WATCH: How Societies Should Organize — Balancing Freedom and Community

Warning: You might not want to watch this at the dinner table (it gets political), but in the name of having great discussion over important issues, we hope you will!

Take a look at the image above. Now most people would probably agree that whatever is the greatest good for the greatest number of people is the right action. But what if you came in for a routine medical operation and they carved you up and gave your organs to those in need?! It's a problem called the Transplant Surgeon Objection and it demonstrates how tricky our beliefs can be when we're pressed to defend them.


That's to say that we're continuing to roll out our amazing Floating University video series with a third feature that touches on topics everyone has an opinion about: freedom, fairness, community, and individual rights. Warning: You might not want to watch this at the dinner table (it gets political), but in the name of having great discussion over important issues, we hope you will!

In this illuminating one-hour talk, Yale philosophy professor Tamar Gendler examines some of our most foundational philosophical issues through three topical questions — and one that's more far out (it's the one about selling your vote).

Should we have universal healthcare?

Is an inheritance tax legitimate? 

Should the army be created by a draft or by volunteers?

Is it legitimate to sell your vote?

So whether you want to defend your personal political opinions more soundly or open your mind to new avenues of thought, we think you'll find this discussion enlightening, challenging, and immensely satisfying. And all in under one hour!

Personal Growth

The life choices that had led me to be sitting in a booth underneath a banner that read “Ask a Philosopher" – at the entrance to the New York City subway at 57th and 8th – were perhaps random but inevitable.

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For thousands of years, humans slept in two shifts. Should we do it again?

Researchers believe that the practice of sleeping through the whole night didn’t really take hold until just a few hundred years ago.

The Bed by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Surprising Science

She was wide awake and it was nearly two in the morning. When asked if everything was alright, she said, “Yes.” Asked why she couldn’t get to sleep she said, “I don’t know.” Neuroscientist Russell Foster of Oxford might suggest she was exhibiting “a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern." Research suggests we used to sleep in two segments with a period of wakefulness in-between.

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'Self is not entirely lost in dementia,' argues new review

The assumption "that without memory, there can be no self" is wrong, say researchers.

Photo credit: Darren Hauck / Getty Images
Mind & Brain

In the past when scholars have reflected on the psychological impact of dementia they have frequently referred to the loss of the "self" in dramatic and devastating terms, using language such as the "unbecoming of the self" or the "disintegration" of the self. In a new review released as a preprint at PsyArXiv, an international team of psychologists led by Muireann Irish at the University of Sydney challenge this bleak picture which they attribute to the common, but mistaken, assumption "that without memory, there can be no self" (as encapsulated by the line from Hume: "Memory alone… 'tis to be considered… as the source of personal identity").

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