CategoryDefinitions

Beauty and Humor

B

I was going to try and define beauty and humor as part of the emotions article, but these two stand out from other emotions and also have some similarities as well. They’re different from other emotions because they’re also qualities that we tend to strongly attribute to the subjects of our emotions. We might say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but we also expect people to find...

Masculine

M

Behavior caused by a combination of pessimism and self confidence, I was standing in line at a popular bagel shop, people watching, and I noticed a lot of different groups waiting with me. Couples old and young, college kids, construction workers, and people heading off to work. Something about that diversity struck me, because it seemed that a lot of those people would be considered masculine by...

Rational

R

Attempting to prove yourself wrong We want to be rational, but if we don’t have a good definition for what that means, how can we tell if we’re being rational or not? In fact being rational is so tied up with the ways human think and solve problems that being irrational essentially means that it’s impossible to make progress or win an argument. If someone tells you that “you’re not being...

Pizza

P

Stretched dough topped with a savory sauce and cheese Pizza is a great topic for a definition, partly because everybody knows and loves it, but also because it’s so recognizable. But if it’s instantly recognizable, do we really need a definition? Honestly… probably not—pizza isn’t an idea that we can understand better by defining it. All that really matters is what it tastes like. If your...

Utopia

U

When free people no longer have any rational fears Is utopia a worthwhile goal? You’d think it would be. Overwhelmingly in fiction, however, the idea of striving to create a utopia is often revealed to be a mistake. The outcome is almost always worse than planned, and it turns into a complete dystopia. These science-fiction stories warn us that utopias are doomed to fail. In real life, the idea...

Marriage

M

A union where society recognizes that a partner can share or exercise some of the other’s rights in perpetuity. From 1996 to 2015, public opinion on same-sex marriage in the U.S. changed dramatically, with 27% of the population supporting it in ’96 and 60% supporting it in 20161)According to Gallop polls . That’s an amazingly quick change of opinion for a large amount of a people in a short...