About

Twitter

Facebook

CUP Web site

RSS Feed

New Books

Author Interviews

Author Events

Keep track of new CUP book releases:
e-newsletters

For media inquiries, please contact our
publicity department

CUP Authors Blogs and Sites

American Society of Magazine Editors

Natalie Berkowitz / Winealicious

Leonard Cassuto

Mike Chasar / Poetry and Popular Culture

Erica Chenoweth / "Rational Insurgent"

Juan Cole

Jenny Davidson / "Light Reading"

Faisal Devji

William Duggan

James Fleming / Atmosphere: Air, Weather, and Climate History Blog

David Harvey

Paul Harvey / "Religion in American History"

Bruce Hoffman

Alexander Huang

David K. Hurst / The New Ecology of Leadership

Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh

Geoffrey Kabat / "Hyping Health Risks"

Grzegorz W. Kolodko / "Truth, Errors, and Lies"

Jerelle Kraus

Julia Kristeva

Michael LaSala / Gay and Lesbian Well-Being (Psychology Today)

David Leibow / The College Shrink

Marc Lynch / "Abu Aardvark"

S. J. Marshall

Michael Mauboussin

Noelle McAfee

The Measure of America

Philip Napoli / Audience Evolution

Paul Offit

Frederick Douglass Opie / Food as a Lens

Jeffrey Perry

Mari Ruti / The Juicy Bits

Marian Ronan

Michael Sledge

Jacqueline Stevens / States without Nations

Ted Striphas / The Late Age of Print

Charles Strozier / 9/11 after Ten Years

Hervé This

Alan Wallace

James Igoe Walsh / Back Channels

Xiaoming Wang

Santiago Zabala

Press Blogs

AAUP

University of Akron

University of Alberta

American Management Association

Baylor University

Beacon Broadside

University of California

Cambridge University Press

University of Chicago

Cork University

Duke University

University of Florida

Fordham University Press

Georgetown University

University of Georgia

Harvard University

Harvard Educational Publishing Group

University of Hawaii

Hyperbole Books

University of Illinois

Island Press

Indiana University

Johns Hopkins University

University of Kentucky

Louisiana State University

McGill-Queens University Press

Mercer University

University of Michigan

University of Minnesota

Minnesota Historical Society

University of Mississippi

University of Missouri

MIT

University of Nebraska

University Press of New England

University of North Carolina

University Press of North Georgia

NYU / From the Square

University of Oklahoma

Oregon State University

University of Ottawa

Oxford University

Penn State University

University of Pennsylvania

Princeton University

Stanford University

University of Sydney

University of Syracuse

Temple University

University of Texas

Texas A&M University

University of Toronto

University of Virginia

Wilfrid Laurier University

Yale University

May 29th, 2015

Ideas for Life — The Introduction to “The 7th Sense,” by William Duggan



We conclude our week-long feature on The Seventh Sense: How Flashes of Insight Change Your Life, by William Duggan by returning to the book’s beginning and its introduction (see below). In “Ideas for Life” Duggan explains “the seventh sense” and why it is so important for developing new ideas. Duggan writes:

The seventh sense is the mechanism of the human mind that produces new ideas. It’s the epiphany, the flash of insight, the Eureka moment—in the form of an idea that not else had before either. The seventh sense is how new ideas are born. And not just new ideas, but useful ideas. Human achievement advances through flashes of insight that come from the seventh sense.

May 28th, 2015

Thursday Fiction Corner: Colson Whitehead on Coney Island



A Coney Island Reader

With summer just around the corner, we thought we would devote this week’s fiction corner to one of the season’s icons: Coney Island. Specifically, here is Colson Whitehead’s very particular take on the neighborhood and the beach, which was included in the recently published A Coney Island Reader: Through Dizzy Gates of Illusion, edited by Louis J. Parascandola and John Parascandola.

Whitehead’s essay “Coney Island,” gives a stream-of-consciousness account of a typical day looking at both the good and the bad, and of course, screaming on the Cyclone. Whitehead writes:

A rollercoaster is your mind trying to reconcile two contradictory propositions. Earth and space, cement and air, city and sea. Life and death. Choose quickly. The city and the sea don’t get along, never have. Two trash-talking combatants, two old bitter foes.

May 28th, 2015

Presence of Mind and Kobe Bryant’s Jump Shot — William Duggan’s “The 7th Sense”



The Seventh Sense, William Duggan

One of the concepts that William Duggan explores in The Seventh Sense: How Flashes of Insight Change Your Life is presence of mind. Given that we are nearing the NBA finals, we thought we would excerpt the section in which Duggan explains how presence of mind improved Kobe Bryant’s jump shot:

Presence of mind means that all the elements of your idea are open to alteration, all the time. You ask yourself every morning: Is there something I need to add, subtract, or change? The answer is probably no. But if you don’t ask, you’ll miss that rare time when the answer is yes. Changing your idea every day is bad—you’ll never get anywhere. But staying open every day to changing your idea—that’s essential to presence of mind.

Here’s a recent example of presence of mind and how it can help you stay alert to examples from history from far afield. Kobe Bryant, one of the most successful basketball players of all time, told this story in an interview in September 2014 in the New York Times. He spoke about his fadeaway shot, where you jump up and backward, away from your oppo­nent in front of you. The usual way to do it is to jump with both legs together, so your body is perfectly straight, leaning back. Bryant explained:

When you watch me shoot my fadeaway jumper, you’ll notice my leg is always extended. I had problems making that shot in the past. It’s tough. So one day I’m watching the Discovery Channel and see a cheetah hunting. When the cheetah runs, its tail always gives it balance, even if it’s cutting a sharp angle. And that’s when I was like: My leg could be the tail, right? Inspiration surrounds us.

What amazing presence of mind. He was watching a nature program to relax, not for research. But relaxing helped, so his mind was free and open. Bryant saw the cheetah using its tail for balance when cutting left or right, and applied that to his own movement in a different direction: backward. And this example highlights again the difference between the sixth sense and the seventh.

Professional athletes like Bryant have tremendous intuition from long hours of practice and many, many games played. His sixth sense helps him do the same move better next time. But only his seventh sense can give him a new move.

Presence of mind is hard to achieve and sustain, so you can’t expect other people to have it. When you tell someone else your new idea, the most common reaction is for them to tell you their own ideas on the topic. That’s because every­one puts a tremendous amount of conscious and unconscious thought into their own ideas. Think of it this way: someone has worked long and hard on building a house. You come along and say you’re going to knock down their house and build them a better one. How do they react? They defend their house. They tell you it’s better than the one you aim to build. They don’t want to admit that all their hard work has gone to waste. And you’re not just criticizing their house, you’re criticizing them: you’re telling them they don’t know how to build a good house.

The mistake here is simple but deep: people take their ideas personally. If my idea is not worthy, then I’m not worthy. Especially at work, and especially if I’m the boss: the com­pany promoted me because I’m an expert. I know the right answers. If someone else comes up with a different idea, and it’s right, then I don’t deserve to be boss. Especially if that person reports to me. Then they deserve to be boss instead. But that can’t be right. So their idea can’t be right.

May 27th, 2015

Your Seventh Sense: Beyond Mindfulness



The Seventh Sense, William Duggan

The following post is by William Duggan, author of The Seventh Sense: How Flashes of Insight Change Your Life:

You need more than meditation to calm your mind.

Over the past decade, meditation has become a popular method in the business world for promoting “mindfulness” among employees. The benefits are better health in general and a calmer mind to concentrate better at work. And a calm mind promotes creativity: that’s why you have your best ideas when your brain is relaxed, in the shower, driving, on the train or plane, at the gym, running, walking, or falling asleep at night. In a calm mind, pieces of a puzzle come together in a flash of insight, otherwise known as your “seventh sense.”

Your sixth sense is rapid recognition from experience: for example, when you hear a relative’s footsteps and know exactly who it is. Your seventh sense is slower, and draws from everything you know, not just your own experience. The calmer your mind, the better your brain can search through more and more connections until the solution comes in a flash.

Meditation makes you more “mindful.” That is, you train your mind to appreciate the present moment rather than dwell on past sorrows or future worries. There are two basic kinds of mindfulness training: samatha and vipassana, both from the Hindu tradition. Most forms of meditation today follow one or the other method, or combine them both.

Read the rest of this entry »

May 27th, 2015

New Book Tuesday, Wednesday Edition: Stem Cell Dialogues, Coming of Age in Grief, The Jewish Lives of Paul, and More!



Stem Cell Dialogues, Sheldon Krimsky

Stem Cell Dialogues: A Philosophical and Scientific Inquiry Into Medical Frontiers
Sheldon Krimsky

Walking the Night Road: Coming of Age in Grief
Alexandra Butler

Who Made Early Christianity?: The Jewish Lives of the Apostle Paul
John G. Gager

Sex Crimes: Transnational Problems and Global Perspectives
Edited by Alissa R. Ackerman and Rich Furman

Toward a Unified Ecology
Timothy F. H. Allen and Thomas W. Hoekstra; with illustrations by Joyce V. VanDeWater

Nicholas Miraculous: The Amazing Career of the Redoubtable Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler
Michael Rosenthal. Foreword by Patricia O’Toole

Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late (Now available in paper)
Joseph Cirincione

China’s Foreign Places: The Foreign Presence in China in the Treaty Port Era, 1840-1943
Robert Nield

May 26th, 2015

Book Giveaway! The Seventh Sense, by William Duggan



This week our featured book is The Seventh Sense: How Flashes of Insight Change Your Life by William Duggan.

In addition to featuring the book and the author on the blog, we will also be posting about the book on twitter, and facebook.

We are also offering a FREE copy of The Seventh Sense to one winner. To enter the contest please e-mail pl2164@columbia.edu and include your name and address. The winner will be selected Friday, May 29th at 1:00 pm.

For more on the book you can read the introduction:

May 22nd, 2015

University Press Roundup



Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments. (And look back at our University Press Roundup Manifesto to see why we do this post every Friday.)

In the wake of Charlie Hebdo, how should a liberal society deal with religious fanaticism? At Yale University Press’s blog, Stephen Eric Bronner, author of Modernism at the Barricades, discusses fanaticism and free speech and wrestles with the question of tolerating intolerance. Bronner notes that consistent application of freedom of speech means that a society that allows defamation of Allah or the Prophet must also permit defamation of the Holocaust. A society must permit or prohibit both.

UT Austin blog highlights their heavy hitter for the season We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in Space Program. The book has rightfully been featured everywhere. A thoughtful blogpost by Elizabeth Hodge Freeman, sociologist and author of The Color of Love, muses on Toni Morrison’s newly published novel God Help the Child. She writes about the dialogue of ideas about race between Morrison’s work of fiction and her own scholarship.

MIT Press commemorates the fourth anniversary of the deadly tornado that struck Joplin, MO and how the community embraced civic ecological principles in the aftermath. The effects of civic ecological principles are heartening. The city of Joplin repurposed debarked trees into public art, recreated their community, and more. Leslie Knope couldn’t have done better in Pawnee.

Today, Ireland is voting on a referendum to legalize same-sex marriage. At the OUP blog, Lorenzo Zucca covers how this will set a historic precedent by this culturally Catholic country. How will things change if the referendum passes? “If ‘Yes‘ wins, the following new wording will be added to the Constitution: ‘Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex’.” Zucca argues in favor. Read his points here.

Can graduate students live by ramen alone? Harvard University Press’ blog features a blogpost by Leonard Casuto, author of The Graduate School Mess. Higher education is in flux in the US, and the main thrust of Casuto’s critique is about the hodgepodge selection of courses. Because the course offerings in today’s universities are specialized inquiries, the onus too often falls on graduate students to create a coherent and comprehensive program of study. Ramen is delicious but not quite nutritious (alone).

That’s all folks for the weekly round up! Thanks for reading! Do make the most of your Memorial Day weekend.

May 22nd, 2015

The Journey Ahead



The Thirteenth Step

“[F]or now at least, any promise of “cure” is somewhere between naïve and dishonest, depending on who makes it and why. But it is equally true that these chronic relapsing disorders can now be managed so that most people with such disorders can decrease their risk for relapse, allowing them to live productive, good lives.” — Markus Heilig

This week our featured book is The Thirteenth Step: Addiction in the Age of Brain Science, by Markus Heilig. For the final day of our giveaway, we are happy to present an excerpt from “The Journey Ahead,” the final chapter of The Thirteenth Step.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway of The Thirteenth Step!

May 21st, 2015

PTSD and addiction



The Thirteenth Step

“Here’s a dream: A future in which every patient with alcohol problems, man or women, is thoroughly evaluated for PTSD, treated with evidence based behavioral interventions, and given the opportunity to benefit from synergistic effects of psychotherapy and pharmacology. Wouldn’t that be something?” — Markus Heilig

This week our featured book is The Thirteenth Step: Addiction in the Age of Brain Science, by Markus Heilig. In today’s post, Heilig discusses the deep connection between PTSD and substance addiction which scientists are still trying to fully understand.

And don’t forget to enter our book giveaway of The Thirteenth Step!

PTSD and addiction
By Markus Heilig

The public is clearly waking up to the fact that much of the toll of PTDS comes from substance use. Hard drinking may appear as the only way to temporarily escape the intrusive memories of traumatic events, face people at the grocery store, or fall asleep without the torment of nightmares. Up to 75% of combat veterans with PTSD also have alcohol problems. Conversely, between a third and half of patients seeking treatment for alcohol problems have PTSD.

But here’s something else to think about: The vast majority of PTSD patients are actually not veterans of wars. Firefights or explosive devices are not the most common causes of PTSD. Rape, sexual assault, or intimate partner violence are. Even with the recent wars, PTSD is twice as common among women as it is among men, affecting 8 – 16% of adult females in the US. Yet women suffering from PTSD are not much talked about. When they seek treatment for alcohol problems, the questions that would allow a PTSD diagnosis to be made are rarely asked. And even if the diagnosis is obvious, people look the other way. Traumatic events are so hard to talk about. Excuses are plentiful. Maybe bringing back traumatic memories will trigger cravings and relapse? So this difficult material is left for a “later” that never comes. Read the rest of this entry »

May 20th, 2015

Us and Them



The Thirteenth Step

“In this book I will share some of the amazing advances the neuroscience of addiction has made over the years I have been in the field. I will offer a personal take on what addiction is: a malfunction of some of the most fundamental brain circuits that make us tick, and a disease that is not much different from other chronic, relapsing medical conditions. I trust it will be clear what addiction is not: a moral failing, a simple inability to say no, or a condition that can be cured by mystic incantations.” — Markus Heilig

This week our featured book is The Thirteenth Step: Addiction in the Age of Brain Science, by Markus Heilig. Today, we are happy to present an excerpt from “Us and Them,” the first chapter of The Thirteenth Step, in which Heilig explains his experiences working with addiction, and lays out his hopes for what his book will accomplish.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway of The Thirteenth Step!

May 19th, 2015

New Book Tuesday: Excellent Beauty, Emperor Wu Zhao, and More New Books!



Emperor Wu Zhao and Her Pantheon of Devis, Divinities, and Dynastic Mothers

Our weekly listing of new titles now available:

Excellent Beauty: The Naturalness of Religion and the Unnaturalness of the World
Eric Dietrich

Emperor Wu Zhao and Her Pantheon of Devis, Divinities, and Dynastic Mothers
N. Harry Rothschild

The Political Impossibility of Modern Counterinsurgency: Strategic Problems, Puzzles, and Paradoxes
M. L. R. Smith and David Martin Jones

Talking About Torture: How Political Discourse Shapes the Debate
Jared Del Rosso

Social Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity (Now available in paper)
Hartmut Rosa. Translated by Jonathan Trejo-Mathys

Philosophical Toys: A Novel
Susana Medina

Captive Society: The Basij Militia and Social Control in Iran
Saeid Golkar

Black Sunday
Martyn Conterio

The Curse of Frankenstein
Marcus K. Harmes

Securitization of Islam—A Vicious Circle: Counter-Terrorism and Freedom of Religion in Central Asia
Kathrin Lenz-Raymann

Remakes and Remaking: Concepts — Media — Practices
Edited by Rüdiger Heinze and Lucia Krämer

Humour and Laughter in History: Transcultural Perspectives
Edited by Elisabeth Cheauré and Regine Nohejl

Revealing Tacit Knowledge: Embodiment and Explication
Edited by Frank Adloff, Katharina Gerund, and David Kaldewe

(Re-)Framing the Arab/Muslim: Mediating Orientalism in Contemporary Arab American Life Writing
Silke Schmidt

Popular Receptions of Archaeology: Fictional and Factual Texts in 19th and Early 20th Century Britain
Susanne Duesterberg

Community-Based Urban Violence Prevention: Innovative Approaches in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Arab Region
Edited by Kosta Mathéy and Silvia Matuk

Entangled Inequalities in Transnational Care Chains: Practices Across the Borders of Peru and Italy
Anna Katharina Skornia

Architects and Post-Disaster Housing: A Comparative Study in South India
Gertrud Tauber

Climate Change Adaptation in South Korea: Environmental Politics in the Agricultural Sector
Susann Schäfer

May 19th, 2015

Why breakthroughs in addiction research have not changed addiction treatment



The Thirteenth Step

“But the size of the addiction research enterprise is dwarfed by a $35 billion a year or so treatment industry in this field. This is a booming entrepreneurial world, where treatment centers charge people tens of thousands of dollars for various offerings. And despite all the investment in science, few of those treatments make much use of the scientific advances in the area of addiction. In fact, treatment approaches have not changed much at all over the past quarter century.” — Markus Heilig

This week our featured book is The Thirteenth Step: Addiction in the Age of Brain Science, by Markus Heilig. To open the week’s feature, Heilig has written a powerfully argued guest post in which he contrasts the advances in the science of addiction and the stagnation in the way that addiction is actually treated.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway of The Thirteenth Step!

Why have breakthroughs in addiction research not changed addiction treatment?
By Markus Heilig

The US taxpayers fund the overwhelming majority of addiction research in the world. Every year, Congress channels about $1 billion to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). An additional almost 0.5 billion is separately given to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), my own workplace for the past decade. That may sound impressive, and in many ways it is. With the help of these resources, there have been truly amazing advances in the understanding of how addiction works. “Brain reward systems” have become part of the general parlance. The NIDA director has become a celebrity who has appeared on 60 Minutes. New findings on how alcohol and drugs get people hooked have shown a rare ability to fascinate people far outside the circle of scientists. And there has been perhaps a more modest, but still significant progress in figuring out better treatments.

But the size of the addiction research enterprise is dwarfed by a $35 billion a year or so treatment industry in this field. This is a booming entrepreneurial world, where treatment centers charge people tens of thousands of dollars for various offerings. And despite all the investment in science, few of those treatments make much use of the scientific advances in the area of addiction. In fact, treatment approaches have not changed much at all over the past quarter century. If someone were to be pulled out of a 12-step meeting then and transported through time to one today, he or she would probably not notice much of a difference. Here is, perhaps unsurprisingly then, something that the investment in research has not bought us: Any measurable dent in the damage done by addictions.

Some basic facts: Alcohol continues to kill about 80,000 Americans each year. Death from prescription pain killers adds almost 20,000 more, and has been on the rise for over a decade. As we have begun clamping down on these prescriptions, heroin has become resurgent instead. Why is it that all the passionate research efforts by dedicated scientists have such a hard time producing much of a change in the lives of real people with addictions? Only about one in 10 people with alcoholism ever receive treatment. For most of those, that is synonymous with joining Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a movement formed three-quarters of a century ago, when medicine had little to offer addicts beyond perhaps treating the shakes of acute alcohol withdrawal. Read the rest of this entry »

May 18th, 2015

Book Giveaway! The Thirteenth Step: Addiction in the Age of Brain Science, by Markus Heilig



The Thirteenth Step

“Heilig makes the science accessible to both lay and professional audiences alike by using a strong, conversational tone interspersed with humor and illustrative vignettes. He draws the reader in and effectively consolidates complex concepts. I applaud his efforts to bring the plight of the addicted to the attention of others and for calling upon the field to do its very best to help.” — Valerie J. Slaymaker

This week our featured book is The Thirteenth Step: Addiction in the Age of Brain Science, by Markus Heilig. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book, its subject, and its editors on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

We are also offering a FREE copy of The Thirteenth Step. To enter our book giveaway, simply fill out the form below with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select our winners on Friday, May 22nd at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word!

May 15th, 2015

Where Has the Moral Instinct Gone?



Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants

“How does it come about that we tend to judge the actions of others in terms of good and evil, just and unjust, when, very often, they do not directly concern us? How are we to explain the fact that our altruistic, benevolent, or generous actions are in no wise exceptional when our species is supposed to be composed of fundamentally selfish individuals, preoccupied above all with their own material well-being? Among the traditional answers to these questions, some refer to the impact of a social apprenticeship proceeding by means of rewards and punishments, and others to the existence of an ‘innate moral sense’ or of a ‘moral instinct.’” — Ruwen Ogien

This week our featured book is Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants: An Introduction to Ethics, by Ruwen Ogien, translated by Martin Thom. Today, for the final day of the feature, we have excerpted a chapter in which Ogien discusses how advances in psychology have affected the idea of a human “moral instinct.”

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants

May 14th, 2015

Frankenstein, Minister of Health



Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants

“We are still very far from understanding all the implications of the applications of biomedical technologies. We can envisage the possibility of their rendering certain preconceived ideas concerning human nature obsolete and modifying our conceptions of the good. But why should they affect our conceptions of justice and their exigencies, such as the equal access of all to desirable technical innovations?” — Ruwen Ogien

This week our featured book is Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants: An Introduction to Ethics, by Ruwen Ogien, translated by Martin Thom. Today, we are featuring an excerpt from the book in which Ogien lays out some of the ethical difficulties created by the continuing advance of biomedical science.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants

May 14th, 2015

On the making of trout amandine and cauliflower gratin, an excerpt from “The Author and Me”



The Author and Me

In this week’s Thursday Fiction Corner, we continue our celebration of The Author and Me, written by Éric Chevillard and translated by Jordan Stump, which has been named as a finalist for the 2015 Best Translated Book Award in Fiction! Today, we are happy to present a short excerpt from the book which truly gets to the heart of the story: the contrast between the delicate and delightful preparation of trout amandine and the brutal and horrifying cooking (if one can use a word with such limited negative connotations to describe the process) of cauliflower gratin. Bask in the glory of the description of the first, and shiver in fear at the description of the second:

On the making of trout amandine and cauliflower gratin, an excerpt from The Author and Me
By Éric Chevillard, translated by Jordan Stump

So you begin, of course, by cleaning the trout, through the gills if you know what you’re doing, or more simply by making an inch-long incision in its belly, starting from the anus, taking care not to puncture the bile sac, lest you impregnate the fish’s pink, delicate flesh with a bitterness it succeeded in containing better than I, I must confess, Mademoiselle, but I have my reasons. Now rinse your trout, with care once again: there are sometimes little clots of blood still clinging to the spine. Cut off the fins, slash the end of the tail to prevent it from curling up in the frying pan like a scorpion’s, which would introduce into your lunch a note of aggression that will sooner or later be sounded by one of your tablemates anyway—whereupon you will lower your nose to your plate to find the exquisite tenderness your fellows deny you. Next, melt a tablespoon and a half of butter in a frying pan and, in another, dry roast a half cup of sliced almonds, stirring them gently with a wooden spatula. In your enthusiasm, you will have grown a third hand for snipping the parsley. Lower the heat under the first pan and, while in the other the almonds turn golden, brown your trouts (I put in two: I’d like one myself), dusted with flour and perhaps stuffed with a sprig of thyme. After eight minutes—men will have been born by the thousands, men will have died, that will give you a sense of those minutes’ import—turn the fish, salt and pepper the browned side, and add the parsley along with half the almonds. Let a few more minutes go by, turn the fish once again, scatter over the reserved almonds, drizzle the whole thing with the remaining butter and a little spray of lemon.

What do you think?

How much we’d have to say, if it weren’t rude to talk with your mouth full!

Whereas.

Whereas that woman.

Whereas, quite to the contrary, that woman.

Whereas, quite to the contrary, that woman began by dividing a cauliflower into little florets! Read the rest of this entry »

May 13th, 2015

An Intellectual Toolbox



Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants

“The majority of philosophers will tell you that, if you are concerned with moral thought, you must begin by reading and rereading the great texts in the history of ideas, in order to have “firm foundations.” But it is not obvious that the best means of inviting readers to undertake ethical reflection is to give them the feeling that they can calmly rest upon the doctrines elaborated by the giants of thought.” — Ruwen Ogien

This week our featured book is Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants: An Introduction to Ethics, by Ruwen Ogien, translated by Martin Thom. Today, we are happy to present a guest post from Ruwen Ogien in which he explains what he hopes his book will provide to entrants into the study of ethics.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants!

An Intellectual Toolbox
By Ruwen Ogien

Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants is a general introduction to ethics. But it has neither the pretension to instruct anyone how to live, nor the mission to teach the history of moral ideas from their origins to our own time, in chronological order. Its ambition is far more modest: to put at the disposal of those who might be interested a sort of intellectual toolbox enabling them to brave the moral debate without allowing themselves to be intimidated by the big words (“Dignity”, “Virtue”, “Duty”, etc.) and the grand declarations of principle (“You must never treat anyone simply as a means”, etc.). If these titles had not already become registered trademarks, I might have called it Anti-Manual of Ethics or Little Course of Intellectual Self-Defense Against Moralism.

The majority of philosophers will tell you that, if you are concerned with moral thought, you must begin by reading and rereading the great texts in the history of ideas, in order to have “firm foundations.” But it is not obvious that the best means of inviting readers to undertake ethical reflection is to give them the feeling that they can calmly rest upon the doctrines elaborated by the giants of thought. This is why it seems to me that it would be more logical for readers to be directly confronted with the difficulties of moral thought, by submitting to their perspicacity a certain number of problems, dilemmas and paradoxes, and by exposing them to the results of scientific studies that run counter to certain received ideas within the philosophical tradition. Read the rest of this entry »

May 12th, 2015

What is the use of thought experiments?



Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants

“But thought experiments in ethics have nothing to do with thought experiments in physics! Their ultimate aim is not to help us to attain a better knowledge of reality, but to know if there are reasons to keep it as it is or to change it.” — Ruwen Ogien

This week our featured book is Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants: An Introduction to Ethics, by Ruwen Ogien, translated by Martin Thom. To get the feature started, we have excerpted Ogien’s Introduction, in which he discusses the value of thought experiments to the study of what is moral and what is not, looks back at what is perhaps the most famous moral thought experiment, and gives a quick overview of three ways of conceiving of morality.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants!

May 12th, 2015

New Book Tuesday: The Hillary Doctrine, Henry George, Happiness and Goodness, and More!



The Hillary Doctrine

Our weekly listing of new books:

The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy
Valerie M. Hudson and Patricia Leidl. Foreword by Swanee Hunt

Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age
Edward T. O’Donnell

Happiness and Goodness: Philosophical Reflections on Living Well
Steven M. Cahn and Christine Vitrano. Foreword by Robert B. Talisse

The Practices of the Enlightenment: Aesthetics, Authorship, and the Public
Dorothea E. von Mücke

Engaging the Past: Mass Culture and the Production of Historical Knowledge
Alison Landsberg

Race and Real Estate: Conflict and Cooperation in Harlem, 1890-1920
Kevin McGruder

Adolescents in Public Housing: Addressing Psychological and Behavioral Health
Von E. Nebbitt

May 11th, 2015

Book Giveaway! Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants, by Ruwen Ogien



Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants

Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants is perhaps Ogien at his very best.The richness of this book is that Ogien endeavors to do philosophy from the reality of lived experiences rather than the kind of imaginary reflection that is so characteristic of much of philosophy.” — Laurence Thomas

This week our featured book is Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants: An Introduction to Ethics, by Ruwen Ogien, translated by Martin Thom. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book, its subject, and its editors on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

We are also offering a FREE copy of Human Kindness and the Smell of Warm Croissants. To enter our book giveaway, simply fill out the form below with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select our winners on Friday, May 15th at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word!