Political philosophy


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Essay/
Information and communication
The new mind control

The internet has spawned subtle forms of influence that can flip elections and manipulate everything we say, think and do

Robert Epstein

Michel Foucault at home in Paris, 1978. Photo by Martine Franck/Magnum

Essay/
Political philosophy
The power thinker

Original, painstaking, sometimes frustrating and often dazzling. Foucault’s work on power matters now more than ever

Colin Koopman

Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf in the Forest by Carl Larsson, 1881. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Essay/
Stories and literature
The good guy/bad guy myth

Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?

Catherine Nichols

Photo by Rob Howard/GS

Essay/
Work
The quitting economy

When employees are treated as short-term assets, they reinvent themselves as marketable goods, always ready to quit

Ilana Gershon

Former South African president Nelson Mandela revisits his prison cell on Robben Island, in 1994. Photo by Jurgen Schadeberg/Getty Images

Essay/
Values and beliefs
Beyond anger

Anger is the emotion that has come to saturate our politics and culture. Philosophy can help us out of this dark vortex

Martha C Nussbaum

Samuel Hirszenberg, Spinoza (1907) . Courtesy A. A. Deineka Picture Gallery, Kursk, Russia.

Essay/
History of ideas
Why Spinoza still matters

At a time of religious zealotry, Spinoza’s fearless defence of intellectual freedom is more timely than ever

Steven Nadler

Civic bliss: a marriage ceremony in a French town hall. Photo by Godong/Getty

Essay/
Political philosophy
Against marriage

Marriage is what happens when the state gets involved in endorsing and regulating personal relationships. It’s a bad idea

Clare Chambers

A Banksy graffiti work in London. Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images

Essay/
Political philosophy
Life in the fishbowl

In the future, most people will live in a total surveillance state – and some of us might even like it

Stuart Armstrong

Ann Atwater and C P Ellis, longtime enemies, chaired a 10-day community summit on desegregating Durham schools, ‘Save Our Schools’ (SOS). Photo by Jim Thornton, courtesy of The Herald-Sun Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries

Idea/
Political philosophy
Reach out, listen, be patient. Good arguments can stop extremism

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

Francis Fukuyama photographed in Paris. Photo by Stephane Grangier/Corbis/Getty

Essay/
Political philosophy
The last hollow laugh

Since Francis Fukuyama proclaimed ‘The End of History’ 25 years ago, he has been much maligned. His work now seems prophetic

Paul Sagar

A hologram of Adam Smith adorns the British £20 note. Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty

Essay/
Political philosophy
The real Adam Smith

He might be the poster boy for free-market economics, but that distorts what Adam Smith really thought

Paul Sagar

Photo by Jan Banning/Panos

Essay/
Politics and government
Anti-anti-communism

Millions of Russians and eastern Europeans now believe that they were better off under communism. What does this signify?

Kristen R Ghodsee & Scott Sehon

A man gazes upon the ruined city of Frankfurt, Germany, 1946. Photo by Werner Bischof/Magnum

Essay/
Political philosophy
Theory from the ruins

The Frankfurt School argued that reason is dangerous, mass culture deadening, and the Enlightenment a disaster. Were they right?

Stuart Walton

Jewish Haim Addad posing with his Arabic neighbour near Djerba, Tunisia, May 2008. Photo by Patrick Zachmann/Magnum

Essay/
Political philosophy
What is wrong with tolerance

The ideal of religious tolerance has crippling flaws. It’s time to embrace a civic philosophy of reciprocity

Simon Rabinovitch

Photo bt Emin Ozmen/Magnum Photos

Essay/
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

Bamangwato chief Seretse Khama addresses a tribal council meeting in March 1950. Under his leadership, between 1966 and 1980 Botswana had the fastest-growing economy in the world. Photo by Margarte Bourke-White/Time Life/Getty

Essay/
Nations and empires
How nations come together

Nations come with a vast array of peoples, languages and histories, but the strong ones share three simple things

Andreas Wimmer

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in France, 1980. Photo by Marc Gantier/Gamma-Rapho/Getty

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
Two’s a crowd

Zany and earnest, political yet puckish, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari were philosophy’s most improbable duo

Edward Thornton

Don’t step on me; the porcupine has become the symbol of the Free State Project. Detail from a 1929 motivational poster. Photo by David Pollack/Corbis

Essay/
Demography and migration
A libertarian utopia

Libertarians are united by opposition to government, but when it comes to planning a new society they are deeply divided

Livia Gershon

Adolf Hitler greets German workers in 1934. Concern for workers’ rights was part of the initial appeal of fascist leaders. Photo by Heinrich Hoffmann/Ullstein Bild/Getty

Essay/
Politics and government
The lure of fascism

Fascism promised radical national renewal and supreme power to the people. Are we in danger of a fascist revival today?

Jonathan Wolff

Miners at Heworth Colliery near Newcastle, compare wage slips, 21 October 1950. Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty

Essay/
Political philosophy
Is taxation theft?

The assumption that you own the contents of your pay-packet, although almost universal, is demonstrably confused

Philip Goff