New articles:

Female zealots - A popular academic fact claims that females are the most zealous religious adherents, despite being marginalised in their own religious communities. We are told this is because they are uneducated and submissive. But a quick look at most of recorded history shows us this was not always the case. Once, female zealots formed the core of what is possibly our most universal religious tradition.

Full article at bottom of email

New scholia:

The sophists: natural justice or social justice? - The ancient Greek sophist philosophers often debated the influence of natural laws on the social ones we use to constrain them. This is most striking in the discussion of justice. Where is the justice of nature—the drive toward pleasure and the domination of the weak by the strong–more useful or productive than the justice of society—those laws and norms installed by people to constrain our natures?

How we choose our psychic predators - Henry Farrell describes Donald Trump as a psychic predator. It's an interesting concept that demonstrated (to me at least) how we choose certain kinds of pain for ourselves.

Recently updated:

On the link between reading fiction, the development of empathy, and theory of mind.

On the weirder effects of subliminal messaging.

Links worth checking out:

An excellent breakdown of a popular article on moral psychology: moral psychology hasn't moved much in recent decades. It is the common academic position that we should attempt to teach children some admixture of Aristotelian virtue ethics and more recent ideas about utilitarianism. Unfortunately these two things are impossible to measure, and impossibly to measure how well people are applying these ideas. So it's exciting when we think we've gotten a little better.


A couple people have emailed me to point out that they found it difficult to find the newsletter signup. I hated the thing, because it was huge. So I killed two birds with one stone. It's now less obtrusive and also scattered in more places on the site. Tell your friends.

I recently implemented an app-like tab system to help people (and mostly myself) see what was on the site without clicking around across a bunch of pages. But it wouldn't remember what tab you were on, or allow you to navigate directly to a specific tab which I found quite annoying. I implemented query string parameters to solve the problem, but I had quite some wine before doing so, so please let me know if there's any nav issues.

This week's article selection: Female Zealots

You're reading this on the site, so you can just go to the article.


You can find links to all my previous emails to you here.

That's all from me! Enjoy.

Warm regards,


Turning scholarship into wisdom we can use at The Armchair Collective.

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