Welcome to another PoW newsletter. At the moment I am deep in research for a project I am running at Queen Mary, University of London, looking at the history and contemporary rise of philosophy groups. The hope is it will build links between academic philosophy and ‘street philosophy’, and also encourage people to get involved Read more…

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My colleague at the Centre for the History of the Emotions, Tiffany Watt-Smith, has written an interesting blog post on the history of involuntary  mimicry. She writes: For Victorian men of science, mimicry was frequently regarded as deviant and pathological: among the “feeble- minded”, women and “the lower races, a tendency to imitation is a Read more…

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I’m a great fan of Professor Jerome Kagan, the eminent Harvard psychologist, who has done important work on the role of the amygdala in emotional disorders like social anxiety. I admire his humane appreciation for both the sciences and the humanities, and his awareness of psychology and psychiatry’s dangerous tendency to ignore the role of Read more…

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Yesterday I went to an excellent conference on revelatory experiences at the Institute of Psychiatry, which brought together neuroscientists, psychiatrists, psychologists, historians, theologians and members of the public (many of whom had revelatory experiences – turns out they’re pretty common!) The conference tried to approach and talk about revelatory experiences from two main directions: history Read more…

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Emotions are one of the most vibrant areas of research, in neuroscience, in psychology, in philosophy, history and literature. But what exactly do we mean by emotions? In this journal article (behind a pay-wall alas) leading neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux laments neuro-psychology’s failure to find exact neural circuits corresponding to discrete emotions, and suggests that neuroscience Read more…

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