Teddy Roosevelt, Prophecy, Just Wars, Hylomorphism, Robert Hughes

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Roosevelt’s Nature

Peter Coates | Times Literary Supplement | 4th May 2016

Teddy Roosevelt was “the original and unsurpassed cowboy president”, a “swaggering and imposing figure” with a “pervasive campfire aroma”. “It was easy to imagine that he, like Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in The Revenant, would have survived a mama grizzly’s mauling, a roller-coaster ride down a raging, frigid river, and a night inside a dead horse”. That said, Roosevelt also spent enough time indoors to write forty-four books – “four of them, astonishingly, during his presidency” (2,900 words)

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Luciano Floridi | Schirn | 24th April 2016

If we mediate much of our interaction with the world through Google and Amazon and Facebook; and if those platforms shape our choices based on what we chose in the past; how do we ever change, or surprise ourselves, or discover new directions? It’s a big problem. The best answer would be to make online advertising illegal. That may be to much to ask. But more regulation would be justified. Otherwise we invite technology firms to “mummify who we are and can be” (1,170 words)

Just Wars

Seth Lazar | Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy | 3rd May 2016

New entry from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. “Just war” theory is dominated by two camps: traditionalist and revisionist. Traditionalists argue that international law provides “morally defensible foundations” for war, and that all combatants are “morally permitted to target one another”. Revisionists “question the moral standing of states”, and contend that “combatants fighting for wrongful aims cannot do anything right, besides lay down their weapons” (17,000 words)

The Hylomorphic Mind

William Jaworski | The Brains Blog | 8th May 2016

An introduction to hylomorphic philosophy — which argues we are physical beings with physical substance; but that the organisation of the substance, not the substance itself, defines what we are and what powers we have. “Suppose we put Gabriel in a strong bag—a very strong bag since we want to ensure that nothing leaks out when we squash him with several tons of force. Before squashing, the contents of the bag include one human being; after squashing, they include none” (650 words)

The Wondrous Critic

James Gardner | Weekly Standard | 9th May 2016

Robert Hughes was one of the greatest art critics of modern times — and the art world affected not to notice, because Hughes wrote much of his best work for a popular weekly audience in Time magazine. “Most art critics never possess, or promptly lose, the power to surprise their readers. In one of Hughes’s reviews, by contrast, anything can happen. He felt compelled, sometimes almost in spite of himself, to vouch for any excellence he saw, wherever he found it” (1,180 words)

Video of the day: The Future of Driving

What to expect:

‘Drive In’ presenter Shaw Taylor explains a precursor of satellite navigation to 1970s British viewers (2’34”)

Thought for the day

Men of genius are rarely much annoyed by vulgar people
Samuel Coleridge

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