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How do you decide whether you ought to do something? Chances are you’ve employed statements about how things are or have been as the basis for making a judgment call. The 18th-century Scottish philosopher David Hume forcefully argued against this approach. According to ‘Hume’s law’, also known as the ‘is/ought problem’, determining what you ought to do based on what is represents a logical mistake because there’s a gap that reason cannot bridge between the facts of the world and the values you might espouse.
What can a Kurosawa classic tell us about reality, knowledge and truth?
Meaning and the good life
To know or not to know? Lillian weighs the costs of a life-changing genetic test
Liquid experiments show how beautiful things can happen when chemicals meet
Philosophy of mind
Caring for the vulnerable opens gateways to our richest, deepest brain states
History of ideas
How did ‘personal responsibility’ evolve into its opposite, ‘everyone for themselves’?
Thinkers and theories
Bigger isn’t better – the renegade ‘Buddhist economics’ of E F Schumacher
Dance and theatre
Close-up on kabuki – the colourful ‘pure entertainment’ of Japan’s Edo period
Building ‘bigger and better’ has pushed cosmology forward. Can it take it any further?
How Hokusai’s Great Wave emerged from Japan’s isolation to become a global icon