Knowledge


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Beauty and aesthetics Bioethics Comparative philosophy Cosmopolitanism Death Ethics History of ideas Knowledge Logic and probability Meaning and the good life Metaphysics Philosophy of language Philosophy of mind Philosophy of religion Philosophy of science Political philosophy Thinkers and theories Values and beliefs Virtues and vices

Photo by Trent Parke/Magnum

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Mental health
Deluded, with reason

Extraordinary beliefs don’t arise in a vacuum. They take root in minds confronted by unusual and traumatic experiences

Huw Green

US presidential advisor Ivanka Trump, managing director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde and German chancellor Angela Merkel share a laugh at the start of a panel discussion at the W20 summit in Berlin on 25 April 2017. Photo by Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

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Knowledge
Confidence tricks

The ignorant pundit is absolutely certain; the true expert understands their own limits and how to ask the right questions

Andrew Little & Matthew Backus

The Sea of Ice (Das Eismeer), by Caspar David Friedrich (1823). Courtesy the Hamburger Kunsthalle/Wikipedia

Essay/
History of ideas
In praise of aphorisms

What if we see the history of philosophy not as a grand system of sustained critique but as a series of brilliant fragments?

Andrew Hui

From Le Petit Journal, 18 February 1912. Photo by Getty

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Ethics
The trolley problem problem

Are thoughts experiments experiments at all? Or something else? And do they help us think clearly about ethics or not?

James Wilson

Berlin, Potsdamer Platz (1932) by Carl Grossberg. Photo by AKG-Images

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Education
The scholar’s vocation

A century ago, Weber both diagnosed the ills of the corporatised, modern university, and pointed out the path beyond it

Chad Wellmon

Photo bt Emin Ozmen/Magnum Photos

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Knowledge
Nihilism

The risk of nihilism is that it alienates us from anything good or true. Yet believing in nothing has positive potential

Nolen Gertz

At the World Chess Championships in London, 2013. Photo by Andrew Testa/Panos

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Cognition and intelligence
Concentrate!

The challenge of chess – learning how to hold complexity in mind and still make good decisions – is also the challenge of life

Jonathan Rowson

Photo by Carmen Jiménez/EyeEm/Getty

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Meaning and the good life
On serendipity

A decades-long conversation between friends about books, photography and life, exploring what it is to know, to look, to see

Sven Birkerts & Christopher Benfey

Turkana warriors react after finding out that Nyangatom warriors are around their settlement in Ilemi Triangle, Kenya, on 17 July 2019. Photo by Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

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Human evolution
Suspicion makes us human

Conspiracy theories have always been with us, powered by an evolutionary drive to survive. How’s that working for us now?

Jan-Willem van Prooijen

Speakers corner, London, 1978. Photo by Rudolf Dietrich/ullstein bild/Getty

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Knowledge
Mistaken

Assuming that another person’s opinions are immune from criticism is not a marker of respect. It is, in fact, dehumanising

Daniel Ward

Hypnotism (c1845), daguerreotype by John Adams Whipple. Courtesy the Met Museum, New York

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Social psychology
Debunking debunked

Secular modernity requires the weeding out of all the baloney. Yet it’s not clear that we are any less credulous than before

Emily Ogden