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The Animal-Lover's Dilemma: I Don't Eat Meat, but My Pet Does

When moral philosopher Gary Steiner first adopted his cat Pindar, the vet advised him to put the cat to sleep. A rescue animal, Pindar had tested positive for FIV (feline AIDS) and feline leukemia, and has since developed other chronic health issues, including kidney disease. Steiner decided to keep Pindar, triggering… » 7/31/15 12:31pm 7/31/15 12:31pm

How to Cope With an Existential Crisis

Despite the weirdness of existence, most of us are able to get on with our lives and avoid debilitating feelings of despair, personal failure, and cosmic meaninglessness. But every once in a while we’re tugged out of our complacency and forced to re-evaluate our lives. Here’s what you need to know about existential… » 7/16/15 1:00pm 7/16/15 1:00pm

Can We Ensure That Our First Encounter With Alien Life Is Ethical?

In April, NASA Chief scientist Ellen Stofan predicted we would “have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade,” and “definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years.” Assuming this timeline is correct, how do we ensure the life we encounter—which astrobiologists predict will be non-sentient—will be respected? » 6/18/15 1:40pm 6/18/15 1:40pm

These Prank Videos Prove That Human Nature Is Inherently Terrible

There are debates about the basic nature of humanity that have been raging for millennia. Are we decent? Are we nasty and brutish? These ontological questions can never be settled — unless you have hidden cameras and access to Youtube, that is. Then those questions can be settled easily, with video pranks. And the… » 5/07/15 4:00pm 5/07/15 4:00pm

Philosophers And Scientists Answer "What Scientific Idea Should Die?"

Each year, Edge Foundation founder John Brockman poses an interesting question to thinkers in a wide range of fields: psychology, theoretical physics, evolution, cognitive science, and more. This year's question was "What scientific idea is ready for retirement?" And here are some of the answers. » 12/29/14 1:00pm 12/29/14 1:00pm

A Mind-Blowing Explanation Of Existentialism In The Terminator Films

It's no accident that Sarah Connor's famous dictum that there is "No fate but what we make" closely resembles Jean-Paul Sartre's first principle of existentialism, that "Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself." As philosophy grad student Ro Smith explains in the above video (and accompanying essay),… » 12/15/14 5:30pm 12/15/14 5:30pm

Is It Time to Accept That We're Alone in the Universe?

We have yet to discover any signs of aliens, a troubling observation that has led to much speculation. One possible solution to the Great Silence is that nobody's out there. It's a conclusion that sounds impossible to believe, but there may be something to it. Here's why we may be alone in the universe. » 11/05/14 12:20pm 11/05/14 12:20pm