Volume 26 (2018)
The Great and Amazingly Rapid Secularization of the Increasingly Proevolution United States
by Gregory Paul
Long claimed to be a permanently pious population, multiple surveys indicate that nontheists have been expanding by as much as a demographically maximal tenth of total Americans per decade since the turn of the century. Also rising is support for bioevolution over creationism. Why is this proscience secularization surge occurring, will it continue, and how should activist antisupernaturalism respond as America becomes a more normally irreligious, proevolution modern democracy?
The Making of the Scottish Enlightenment: The Role of Self-improvement in Scottish Clubs and Societies
by Alistair J. Sinclair
Two generations of enthusiasts produced the philosophical geniuses of the Scottish Enlightenment. The first generation created the climate of self-improvement emphasising tolerance and open-mindedness; a humanist climate. The second generation was born into and brought up in this atmosphere in which the best was expected of them. The first generation clubbed together to improve themselves and bring Scottish culture up to English standards of intellectual achievement. The first clubs were largely literary. With the Rankenian Club in 1717 onwards interest in philosophical discussions increased among the literari. Later clubs and societies such as the Select Society in Edinburgh and the Aberdeen Philosophical Society were dedicated to philosophical discus-sions and improving their writing and speaking skills in that subject.
The Necessary Agony of Love and Ideas of the Self: A Philosophical Exercise Centered on Nothingness
by Héctor Sevilla Godínez
This article attends to two daily attachments common in the contemporary world: the idea of an interior self, and a fixation with loving and being loved. The objective is to demonstrate that it is possible to liberate oneself from these attachments, through the conception of nothingness and the emptiness of constructs such as the self. If there is neither a nominalized self nor a love to be lived as an experience, what remains is a philosophical attitude of openness to everything and everyone. We can comprehend how rupture and loss constitute ineluctable experiences in human life.
Altruism: From Pagan Virtue to Political Biology
by James A. Montanye
Theories of human altruistic behavior are many, varied, conflicting, and often controversial. This essay examines the scope of philosophical, psychological, economic, biological, political, and religious arguments for and against the possibility of altruistic phenomena. It emphasizes reputation, both as an inherent and rational component of altruistic human behavior, and as a complement to the evolved propensities for cooperation, reciprocity, trust, and exchange. Placing reputation within this short litany of inherent propensities perfects a coherent evolutionary theory of altruism that, unlike influential theories, is encompassing, parsimonious, and verifiable.
Solving Fake News and Other Misinformation: The Pro-Truth Pledge
by Gleb Tsipursky
We have witnessed an alarming deterioration of truth in the US public sphere, especially in the political arena. This paper describes a proposed intervention, the Pro-Truth Pledge, which combines behavioral science with crowd-sourcing to help address this problem. The pledge asks signees – private citizens and public figures – to commit to 12 behaviors that research in behavioral science shows correlate with an orientation toward truthfulness. Pledge mechanisms like this one have been shown in other contexts to lead private citizens to engage in more pro-social behavior. For public figures, the pledge offers specific incentives to stick to the pledge, with rewards in the form of positive reputation for honesty and truth-telling, and accountability through evaluation and potential punishment for deception.