The philosophy of tickling – [Articles]

In search of answers to some questions:

Why do people laugh when tickled? Why can’t you tickle yourself? Why are certain parts of the body more ticklish than others? Why do some people enjoy tickling and others not? And what is tickling, after all?

Humans aren’t the only species that are ticklish – even Shakespeare knew that apparently (I didn’t). Read on if your curiosity is tickled.

What is Citizenship? [Long reads]

In a lead essay in Cato-Unbound, Pascal Emmanuel Gobry made the case for compulsory military service. The response essays were scathing in their opposition – read Jason Kuznicki, Zach Maurin & Jacob Hornberger. In a follow-up essay, Gobry uses the analogy of a member of a family to explain the relationship that a citizen has to the state.

The Gallery of Minds – words & photos of modern day philosphers [Images]

Philosophy’s distinguishing value, in the words of Robin Jeshion,

For me, it resides not so much in the big questions’ multifarious answers, themselves, nor, alas, in wisdom attained through the exacting process of answering them, but rather in how it invariably reminds us how little we really do know. Philosophy is, or should be, humbling — and is, for this, ennobling.

Our shared condition – consciousness: A talk by John Searle [Video]

Philosopher John Searle lays out the case for studying human consciousness — and systematically shoots down some of the common objections to taking it seriously. As we learn more about the brain processes that cause awareness, accepting that consciousness is a biological phenomenon is an important first step. And no, he says, consciousness is not a massive computer simulation. Worth a listen.

Philosophy & death [Article]

I discovered one of my favourite stories in a Khalil Gibran collection:

A rich and mighty Persian once walked in his garden with one of his servants. The servant cried that he had just encountered Death, who had threatened him. He begged his master to give him his fastest horse so that he could make haste and flee to Tehran, which he could reach that same evening. The master consented and the servant galloped off and the horse.

On returning to his house the master himself met Death, and questioned him, “Why did you terrify and threaten my servant?” “I did not threaten him; I only showed surprise in still finding him here, when I had planned to meet him tonight in Tehran,” said Death.

This article by Julian Baggini, who is trying to come to terms with his father’s demise, reminded me of it. Not an easy read, but who said you’d find only easy reading here?