Macat iLibrary

Featured Book: Elizabeth Anscombe's "Modern Moral Philosophy"

Featured Book: Elizabeth Anscombe's "Modern Moral Philosophy"

It’s easy to believe that the reach of modern philosophy extends no further than the stuffy ivory towers of contemporary academia. That would be a mistake. Philosophy literally means “the love of wisdom,” and this love, when pursued earnestly, can change the way we think about right and wrong—and about ourselves.

“What sort of person ought I to be?” The question is a simple one, but for those who take it seriously, merely addressing it can have profound consequences.

Artificial intelligence and the morality minefield

Artificial intelligence and the morality minefield

Imagine yourself in a car powered by the latest super-smart artificial intelligence (A.I.). Three pedestrians recklessly burst onto the road in front of you. Your self-driving vehicle has no time to slow down – it will either hit the pedestrians or veer off the road, most likely crashing and endangering your life. Who should the car decide to save? The pedestrians? Or should it kill three people to save you, the owner, who did nothing wrong?

Trump tactics: why America is voting for a bully

Trump tactics: why America is voting for a bully

Donald Trump’s bid to become US President is enduring far longer than anyone anticipated. Each time his campaign courts scandal, or his words spark public outrage, Trump emerges from the resulting media circus more popular than before. It doesn’t matter how outrageously he acts: the normal rules of politics do not seem to apply to Donald J. Trump.

Aristotle’s secret to happiness: what will make us happy now?

Aristotle’s secret to happiness: what will make us happy now?

According to Dr Tim Lomas and his recently-updated Positive Lexicography Project, there exist over 400 foreign terms for happiness that have no direct English translation.

Among them is “eudaimonia,” meaning “good spirit” or flourishing, which Aristotle deemed so important that he wrote his seminal work Nicomachean Ethics specifically to address the problem of how human beings could achieve it. 2,500 years later, Aristotle’s work remains the most influential theory of what it means to live a good human life.

Is the US election actually a revolution? Lessons from Thomas Paine and Antonio Gramsci

Is the US election actually a revolution? Lessons from Thomas Paine and Antonio Gramsci

Unlike plenty of violent revolutionaries from the past, American presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are not seeking to overthrow a monarchy, topple an oppressive dictator, or send their enemies to the guillotine. But few witnesses would disagree that they are revolutionizing US politics by mobilizing popular support against what they perceive as inadequacies in the current system.

Thomas Paine vs. Edmund Burke: do we have the right to revolt?

Thomas Paine vs. Edmund Burke: do we have the right to revolt?

They come to “reclaim speech and public space… to take our place in the Republic.” They are unified by a system that they say has failed them, as well as a feeling of exclusion from the mainstream political system. They tell the press they will continue until the injustices they see in society—mostly based around democracy (or lack of it) and misrepresentation in the political system—are put right.

Scientist or preacher? Richard Dawkins in the age of Twitter

Scientist or preacher? Richard Dawkins in the age of Twitter

Richard Dawkins is one of the most famous intellectuals in the world—what you might call a “public intellectual.” His most popular book, The God Delusion, has sold over three million copies worldwide and cemented Dawkins’ reputation as a leader of modern atheism who speaks, writes, and tweets regularly about the perils of religion. He enjoys greater influence than perhaps anyone else trained as a zoologist.

The cyber surveillance dilemma: Foucault, Hobbes, and Mill weigh in

The cyber surveillance dilemma: Foucault, Hobbes, and Mill weigh in

In 2014, researchers at MIT published data suggesting that, post-Snowden, Google users are increasingly reluctant to search for terms that might arouse the suspicion of the US government.The conclusion? We now think our online movements are being tracked by a higher power, and we’re starting to police ourselves.

The rich and their tax havens: what would Marx and Piketty say?

The rich and their tax havens: what would Marx and Piketty say?

Half of the 16 million people in Malawi, Africa, are living in poverty. They earn less than $1 per day, and they cannot access good medical attention. Yet Africa loses an estimated $14 billion in annual tax revenues—enough to save four million children’s lives a year and put every African child into school—because the rich put their wealth in tax havens like Panama.