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Journalism

This category contains 366 posts

Daniel Dennett’s hard problem

Whether you buy Dennett’s account or not, it illustrates just how much you can offer by way of a theory of consciousness without addressing the Hard Problem. … If he is to win over his critics, Dennett’s own hard problem is his need to do more to show why others should give up theirs.

Be Like The Fox

The political philosopher Erica Benner used to read Machiavelli like most of us allow others to read him for us, cherry-picking the outré quotes that identify him as an opportunist amoralist. But then she started to notice something strange: most of what he wrote was not very Machiavellian…

How to win the argument

“I say to people in Québec: your kids are going to change you more than all these immigrants. I’m a grandfather now and I see what has happened over these two generations and it’s huge. We dropped the central religious identity of Québec in this time, nobody forced us from outside.”

The Myth of Self-Authorship

One thing many of us appear to believe today is that a quick Google search will answer any question. As I discovered when trying to find out what we believe today, you don’t even need to do the search. Just type in the first few words and see how the algorithms complete it for you. So it was that the phrase “believe in” was completed by – as I suspected – “yourself”.

Painful truths

Love is so last century. What the world needs now, the only thing that there’s just too little of, is empathy. Empathy is widely touted as the key to effective management, good government, better medical care, improved wellbeing, higher-achieving schools, excellent parenting, even world peace. It’s clearly time for a backlash…

Thought for food

The idea of philosophizing about food still strikes many as pretentious and absurd, despite a recent growth in the literature. It embarrasses practical, empirical Anglo-Saxons, who would rather leave such musings to our more phenomenological and literary-minded Continental cousins. Nicola Perullo is one such cousin, but now that his Taste as Experiencehas been translated into English, it is perhaps time to rec­onsider our cultural suspicion of combining intellect and ingestion…

Gifts and God

A curious modern ritual of the festive season is to lament the excess and commercialisation of Christmas while simultaneously partaking in it. Perhaps it is not only at family gatherings that Christmas has a tendency to bring to a head simmering tensions. It also seems to be a time when the dissonance between our simultaneous loving and loathing of capitalism becomes almost unbearable.

A Feast For The Senses

Stockings infused with oranges and tangerines, the lingering gunpowder mist of pulled-crackers; the intense herbiness of sage and rosemary stuffing; the slightly sickly sweet paper scent of a box of chocolates, heady brandy-soaked spiced pudding. We take the nostalgic, warming power of these experiences for granted. But what is it about food that makes it so emotionally potent?

Why Putin and the Populists Love Each Other Deeply

To see the populists as hapless victims of Kremlin manipulation is to underestimate the genuine admiration they have for the qualities Putin represents. It may well end in tears, but this is no marriage of convenience: this is true love. If we want to know why so many voters have fallen for the populists, we need to understand why the populists have fallen for Putin.

Political lies and their consequences

It’s easy to condemn political lies and catalogue their awful consequences. It’s more difficult and important to examine the consequences of not lying. In a world where opponents are using every devious trick in the book to defeat you, can anyone afford to be so high-minded?

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