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Jason Stotts

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  1. Jason Stotts

    Re-blogged post:Aporia: Dispositions

    My blog auto-posts to the forum and as I do not often come on here, it's a better idea to comment on the blog itself if you want me to see it. Action causation= Humean billiard balls Agent causation = entities acting in accordance with their identity The primary difference is where you put the locus of action and change, but it has profound differences for how you think about causation. The sentence about dispositions. Are dispositions more about the DESIRE that drives them or more about the ACTION that results from them.
  2. by Jason Stotts Aporia (ἀπορɛία): an impasse, puzzlement, doubt, or confusion; a difficulty encountered in establishing the theoretical truth of a proposition, created by the presence of evidence both for and against it. In this Aporia, I want to inquire into the nature of dispositions. While this outline is undoubtedly not of general interest, it will be of interest to some and from it (hopefully) a clear statement about dispositions will emerge for Eros and Ethos Volume 2. Are all dispositions psychological in nature? It seems like they might be Even Aristotle’s Act1/Act2 is only dispositional when applied to people A rock doesn’t have Act1 – it is either rolling or it is not. At the same time, a rock could be position such that it could potentially roll, would that be Act1? But rocks cannot act – it must be acted upon. But is this action causation instead of entity causation? No, rocks are the kinds of entities such that they are not self-moved None living things cannot have dispositions It seems that only living things can have dispositions. Can non-human animals have dispositions? Need to have a better idea of what they are before we can answer this If dispositions are psychological in nature, how exactly do they operate? As automatic preferences? In Vol 1, claimed orientation was a disposition and it has a biological component This could still be an automatic preference shaped partly by forces beyond our control (biology) Does this make dispositions no more than something like a “preferential habit”? If I purposefully develop a habit around eating healthy and this changes my preferences to healthy eating, is this then a new disposition? I’d say yes. But only at the point the person’s actual preferences change If dispositions are about preferences, they seem to be another form of “automatic thought” and a way to offload things out of consciousness to keep the conscious mind more focused and available to respond to bigger issues If this is true, then they are much like the sentiments which attempt to automate evaluation and orient us to the world They are also a little like intuition, but whereas intuition is a true automatic thought (has conceptual content), dispositions activate our desires Is it right to say they activate our desires? If I have a disposition to do A, is that the same as saying that I have an established desire to do A? It doesn’t seem so Perhaps the difference is that if we have consciously established the A-preference and desire, then this is not a disposition, but an internalized preference. If that’s the case, though, how would we ever come to have disposition? If we can’t come to have them consciously. Maybe dispositions aren’t things we choose directly, but as in the case of health, we choose to be healthy and our preferences (hopefully!) change to healthy options, without us having to decide on a case-by-case basis If this is the case, then dispositions cannot be things we consciously have chosen, but they are things that “fall out” of other choices This seems too chaotic and messy. Unless it’s the case that the only way we can form dispositions is through an associated purposeful internalization of a preference scheme (e.g., wanting to be “healthy” also entails lots of associated things) When we say that we are “disposed to help someone” we usually mean that the person in question reminds us of someone that we liked in our past or that we believe that this person is a good person based on our own belief system and, so, we have a desire to help them. It can’t be the case that we internalize this kind of thing antecedently, since we will not have met the particular person in question before. The desire in question is not necessarily strong, but enough that we can say that we “want to” help them or feel “pulled” to help them and these should both be understood as kinds of desire This seems like a good example of an automatic preference Conversely, it can be that the person in question is disposed to harm the other person (or at least disposed to not help) because they remind them of someone they do not like This still is a desire, just that this time it is a desire to “not aid” or even harm the other person When we say that a parent is disposed to help their children, we do not mean that the parent has consciously worked to set up an internalized conscious choice. Rather, we mean that our biological makeup is such that parents will have an automatic preference to help their own children. This seems right. What have we discovered about dispositions then? They are a form of automatic desire Much like the sentiments (evaluation) or intuition (cognition) These desires are usually held as preferences (a “liking” of one thing over another), which is a form of desire Link to Original
  3. by Jason Stotts My very first blog post was on May 8th, 2005, 13 years ago today. That was back before blogs were popular. In the intervening 13 years, I saw the rise and fall of blogging as a popular medium and now it seems that most people have moved to podcasts and youtube videos. Yet, Erosophia persists. Not that I’ve been blogging much, although that should increase soon. Erosophia’s 13th year saw some really big changes. The biggest is obviously that Eros and Ethos: A New Theory of Sexual Ethics has finally been published and is now available on Amazon. So far, sales have been pretty solid and the reviews are excellent. I’ve also been interviewed one podcast so far and have several other podcast appearances lined up for the coming weeks. In this coming year, I hope to finish several essays related to Eros and Ethos, finish the principal draft of Volume 2 on practical issues in sexual ethics, and do more interviews to help build the audience for Eros and Ethos. If you want to keep track of what I’m doing, you can sign up for my newsletter, which I send out a couple of times a year. If you want to support Erosophia in some way or help with Eros and Ethos, contact me. Link to Original
  4. by Jason Stotts I am releasing a minor update to Eros and Ethos, details of which can be found in the changelog. It will start with an update to the ebook effective today. The ebook will also be getting a new cover, due to the old cover violating advertising TOS against “nudity” and us being unable to use it in ads. The paperback will be updated sometime in the next week, once I get an updated proof and make sure the update won’t break anything in the print edition. That said, if you want a true first edition paperback, you had better order it now as they won’t be available much longer. To celebrate this update, the ebook will be on sale for $4.99. Note: If you have already purchased the ebook, you can update to v1.1 for free by following this guide. Link to Original
  5. by Jason Stotts I will be appearing LIVE on the Objectivist Discussions show tomorrow at 2pm EST (11am PST) to talk about my new book “Eros and Ethos: A New Theory of Sexual Ethics.” The interview will also be recorded and available on YouTube afterwards. If you have any questions about the book you’d like us to cover, feel free to email me with them and we’ll try to get to them. Link to Original
  6. by Jason Stotts Are you part of a reading group, student group, or even a group of friends who want to read Eros and Ethos? If so, I am now offering discounted paperbacks to groups who want to read it. Who qualifies? Established reading groups Book clubs Student groups Academic departments Other groups (decided on a per-group basis) What do you get? Your group/organization can purchase copies of Eros and Ethos for $9 per copy, including free shipping That’s nearly 1/2 off the regular price of $14.95 when you factor in free shipping Note: this cannot be combined with special copies, including signed copies How to get started? Email me at [email protected] Please include some information about your group in your email What’s the catch? You must order at least 5 books Currently limited to the continental US Other locations can take advantage of the discounted books, but will pay more for shipping Note: This is a limited time offer and it may be discontinued without notice. Link to Original
  7. by Jason Stotts It’s been exactly one (short) month since Eros and Ethos was released and it seems like a good time to talk about how things are going. In short, they’re going well. As you can see in the graph (click to make it bigger), the ebook (orange) launched first and sold well. The paperback (grey) launched after and has been holding steady. Amazon reports paperback sales on the day they ship, so there’s a lag for the books to print and ship reflected in the data. Interestingly, the majority of sales (63%) are ebook and 37% are paperback. In total, there have been 62 total sales in only 28 days, which is a solid start. Reviews are all very good so far. The book is currently at 4.8/5 stars with 7 reviews. Reviews at this stage are critical for helping to pick up new readers that may not be familiar with my work, so if you’ve already read it, please leave me a review. Even just a couple of sentences is enough and it makes a big difference. All signed and numbered copies have been shipped. If you have not received yours, please contact me. Numbered copies are half sold and I’m currently sold out of signed copies (with more coming soon!). All in all, I’m pretty happy with the launch and I look forward to increasing sales as word of the book spreads. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, now’s the time! Link to Original
  8. by Jason Stotts Many people have been asking me about the paperback and I am delighted to announce that the paperback version of Eros & Ethos: A New Theory of Sexual Ethics is now available on Amazon! This book is the product of a decade of work on my part and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. Seriously, it’s really good. Of course, you shouldn’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself. Anyone who has ordered a special edition directly from me will be getting theirs soon. I have ordered quite a few copies and they have to ship to me first, then I’ll need to sign them and get them shipped out. I’ll update those people who have ordered special editions directly via email when their package ships. Two things to note: Amazon tells me that the book may take up to 48hrs to appear in the different marketplaces (e.g. Amazon.de). Amazon also informs me that it may take up to 72hrs for the paperback version and the ebook version to appear on the same sales page. This is important if you with to buy both as once they’re on the same sales page, you’ll have the option to buy the paperback and only pay $2.99 for the ebook. Link: http://amzn.to/2Gx1dbJ Link to Original
  9. by Jason Stotts I am so incredibly happy to report that, thanks to you, Eros and Ethos is already a bestseller in two categories on Amazon in the first 24 hours after release! Thank you all so much for your support. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, now is the time. Join me, and all the other people who have already purchased the book, and see what all the excitement is about. Link to Original
  10. by Jason Stotts I am thrilled to announce that “Eros and Ethos: A New Theory of Sexual Ethics” is officially published and available for sale in ebook format now (here). The paperback edition will be available in a week or so and I’ll post an update when it’s live. Once you read it, and you’re thoroughly impressed (as you will be), please leave me a review on Amazon. Feel free to also reach out to me with any questions or comments. If you find any errors, please let me know right away. My contact information is on the contact page as well as in the front of the book. Also, if you want a signed copy of the paperback or one of limited numbered and signed copies, check out the Special Editions page. Link to Original
  11. by Jason Stotts One of the things that I think people often fail to understand about markets is that literally every good is affected by every other. A change in the price of oil will change the price of wool. A regulation about coffee in Brazil will change the price of cars in America. Everything that affects a market at all will be felt in the price of every good or service in the market. Perhaps the effect will be larger or smaller, but if you do anything in a market, rest assured you are having an impact. I think this short movie does a good job of illustrating this fact in a very benevolent way and I encourage everyone to take a look at it. Capitalism is the only system of individual rights ever conceived; it is the only moral system of human interaction. Link to Original
  12. by Jason Stotts I’ve decided to end the current Goodreads giveaway early…so that I can give away MORE BOOKS! If you haven’t entered the current giveaway, tomorrow is the last day to do so. Watch out for a new giveaway starting soon! (Link) Goodreads Book Giveaway Eros and Ethos by Jason Stotts Giveaway ends December 05, 2017. See the giveaway details at Goodreads. Enter Giveaway Link to Original
  13. by Jason Stotts I am thrilled to announce that as of today, the pre-order is now live on Amazon! Pre-order for the ebook is here: http://amzn.to/2AAwtV0. The pre-order for the print book will be available soon. If you’re interested in ordering special editions, like signed copies or a limited edition numbered run, see this page: http://jasonstotts.com/eros-ethos/signed-copies-special-edition/ There will be several contests in the lead up to the book launch. The first is that there are 3 signed copies being given away on Goodreads. Enter to win here: link. There will other contests announced soon, so watch for them. You can find more information about the book at http://jasonstotts.com/eros-ethos/ or ErosandEthos.com. Link to Original
  14. by Jason Stotts There is a new giveaway on Goodreads for my forthcoming book “Eros and Ethos: A New Theory of Sexual Ethics”. There are 3 signed copies available to win, so head on over and get registered. Goodreads Book Giveaway Eros and Ethos by Jason Stotts Giveaway ends February 08, 2018. See the giveaway details at Goodreads. Enter Giveaway (In case the widget doesn’t work, the link is: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/263146-eros-and-ethos-a-new-theory-of-sexual-ethics?utm_content=button&utm_medium=email&utm_source=giveaway_shelved_book_36514860) Link to Original
  15. by Jason Stotts I am so very pleased to finally be announcing the immanent publication of Eros and Ethos. It has been nearly 10 years in the making and I think it’s simply amazing. I hope you will as well. Pre-orders for the ebook will go live on November 11th on Amazon. At that time, I’ll update this with a link to the book. The ebook will be published on February 9th. It will be available for purchase and available via Kindle Select for the first 90 days. After that, it will also be available through other outlets. The ebook will launch in all Amazon markets concurrently (including Canada, the UK, Australia, etc.). It will only be available in English at launch, but may be available in other languages in the future. The paperback version of the book will be available soon after (details to be finalized soon). Anyone who purchases the paperback through amazon will have the option to concurrently buy a discounted version of the ebook for an additional $2.99. *People buying signed copies should be able to get discount ebooks as well (would either have to directly email them or find a way to do discount codes through Amazon) There will be 50 special signed and numbered copies available for purchase directly through Erosophia on (hopefully) launch day. These can also be pre-ordered so that you can be guaranteed one. They will be $50 each and will help support my work and will go a long way to getting Volume 2 out. These are also already 20% sold, so don’t wait too long if you want one. Regular signed paperbacks will also be available through Erosophia for $20 plus shipping. Here is the description: [Blurb] Link to Original
  16. by Jason Stotts It saddened me today to learn that Hugh Hefner died last night. I have written about Hefner before (link) and his role in both civil rights and sexual freedoms. Hefner was a great pioneer in the sexual field and really helped to change our culture for the better with respect to sexuality. For anyone who has not seen it, I recommend the Amazon series “American Playboy” that tells much of Hefner’s story. What I find most remarkable about Hefner, aside from his strong stance on civil rights and sexual freedoms, is that he wrote and defended his beliefs about sexual ethics in “The Playboy Philosophy.” (For example, you can see him debate William Buckley on sexual ethics here.) What is so great about this is that he was attempting to shift the debate around sexuality to a philosophic level and out of the emotive reactionism and moral panic of the past. Whether he succeeded or not is moot, but in so doing, he blazed the way for others to write on the topic and helped to shift the culture. There is a strong sense in which Hefner paved the way for books like mine and I will be forever in his debt for this. So, thank you Mr. Hefner. You lived your life as you saw fit and made the world a better place in the process. Link to Original
  17. by Jason Stotts I can’t believe it’s been another year and now Erosophia is 12! While it wasn’t a big year for content on Erosophia, it has been a really big year for Eros and Ethos, which is coming out THIS FALL! One of the big changes that made this possible was splitting Eros and Ethos into multiple volumes. The original project simply grew much too large and there was a natural split between the first part that establishes the theory and the second part that applies it to the various problems of sexual ethics. Volume 1: The Theory Introduction (Finished) Chapter 1: Ethics (Finished) Chapter 2: Emotions and Sentiments (Final copy edit) Chapter 3: Love (Final copy edit) Chapter 4: Relationships (Final substantive edit) Chapter 5: Sexual Attraction & Fantasy (Ver. 3/4) Chapter 6: Identity, Orientation, & Self-Understanding (Ver. 3/4) Chapter 7: Sex, Union, & Intimacy (Ver. 3/4) Most of Volume 1 is done and in copy-editing now. We’re shooting to have everything ready to be published on October 1st. Soon, we’ll have the website www.ErosandEthos.com fully operational to support the book launch. I’m so excited to have Eros and Ethos almost done and ready for publication. If you want to stay current with things, you can subscribe to Erosophia or for a more personal touch, subscribe to my new quarterly newsletter. Finally, I want to thank all of you, for a great 12 years and I look forward to many more years to come. Link to Original
  18. by Jason Stotts Editing of penultimate draft of “Eros and Ethos” is going well and it is about 1/3 edited now. I anticipate having a complete final draft sometime this summer with publication in the early Fall. To that end, I’m looking for around 3 volunteers to serve as proofreaders. You must be willing to commit to returning each chapter within 2 weeks and you must commit to doing this for all of Volume 1, which is 7 chapters. I’m anticipating about one chapter a month through Summer. If you’re interested, email me at Jason(at)JasonStotts.com and let me know why I should pick you. If you have experience editing, that would certainly be a plus. If you have background in philosophy or sex, that would also be a plus. If you just really enjoy reading, that works too. There is no special background that you have to have, because the book is written for a general audience. The people selected will be thanked in the book and receive a numbered and signed first edition. Link to Original
  19. by Jason Stotts I recently read G. E. M. Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy” for the first time and I think that it is one of the most astute and important essays on ethics that I have ever read. In it, she has three major theses, but it is the second that is the most important and makes the paper a necessary read for anyone interested in ethics. Her second thesis is this: The concepts of obligation, and duty—moral obligation and moral duty, that is to say—and of what is morally right and wrong, and of the moral sense of “ought,” ought to be jettisoned if this is psychologically possible; because they are survivals, or derivatives from survivals, from an earlier conception of ethics which no longer generally survives, and are only harmful without it. (p. 1) She wants to take on the ideas that we have a duty to do, or that morality obligates us to do, certain things for which we can be condemned as “morally wrong” if we fail in them (it is important to emphasize that these are all unchosen duties or obligations and that someone voluntarily choosing to take on a duty or obligation is an entirely different issue). She has in her sights any ethical system that utilizes the concept of “duty” or “obligation,” which is nearly all major ethical systems: in utilitarianism you have a duty to maximize happiness, in Kantianism you have a duty to your unknowable nature-in-itself, in religion you have a duty to obey your god, etc. This is no easy task, for if she’s right, then she will take out all of these ethical systems at the base and render them unsupported. So, what’s her argument? First, that many people feel that there is some special psychological force involved in moral “shoulds” that make them different from other kinds of shoulds like “you should put gas in your car.” This special “‘moral’ sense” implies “some absolute verdict (like one of guilty/not guilty on a man)” (p. 5). This arises from an equation between “shoulds” and obligations or duties, “in the sense in which one can be obliged or bound by law” (p. 5). Second, that this conjunction between “shoulds” and the law has arisen because Christianity has dominated ethics for centuries and it operates via a “law conception of ethics” (p. 5). In this conception of ethics, their god is the lawgiver and his commandments are the law. Of course, this divine law must be obeyed absolutely and is not open to question or amenable to reason. Third, that failure to do your duty and obey the divine law is not simply to do a single wrong. Rather, it makes a person “sinful” or morally wrong in toto: a person who violates the divine law has become a moral-law breaker or outlaw of the worst kind. This is in marked contrasted with an ethical system like Aristotle’s, which antecedes Christianity, and has no term of absolute condemnation. Rather, Aristotle has terms such as “unjust” or “impious” for discrete acts or terms such as “scoundrel” or “villain” for a person with a bad character, but no way of describing someone who is irredeemably evil. Fourth, any ethical system that utilizes this framework of duty, but without the idea of the divine lawgiver, has severed the concepts of duty and obligation from the only foundation that might give them meaning. Thus, they are without meaning and illegitimate. This is an amazing insight and I would rank it among the top most insightful critiques of ethics in the history of philosophy. Certainly it is the most powerful critique of duty-based ethics that I have ever seen and it firmly cuts them off at the base and renders them absurd. Yet, Anscombe could have made an even stronger case. If she had not been a Catholic (and she was a devout, refused to use birth-control and protested abortion clinics, Catholic), she could have taken the tack that since there is no such thing as a god, the very idea of moral duty to a lawgiver does not make sense. It is, to use her analogy, “as if the notion ‘criminal’ were to remain when criminal law and criminal courts had been abolished and forgotten” (p. 6). Thus, all ideas of moral duty or obligation in this special sense must resolve to absurdity. Now, to be fair to Anscombe, she does even apply her argument to the divine command theorist and notes that even someone using a divine command framework must still justify why we have a duty to obey the divine commands (p. 8). This, of course, students of Philosophy will recognize as a take on the Euthyphro problem. Moreover, she notes that the Kantian move, that one has a duty to oneself-in-itself due to one’s noumenally rational nature will fail to justify the legislative framework, since “whatever you do ‘for yourself’ may be admirable; but it is not legislating” (p. 13), and this does seem to be a completely unwarranted jump. Thus, I think Anscombe has destroyed the idea of unchosen moral duty or obligation. It makes me curious, though, why this essay isn’t more commonly read or cited. Is it because Anscombe is a woman? Is it because people are loathe to give up their duty-ethics? I do not know the answer to this, but I am certain that philosophy is much the worse for this essay not being better known. My own position, before reading Anscombe’s excellent essay, was that all duty ethics ultimately end up being no more than systems of punishments of the form “You have a duty to do X and if you don’t, you will be punished”. For this reason, they should not even be considered ethical systems at all, but merely systems of rules and punishments (I argue this in my forthcoming book Eros and Ethos, Chapter 1). While I maintain this position, Anscombe’s idea really explains the force that some people feel for duty-ethics. An interesting question is why people feel this force in the first place. I submit that it is not because we are used to a legal framework, since few of us have cause to come in contact with the legal system, especially during the years when we are forming our moral beliefs. Rather, it is that many people learned to be moral by having morality imposed on them from the outside as they grew up, by their parents or caregivers. They never took it upon themselves to actually become moral, they simply followed the moral rules they were given in order to conform to a moral code they didn’t understand. Thus, they want to keep having morality be forced upon them, to conform to the only form of morality they know, while simply substituting the moral rules of duty-based systems for the rules of their parents. This is, I believe, the origin of the force that many feel for “moral duty,” although it is only through Anscombe’s argument that we can understand why the very term falls flat. Thus, for all these reasons, we must reject duty-based ethical systems as being both empty of content (laws without a lawgiver) and as facades hiding a brutish system of punishments. One can, hereafter, say “Do X or I will harm you,” although obviously this is no moral claim, but can no longer say “You have a duty to do X.” Such a claim is incoherent and brutish. All references in essay to: Anscombe, G. E. M. “Modern Moral Philosophy.” Philosophy, Vol. 33 (124), p. 1-19. Link to Original
  20. by Jason Stotts After much agonizing over this decision, I’ve decided that I will be publishing Eros and Ethos, my forthcoming book on sexual ethics, as two separate volumes. Thus, instead of: Eros and Ethos: A New Theory and Application of Sexual Ethics It will be: Eros and Ethos: Volume 1, A New Theory of Sexual Ethics & Eros and Ethos: Volume 2, A New Application of Sexual Ethics There are a number of reasons for publishing Eros and Ethos separately. The primary reason is that each half of Eros and Ethos is as long as most nonfiction books by itself: Volume 1 is around 100,000 words or about 210 book pages and Volume 2 is around 95,000 words or about 200 book pages. So, as you can see, publishing them separately makes sense. Moreover, each can easily stand on its own as a separate book. Most importantly, this means that I can focus my attention on finishing the final drafts of Volume 1 and getting it published right away. Volume 1 should be released within the next 6-8 months and Volume 2 should follow within the next 3-5 years. After both volumes have been published, I will release an omnibus edition, in probably 7-10 years, that will bring together revised editions of the first two volumes and include another 50-100 pages of original content. This is really exciting news for me, because it means that Eros and Ethos: Volume 1 will be published soon! I’m so excited about this. I’m excited for you to see it. I’m excited for it to be in the world. I’m excited about all of the original philosophy that it contains, which has never been done by anyone before. I’m excited to have created something that I think is amazing, new, revolutionary, and a boon for human flourishing. I’m excited to have done something about which I can be proud. To give you an idea of why I’m so excited about, and proud of, this project, let me give you just some of the things it includes: A new theory of ethics. A new theory of emotions, including how to understand the connection between a person’s beliefs and their emotions. A new theory of erotic love and better ways to think about love more generally. A new theory of sexual attraction and a full explanation of it. New ways to understand sexual orientation, sexual identities, as well as masculinity and femininity. And much more! AND, most importantly, all of this culminates in a new way to understand sex and its importance in a human life. I really think that these books have the potential to make the world better and improve people’s lives. I’ll send out another update once I have a better idea of the publication date, but it’s time to get excited about it. Link to Original
  21. by Jason Stotts I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for 11 years already! A lot has happened in the last year, so let me give you an overview of what’s been going on. If you want to stay current with things, you can subscribe to Erosophia or for a more personal touch, subscribe to my new quarterly newsletter. Last year I said I’d be done with Eros and Ethos by December of 2015. Well, that was optimistic. On the other hand, there has been a lot of work done in the last year and it’s a much better book now. It currently stand at just over 188,000 words and approximately 600 book pages. I’ve listed the current chapters below and how complete they are, with respect to the number draft they are currently on and the total number of drafts anticipated. At the rate I’m going with my current editor, I expect to have a completed penultimate draft by January and to complete the final revisions by this time next year. Part 1: The Theory Chapter 1: Ethics (Ver. 3/4) Chapter 2: Emotions and Sentiments (Ver. 3/4) Chapter 3: Love (Ver. 3/4) Chapter 4: Relationships (Ver. 3/4) Chapter 5: Sexual Attraction & Fantasy (Ver. 2/4) Chapter 6: Identity, Orientation, & Self-Understanding (Ver. 2/4) Chapter 7: Sex, Union, & Intimacy (Ver. 2/4) Part 2: Applications Chapter 8: Erotic Decadence (Ver. 2/4) Chapter 9: Faith, Mysticism, & Religion (Ver. 1/3) Chapter 10: Family & Progeny (Ver. 1/3) Chapter 11: Sex for Sale (Ver. 1/3) Chapter 12: Children & Sexuality (Ver. 1/3) Chapter 13: Polysexuality (Ver. 1/3) Chapter 14: Kink (Ver. 1/3) Chapter 15: Public & Private (Ver. 1/3) Chapter 16: Society, Sex, & the Law (Ver. 1/3) Conclusion (Ver. 1/3) Epilogue: Selected Philosophic Essays (Ver. 1/3) Last year I announced that I’m working on my first fictional work called The Wizard’s Tower. I have spent most of the last year working on Eros and Ethos, but I am pleased to announce that The Wizard’s Tower is nearly done in first draft! If you’re interested in more news about The Wizard’s Tower, sign up for the newsletter to be the first to find out what’s going on with it. If you’ve enjoyed Erosophia these last 11 years, please consider sending me some love. You can donate via PayPal: You can buy me a birthday present from my Amazon Wishlist. You can email me and tell me that my work has had some impact in your life: Jason(at)JasonStotts.com (I could really use this one right now). Or, you can like Erosophia’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ErosophiaBlog. Finally, I want to thank all of you, for a great 11 years and I look forward to many more years to come. Link to Original
  22. by Jason Stotts I’m creating a special newsletter for people who are interested in keeping track of what I’m doing and the progress of my various projects, like Eros and Ethos or The Wizard’s Tower. If you’re interested, head to http://jasonstotts.com/newsletter and sign up there. The first edition will be going out soon and will include some exclusive content not found anywhere else. Link to Original
  23. by Jason Stotts This post isn’t like most of my posts. In fact, it came together quite by accident. You see, just a little over a week ago, I watched a friend defend his dissertation and earn his Ph.D. (congrats, Dr. Moore!). What’s interesting about this is the subject of his dissertation, which was a phenomenological investigation into how we experience reading. This got me thinking about how I read and I eventually wrote him this letter titled “On Reading”: I’ve been thinking about my own experience of reading recently and have some interesting insights I wanted to share with you. First, some back-story. A couple of years ago I developed a pretty bad allergy to something that blooms in the Spring here. As a result, this year, I’ve been on antihistamines all Spring. At first I just felt tired and “out of it” and that was all the more I could describe it as. I’ve been changing antihistamines and finally settled on Allegra. Now, that’s not very interesting in itself, but it’s important to understand for what follows. Usually when I read fiction, I do not experience the words on the page and, instead, experience pretty vivid mental imagery. In fact, I know that my mind has wondered when I start seeing the words again and then I go back and pick up the thread again. I experience reading fiction as a meditative experience or trance where I am not aware of my surroundings at all and I am immersed in the story and its images. On the other hand, when I read nonfiction, I don’t experience the words imagistically. Indeed, I don’t usually find my mind populating the concretes subsumed under concepts when I think of the concepts (e.g. when I hear “table,” I don’t immediately start picturing all of the tables I have ever seen or even any of the things I know to be tables). When I do philosophy and read nonfiction, my mind stays in a purely conceptual frame, without images. When I think of arguments, I think of them as “flowing” or perhaps as links in a chain (although not with images), but rather they have a “feel” of one thing flowing or leading to another. (Partly, I’m sure, this is also my subconscious telling me whether things cohere with my own antecedent belief structure or what people call “intuition”.) Anyway, my question at your defense grew out of thinking about my own experience of reading. I realized that the act of reading must first involve perception of the words on the page. However, concepts cannot be understood perceptually and words are simply symbols to stand in for concepts, so we must process the words conceptually. For me, then, when I deal with nonfiction, my mind stays in this conceptual area that doesn’t involve imagery. However, when I read fiction, my mind converts the concepts back into perceptual data based on story (e.g. reading “the moonlight shone softly across the water, highlighting the snow along its banks, and transforming the scene into a softness that enveloped them in its embrace” would give me the visual experience of this.) Now, you might be right that this isn’t a per se perceptual experience. Certainly, it’s what we would call the imag-ination in Aristotelian philosophy of mind, or the faculty of the mind that is capable of having visual experiences that are not immediately tied to our senses. All of this, though, is partly a pre-amble to something I just realized: my ability to read is not the same right now as it usually is. Because of the allergy I’ve been on antihistamines. I’ve read several fiction books during this time, but even though they were well written and I enjoyed them, I couldn’t quite “see” them in the way I usually do. I realized that it started when I started taking the antihistamines. It seem that something about them prevents me from visualizing fiction in the way I usually do. To double check, I reread a passage from a book I’ve read several times and with which I usually visualize. It was the same: I was stuck seeing the words and not seeing the action. Moreover, I also realized it’s deeply affected my ability to be creative while I’m writing. Even when writing nonfiction, I’m struggling to access my creativity in a way I don’t usually and I’m having a much harder time writing. Because of his defense, I had been thinking about my own cognitions since then. So, imagine my surprise when I saw this essay “Aphantasia: How It Feels To Be Blind In Your Mind” by Blake Ross on Facebook. Let me give you a small sample: I just learned something about you and it is blowing my goddamned mind. This is not a joke. It is not “blowing my mind” a la BuzzFeed’s “8 Things You Won’t Believe About Tarantulas.” It is, I think, as close to an honest-to-goodness revelation as I will ever live in the flesh. Here it is: You can visualize things in your mind. If I tell you to imagine a beach, you can picture the golden sand and turquoise waves. If I ask for a red triangle, your mind gets to drawing. And mom’s face? Of course. You experience this differently, sure. Some of you see a photorealistic beach, others a shadowy cartoon. Some of you can make it up, others only “see” a beach they’ve visited. Some of you have to work harder to paint the canvas. Some of you can’t hang onto the canvas for long. But nearly all of you have a canvas. I don’t. I have never visualized anything in my entire life. I can’t “see” my father’s face or a bouncing blue ball, my childhood bedroom or the run I went on ten minutes ago. I thought “counting sheep” was a metaphor. I’m 30 years old and I never knew a human could do any of this. And it is blowing my goddamned mind. […] What did you do today? I don’t know. I don’t know what I did today. Answering questions like this requires me to “do mental work,” the way you might if you’re struggling to recall what happened in the Battle of Trafalgar. If I haven’t prepared, I can’t begin to answer. But chitchat is the lubricant of everyday life. I learned early that you can’t excuse yourself from the party to focus on recalling what you did 2 hours ago. […] And if you ask about my day, there’s a good chance that—having had no time to prepare—I’ll lie to you. It is hard not to feel like a sociopath when you’re lying about how you spent your Monday and you don’t even know why. And there is a sadness, an unflagging detachment that comes from forgetting your own existence. Imagine how I felt reading this! My mind was blown (but don’t actually form images of my mind being blown, or else we’ll be in different places). His account goes a long way in explaining the way I experience the world, although it’s not quite to the same degree as Blake. As a matter of course, I do not experience the world imagistically and my memory doesn’t work that way well. I can form mental images and hear music and such, but it’s very hard and comes with effort, I don’t simply do it (except for music, which comes easily). This has led me to have a very bad memory for what I’ve done in a day as well (or what Blake calls “experiential memory”, but a very good memory for philosophy and arguments: I can recall philosophic texts I read more than 10 years ago pretty clearly. Just like with Blake, this leads me to forget things that I’ve done, even with people I care about, unless there was also some cognitive content with the experience to tie it all together. This is one of the reasons I like taking pictures so much: I really won’t remember how things looked without them. It’s weird to think about how different my experience is from other people’s. I already knew, for example, that I am nearly indifferent to other people’s emotions: unless I already care about you, your emotions will not affect me in the slightest. Even then, I don’t always know how to handle other people’s emotions. This, however, may be tied to the same issue of visualization: I can’t actually imagine myself in your shoes (which I now assume might be literal). Now, to bring everything together, I’ve noticed that since I’ve been on the antihistamines, my visual experience has been even more paltry, closer to Blake’s, than it usually is. I would have never noticed this, except that I noticed it in how I read and my friend’s dissertation defense got me thinking about the experience of reading. So, I’m wondering if there isn’t some connection between some part of the brain that antihistamines affect and our ability to form mental images. Undoubtedly, I would be a bad test subject, because I’m already bad at it. But, maybe by standing just on the cusp of being able to do it, I was able to notice the effect of the antihistamines in a way that others don’t, because they only have a small change. Anyway, I will definitely be thinking more about this and its impact on my life, now that I have a clearer idea that its going on and how it is divergent from others’ experiences. Link to Original
  24. by Jason Stotts 1. FDA Overturns 30-year Ban on Blood Donations by Gay Men Well, sort of… Yesterday, the FDA decided that gay men (or any men who have sex with men) are allowed to donate blood IF they have not had sex with a man in the last 12 months. I guess this is a step in the right direction, but given that tests can screen out any sort of STI’s (which not only men who have sex with men have, obviously), this is still a pretty thin attack on men who have sex with men. 2. Breasts No Longer Considered ‘Nude’, says AGLC In Alberta Canada, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) has ruled that breasts are no longer considered “nude”. Interesting. 3. Playboy’s Science Fiction Did you know that Playboy magazine has a long history with the science fiction genre? Neither did I. This is a really interesting look at it. [url={url}]Link to Original[/url]
  25. by Jason Stotts Affirmative consent is an idea sweeping the country. For example, look at this Inside Higher Ed article: When students at Indiana University at Bloomington are asked to describe consent, they can often recite the lyrics from a student-written musical. “Consent is unmistakable … it’s often verbal … it’s uncoerced … it’s freely given … and if you’ve got those things together, that’s consent! Consent … whoa consent!” (The full lyrics of the song are at the bottom of this story.) And as college campuses across the country adapt to a culture — and legislation — calling for affirmative consent and “yes means yes” policies, freshmen orientations are often just one touch point for a larger conversation about sexual misconduct policies across campuses. Many colleges are adding programming or are revising past education on sexual assault prevention to focus on teaching the ideas behind affirmative consent, although some institutions already had relevant programs in place. It sounds innocuous enough. In fact, prima facie, it sounds like a great idea. Consent is a good thing, so we should make sure that people are freely giving it and giving it explicitly so that there can be no misunderstanding. So, what’s the problem? Well, for one, it violates one of the most foundational principles of US Law: the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” It violates due process and the idea that the accuser (often the State) must show that a crime has been committed. The alternative to this is that you must defend yourself from charges by showing that no crime has been committed. But, consider, how can you show that nothing has happened? Thankfully, courts are starting to rule that this idea of affirmative consent is illicit and are overturning convictions based on it. For example, in the recent case of Corey Mock in Tennessee that Reason did a good job covering. Problematically, there are now two states, California and New York, that have affirmative consent laws on the books and many other colleges and universities are pushing to implement them. So, this issue is far from dead. In the coming months, we’re going to start seeing this in the news more as people are unfairly convicted under these laws and their cases head to the courts. For my own part, while I want to encourage discussions about consent, I don’t think that affirmative consent laws are the way to go and due to their violations of some of the most important principles of law. Link to Original
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