Thinkers and theories


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Thinkers and theories
The first socialist

Well before Bentham, Cesare Beccaria radically questioned the right of the state to imprison and execute its citizens

Lorenzo Zucca

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History of ideas
Against disenchantment

The move away from myth and toward reason is an ancient human impulse. But must enchantment be the enemy of enlightenment?

Jason Josephson Storm

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Thinkers and theories
The ironic feudalist

Kure Tomofusa’s hatred of democracy, human rights and liberalism has found an echo in the West. But has he been joking all along?

Jeremy Woolsey

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Thinkers and theories
The spirit of history

Hegel’s search for the universal patterns of history revealed a paradox: freedom is coming into being, but is never guaranteed

Terry Pinkard

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Thinkers and theories
Susan Sontag was a monster

She took things too seriously. She was difficult and unyielding. That’s why Susan Sontag’s work matters so much even now

Lauren Elkin

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Thinkers and theories
Henri Bergson, celebrity

Women loved Bergson’s philosophy of creativity, change and freedom, but their enthusiasm fuelled a backlash against him

Emily Herring

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Thinkers and theories
Atoms and flat-earth ethics

As for most ancient philosophers, Lucretius saw no boundary between his scientific interests and his ethical claims

James Hannam

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Stories and literature
Lost in migration

When Walter Benjamin fled France in 1940, he took a heavy black suitcase. Did it contain a typescript? Where is it now?

Giorgio van Straten

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Thinkers and theories
Australian philosophy

Despite its reputation as remote and anti-intellectual, Australia has exercised a surprisingly deep influence on philosophy

Peter Godfrey-Smith

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Political philosophy
Rorty’s political turn

When he shifted his attention from philosophy to politics, Richard Rorty revived liberalism’s potential for social reform

Alan Malachowski

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Thinkers and theories
Nietzsche and the Cynics

How Friedrich Nietzsche used ideas from the Ancient Cynics to explore the death of God and the nature of morality

Helen Small

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History of ideas
Against type

The existentialist philosophies of Simone de Beauvoir and Frantz Fanon offer important insights into the nature of prejudice

Jonathan Webber

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Thinkers and theories
Philosophy must be useful

For Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle, much of philosophy was mere nonsense. Then came Frank Ramsey’s pragmatic alternative

Cheryl Misak

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Consciousness and altered states
Disturbing the silence

The writer and Trappist monk Thomas Merton embodied a paradox, chasing both the purity of silence and the need to break it

Jane Brox

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Stories and literature
As Xenophon saw it

Brilliant leader, kind horseman and friend of Socrates: Xenophon’s writings inspire a humane, practical approach to life

Eve Browning