Archive for 2018

Request for Quotes

by Jason Stotts

 

I’d like to advertise “Eros and Ethos” based on its content and the value it has to offer people. I was thinking that one good way to do that would be to use real quotes from it and make those fancy images that people could share on social media. Such as:

The problem is that I don’t know what quotes to use. If you’ve read the book, what are some quotes or passages that stuck out to you?

Eros and Ethos – Sale!

by Jason Stotts

From now and through Labor Day, Eros and Ethos will be on sale for $4.99 for the ebook and $9.99 for the paperback. If you’ve been waiting for a big sale, now’s your chance!

Review: “Enlightenment Now” by Steven Pinker

by Jason Stotts

In case you haven’t heard of it yet, Harvard Psychologist Steven Pinker has a new book out defending the enlightenment and the progress that humanity has made since then called “Enlightenment Now”. The blurb for it is:

Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.

Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature–tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking–which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation.

With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.

The book does a great job showing how much progress we have made and that the world is getting better everyday. This is an important message at a time when all we hear is how things are coming apart at the seams.

While I do have some reservations about the book (which Robert Tracinski does a better job of discussing that I likely would have), I do think it’s a worthwhile read and worth picking up.

Eros and Ethos – 6 Month Retrospective

by Jason Stotts

It’s now been just over 6 months since Eros and Ethos: A New Theory of Sexual Ethics came out! I am happy to report that so far the book is selling well and the reviews have been good. To date, we are just shy of our 200th copy! Currently, most people are buying ebooks (75%), with the rest of the sales being paperbacks.

Moreover, the reviews have been really wonderful with a score of 4.5 out of 5 and 13 reviews (the overall score was brought down by 1 negative and unsubstantial review). Here are just a couple of the really nice things people are saying:

  • “Get ready for the first part of a very thoughtful and enlightening ride. I can’t wait for the next installment to arrive!”
  • “I was raised in a sex shaming household, and it is very difficult to live with conflicting thoughts about my own sexuality, desires, and societal pressures. This book is imperative for anyone struggling to reconcile their sexuality with morality.”
  • “This is an important book for anyone seeking a rational approach to sex”
  • “This was a fantastic book, an excellent purchase, and well worth my time.”
  • “This is a vastly important (and possibly life-changing) book for anyone floundering and/or seeking growth and happiness within a romantic/erotic relationship.”
  • “I’ve never read anything related to the topic of sex that addresses the subject so thoroughly, so positively, or so helpfully.”
  • “Bottom line, an excellent addition to my library. Suitable for academics and laymen alike.”

Go take a look at the full comments yourself, they’re amazingly kind and speak highly of the book.

The audiobook has been delayed due to production issues, but I hope to find a new narrator soon (if you’re interested, let me know). No current ETA on the audiobook, but I’ll be sure to announce it when there’s something more definite.

Overall, I’ve very happy with the launch and I hope that the sales keep climbing as new people read the book and recommend it to their friends. If you’ve already read the book, please take a second to leave a review, it makes a big difference and I love seeing them.

Upcoming Speech: “Love’s Myths (and Their Dangers)”

by Jason Stotts

I will be giving a talk in Denver Colorado coming up on Saturday July 28th. The details of which are below:

Our culture is rife with myths about love. While many of these myths, such as the idea of “soul mates” seem innocuous enough, they can cause significant harm in the lives of people who believe them. In this talk, we will explore some of these myths and the harm they cause. Afterwards, we will look at what healthy love looks like so that we will be more likely to find it in our own lives.

The talk will be at Rodolfo Gonzalez Library (1498 Irving St, Denver, CO 80204) from 3:30pm-4:30pm. It will be roughly 30-45 minutes in length and will be followed by a Q&A.

After the talk, around 5:15pm, there will be a dinner with lively conversation. The dinner is at Tap and Burger Sloans Lake (565 N. Raleigh St. #100, Denver, CO 80204), which is about a 6 minute drive from the venue.

This talk grows out of my new book Eros and Ethos: A New Theory of Sexual Ethics. A limited number of copies of the book will also be available at the talk.

You can RSVP for the event on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/442609279541867/), but an RSVP is not required to attend. The event is free to attend.

Inferno: Cassandra’s Call

by Jason Stotts

A friend of mine just released a new fantasy book called “Inferno: Cassandra’s Call.” It’s the first in a new series that looks to be quite interesting. The blurb is:

Fall into a world where each new moon renews Earth’s hunger for human sacrifices. The Order of Pure and Cleansing Inferno administers the Ritual, delivering a chosen few to the flames to forestall the End of Days. Most grudgingly accept the necessity of the Ritual, and a few revere the Order for protecting life as they know it. Rare indeed is the individual who questions either, but Cassandra has never behaved according to expectations. She believes that she can put a stop to the bloody Ritual with the help of a renowned mercenary known only as Moose. Will Moose and Cassandra work together to uncover the secrets of the powerful Order, or will they betray each other in the end? Will the addition of Alex, a reckless brawler without a home, strengthen the party or strain it?

The Inferno series balances action worthy of any dungeon-crawling adventure with character-driven stories that wouldn’t be out of place in a Chris Claremont or Joss Whedon script. In the tradition of the very best science fiction and fantasy, it explores themes of personal identity, order and chaos, the structure of society, and the meaning of family. If you have enjoyed the work of writers like Ursula K. Le Guin, Terry Goodkind, or Philip Pullman, this series is for you.

Check it out and, if you like it, leave her a review to help her get started. I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Eros and Ethos on Sale!

by Jason Stotts

For just one week, the ebook version of Eros and EthosA New Theory of Sexual Ethics will be on sale for over 50% off at just $2.99! If you’ve been waiting to pick up your copy, this is the time to do is. The sale runs from Sunday, July 1, 2018, 8:00 AM (PDT) to Saturday, July 7, 2018, 12:00 AM (PDT). It really is an amazing book. Just check out all of the positive reviews it’s been getting so far on Amazon!

Speaking of reviews, if you’ve already read Eros and Ethos and you haven’t reviewed it yet, please take a minute to do so. Even just a couple of sentences makes a big difference when people are deciding whether to buy a book from a new author. You can post reviews on Amazon or Goodreads (or both!), depending on your preference.

If you haven’t read it yet and you’re not sure you’d like it, you can download the introduction for free by clicking here.

Aporia: Dispositions

by Jason Stotts

Aporia (ἀπορɛία): an impasse, puzzlement, doubt, or confusion; a difficulty encountered in establishing the theoretical truth of a proposition, created by the presence of evidence both for and against it.

In this Aporia, I want to inquire into the nature of dispositions. While this outline is undoubtedly not of general interest, it will be of interest to some and from it (hopefully) a clear statement about dispositions will emerge for Eros and Ethos Volume 2.

Are all dispositions psychological in nature?

  • It seems like they might be
  • Even Aristotle’s Act1/Act2 is only dispositional when applied to people
    • A rock doesn’t have Act1 – it is either rolling or it is not.
      • At the same time, a rock could be position such that it could potentially roll, would that be Act1?
      • But rocks cannot act – it must be acted upon.
      • But is this action causation instead of entity causation?
      • No, rocks are the kinds of entities such that they are not self-moved
      • None living things cannot have dispositions
    • It seems that only living things can have dispositions.
    • Can non-human animals have dispositions? Need to have a better idea of what they are before we can answer this

If dispositions are psychological in nature, how exactly do they operate?

  • As automatic preferences?
    • In Vol 1, claimed orientation was a disposition and it has a biological component
    • This could still be an automatic preference shaped partly by forces beyond our control (biology)
  • Does this make dispositions no more than something like a “preferential habit”?
    • If I purposefully develop a habit around eating healthy and this changes my preferences to healthy eating, is this then a new disposition?
    • I’d say yes. But only at the point the person’s actual preferences change
  • If dispositions are about preferences, they seem to be another form of “automatic thought” and a way to offload things out of consciousness to keep the conscious mind more focused and available to respond to bigger issues
  • If this is true, then they are much like the sentiments which attempt to automate evaluation and orient us to the world
  • They are also a little like intuition, but whereas intuition is a true automatic thought (has conceptual content), dispositions activate our desires
    • Is it right to say they activate our desires? If I have a disposition to do A, is that the same as saying that I have an established desire to do A? It doesn’t seem so
    • Perhaps the difference is that if we have consciously established the A-preference and desire, then this is not a disposition, but an internalized preference.
    • If that’s the case, though, how would we ever come to have disposition? If we can’t come to have them consciously.
    • Maybe dispositions aren’t things we choose directly, but as in the case of health, we choose to be healthy and our preferences (hopefully!) change to healthy options, without us having to decide on a case-by-case basis
  • If this is the case, then dispositions cannot be things we consciously have chosen, but they are things that “fall out” of other choices
  • This seems too chaotic and messy. Unless it’s the case that the only way we can form dispositions is through an associated purposeful internalization of a preference scheme (e.g., wanting to be “healthy” also entails lots of associated things)
  • When we say that we are “disposed to help someone” we usually mean that the person in question reminds us of someone that we liked in our past or that we believe that this person is a good person based on our own belief system and, so, we have a desire to help them.
    • It can’t be the case that we internalize this kind of thing antecedently, since we will not have met the particular person in question before.
    • The desire in question is not necessarily strong, but enough that we can say that we “want to” help them or feel “pulled” to help them and these should both be understood as kinds of desire
    • This seems like a good example of an automatic preference
    • Conversely, it can be that the person in question is disposed to harm the other person (or at least disposed to not help) because they remind them of someone they do not like
      • This still is a desire, just that this time it is a desire to “not aid” or even harm the other person
    • When we say that a parent is disposed to help their children, we do not mean that the parent has consciously worked to set up an internalized conscious choice. Rather, we mean that our biological makeup is such that parents will have an automatic preference to help their own children. This seems right.

What have we discovered about dispositions then?

  • They are a form of automatic desire
    • Much like the sentiments (evaluation) or intuition (cognition)
    • These desires are usually held as preferences (a “liking” of one thing over another), which is a form of desire