Phillip Roscoe

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So many of our social questions are now the subject of analysis from economics. In A Richer Life: How Economics can Change the Way We Think and Feel (Penguin, 2015), Phillip Roscoe, a reader at the University of St Andrew's School of Management, offers a critique of the long march of economics into social life. The book covers a vast range of social examples, including dating, organ transplantation, and education, alongside accessible engagements with historical and contemporary economic theory. Using personal examples as well as academic expertise, Roscoe's book offers a primer in the social cost of economics, as well as what we can do to resit and challenge economistic modes of thought.

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John Durham PetersThe Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media

November 17, 2015

[Cross-posted from the NBN Seminar] John Durham Peters' wonderful new book is a brilliant and beautifully-written consideration of natural environments as subjects for media studies. Accessible and informative for a broad readership. The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media (University of Chicago Press, 2015) is structured as a series of meditations on and explorations of water, fire, air, earth, […]

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Nancy BauerHow to Do Things With Pornography

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We live in a world awash with pornography, in the face of which anti-porn feminist philosophizing has not had much impact. In How to Do Things With Pornography (Harvard University Press, 2015), Nancy Bauer takes academic philosophy to task for being irrelevant and argues that philosophers should emulate Socrates in giving people reasons to reflect […]

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Lisa TessmanMoral Failure: On the Impossible Demands of Morality

November 1, 2015

Moral theories are often focused almost exclusively on answering the question, "What ought I do?" Typically, theories presuppose that for any particular agent under any given circumstance, there indeed is some one thing that she ought to do. And if she were indeed to do this thing, she would thereby morally succeed. But we know […]

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Colin MilburnMondo Nano: Fun and Games in the World of Digital Matter

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Colin Milburn's wonderful new book looks carefully and imaginatively at the relationship between nanotechnology and play. Mondo Nano: Fun and Games in the World of Digital Matter (Duke University Press, 2015) considers the many ways in which the research methods of nanotech and related fields blend with the practices of gaming, fiction, and fantasy in […]

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Jeffery S. GurockThe Holocaust Averted: An Alternate History of American Jewry, 1938-1967

October 22, 2015

In The Holocaust Averted: An Alternate History of American Jewry, 1938-1967 (Rutgers University Press, 2015), Jeffrey S. Gurock, the Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University, imagines an alternate history of American Jewry had there been no Holocaust.  Contributing to the increasingly popular genre of alternate history, Gurock uses historical sources to […]

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Jon BirgerDate-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game

October 15, 2015

In Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game (Workman Publishing Company, 2015), Jon Birger, an award-winning journalist and contributor to Fortune magazine, explores the social implications of dating markets with a shortage of college-educated men. Birger argues that demographics, not values, affect dating and marriage.  Our discussion focuses on his investigation of how gender […]

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Eric H. Cline1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed

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It quickly sold out in hardback, and then, within a matter of days, sold out in paperback. Available again as a 2nd edition hardback, and soon in the 10th edition paperback with a new Afterword by the author, Eric H. Cline's 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Princeton University Press, 2015) is THE must have, must […]

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Eugene ThackerHorror of Philosophy: Three Volumes

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Eugene Thacker's wonderful Horror of Philosophy series includes three books – In the Dust of this Planet (Zero Books, 2011), Starry Speculative Corpse (Zero Books, 2015), and Tentacles Longer than Night (Zero Books, 2015) – that collectively explore the relationship between philosophy (especially as it overlaps with demonology, occultism, and mysticism) and horror (especially of the supernatural sort). […]

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Leonard CassutoThe Graduate School Mess: What Caused It and How We Can Fix It

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The discontented graduate student is something of a cultural fixture in the U.S. Indeed theirs is a sorry lot. They work very hard, earn very little, and have very poor prospects. Nearly all of them want to become professors, but most of them won't. Indeed a disturbingly large minority of them won't even finish their degrees. It's little […]

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