Applying Pascal’s Wager to Animal Ethics

Blaise Pascal (1623-62) was a French mathematician, physicist, philosopher, and Catholic theologian. One of his most influential contributions to the philosophy of religion is a philosophical argument known as Pascal’s wager. This idea was published posthumously in Pascal’s Pensées (“Thoughts”).  This post will describe how Pascal’s wager can be usefully applied to animal ethics, namely,…

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As in the Streets, So in the Mind: Flânerie as a Way of Thinking and Living

Flânerie refers to the lifestyle practice of walking aimlessly (typically around a city, with Paris being the epitomical city of the flâneur – the street wanderer). I analysed this concept in a previous post, touching on its historical, philosophical, literary, and cultural dimensions. However, flânerie extends well beyond the limits of the city, or I…

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Ethics in Psychedelic Therapy: The Promises and Pitfalls of Increased Suggestibility

Psychedelics are known to enhance suggestibility – in other words, the quality of being inclined to accept and act on the suggestions of others. (Interestingly, those who score high in trait conscientiousness – or being careful, diligent, efficient, and organised – are the most sensitive to this effect of psychedelics.) Psychedelic users are well aware…

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Negative Visualisation: How to Practise Gratitude Like a Stoic

Negative visualisation might sound like an oxymoron at first. How could something negative be helpful? Well, in short, negative visualisation is a philosophical mindset and a coping mechanism developed by ancient Roman philosophers like Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. It’s a Stoic principle, and it can help you cultivate gratitude in your life. (The method actually…

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Derrida, Barthes, and the Origins of Asemic Writing

In my first post on asemic writing, I briefly touched on the origins of this art form, noting that the artists Tim Gaze and Jim Leftwich applied the term asemic to their quasi-calligraphic works in 1997. (See my review of Gaze’s latest book, Glyphs of Uncertain Meaning, which also includes some more information about the…

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