Research


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You might know Jeremy Bentham as the father of Utilitarianism—once the dominant moral and political view of the Western world. Perhaps you know him as the mentor to John Stuart Mill, himself a proponent of women’s suffrage. You might not be familiar, however, with the eccentric, idiosyncratic details of Bentham’s personal life. For example, Bentham was terrified of the spectral world. From a young age, his family servants had instilled in him a deep-seated fear of poltergeists such that he could not stand to sleep alone. He always had a servant sleep in... Read All
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Think you’re having a hard time getting published? Then you and David Hume have something in common. The 18th century Scottish literatus, who is arguably the greatest English-language philosopher to have ever lived, struggled to have his magnum opus, A Treatise of Human Nature, published and read. His solution: publish an anonymous abstract of his work that served as a sort of self-promotion and a way to ameliorate the daunting length of his tome. Hume influenced such luminaries as Adam Smith, Jeremey Bentham, and Immanuel Kant, the latter of whom credited the Scot with having... Read All
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Immigration plays a huge role in shaping what any country looks like. Immigrants face the distinct challenges that come with living between two cultures. They must face the question: how much should you give up to fit into your adopted country, and how much should you strive to keep the traditions and culture of your original country alive? Cultural assimilation has its benefits. Those who adopt the trends of the dominant culture – from clothing and hairstyles to entertainment choices and food options – find it easier to move up the economic ladder. However, the idea that one must... Read All
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Language is in a constant state of evolution. All of the words we use daily found their way into the modern lexicon via a distinct history. The history of how English came to look and sound the way it does today gives us a glimpse into the dynamics of how cultures interact with and influence one another. English Pre-History In order to get an idea of the start of the English language, we can go back to the Indo-European language. An ancient language probably spoken by people living in northeastern Europe around 3000-2000 B.C., the Indo-European influence can be... Read All
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As terrifying as the memorable pirates of history were in their day, they've become the subject of romanticized stories, theme park rides and big budget blockbusters since. For many years, much of modern society felt the reality of these notorious seaside robbers and murderers was a thing of the past. In more recent years though, a new wave of piracy has risen to give current sailors something to fear all over again. In the early 19th century, concerted efforts by many of the world's navies managed to successfully knock out piracy throughout the Western world. Some remained in... Read All
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The story of how books have adapted and developed over the centuries is an important story in the rise of civilization. Books have provided individuals a way to communicate with future generations, influence thought over centuries, and spread religious and cultural trends that shape how our world looks from day to day. Part 1 of our brief overview of the history of books captures some of the most influential inventions in ancient times. Tablet Clay tablets are believed to have come into use as far back as 3400 B.C. in Sumer (now Iraq) and some surrounding areas. Using clay from rivers... Read All