The New York Times Magazine interviews Ram Dass, author of the 1971 pop-eastern-philosophy classic Be Here Now about the ego, the soul, death, and related matters.
In Prospect Magazine, Ray Monk, a philosopher and Wittgenstein’s biographer, argues that the landscape of modern philosophy might be quite different had it not been for the premature death of the philosopher R.G. Collingwood in 1943—a death that left hyper-materialist Gilbert Ryle with unrivalled power within the British philosophy establishment. (Ryle was the mentor of Daniel Dennett. The main difference between the two philosophers, so far as I can tell, is that Ryle believed consciousness doesn’t exist and said so, whereas Dennett believes consciousness doesn’t exist but can’t quite bring himself to say so—and in fact, in my experience, gets upset when you say he believes that. Hence the old joke that Dennett’s book Consciousness Explained should have been called Consciousness Explained Away.)
What I did this summer: During the newsletter’s six-week summer break, I had some interesting conversations on The Wright Show, including: Political scientist Francis Fukuyama on his book Identity; Israeli scholar and politician Yael Tamir on her book Why Nationalism; Ronald Purser on his book McMindfulness; and, last but certainly not least cosmic, political scientist Alexander Wendt on his book Quantum Mind and Social Science. [ Whiteshift ] All appeared on either bloggingheads.tv or meaningoflife.tv, and all can be heard on The Wright Show podcast feed, available at a podcast app near you.