Georgiana Banita (Bamberg) and Sascha Pohlmann (Munich): Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of the Presidency: Elections and American Culture. Michael A. Livermore (Virginia): Political Parties and Presidential Oversight. From Presidential Studies Quarterly, Maryann E. Gallagher (DePauw) and Bethany Blackstone (UNT): Taking Matters into Their Own Hands: Presidents’ Personality Traits and the Use of Executive Orders; and Brandon Rottinghaus (Houston) and Adam Warber (Clemson): Unilateral Orders as Constituency Outreach: Executive Orders, Proclamations, and the Public Presidency. Stop fighting it — America is a monarchy, and that’s probably for the best. You can’t make the Congress do anything: Scott Lemieux on how the ability of presidents to move the legislative needle will always be severely limited. Elizabeth Drew on how many authors have been tempted into writing revisionist histories of Richard Nixon, but these counterintuitive takes often do not hold up under closer scrutiny. If the Obama presidency is winding down, why is his group Organizing for Action ramping up? (and more)


From the inaugural issue of International Advances in Heroism Science, Scott T. Allison (Richmond): The Initiation of Heroism Science. Frank Pasquale and Siva Vaidhyanathan on Uber and the lawlessness of “sharing economy” corporates: Companies including Airbnb and Google compare themselves to civil rights heroes, while using their popularity among consumers to nullify federal law. The Outlaw Ocean: In this series on lawlessness on the high seas, Ian Urbina reveals that crime and violence in international waters often goes unpunished (and more and more and more and more and more and more). Trump University: Libby Nelson on how Donald Trump persuaded students to pay $35,000 to become just like him (and more). Jeet Heer on National Review’s bad conscience: Why the magazine is quick to accuse liberals of fascism and Nazism. Emily Rose Lathrop on the GRE Literature subject test: What you need to know. Provocative new study finds bullies have highest self esteem, social status, lowest rates of depression.


From NYRB, how you consist of trillions of tiny machines: Tim Flannery reviews Life’s Engines: How Microbes Made Earth Habitable by Paul G. Falkowski and A New History of Life: The Radical New Discoveries About the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth by Peter Ward and Joe Kirschvink. If the world began again, would life as we know it exist?: Experiments in evolution are exploring what would happen if we rewound the tape of life. Richard Dawkins: “This is my vision of ‘life’”. Meghan Walsh on Jeremy England, the man who may one-up Darwin. Herbert Gintis (SFI), Carel van Schaik (Zurich), and Christopher Boehm (USC): Zoon Politikon: The Evolutionary Origins of Human Political Systems. The evolutionary roots of altruism: Melvin Konner reviews Does Altruism Exist? Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others by David Sloan Wilson.

Julian Savulescu, Jonathan Pugh, Thomas Douglas and Christopher Gyngell (Oxford): The Moral Imperative to Continue Gene Editing Research on Human Embryos. Industry’s growth leads to leftover embryos, and painful choices. Akshat Rathi on why China won’t listen to Western scientists about genetically modifying the human embryo. If it becomes possible to safely genetically increase babies’ IQ, it will become inevitable. Yordanis Enriquez-Canto (UCSS) and Barbara Osimani (Camerino): Is Genetic Information Family Property? Expanding on the Argument of Confidentiality Breach and Duty to Inform Persons at Risk. These superhumans are real and their DNA could be worth billions. Kevin Loria on how the age of genetically engineered animals has arrived. Easy DNA editing will remake the world — buckle up.

Jesse I. Bailey (Sacred Heart): Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”. Rose Eveleth on a blueprint for a better human body: People who wear and design prosthetics are rethinking the form of our species. The first chapter from How Do You Feel? An Interoceptive Moment with Your Neurobiological Self by A. D. (Bud) Craig. Why can’t the world’s greatest minds solve the mystery of consciousness? Oliver Burkeman wonders. Can we ever be in charge of our own lives? A review essay by Rowan Williams (and more and more). Andrew Vierra (Georgia State): Psychopathy, Moral Responsibility, and Mental Time Travel. Andrea Lavazza (CUI): Erasing Traumatic Memories: When Context and Social Interests Can Outweigh Personal Autonomy. New research puts us on the cusp of brain-to-brain communication — could the next step spell the end of individual minds? Face it, your brain is a computer. Massimo Pigliucci (CUNY): Mind Uploading: A Philosophical Counter-analysis (and more). Science fiction has long been influenced by philosophy — sadly, the inverse doesn’t seem to happen nearly enough: An interview with Pete Mandik of William Paterson University.

Stefan cel Mare (Suceava): The Anthropology of Immortality and the Crisis of Posthuman Conscience. Dan Hassler-Forest (Amsterdam): Of Iron Men and Green Monsters: Superheroes and Posthumanism. Stefan Herbrechter (Coventry): Posthumanism “Without” Technology, or How the Media Made Us Post/Human. Daniel Groll (Carleton) and Micah Lott (BC): Is There a Role for “Human Nature” in Debates About Human Enhancement? Nils-Frederic Wagner and Jeffrey Robinson (Ottawa) and Christine Wiebking (Potsdam): The Ethics of Neuroenhancement: Smart Drugs, Competition and Society. Alberto Giubilini (Charles Sturt): Normality, Therapy, and Enhancement: What Should Bioconservatives Say About the Medicalization of Love? John Danaher (NUI Galway): Human Enhancement, Social Solidarity and the Distribution of Responsibility.

Michele Loi (Minho): Technological Unemployment and Human Disenhancement. When robots come for grandma: Zeynep Tufekci on why “caregiver robots” are both inhuman and economically destructive. Matthew Yglesias on the automation myth: Robots aren’t taking your jobs — and that’s the problem. Quentin Hardy on the real threat posed by powerful computers. From the Journal of Evolution and Technology, a special issue on nonhuman personhood. Christoph Lutz (St. Gallen) and Aurelia Tamo (ETH Zurich): RoboCode-Ethicists: Privacy-friendly Robots, an Ethical Responsibility of Engineers? A robot in New York has passed the classic King’s Wise Men puzzle which serves as a test of the awareness of the self. Cheer up, the post-human era is dawning: Artificial minds will not be confined to the planet on which we have evolved, writes Martin Rees. Yuval Noah Harari on how the age of the cyborg has begun — and the consequences cannot be known.

Lucas J. Mix (Harvard): Proper Activity, Preference, and the Meaning of Life. Google’s artificial-intelligence bot says the purpose of living is “to live forever”. Molly Gardner reviews The Non-Identity Problem and the Ethics of Future People by David Boonin. “We are creatures that should not exist”: David Benatar on the theory of anti-natalism. “Catastrophist” Gordon Woo says longevity poses huge risks we aren’t dealing with. Your right to die isn’t enough: Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig on the ethics and morality of assisted suicide. Who owns the dead? For decades, Americans have been increasingly distanced from the dead — a small group of women is working to change that.

Dave Smith tried HTC’s insane virtual reality headset, and he’s convinced the world is about to change forever.

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