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The cold equations of ethics - Practical Ethics (blog)

The cold equations of ethics
Practical Ethics (blog)
Cory Doctorow has written a thoughtful critique of two science fiction stories and how they might promote short-sightedness and morally bad behaviour.

 

My own favourite example of this kind of induction of conclusions is Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon, which is often used as an argument that cognitive enhancement will not be good for people. However, the reason the protagonist suffers is that he and the world is written that way. While it makes for a good story it doesn’t help us think much about the nature of intelligence enhancement despite apparently giving us an argument.

 

This suggests that writers trying to be moral should do their best to refrain from overly constraining their fictional worlds in order to tell stories that actually help us think about acting morally in the real world.

 

However, many authors have moral views they wish to promote through their art. This might lead to a trade-off between writing a compelling story that makes people more likely to behave in a more moral manner, or make a less compelling story that makes people think more widely about the moral issue. Should they teach morality or ethics? The answer is probably individual: some people are moralists, other have a more ethical bent. There are examples of good and bad fiction of both kinds.

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Dystopian Fiction's Popularity Is a Warning Sign for the Future - Wired

Dystopian Fiction's Popularity Is a Warning Sign for the Future - Wired | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
In the latest episode of Geek's Guide to the Galaxy, writer Naomi Klein discusses dystopian fiction and her new capitalism-vs.-the-climate nonfiction book This Changes Everything.
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Crème de la crime - The Asian Age

Crème de la crime - The Asian Age | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

A big wave of crime fiction is sweeping through the Indian publishing industry, with a host of writers stepping inside the chilling darkness of a criminal’s mind, the deductive sharpness of a sleuth’s brain. Unraveling webs of intrigue, piecing plots of suspense. Exploring the strange seduction of crime. Racy whodunits and geo-political thrillers, cyber crime and financial crime fiction, historical and horror mysteries, techno-espionage and psychological thrillers.

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9 Books That Totally Explain What You're Feeling When You Go Back Home to Visit Family - Bustle

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9 Books That Totally Explain What You're Feeling When You Go Back Home to ..

 

the concept of home — and moreover, of returning home — is more dynamic and expansive than just the families we come from. There’s a tenderness and loyalty inherent to the landscape of a childhood home, and it takes a gifted writer to write about it, without either romanticizing or turning it into a farce.

 

Here, though, are a few books — easily digestible, even for the flight (or in my case, 12-hour car ride, gag) home — that capture some of those nuances.

.

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The publisher's year: hits and misses of 2014 - The Guardian

The publisher's year: hits and misses of 2014 - The Guardian | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Which books took off and which failed to sell? Publishers choose their books of the year, and the ones that slipped through the net
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How Writing Transforms Us - New York Times

How Writing Transforms Us - New York Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Art doesn’t try to dictate what you think. It helps you change yourself.
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Religious Reading

Religious Reading | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
We took the opportunity to ask a few writers to recommend novels with religious themes, preferably lesser known.
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Don't Write for Awards - The Atlantic

Don't Write for Awards - The Atlantic | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
National Book Awards finalist Emily St. John Mandel says pomp and circumstance can derail the everyday work of creating complex, flawed characters.
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51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature

51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
"At the still point, there the dance is." —T. S. Eliot
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The Psychology of Reading Affects How – and What – We Read

The Psychology of Reading Affects How – and What – We Read | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Is there some scientific rationale behind our reading habits and predilections? Why, for example, do you sometimes find that you can’t even finish a book that critics and your friends alike say they couldn't stop reading?
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WH Auden's Cheeky Tribute to Sigmund Freud - The New Republic

WH Auden's Cheeky Tribute to Sigmund Freud - The New Republic | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
The poet explains the lasting influence of the analyst.

 

W.H. Auden is famous for incorporating politics and world events into his poetry, but he was also deeply interested in and influenced by psychoanalysis. Freud’s ideas about the subconscious, the Id, and repression surface throughout Auden’s work, including in the famous “September 1, 1939,” in which Auden refers to mankind as composed “of Eros and of dust.” The British poet even wrote an elegy for Freud, who died the same month Hitler invaded Poland. In this essay, written thirteen years after the poem, Auden’s admiration for the Austrian psychoanalyst continues to shine through: “Psychoanalysts and their patients may sometimes seem funny little people, but the fact that they exist is evidence that society is still partly human.”

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Philip K. Dick would have been 86 today: Some thoughts on his legacy - Los Angeles Times

Philip K. Dick would have been 86 today: Some thoughts on his legacy - Los Angeles Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

The late Philip K. Dick, born 86 years ago today in Chicago, is something of a cautionary figure in American literature: brilliant, prolific, often sloppy, and woefully underappreciated during his lifetime. It was only with the 1982 release of the film “Blade Runner” (loosely based on his 1968 novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”) that Dick’s work truly began to saturate the mainstream; by that point, he had been dead for four months.

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12 of the Most Anticipated Books of 2015, aka the Titles We Can't Get Our ... - Bustle

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12 of the Most Anticipated Books of 2015, aka the Titles We Can't Get Our ...
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That's because there is a lot to look forward to in literature.
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:

To start next year's reading off right. . .

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Modern brands are embracing the savage side of fairy tales this Christmas - The Independent

Modern brands are embracing the savage side of fairy tales this Christmas - The Independent | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

As we grow up, we learn that fairy tales, folklore and fantasy stories don’t all end happily ever after, which makes them a surprising source of inspiration for brands that are selling a luxury lifestyle. Wealth, after all, is meant to be the great protector. But it seems there’s an appeal to darker, bewitching tales that, if not inherent or endless, certainly resonates right now.

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'The Affair,' best TV dramas of the year and The Great American Novel - Baltimore Sun (blog)

'The Affair,' best TV dramas of the year and The Great American Novel - Baltimore Sun (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
I was never one of those critics who measured television against literature, theater, film or any of the other forms of entertainment and art that have traditionally been considered more serious or elevated.

 

But I have never seen such complicated and profound aspects of American life so consistently, wisely and engagingly explored, week after week in the best dramas, as I have this year.

 

When I picked my five best dramas independent of this notion of the novel-on-television, I was struck by how firmly each movie, miniseries or series was rooted in an American sense of place and how much that geography shaped the imaginations of the characters in these stories — much like great American novels were supposed to do.

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11 Books to Savor On the Other Side of Exam Week - Bustle

Bustle
11 Books to Savor On the Other Side of Exam Week

 

while you huddle over your textbooks, exhausted and overwhelmed, just know that on the other side of exam week you’ll have these 11 works of fiction to savor.

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2014 in Review: David L. Ulin looks at the year in books - Los Angeles Times

2014 in Review: David L. Ulin looks at the year in books - Los Angeles Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
What was the upshot of my year in reading — the ideas, the through lines that most stirred or provoked me in 2014? The dominant thread was what we might call that of common experience, work that finds significance in incidental things.
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Literary Iceland Revels In Its Annual 'Christmas Book Flood'

Literary Iceland Revels In Its Annual 'Christmas Book Flood' | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Icelanders are voracious readers. Books have been the Christmas gift of choice in this small nation for decades. The annual "Book Flood" tradition begins with a publisher's catalog in every mailbox.
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This Little Girl's Scrapbook Proves Exactly Why Strong Female Characters Are So Important

This Little Girl's Scrapbook Proves Exactly Why Strong Female Characters Are So Important | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Mia has pretty excellent taste if you ask me.
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This photo was retweeted and posted on Facebook all over the place. Here it is again, if you'd like to take a close-up look.

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Heart-stopped: Fiction and the rewards of discomfort - OUPblog (blog)

Heart-stopped: Fiction and the rewards of discomfort - OUPblog (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

One of the ideas my research explores is the belief, in the eighteenth-century, that fiction commands attention by soliciting wonder. Wonder might sound like a nice, calm, placid emotion, but that was not how eighteenth-century century thinkers conceived it. In an essay published in 1795 but probably written in the 1750s, Adam Smith describes wonder as a sentiment induced by a novel object, a sentiment that may be recognized by the wonderstruck subject’s “staring, and sometimes that rolling of the eyes, that suspension of the breath, and that swelling of the heart” (‘The Principles Which Lead and Direct Philosophical Enquiries’). 

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Seeking Inspiration in Jane Austen's World - New York Times

Seeking Inspiration in Jane Austen's World - New York Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
A novelist explores the two quiet villages in Hampshire, where the author spent the most creative periods of her short life.
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Literary works given new life in public domain - opensource.com

Literary works given new life in public domain - opensource.com | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
When literary works are licensed in public domain, a new legacy is created from the creativity of new digital representations by fans in the 21st century.
Works in the public domain belong to everyone. Anyone can use public domain works in any manner they wish. They can republish the work as is, or they can use a public domain work as the inspiration and groundwork to create something new and exciting. However, the length of time before a creative works enters the public domain has grown longer and longer in recent decades. In the United States, the Copyright Act of 1976 and the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 greatly increased the length of time before a work would enter the public domain. The situation is very similar in other parts of the world.
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Review: Syfy's Event Series 'Ascension' - Yahoo TV (blog)

Review: Syfy's Event Series 'Ascension' - Yahoo TV (blog) | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it
Yahoo TV critic Ken Tucker says Syfy's 'Ascension' blends classic sci-fi premise fitted out with elements of a murder mystery and romance-novel shenanigans.
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The Scale of Female Literary Merit

The Scale of Female Literary Merit | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

Titles such as The Lady’s Magazine didn’t only survive by being lucky. Monthly issues were printed with an expectation that subscribers would bind them according to the publisher’s printed instructions and preserve them in bound volume form for posterity. References were made to articles in earlier volumes in expectation that readers would still have them to hand. And there is anecdotal evidence that some magazine readers went to great lengths to preserve their libraries against the ravages of the elements and time, such as the brine soaked, shipwrecked and salvaged copies of The Lady’s Magazine that Charlotte Bronte recalled reading as a child when she should have been paying attention to her lessons and which had once belonged to her mother or aunt (Letter to Hartley Coleridge 10 December 1840).

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13 of the Most Anticipated YA Novels of 2015, aka What You Need to Be ... - Bustle

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13 of the Most Anticipated YA Novels of 2015, aka What You Need to Be ...
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'Teresa, My Love,' Julia Kristeva's Latest Novel - New York Times

'Teresa, My Love,' Julia Kristeva's Latest Novel - New York Times | Literature & Psychology | Scoop.it

It is hard, even knowing just a few facts about Teresa of Ávila, not to fall in love with her. . . . 

The French psychoanalyst and literary critic Julia Kristeva has not been immune to the charms of this holy woman. She has put Teresa on the couch before (most recently in “Hatred and Forgiveness”), and in “Teresa, My Love,” she, or rather her alter ego, the clinical psychologist Sylvia Leclercq, analyzes Teresa and her historical, spiritual and sexual significance.

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