Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals – A Book Summary

There is something beautiful about Immanuel Kant’s book The Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. Stylistically, it is dry and, by all accounts, it is over-complicated. But it has moments of clarity in which Kant’s moral edifice, his deontological ethics, loses its murk and becomes crystal clear, moments where his heavy and knotted penmanship adopts a light and untangled character that just gets to the point. We all know those “aha!” moments, those times when everything clicks into place and we feel as if we truly understand something. In Groundworks, I had four of those moments, each concerning a different foundational feature of Kant’s ethical theory. Through these four features, we can understand the essence of his argument.

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Euthyphro – A Book Review

A peculiar man, one of stocky build and bulging eyes, once walked the streets Athens. A group of eager young men trailed behind him like ducklings, waiting for him to choose his next prey. This man was Socrates, who wandered the streets of Athens in search of its “experts,” be them of religious, legal, or intellectual matters. Upon finding them, he would inflate them with fawning and praise before very gently and very politely bringing them to the conclusion that they know nothing of their trade. Among these eager ducklings was a young man named Plato. He was not yet known, but these debates would lead him down an intellectual rabbit hole from which he would forever change the world. Continue reading Euthyphro – A Book Review

Outliers: The Story of Success – A Book Review

What if I were to tell you that the most successful men and women were not so because they were the best and the brightest–that all of our favorite rags-to-riches stories were incomplete and misleading? Well, our author, Malcolm Gladwell, is convinced that this is true, and he makes a moderately convincing case.

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The Language Instinct – A Book Review

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana” – Anthony Oettinger

The above quote is often attributed to the absurdly witty Groucho Marx, and who would second guess it? The man gave us English-exploiting jokes like, “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read,” and, “I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in them, I’ll never know.” The true author of this quote, however, is Anthony Oettinger, a linguist and computer scientist who, in the 1960s, tried to make an artificial intelligence that could comprehend English sentences.

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The Murderer Next Door: Why Our Minds are Designed to Kill – A Book Review

“We foist evil onto other things, too frightened to admit it is within us.” – C.G. Jung

In this riveting summary of his scientific findings, evolutionary psychologist David M. Buss asserts, quite convincingly, that previous theories on murder “simply don’t hold up.” I’m sure you’ve heard interviews on the news discussing the motive for a murderer’s crime: some claim it’s violent video games, a disconnect with religion, insanity, poor parenting, and so on and so forth. Those who claim murder has its origins in violent television shows, movies, and video games cannot explain why Continue reading The Murderer Next Door: Why Our Minds are Designed to Kill – A Book Review

The Undiscovered Self – A Book Summary

The ideas within Jung’s The Undiscovered Self are discomforting, dealing with the illusory nature of knowing ourselves, others, and our society. This is the case with much of philosophy–and that is precisely what this is: philosophy. Regardless of Jung’s credentials as a merited psychologist, by no means does this essay explore theories empirically or statistically.  It’s really up to the reader to decide its worth. Jung argues it ought to be that way, claiming statistics and averages only mislead (see below). Continue reading The Undiscovered Self – A Book Summary