Author Archives: Dr. K

Latest news from Iran

              This just in: two more or less “opposition” candidates for president have been disqualified by the Guardian Council.  This leaves only conservative candidates still on the ballot.  You can read more here.

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Is there such a thing as human nature?

We’ve talked about human nature–whether it exists, what it is–a number of times in this course: in conjunction with our discussion of Hobbes and Locke, in our look at Marx’s dialectical materialism, and at a number of places in between. … Continue reading

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Stalin remains popular in his homeland

Just just saw this article from the BBC, about the growing popularity of Stalin in the Republic of Georgia, where he was from.  Given that we just studied Stalin, I thought you all might find it interesting.  Post your reactions … Continue reading

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Capitalism in America today

Now that we’ve read about communism in Marx and Engels, what, if anything, applies to capitalism in America today.  As food for thought, here are a couple of recent articles from the (admittedly liberal) New York Times: “Incomes Flat in … Continue reading

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Urban pollution yesterday, New York style

Here is an article from the New York Times in 1880 describing the sanitation conditions of New York City.  It wasn’t pretty.  I thought you might enjoy seeing a nearby example of the sorts of urban problems we’ve been studying … Continue reading

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Urban pollution today, Beijing style

We’ve talked in class about how the urban problems that afflicted Britain 200 years ago are now afflicting cities in the developing world.  The latest example is Beijing, which is currently suffering through an amazingly bad spate of air pollution. … Continue reading

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Negative campaigning, then and now

Today’s New York Times ran an article today, “Strident anti-Obama Messages Flood Key States,” about some of the negative ads being run against Obama. For fun, and by way of comparison, here is a video put together (from, I believe, … Continue reading

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Was Newton a scientist?

You might find the answer to that question surprisingly obvious.  If so, you should read the article from Renaissance Mathematicus, in which he suggests that Newton wasn’t a scientist.  The article is here.  Comments, as always, are welcome.

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How important are individuals in science?

So, in our classes on Friday I mentioned the question of the role of individuals vs. institutions in driving the Scientific Revolution.  Coincidentally, Renaissance Mathematicus has a guest blog post on the question of  “hero worship” of scientists (e.g, Galileo … Continue reading

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What can science do?

As we get into the study of the Enlightenment, we’ll see that Enlightenment thinkers sought to spread scientific ways of gaining knowledge beyond the natural world and into the study of human affairs.  That raises the question: to what extent … Continue reading

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