Philosophy

Inside Our Awakening Universe

John F. Haught— Scientists now know that the universe is a story still unfolding. Geology, biology, cosmology, and other sciences have demonstrated that our Big Bang universe is almost 14 billion years old.  Very recently, as the story goes, on planet Earth in the Milky Way galaxy a new species

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The Limits of Tolerance

Emily Katz Anhalt— The ancient Greeks were open-minded without being tolerant. They didn’t devise the world’s first-ever democracy by tolerating everything. Their unprecedented transition from tribalism to civil society derived from their eagerness to ask questions and their determination to judge others and themselves critically. Open-mindedness and the desire to

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Jenny Diski: On Babyface

Jenny Diski— The great advantage over real live creatures that my Three Bears had in common with Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, aside from not needing to be fed or produce droppings, was neoteny. Mickey and my ursine family looked only glancingly like a mouse or brown bears, and much more like babies.

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Writing and Self-Hatred

Devorah Baum— In his amazingly pleasurable new book, In Writing, psychoanalyst and writer Adam Phillips describes writing, in his experience, as an “amazing pleasure.” Lucky him. He sits down to write, he says, and the writing just happens—he’s never “trying” to write and meeting some sort of internal resistance or

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Reconciling Deism and Puritanism in Benjamin Franklin

Thomas S. Kidd— Americans incessantly debate the role of religion in our nation’s origins. Was America founded as a Christian nation? Or was the American Revolution mostly championed by Enlightenment skeptics? Some of the Founders, such as George Washington, spoke highly of religion, but their personal beliefs were unclear. The

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What the Soviet Story Teaches Us about Sincerity

Ellen Rutten— Concerns about sincere expression matter hard today. Social media and e-services are transforming the meaning of trust – in both bad ways (online frauds, hacker interventions) and good (when that cut-rate Airbnb apartment turns out to be as homely and lovely as you expected). Spin doctors and fake news makers

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Material Theology and Christian Religion

Terry Eagleton— One of the greatest of all Christian theologians turns out to be in some respects a full-blooded materialist. This is not entirely surprising, since Christianity itself is in some sense a materialist creed. The doctrine of the Incarnation means that God is an animal. He is present in the

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“Irrational” Discourse and the Public Square

Julian Baggini— The quality of debate in the public square has reached a nadir. To be sure, there are plenty of corners of thoughtful, intelligent analysis and conversation. But when we look at society’s broadest discussions, be they presidential debates or referendum campaigns, reason is in short supply. In its

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The Pros and Cons of Globalization

Peter Singer— Consider two aspects of globalization: first, the ability of people living in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Yemen to bring sudden death and terror to New York, London, Madrid, Paris, and Sydney; and second, the emission of greenhouse gases from power stations, vehicles, and even cattle. The former leaves unforgettable

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A Different Kind of Paganism

Anthony Kronman— For more than a dozen years, I’ve been teaching in Directed Studies—a traditional, Great Books program for freshmen in Yale College. Programs of this kind are increasingly rare on America’s campuses. But I believe deeply in the spirit of liberal learning that they represent and in 2008 published

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