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Manchester attack: human compassion triumphs

The antidote to nihilism does not require any appeal to the transcendent or the divine. I’d take the values expressed by all those who opened their doors in Manchester purely out of human compassion over the futile search for a higher meaning any day.

Do Tim Farron’s views on homosexuality matter?

I want to know what kind of man Farron is and knowing he is an evangelical Christian does make me question his judgement and whether he is the best person to lead his party. However, democracy only works when despite this, people like me are willing to support people like him when we see we share the same political goals. Democracy requires broad coalitions of interests among people who differ.

Eating humans

Cannibalism is not in all instances immoral, disgusting or unnatural. Why, then, is the mere suggestion of it horrific to most of us?

The housing delusion

Decades of policy, not misfortune, have put good housing out reach of millions. Given that access to decent housing is one of the most basic hallmarks of an advanced, civilised country, you might have thought this would be considered a scandal that would dominate political debate. In fact, there is only one aspect of the housing market that has any perceptible effect on elections: price crashes cause the government of the day to haemorrhage votes.

When Derek Parfit published, it mattered

For Derek Parfit, getting it right was more important than getting it out, to the frustration of publishers and editors but to the long-term benefit of readers and scholars. When he published, it mattered, and so as a philosopher, he is one of the few of his generation who unquestionably mattered.

“Irrational” Discourse and the Public Square

For the community of reason to thrive, we need to regain our respect for reason and also to bring it closer down to earth. And it is only by using our reason that as a society we can debate our differences and come to, if not agreement, then at least a respectful accommodation.

Aristotle and the Palace of Westminster

Virtue is finding the balance between giving appropriate value to our inheritance and the need to move forward and change. In other words, both radicals and traditionalists see things that are of value, but go wrong when they give weight to only one of them and so end up pursuing it to excess.

Thinking inside the box

Many have emphasised the importance of certain institutions, such as parliaments and courts of justice, but exactly how they should be built has generally been seen as a matter of irrelevant detail. As is often the case, theoreticians ignore what practitioners know to be important…

The possibility that life is a simulation

Some people just find the whole idea too fanciful to even think about. But many other find it terrifying, exciting or both. Why would such an apparently outlandish idea have this effect?

Atheists don’t need faith

What we all need is not best described as faith. It is simply more than can be proven by logic and science. We need to believe in things that are not entirely justified by reason, but that does not require us to embrace creeds that reason tells against.