A summary of a reading of a rewriting of Heidegger

Bottom Line Up Front  All propositions are relative, and history matters more than truth. Wait, what? This is a summary of the introduction to Joel Weinsheimer’s book Gadamer's Hermeneutics: A Reading of Truth and Method. That book is a reading of Hans-Georg Gadamer's 1960 book Truth and Method, which according to Wikipedia is in turn …

How to save and invest in line with your values (Or: Who Owns Private Prisons, Part III)

(This is the third post in a three part series. For the curious, here are Parts I and II) If you're like most Americans, you have less than $1000 in savings and have a lot of debt. If you're one of the lucky few, you have some cash saved up somewhere: A six-month emergency fund, perhaps, or a growing retirement …

Despite all our rage

During my first semester of grad school, I sat in on a presentation at UT's psychology department. It was a "job talk," a part of the academic hiring process where an applicant gives a public presentation. Imagine a job interview, but with 40 people in the room, and no guiding questions. Just "show us you." In that presentation, Columbia professor and FiveThirtyEight author James Curley shared his work on …

The 7 papers I’m most nerdily excited about right now

Over the course of my first semester of grad school, I collected (/people sent to me) something like five dozen academic papers that I didn't have time to read during the semester. In pursuit of ultimately personifying the nerd emoji 🤓 , I spent the last two days reading the first two pages of each of those papers. The ones …

Who Owns Private Prisons? Part II: Learning about responsible investing

This summer I read a 2015 Mother Jones expose of privately run prisons in the United States. Three things I learned: 1. Private prisons may be the worst thing going in America. 2. Private prison stocks are probably included in your retirement fund, like they are in mine. 3. My IRA provider, Vanguard, doesn't care. I asked my Facebook friends for …

Today’s media environment is a Choose Your Own Adventure book, and not in a fun way.

When I was a kid, I tried to like Choose Your Own Adventure Books, primarily because my brother had a bunch of them. I hated them. Every time I made a decision, I would stick a finger between the pages of the other choice so that I could go back and re-choose if I failed (which …

Can humans be altruistic? Or are we all jerks?

I have an old high school friend whose college admissions essay argued that humans are incapable of altruism. It worked; apparently ivy league admissions staff are a cynical bunch. I think back to my friend's essay when I hear arguments about human nature. In the last few years I've been encouraged by the amount of research suggesting that humans do not, in fact, always …

That’s all well and good in practice, but how do humans work in theory?

In our public policy theory class, we began with a discussion about the absence of an overarching theory of public policy. I learned pretty quickly that other social science disciplines--economics perhaps excluded--lack one as well. Why? Three potential reasons: We tend to understand things atomistically/essentially, rather than relationally. Whereas I intuitively understand human behavior as a product of …