Tag philosophy

A Secular Miracle

Peter E. Gordon— In 1770, the empress Maria Theresa summoned to the Viennese court an imperial counselor named Wolfgang von Kempelen, a man from the Hungarian city of Pressburg who was already well esteemed for his services to the state. In an era when the German language was displacing Latin

Continue reading…

Are They Not Mad?

Jonathan Rée— Without books, according to Hobbes, we could not be ‘excellently wise’, but on the other hand we would not be ‘excellently foolish’ either. “They which trust to books, do as they that cast up many little summs into a greater, without considering whether those little summes were rightly

Continue reading…

What Kind of Life Are We Saving?

Bernard-Henri Lévy— The only debate that has truly engaged Europe and the United States is the one about the comparative vices and virtues of the Korean and Chinese, Thai or Singaporean, Confucian or liberal models for compelling people to meet health requirements. To their credit, a number of so-called learned

Continue reading…

What Is Wisdom?

Giambattista Vico— Wisdom is the faculty that commands all the disciplines; by these, all the sciences and arts that complete our humanity are apprehended. Plato defines wisdom as that which is the perfecter of man. Man, in the being proper to him as a man, is nothing other than mind and

Continue reading…

France and the Self

James Livesey— The history of the self is vitally important, and the contrast between the French and British histories is highly instructive. The self, or at least the version of the self as self-determining individual, is the postulate of every variety of liberalism and its institutions, and it is clear

Continue reading…

Why Liberalism Failed

Patrick J. Deneen— A political philosophy conceived some 500 years ago, and put into effect at the birth of the United States nearly 250 years later, was a wager that political society could be grounded on a different footing. It conceived humans as rights-bearing individuals who could fashion and pursue

Continue reading…

Understanding Empathy

Susan Lanzoni— “Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin?” asked the philosophers Andy Clark and David Chalmers in 1998, considering the case of Otto, a patient suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Otto always carried with him a simple spiral notebook as a memory aid, in which

Continue reading…

The Future of War

A.C. Grayling— The history of drones is surprisingly long, as a special form of ‘unmanned aerial vehicle’ (UAV) long since developed to undertake tasks considered ‘too dull, dirty or dangerous’ for human beings. UAVs were in rudimentary use before the First World War for target practice, they served as flying

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

“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

Continue reading…

  • 1 2