Billions of dollars are spent each year to prevent death. We invest in research and treatment of disease; in improving safety; and in educating people to live healthier, longer lives. Yet with all of technological and scientific capability, what do we know of what happens after death? John Martin Fischer is professor of philosophy at University of California at Riverside. He was awarded a 5 million dollar grant to study the afterlife. He’s launched “The Immortality Project." The money will go towards sponsoring conferences and scientific, philosophical, and theological research that advances understanding of immortality and belief in immortality.
This photo was used to illustrate Schuster's story with the following caption: Photographs from Nadezhda Ladygina-Kohts, Infant Chimpanzee and Human Child. Originally published in 1935, the book offers a comparative study of the behavior of a human child (Ladygina-Kohts’s own son Roody) and an infant chimpanzee named Joni. The bottom two images in this plate show Joni reacting to being tickled.
The sensation of tickling has baffled great thinkers since the days of Aristotle, who used human ticklishness to distinguish people from animals. Later, Freud puzzled over the strange mix of pleasure and pain caused by tickling.
Indeed, we tickle kids or siblings, sometimes affectionately, sometimes edging towards cruelty. Still unknown is why people laugh when tickled, and why you can’t tickle yourself? Why do some people enjoy tickling and others not? And what is tickling, after all? Contemporary philosopher Aaron Schuster picks up those questions. He’s on the faculty at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam and wrote “A Philosophy of Tickling” for Cabinet Magazine.
It’s The Socrates Exchange on the question of Justice or Vengeance. Justice is often defined as fairness, the dispassionate rule of law, while vengeance is defined as a personal vendetta. But when justice doesn’t seem enough, is vengeance the answer? Does justice bring closure while vengeance is perpetual? Does justice require that victims feel avenged? We ask these and more questions on the Socrates Exchange.
Nick Smith, Associate Professor of Philosophy at UNH, advisor to the Socratic Society at UNH, and advisor to The Socrates Exchange.