of promise. We consider it one of the worst things that can happen to someone.
  3. This would be easy to understand if death were followed by a nasty time in the hereafter. It could be that death is not the end of us, but merely a transition from one sort of existence to another. We might somehow carry on in a conscious state after we die, in spite of the decay and dissolution that takes place in the grave. I might be doomed to eternal torment in hell. That would obviously be bad for me: it would make me worse off than I am now.
  4. But what if there is no hereafter? What if death really is the end – we return to the dust from which we came and that’s it? Then death can’t make us worse off than we are now. Or at least not in the straightforward way that burning in hell could make us worse off. To be dead is not to exist at all, and there’s nothing unpleasant about that. No one minds being dead. The dead never complain, and not merely because their mouths have stopped working. They are simply no longer there to be unhappy.


COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Even without a hereafter, dying gets a bad rap. But why exactly is it no good – because of what happens, or what doesn’t?".
  • See Web Link



"Orent (Wendy) - How plagues really work"

Source: Aeon, 22 August, 2014

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "The next pandemic will erupt, not from the jungle, but from the disease factories of hospitals, refugee camps and cities. "
  • See Web Link



"Pasquale (Frank) - Digital star chamber"

Source: Aeon, 18 August, 2015

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Algorithms are producing profiles of you. What do they say? You probably don’t have the right to know."
  • See Web Link



"Pennycook (Gordon) - Why bullshit is no laughing matter"

Source: Aeon, 06 January, 2016

COMMENT:



"Peters (Benjamin) - The Soviet InterNyet"

Source: Aeon, 17 October, 2016

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Soviet scientists tried for decades to network their nation. What stalemated them is now fracturing the global internet."
  • See Web Link



"Pettit (Philip) - Hierarchy is either strictly constrained or it is indefensible"

Source: Aeon, 24 March, 2017

COMMENT:



"Petty (Adrienne) - Populism now divides, yet once it united the working class"

Source: Aeon, 31 July, 2017

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Phelps (Steven M.) - Touched"

Source: Aeon, 04 April, 2017

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "The body courses with currents of love and desire, pleasure and pain. Can neuroscience alone map this fluid terrain?"
  • See Web Link



"Pierre (Joseph) - A mad world"

Source: Aeon, 19 March, 2014

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "A diagnosis of mental illness is more common than ever – did psychiatrists create the problem, or just recognise it?"
  • See Web Link



"Pigliucci (Massimo) - Must science be testable?"

Source: Aeon, 10 August, 2016

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "String wars among physicists have highlighted just how much science needs philosophy – and not just the amateur version."
  • See Web Link



"Pigliucci (Massimo) - To be happier, focus on what’s within your control"

Source: Aeon, 22 May, 2017

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Pollock (Rufus) - Only governments can safeguard the openness of the internet"

Source: Aeon, 26 October, 2016

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Poole (Steven) - Your point is?"

Source: Aeon, 11 February, 2013

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Science can’t stop talking in terms of ‘purposes’, but if the universe cares about us, it has a funny way of showing it".
  • See Web Link



"Popkin (Gabriel) - What the death of an oak tree can teach us about mortality"

Source: Aeon, 06 December, 2016

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Price (Huw) - Now it’s time to prepare for the Machinocene"

Source: Aeon, 17 October, 2016

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Prinz (Jesse) - How wonder works"

Source: Aeon, 21 June, 2013

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "One emotion inspired our greatest achievements in science, art and religion. We can manipulate it – but why do we have it?"
  • See Web Link



"Pross (Addy) - Life’s restlessness"

Source: Aeon, 29 April, 2014

COMMENT:



"Puchner (Martin) - Readers of the world unite"

Source: Aeon, 20 September, 2017

COMMENT:
  • "How markets, Marx, and provincial elites created world literature to fight both empire and nationalism."
  • See Web Link



"Purcell (Sebastian) - What the Aztecs can teach us about happiness and the good life"

Source: Aeon, 11 November, 2016

COMMENT: See Web Link.



"Purzycki (Benjamin Grant) - Inside the mind of God"

Source: Aeon, 18 March, 2015

COMMENT:
  • Sub-title: "Punitive Big Brother; cosmic petty-thief-catcher; vigilant landlord. Why is God so interested in bad behaviour?"
  • See Web Link



Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2017
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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