The idea of “sustainability” has gone mainstream. What began as a grassroots movement to promote responsible development has become a bullet point in corporate ecobranding strategies. This BIT examines the conflict between ecobranding and true sustainability and considers the ambiguous influence of Prius-driving movie stars.
Online reputation systems—including Amazon recommendations, eBay vendors’ histories, and TripAdvisor ratings—serve as filters for information overload. In academia, reputation is the value that scholars have to offer, whether on the faculty job market or a journal’s editorial board, as an expert witness, or as a reference for a colleague. In this BIT, John Willinsky discusses the effect that open access is having on reputation in academia and research publishing.
America is addicted to fossil fuels, and the environmental and geopolitical costs are mounting. A federal program—on the scale of the Manhattan Project or the Apollo Program— to stimulate innovation in energy policy seems essential. In this BIT, Charles Weiss and William Bonvillian describe a new framework for stimulating innovation through policy and legislation and offer a roadmap for the implementation of new technologies.
How is meaning possible in a material world? Owen Flanagan proposes a naturalistic (rather than supernaturalistic) way to live meaningfully, to live a life that really matters, to flourish, to achieve eudaimonia—to be a “happy spirit.” In this BIT, Flanagan draws on insights from neuroscience and on the transformative mindfulness and self-cultivation practices in Buddhism.
Every day, hundreds of millions of people around the world play video games—on smart phones, on computers, on consoles—and most of them will experience failure at some point in the game; they will lose, die, or fail to advance to the next level. Not completing Super Real Tennis is not a tragedy. But it feels like a failure. This BIT explores how it feels when we fail.
Can Freud be “updated” in the twenty-first century, or is he a venerated but outmoded genius? In this BIT, Jerry Aline Flieger stages an encounter between psychoanalysis and the new century, considering the psyche in cyberspace.
Consciousness is perhaps the most puzzling aspect of the world and yet it is so very familiar to each of us. In this BIT, tackling a central paradox of consciousness (namely, how it is possible to hold a number of seemingly inconsistent views about it), Rocco Gennaro proposes a version of the HOT (higher order thought) thesis that is consistent with animal consciousness. Gennaro’s integration of empirical and philosophical concerns will make his argument of interest to both philosophers and nonphilosophers.
Today, big-brand companies seem to be making commitments to sustainability that go beyond the usual “greenwashing” efforts undertaken largely for public relations purposes. McDonald’s promises to use only beef, coffee, fish, chicken, and cooking oil obtained from sustainable sources. Coca-Cola promises to achieve water neutrality. Walmart has pledged to become carbon neutral. This BIT examines some of these corporate sustainability efforts and their ultimate goal.
The Atari Video Computer System dominated the home video game market so completely that “Atari” became the generic term for a video game console. This BIT examines the interplay between computation and culture in the Atari emulator Stella and the Atari VCS game Combat.
The humanities can add valuable insights to the study of memory. This BIT draws on recent neuroscientific research to explore one of the great masterpieces of fifteenth-century Flemish painting, Rogier van der Weyden’s Descent from the Cross. It connects memory to the direct and indirect bodily responses to a work of art.