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  • A little-known correspondence between Einstein and Freud reveals his thoughts on war.
  • In this letter, Einstein puts forth the idea for a world government run by an intellectual elite.
  • His goal in this letter was to get Freud's insight into the psychologial matter of violence and how to solve it.
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Culture & Religion

Self-command: Learn this powerful thinking tool

When should you censor yourself, and when should you speak up? Emily Chamlee-Wright explains moral philosopher Adam Smith's 'impartial spectator'.

  • 18th-century moral philosopher Adam Smith argued that you could measure the appropriateness of your words and actions by satisfying an imaginary judge he called the impartial spectator.
  • Switching perspectives to listen to that impartial spectator is a difficult skill as it requires self-command to triumph over self-love. Wise people imagine the spectator's response and use it to help steer productive discourse – especially in difficult and chaotic debates.
  • Self-command is an intellectual virtue. It's a thinking tool that helps us know when to self-censor and when to speak up in the interest of civil discourse and truth seeking.
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Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies

Having a purpose in life can affect how long you live

New research shows that aimlessness can be fatal.

Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash
  • New research examined the association between life purpose and mortality and found that individuals who felt they had no purpose in life tended to die earlier.
  • Study participants with low life purpose scores typically died from cardiovascular and digestive tract conditions.
  • The researchers speculate that this could be due to elevated and chronic inflammation caused by a low sense of psychological well-being.
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Personal Growth

The psychology of moral grandstanding

Moral grandstanding is a vanity project that sabotages public discourse says moral philosopher Brandon Warmke.

  • Moral grandstanding is the use of moral talk for self-promotion. Moral grandstanders have egotistical motives: they may want to signal that they have superhuman insight into a topic, paint themselves as a victim, or show that they care more than others.
  • Moral philosophers view moral grandstanding as a net negative. They argue that it contributes to political polarization, increases levels of cynicism about moral talk and its value in public life, and it causes outrage exhaustion.
  • Grandstanders are also a kind of social free rider, says Brandon Warmke. They get the benefits of being heard without contributing to any valuable discourse. It's selfish behavior at best, and divisive behavior at worst.
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Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies

You weren't born just to be 'useful,’ Irish president tells students

Here's why the Irish president believes students need philosophy.

Photo credit: Charles McQuillan / Getty Images
  • President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins calls for students to be thought of as more than tools made to be useful.
  • Higgins believes that philosophy and history should be a basic requirement forming a core education.
  • The Irish Young Philosopher Awards is one such event that is celebrating this discipline among the youth.
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Personal Growth