The Philosophy Guy
The Philosophy Guy
Oct 19, 2020
Is Cognition Everywhere? | Reality, Cognition, Psychedelics, Consciousness, and Limitations of Knowing
22 min

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Social Science Bites
Social Science Bites
SAGE Publishing
Salma Mousa on Contact Theory (and Football)
There’s an intuitive attraction to the idea that if we could just spend some quality time with someone from another group, we’d both come to appreciate, and maybe even like, the other person and perhaps even their group. Enormously simplified, that’s the basis of contact theory, which Gordon Allport posited in the 1950s as the United States grappled with desegregating its public schools. If differing groups could be brought together cooperatively – not competitively – in a manner endorsed by both groups and where each side met on an equal footing, perhaps we could, as Salma Mousa puts it in this Social Science Bites podcast, “unlock tolerance on both sides and reduce prejudice.” Mousa, currently a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University’s Department of Political Science, tells interviewer David Edmonds that since Allport’s heyday, “We have [had] a lot of studies about contact, but we need experimental tests of contact.” She’s been working to address that need, sometimes using the football pitch as a field site, with work that’s caught both the public and the scientific imagination. One experiment she was part of examined the incidence of hate crimes once Mohamed “Mo” Salah, the talented Egyptian soccer star, signed with Liverpool Football Club. The results were heartening; Merseyside, where the club is located, experienced a 16 percent drop in hate crimes while anti-Muslim tweets from Liverpool’s fans dropped to half the number compared to fans of other Premier League clubs. In this interview, Mousa details another experiment involving football and otherness, albeit an experiment made under harsher conditions: “We set out to learn if positive, social contact across social lines can reduce prejudice, can build friendships, can overall improve relationships between groups even in postwar settings, like Iraq.” The experiment was conducted along the faultlines of northern Iraq where there’s a Kurdish enclave. Working with a Christian community organization which was helping Christians and Muslims displaced by ISIS, the researchers recruited Christian amateur soccer players for a football league. They then added three or four players to each team, randomly adding either all Muslims or all Christians as the newcomers, and tracked player attitudes and actions on the field and off for a half year after the season ended. Amid some “really profound friendships” that formed, survey results and observed behavior showed that the Christian players came to be much more accepting and welcoming of their Muslim teammates. But that warming did not make the leap to their attitudes towards Muslims in general, suggesting some underlying prejudices remained in place. While her promising findings nonetheless were not the “home run” people of good will would have liked, the research earned the cover of the journal Science, and left Mousa feeling optimistic about further possibilities of contact theory. Given the difficult context of postwar Iraq and subjects scarred by their flight from ISIS, “to find some evidence that these guys actually became friends and we changed something in these communities, I think is positive, especially given that these communities are persecuted and highly distrustful.” Fostering tolerance and eroding prejudice, especially in the Middle East, matters personally to Mousa, an Egyptian-Canadian who grew up in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Canada. She’s focused on helping “fix” the region’s ethnic and religious divides: “I think of myself as an engineer but with a social science background.” Mousa has held fellowships at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Stanford’s Immigration Policy Lab, the Freeman Spogli Institute, the Stanford Center for International Conflict and Negotiation, the McCoy Center for Ethics in Society, and the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. Her work has been supported by the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, the Innovations for Poverty Action Lab, the King Center on Global Development, the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, the Program on Governance and Local Development, and the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies.
19 min
The Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast
The Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast
Jack Symes | Andrew Horton, Oliver Marley, Gregory Miller
Episode 88, Buddhism (Part V - Further Analysis and Discussion)
Introduction Jack was walking down a street. It was a day like any other. As ever, his mind was a flurry of thoughts, worries, and anxieties, stimulated by coffee and the bright light of his phone. In a bid to relieve his stress, he put his phone in his pocket, and tried to notice the details he would usually ignore.  As he walked past the pharmacy, he saw a sick man coughing and spluttering; he was throwing medication back to stop his disease from decaying his body. Jack kept walking and came across an old woman waiting at a bus stop. She was fragile, crooked, and anxious; clearly age had taken much from her. Crossing the road away from the bus stop, he waited for the traffic to pass. Driving slowly past him was a hearse: a coffin on full display, surrounded by flowers, proceeded by a stream of weeping mourners.  Jack fell to his knees, overwhelmed with despair, “we all get sick, we all age, and we all die. We cannot escape this fate!” His head against the pavement, he didn’t move for almost an hour. When he got up, he was approached by a homeless man, to whom he said, “sorry, I don’t have any change.” The man replied, “It is you who needs a little change, young monk. I know why you fall to your knees in despair: the inescapable suffering of life weighs on us all. Let me tell you of someone who was once like you, who tried to remove suffering from our minds… let me tell you the story of Siddhartha Gotama, The Buddha.” Contents Part I. The Life of Siddhārtha Gautama Part II. The Four Noble Truths Part III. The Cycle of Life Part IV. The Eightfold Path Part V. Further Analysis and Discussion Links Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction. Book. Buddhist Ethics: A Very Short Introduction. Book. Why Buddhism Is True, Robert Wright. Book. The Foundations of Buddhism, Rupert Gethin. Book. Buddhism, The Great Courses. Lecture series. What the Buddha Taught, Walpola Rahula. Pdf. The Problem of Mindfulness, Sahanika Ratnayake. Online essay. Buddha, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Webpage. Buddha, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Webpage.
1 hr 2 min
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