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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Does Mindfulness Explain the Mental Health Benefits of Mandala Drawing?

Mandalas are intricate designs and symbols that are drawn in geometric forms (mandala is Sanskrit for “circle”). They originated in India, and are pervasive in Buddhist culture – particularly Tibetan Buddhism – as a way to represent the universe, deities, or certain realms. They are a form of spiritual artwork used across the world as…

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Emptiness in Buddhism: Exploring the Concept and Its Paradoxical Nature

Emptiness is a core aspect of Buddhist philosophy. This applies to both the Theravada tradition (the oldest existing school of Buddhism) and the Mahayana tradition (the later branch of Buddhism that accepts the teachings of early Buddhism but adds new texts and doctrines, such as the Mahayana Sutras and the emphasis on the bodhisattva path:…

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Meshuggah, Transhumanism, and the Allure of Cults

In one of Meshuggah’s most well-known tracks, New Millennium Cyanide Christ, we find an exploration of the themes of transhumanism and cults. Drummer Tomas Haake, who writes the lyrics for the band, said of the track in an interview with Greg Prato: That’s more of a dystopian take on a sectistic or extremist kind of…

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Mescaline Revelations: Hume, Buddhism, and the Illusory Nature of the Self

One of the most interesting aspects of psychedelics is how the experience ties into philosophy. I am especially drawn to the notion that they can attract one to – or concretise – certain philosophical ideas, theories, and systems. For example, in The Subjective Effects of Nitrous Oxide (1882), the psychologist William James wrote how the…

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