Keeping Pandora’s Box Shut

I frequently read The Stone, a New York Times blog devoted to contemporary philosophy. Today’s [column](http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/cambridge-cabs-and-copenhagen-my-route-to-existential-risk/?hp) showed how far away the field is from dealing with reality, something philosophy is supposed to do well. The column, written by Huw Price,�the Bertrand Russell professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge. With�Martin Rees�and� Jaan Tallinn, he is a co-founder of a project to establish the�Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. Existential risk, if I understand the article, is the risk that we will self-destruct at the hands of some technology that has decided it is superior to humans and wipes us out. Sound more like science fiction than philosophy. Here’s… Read More

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Questioning Capitalism

My last [post](http://www.johnehrenfeld.com/2013/01/i-have-just-finished-proofread.html) argues strongly for a new vision of a world of well-being for humans and non-humans alike. The vision is that of flourishing, that is, existing in a state reflecting the best life available within the evolutionary context of all the species. Sustainability is the ability of the Planetary system of interlinked material resources and cultural institutions to enable flourishing to become presence and linger for a while. I argue further that this will and can happen only with a paradigmatic or transformational shift in the basic beliefs that underlie the structures of our societies and the institutions within them. Anything less than a replacement of the beliefs… Read More

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Sustainability in 10 Bullet Points

I have just finished proofreading my new book, *Flourishing: A Frank Conversation about Sustainability,* written with my former PhD student, Andy Hoffman. It’s hard to be objective about one’s own work, but I think it is very good. In the five years since *Sustainability by Design* was published, my thinking about sustainability has become clearer, at least to me. I think this new book is more accessible and focused on the most important issues. I gave a talk yesterday at the Northeastern University Business School to a small group of the faculty that left me with a sense that little has changed in the understanding and appreciation of the true… Read More

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Human Beings Machines

I am just back from about 10 days traveling in Europe. I always return quite impressed with the public infrastructure I encounter. This trip was primarily aimed at visiting a few old friends, but I did take a few hours to visit a couple of my former colleagues at the Technical University of Delft. I can’t quite explain my feeling that, on the one hand, technology is at least as advanced as it is here in the US, but there is, on the other hand, less obsessive use of it. My wife and I ate out several times with our friends. I got the sense, as I usually do there,… Read More

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A Tough Year Ahead

I would like to start the year off on a high note, but I find it very hard to do it without pushing hard against my intuitive feelings. The memory of Newtown remains fresh, kept active by all the talk about gun control. Not being either a gun owner or believer that the Second amendment ever was intended to permit the kind of gun proliferation we have now, I have sympathy with the heated suggestions that we have gone overboard emanating from the gun crowd. Here’s an [example](http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/01/obama-hitler-gun-control.php?ref=fpb) from TPM: > On Wednesday, the Drudge Report splashed an image of Hitler and Josef Stalin over a link to Vice President… Read More

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The New MBA?

2013 is here and I am not ready for her. 2012 came and went too fast. It was a year for me of finishing and starting things all at the same time. Today about one I finished. I retired myself from my teaching at the Marlboro College Graduate School MBA in Managing for Sustainability program with mixed feelings. Programs like this are still extremely rare, but continue to represent the future of business schools truly concerned about sustainability. My own thoughts on this were reflected in a recent [article](http://www.economist.com/whichmba/academic-view-new-philosophy-leadership?fsrc=scn/ln_ec/academic_view_a_new_philosophy_of_leadership) (undated) in The Economist by Ken Starkey of the Nottingham University Business School. > WHAT are the three hardest words for… Read More

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