A River Ran through Him
The River of Consciousness, by Oliver Sacks (New York: Knopf, 2017, ISBN 978-0-385-35256-7) x + 237 pp. Hardcover, $27.00. The River of Consciousness, the book neurologist Oliver Sacks (Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat) was working on just before his death in 2015, collects ten essays written over the past fifteen …
Understanding Ignorance: The Surprising Impact of What We Don’t Know, by Daniel R. DeNicola
Understanding Ignorance: The Surprising Impact of What We Don’t Know, by Daniel R. DeNicola (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2017, ISBN 978-0-262-03644-3) xii + 250 pp. Hardcover, $27.95. “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance,” observed H. L. Mencken in Notes on Democracy (1926). Gettysburg College Professor of Philosophy Daniel …
Thinking Inside the Box
Arlindo Oliveira, president of the Instituto Superior Técnico (Lisbon, Portugal) and a professor of computer science and engineering, wishes to inform us of our possible digital future by explaining the development and present state of work in computer science, cell biology, and neuroscience.
No One Here Gets Out Alive
“Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick,” wrote Susan Sontag in Illness as Metaphor.
The Cartoon History of Humanism, Volume One: Antiquity to Enlightenment
“Why a cartoon history of humanism? The obvious answer, roughly put, is Why not?’”
A World to Live In: An Ecologist’s Vision for a Plundered Planet
“Woodwell’s conclusions on our global crisis are considered and carefully detailed in this concise (if often repetitious) summation of a life’s work.”
Poem: For years before he died, grandfather kept / stacked in his basement, every can, every / lidless jar and pastry tray that came / his way
How to Grow Old: Ancient Wisdom for the Second Half of Life
“The task Rome’s greatest prose stylist set himself in De Senectute was to find reasons to stop complaining, to consent to aging, and to sing its virtues.”
What Sort of Free Will Is Worth Having?
“We are afraid that science has shown, or will soon show, that we can’t be what we want to be.”—Daniel Dennett
A review of Revolutionary Ideas: The Rights of Man to Robespierre, by Jonathan Israel.
God Makes Us Eat Them
A review of Animal Liberation and Atheism: Dismantling the Procrustean Bed, by Kim Socha.
A poem from the April/May 2015 issue of Free Inquiry.
Gimme That Old-Time Atheism
A review of Imagine There’s No Heaven: How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World, by Mitchell Stephens.
The Nothing That Is Not There and the Everything That Is
The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism, by A.C. Grayling (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013, ISBN 978-1-62040-190-3) 269 pp. Cloth, $26.00. British philosopher A.C. Grayling must certainly be familiar to many readers of Free Inquiry, for he has long been associated with the new atheism movement, and The God Argument might be read …
Secular Humanism: Protestantism’s Gift to Us All
The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society, by Brad S. Gregory (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012, ISBN 978-0-674-04563-7) 574 pp. Hardcover, $39.95. In the November 2012 issue of The Progressive, editor Matthew Rothschild opened his editorial by noticing what he took to be Paul Ryan’s “weird conception of rights,” …
Poems – Vol 33, No 1
Still Life with Lamp and Dogs Brooke Horvath Pillows covered in vines & flowers rest upon the armchair They must have lain there awhile they are so overgrown Two grey pillows on the couch like rocks on rocks Two dogs, one per pillow, one dog dreaming, one awake… As for the lamp– who knows? …
A Knight at Evening
Hannah Arendt: Radical Conservative, by Irving Louis Horowitz (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 2012, ISBN 978-1-4128-4602-8) xii +100 pp. Hardcover, $29.95. By the end of this year, Hannah Arendt will have been the subject of at least five books devoted entirely to her thought, including Steve Buckler’s Hannah Arendt and Political Theory, Marco Goldoni and Christopher …
‘Live All You Can: It’s a Mistake Not To’
Arguably: Essays, by Christopher Hitchens (New York: Twelve, 2011, ISBN 978-1-4555-0277-6) xix + 788 pp. Cloth, $30.00. In his final column for Free Inquiry (February/March 2012), Christopher Hitchens described himself as “a self-taught amateur writer.” If one were inclined to take this characterization seriously, and if such faux modesty could be purchased by the yard, …
The Three Great Ideas of Yacouba Sawadogo
(Based on an article by Mark Hertsgaard in The Nation, December 7, 2009) “My father is buried here,” Sawadogo says, a hatchet slung over his shoulder, sitting among his cows, guinea fowl, goats, beneath acacia and zizyphus trees in Burkino Faso, western Sahel. Unlike others, he could not abandon his farm. “My father is buried …