46,477 research outputs found

    Is Coming into Existence Always a Harm? Qoheleth in Dialogue with David Benatar

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    Contemporary philosopher David Benatar has advanced the self-evidently controversial claim that “coming into existence is always a harm.” Benatar’s argument turns on the basic asymmetry between pleasure and pain, an asymmetry he seeks to explain by the principle that those who never exist cannot be deprived. Benatar’s import is almost incredible: humans should cease to procreate immediately, thereby engendering the extinction of the species—a view known as “anti-natalism.” According to many of his readers, the ancient Hebrew sage Qoheleth expresses a pessimistic nihilism that runs as thick as Benatar’s. Prima facie grounding for this assertion is that Qoheleth, like Benatar, raises the issue of whether coming into existence may be a harm—and gives an affirmative answer. In two passages, Ecclesiastes 6:1-6 and 4:1-3, Qoheleth declares that an unborn hypothetical person is “better off” than their existent counterpart. Yet the meaning and implication of these words is far from obvious. Does Qoheleth imply that the non-exister’s state, and non-existence in general, is universally superior to existence? Or is he instead speaking exceptionally, of particular persons in rare circumstances? By examining the two “better”-statements in their literary context, I will argue that Qoheleth intends these examples as exceptions. He does not go so far as to make the supremely nihilistic claim that coming into existence is always, or even generally, a net harm; yet, he does concede that in certain cases, it can be. Beyond this, I will explore how the two thinkers’ divergent conclusions can be traced to a deeper difference of philosophical method. This question concerning non-existence opens a window to Qoheleth’s broader scheme of values and therefore serves as a surprisingly useful entry point by which to engage his philosophy. The paper utilizes the methodology Jaco Gericke has recently termed “philosophical criticism,” but specifically applied to Qoheleth

    On quaternionic contact Fefferman spaces

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    We investigate the Fefferman spaces of conformal type which are induced, via parabolic geometry, by the quaternionic contact (qc) manifolds introduced by O.Biquard. Equivalent characterizations of these spaces are proved: as conformal manifolds with symplectic conformal holonomy of the appropriate signature; as pseudo-Riemannian manifolds admitting conformal Killing fields satisfying a conformally invariant system of conditions analog to G. Sparling's criteria; and as the total space of a SO(3)- or S3S^3-bundle over a qc manifold with the conformally equivalent metrics defined directly by Biquard. Global as well as local results are acquired.Comment: 25 pages, to appear in Diff. Geom. Ap

    Preliminary Comments on Dog Interments from Archeological Sites in Northeast Texas: Folklore and Archeology

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    Dogs have been associated with humans for thousands of years, and dog interments—either associated with human interments or as separate interments—also have an antiquity of thousands of years. This brief paper will summarize dog burials in a worldwide context, and then focus on the folklore, ethnology, and archeology of dogs among the Caddo. The information for the dog in Caddo culture will be summarized from George A. Dorsey’s Traditions of the Caddo and John R. Swanton’s Source Material on the History and Ethnology of the Caddo Indians. Then, dog interments from northeast Texas will be listed and discussed. By examining the folklore, ethnology, and archeology of the dog in Caddo contexts, it is hoped that a greater understanding of the role of dogs in prehistoric Caddo culture might be attained

    Finite injective dimension over rings with Noetherian cohomology

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    We study rings which have Noetherian cohomology under the action of a ring of cohomology operators. The main result is a criterion for a complex of modules over such a ring to have finite injective dimension. This criterion generalizes, by removing finiteness conditions, and unifies several previous results. In particular we show that for a module over a ring with Noetherian cohomology, if all higher self-extensions of the module vanish then it must have finite injective dimension. Examples of rings with Noetherian cohomology include commutative complete intersection rings and finite dimensional cocommutative Hopf algebras over a field.Comment: 10 page

    Revisiting the Far Right Violent Extremist Threat: Violent Extremist Plot Success From 1948 Through 2017

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    Far Right violent extremists have successfully executed over 150 violent plots in the United States in just the past decade. This exploratory study analyzed Far Right violent extremist plot success with the plot success of Islamist violent extremists, Far Left violent extremists, and Single Issue violent extremists based on publicly available data from the Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States (PIRUS) for the period of 1948 through 2017. By evaluating existing literature on Far Right violent extremism and analyzing the available PIRUS data, it was discovered that while Far Right violent extremists executed more successful violent plots than the other violent ideological extremist groups, Far Left violent extremists proportionally had more successful violent plots. A sample from the PIRUS database was explored, and the analysis demonstrates that the variables of Far Left radicalization, violence against persons and property, and plot preparation are significantly correlated with violent plot success
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