Uncertain Humanism and the Water of Whiteness

IN 2005, one of today’s most revered American writers, David Foster Wallace (now deceased), delivered a commencement address to graduates of Kenyon College, titled “This Is Water.” The twenty-minute speech is worth a listen or read, freely available on YouTube and in Wallace’s eponymous 2009 collection, This Is Water: Some...

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Features

Up Front

Pathologies of Power

"A tyranny," Plato says in the Republic, "is the wretchedest form of government," and "a tyrant grows worse from having power: he becomes and is of necessity more jealous, more faithless, more unjust, more friendless, more...

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Reviews

Elsewhere in the Humanist:

Enlightenment Wow: The Humanist Interview with Steven Pinker

The 2006 Humanist of the Year doesn’t need rose-colored glasses to see what’s clear about humanity’s progress. STEVEN PINKER is a cognitive scientist, psychologist, linguist, popular science author, and Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He has...

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Elsewhere in the Humanist:

The Monster Hijacking Human Minds

DEEP IN THE SWELTERING jungles of the Amazon, embedded within bird droppings, are eggs belonging to a nematode worm known as Myrmeconema neotropicum. Soon, ants from the species Cephalotes atratus will come along and take the droppings to their nest. The ants...

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Elsewhere in the Humanist:

Building Humanism, Busting Myth and Privilege

ADAM SAVAGE is, broadly speaking, a maker of things, having built everything, as he’s characterized it, “from ancient Buddhas to futuristic weapons, from spaceships to dancing vegetables, from fine art sculptures to animated chocolate—and just about anything else you can think of.”...

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Elsewhere in the Humanist:

Making Good: Humanist Philanthropy and the Duty to Give

WHILE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES have long been touted as philanthropic and generous, with many datasets showing that religious people give more money to charities compared to their secular counterparts, humanism prides itself on compassion and mutual respect without the need of a higher...

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