OTH in the news

  • Rabbi Alana Suskin, at Huffington Post, responds to Anat Biletzki’s essay “The Sacred and the Humane“, 7/23/11.

    Anat Biletzki, past chairperson of the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem, recently suggested…that “religion, even when indirectly in the service of human rights, is not really working for human rights.” Given B’tselem’s long history of working with organizations like Rabbis for Human Rights, I find her argument puzzling, and as a religious human rights advocate myself, I philosophically disagree with Biletzki.

  • Andrew Goldstone at Arcade, “a place for readers and writers interested in literature, the humanities, and the world”, 5/8/2011.
    Over at the National Humanities Center’s On the Human website, Paula Moya has posted a fascinating piece on cultural neuroscience, science reporting, and race. Go check out the discussion going on there and then, if you wish, consider these thoughts on cultural comparison.

    This is an extended version of my comment on Moya’s short essay ‘A Story in Two Parts, With An Ending Yet To Be Written‘. The NHC invited me (along with others) to write a brief response, but I was so enchanted by the subjects Moya discussed that I spent a chunk of time this week reading some of her references and trying to wrap my brain around the psychology involved. Important lesson: psychology articles are not entirely transparent for a lay person! But not unreadable for all that, except where the statistical analyses get beyond the remains of my never-more-than elementary background in stats.

  • Bill Benzon, at The Valve, 4/26/2011.
    I was trained as an academic, held an academic post, then failed to get tenure. Since then I’ve done this and that, while maintaining an active intellectual life. The advent of the web was a godsend to me, for it opened up new lines of communication. … It’s within that context that I see my blogging. … Sometime in the Fall of 2009 the National Humanities Center invited me to post to their blog. My post was scheduled to appear on July 5, 2010, and it did, a long and fairly formal post, “Cultural Evolution: A Vehicle for Cooperative Interaction Between the Sciences and the Humanities.” Prior to that, however, I laid some groundwork at New Savanna. I wrote a series of posts on aspects of cultural evolution that I wanted to have available, but could go into in any detail in my main post. I then referred to them in that main post.

    Further, I collected all those background posts into a single document and uploaded that as a PDF to my page at the Social Science Research Network where people can download them. I did the same with my main post, to which I appended the comment I wrote to close the discussion there. None of that was formal academic work, but it came close to it. And the discussion of my post, while not as extensive as I would have liked, was certainly valuable, and visible, and more or less permanently visible, unlike most academic discussions. Taken all together, I’ve roughed out a book on cultural evolution, and done so in public, more or less. Whether or not I ever actually write that book, that depends on this and that, whether and when I have the time, and whether or not there’s any interest in such a book. But the core ideas are out there, and they’re accessible, not only to academics, but to anyone.

  • Jean Kazez, at In Living Color, 11/27/2010.
    Late breaking! Here’s an interesting website. I look forward to reading/discussing in future posts.

  • Bernard Rhie, in OLP & Literary Studies Online, “an academic blog run by, and for, scholars who work at the crossroads of ordinary language philosophy (OLP) and literary studies,” 8/7/2009.

    The discussions on this NHC-sponsored site about the fate of the human are clearly timely, and my sense is that students of ordinary language philosophy will not only want to know about them, but to participate in them as well.

  • Postmedieval, a new journal, cites On the Human and its predecessor, the Autonomy, Singularity, Creativity project, as its inspiration for focusing on medieval cultural studies.

    We look forward to reading more from a pre-modernist perspective on such questions as, “when did we become post-human?”

  • Universities use blogs to highlight faculty contributions to On the Human

    MIT: Harriet Ritvo, “Humans And Humanists (And Scientists)”
    University of Chicago: Brian Leiter, “Moral Skepticism and Moral Disagreement: Developing an Argument from Nietzsche”

  • Edouard Machery, commenting on the OTH Forum (12/09)

    [I]nteresting guests…good cast of invited commentators

  • Alex Rosenberg’s “The Disenchanted Naturalist’s Guide to Reality” touched off discussion on other websites, 11/09

    Common Sense Atheism‘s The Enchanted Naturalist’s Guide to Reality
    reddit‘s Nice nihilism — does reductive thinking mean everything is meaningless?

  • Harper’s links to Dan Batson’s “Empathic Concern and Altruism in Humans“, including an excerpt from Batson’s post, 10/09
  • José Ángel García Landa of University of Zaragoza (Spain), multiple posts in Vanity Fea

    Estoy leyendo estos días bastantes cosas del foro ON THE HUMAN, interesantísimo para quienes están interesados en temas de humanidades desde una perspectiva interdisciplinar y “tercera cultura.”
    These days, I am reading many things from the ON THE HUMAN forum, interesting to those with interests in humanities subjects from an interdisciplinary perspective and “third culture.”

  • Eugene Raikhel, Ian Hacking on commercial genome-reading, Somatosphere, 4/13/09

    …an excellent post by Ian Hacking on genome reading services offered by companies like 23andMe, receives commentary from Paul Rabinow, Gisli Palsson, Norton Wise and others. There is also a follow-up post by Hacking. Hacking’s post continues some of the arguments he developed in his 2006 Daedalus article, “Genetics, biosocial groups & the future of identity” (available for free download), chiefly the question of “Are the direct-to-consumer online genome services forging a new technology of the self?”

  • ckelty, Class, Consumption, Genes and conservative reactionaries, Savage Minds, 4/13/09

    …there is a nice little interchange (at the National Humanities Center’s “On the Human” prjoect) on the role of the new direct to consumer genetic testing companies, principally 23andMe and Knome, instigated by Ian Hacking, and attended to by Paul Rabinow, Gisli Palsson, and others who know you. check it out…

  • Bill Benzon, Across the Disciplines, Get Happy, The Valve, 2/27/09

    The National Humanities Center has established a website, On the Human, featuring the work “of university professors who teach courses on humans and their relations to animals and machines.” The site currently includes course materials for 3-credit undergraduate course on this general subject, news items, an explanatory video, and an essay by Geoffrey Harpham, “Science and the Theft of Humanity.” The website has a blog, also entitled On the Human; sure to check out the video of a whistling orangutan. More to come.

  • Jeffrey J. Cohen, The Multiple Histories of Virtue, In the Middle, 3/19/09

    Given that the National Humanities Center is currently concluding its three-year initiative on “Autonomy, Singularity, and Creativity: The Humanities and the Human,” and have also initiated a new, ongoing forum, “On the Human,” on current controversies in the studies of animals, and machines, the time is propitious for collaborative cross-disciplinary alliance…

  • Comments on OTH’s predecessor, Autonomy Singularity Creativity

    Marc Maximov, National Humanities Center hosts “What makes us human?” conference, The Independent, 11/19/08
    Adults wishing to relive the college experience for less than the cost of grad school can buy CDs of the Great Courses series from The Teaching Company or watch videos of TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talks online. Last week brought the chance to see some of the leading lights of academia live, in person, as the National Humanities Center opened its doors to the public for three stimulating days of lectures, panel discussions and debates on the theme “What makes us human?”The Center sits snugly in a pocket of woods amid the biotech firms and R&D labs of Research Triangle Park. The central structure is a bright, airy, truncated pyramid with enormous glass walls that let in loads of sunlight. Forty scholars at a time cloister here for one-year fellowships; the Center promotes academic cross-fertilization by mixing all the humanities together in one big bucket, so that, for instance, the fellow whose project is The Banjo: A Cultural History can lunch with the author of Bathing Culture in the Ancient Greek World.

    Bill Benzon, The Sciences and the Humanities, Together At Last?, The Valve, 9/10/08
    In particular, I recommend the Nussbaum & de Wall (on compassion), and de Wall & Bateson (on empathy) sessions from 2007. De Wall presents fascinating information about animal behavior in both sessions. If you’re interested in interrogating the boundary between humans and animals, these sessions are worth watching.

    Bora Zivkovic, A kick-ass Conference: Autonomy, Singularity, Creativity, A Blog Around the Clock, 9/14/07
    The conference theme is about bringing scientists and humanities scholars to talk about ways that science is changing human life. November 8th, 9th, and 10th, the National Humanities Center will host the second ASC conference. And the program features a Who’s Who list…

    Cathy Davidson, National Humanities Center Launches New Website for ASC Project, HASTAC forum, 7/11/06
    The new website, located at http://onthehuman.org/ will facilitate conversations among the growing list of project participants, archive video proceedings from conferences and seminars, and provide an opportunity for sharing and discussing current work in diverse fields that are challenging traditional notions of “the human.”

    Autonomy, Singularity, Creativity: A blog with personal impressions of the Nov. 2008 ASC conference.