Interview: Climbing and Philosophy

Stephen E. Schmid is the author of Climbing – Philosophy for Everyone: Because It’s There. Stephen is also Assistant Professor of Philosophy at University of Wisconsin–Rock County.  His current research focuses on motivation in sport and education.  In the philosophy of sport, he has published and presented on the role of motivation in the conception of play.  Stephen has been rock climbing and mountaineering for more than 20 years.

Why did you decide to edit a book on climbing and philosophy?
I had the idea to pursue the climbing and philosophy book for a year before I approached Wiley-Blackwell with the idea.  The book idea seemed like a great way to merge my two passions.  In addition, I had started to pursue some research in the Philosophy of Sport and examples from climbing proved relevant to the problem I was pursuing.  The merging of climbing and philosophy seemed like an obvious move. Continue reading “Interview: Climbing and Philosophy”

The (Super-)Power of Good and Evil Intentions

Science news website Livescience recently featured an article that may give hope to aspiring superheroes (and supervillains) everywhere. Recent research, the article reports, suggests that acts of kindness or malice – real or envisioned – can boost one’s willpower and even one’s physical strength. In other words: we can all be ‘super’ if we want to be!

The research, carried out by Kurt Gray from the Department of Psychology at the University of Havard, involved volunteers being asked to hold on to a 5lb weight for as long as they could, for which they would be paid a dollar. Half of the participants were asked if they would like to donate their dollar to charity (everyone did). It was found that the charitable folks held on to the weight for an average of 53 seconds, contrasted with 46 for those who did not donate. Continue reading “The (Super-)Power of Good and Evil Intentions”

Is environmentalism a religion?

Every so often popular debate breaks out about whether belief in anthropogenic global warming is analogous to religious belief. These debates almost always turn into debates about whether environmentalism is a religion. Typically, one side maintains that the distinctive feature of religious belief is that it appeals to the supernatural, and so environmentalism isn’t a religion. The other side maintains that the distinctive feature of religious belief Continue reading “Is environmentalism a religion?”