Promoting Positive Behaviours

In 2008 Thaler and Sunstein published their book, Nudge, advocating for a more nuanced approach to changing public behavior. Since then nudge theory has been quite popular but hasn’t created the revolution optimists had hoped. Here is the core problem: people do not always act in their own best interest. Sometimes this affects only them,…

via Reconsidering The Nudge — NeuroLogica Blog

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It’s the culture, stupid! Or is it?

Bringing complexity to the Cologne attacks.

Eriksen's blog

The events in Cologne have sparked controversies across Europe. This time, the topic is not the economic and social costs of the refugee crisis, but questions concerning culture and gender. We need a proper language in which to address these issues.

A shorter version of this article was published in Norwegian in Morgenbladet on 15 January 2016.

There is no simple answer as to what exactly happened in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. There was a large number of people partying in the city centre, in varying states of intoxication, and no version of the events is the only valid or possible one. You and I may easily perceive and interpret identical situations in quite different ways, even if we were both present. But a few facts seem indisputable. A rather large number of young men (a few hundred? a thousand?), most of them with a background in Arab-speaking countries…

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Morality and Aesthetics Don’t Mix

Aural Fibre

A beaker filled with water to which oil has been added, demonstrating insolubility of oil in water.

Morality and aesthetics don’t mix.  Since when?  Since forever.  People continually try and mix them with nothing but problematic results.

If I say, “for the best experience of this wine, you should pair it with this food,” it sounds like a moral statement because of the word “should.” Of course, it is not a moral statement simply because it has nothing to do with well-being.  In this case, I’m recommending that for a pleasant aesthetic experience, a certain combination of elements is “necessary.”  Perhaps, it has been seen from repeated and corroborated experience, these elements work well together and better than some other combinations.  But better for who?  We also recognize that for some people, this experience won’t be the same – it won’t amount to a preferred experience.  We call this subjectivity.  What I’m NOT saying is that it is morally right to pair said wine with said food…

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Saturday Mourning in Paris

Thoughts on the Paris attacks from a friend of mine in France

"Aye...brilliant"

DSCI1340

Early this morning,   I made my way down the stairs and looked out the back windows.  I could see nothing beyond the terrace railings.  Heavy fog blanketed the whole valley, reaching its fingers over the roof and around the stone walls of the cottage. The whiteness rested quietly and completely.  I opened up the doors and stepped out.  No sounds touched my ears and nothing moved.  The branches were still.  The birds were quiet.  Even the leaves held on tightly to the almost bare apple trees. All was calm and peaceful.

But beyond the mist and the fog here in my safe little corner of France, it was not the same. Last night in Paris, all hell had broken loose. Less than 500 kilometers from where I am, terrorists struck with bombs and semi-automatic rifles, killing almost 130 people (at last count) and injuring almost 200 more. Just a few hours north of me, people were reeling from the shock, their worlds in chaos, their…

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