All posts filed under: Philosophy


Exploring the benefits in LGBT marriage

For decades, researchers have studied the benefits of marriage, finding that married people are likely to be healthier, wealthier and wiser than their unmarried peers. But these studies reflected those who were allowed to marry. Only recently – when states started passing laws guaranteeing same-sex couples the right to marry – could researchers begin to examine how marriage impacted the health of LGBT Americans. At the University of Washington School of Social Work, our team has conducted the first national study that explores the relationship between marriage, health and quality of life for LGBT adults 50 and older. The findings reaffirm some of the health benefits associated with marriage in the general population. But they also highlight many of the unique barriers LGBT Americans continue to face. The benefits of marriage persist Survey data from the study – titled “Aging with Pride: National Health, Aging, and Sexuality/Gender Study (NHAS)” – analyzed responses from 1,821 LGBT older adults who lived in states with legalized same-sex marriage and access to federal benefits (32 states plus the District …

The false dichotomy feminism

The occasion is provided by recent controversies concerning the delicate concepts of gender and race, where once again — as in both the cases of trigger warnings and of Islamophobia — I see well intentioned progressives needlessly (in my mind) and harshly attacking fellow progressives, or at the least, people who ought to be their natural political allies. (As in the other two cases, I will ignore contributions from the right and from libertarians, on the ground that I find them both less constructive and less surprising than those from the sources I will be discussing here.) Let me start with gender. I recently read with fascination an two year old New York Times op-ed piece by feminist Elinor Burkett entitled “What makes a woman?” explaining why a number of feminists have issues with certain aspects of the transgender movement, and in particular why Burkett had mixed feelings about the very public coming out of Caitlyn Jenner. First, Jenner: Burkett says that of course she supports a member of an often vilified gender minority when …

atheist Theory of Mind

Theory of Mind

Introduction Planet earth appears to be filled with unseen forces that control the behavior of its inhabitants. No, this isn’t the beginning to a cheesy B-movie science fiction film script. This is reality and even the staunchest of skeptics act as if they believe in these invisible forces. That is, we live in a material world ruled by minds with no physical locality and it is here that we think beliefs, desires, intentions, and other mentalstates are both responsible for, and explain our behavior. There is nothing particularly magical or surprising about this fact, at least not until we consider particular theories in the cognitive science of religion (CSR) that, for example, suggest atheists may be “socially disabled”, have a “malfunction” in their ability to reason about these mental states, or perhaps that there is no such thing as atheism at the level of cognition. Thus, and I ask jokingly, does the atheist have a theory of mind? But, more on this in a moment. Attributing mental states is something we do to others and …

skeptic society The Future of philosophy

The Future of philosophy

The Future of philosophy, Anyone who claims that the writings of philosophers are pointless or unnecessary is immediately accused of philosophical naïveté. And so in order to avoid or counter the charge one has to do a bit of philosophy. Likewise, it’s difficult to articulate an anti-metaphysical stance without getting bogged down in something that looks a lot like metaphysics. In a sense, you’ve lost the battle before you’ve even begun.