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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.
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
The ancient world
Not a lost kingdom but a parable – how to read Athens in Plato’s story of Atlantis
Meaning and the good life
Albert Camus built a philosophy of humanity on a foundation of absurdity
Check in to the Hilbert Hotel, and learn why some infinities are bigger than others
History of ideas
The devils you know – how Satan became a versatile stand-in for all manner of evil
Earth science and climate
How much can science really tell us about the future of climate change?
Beauty and aesthetics
Komorebi: ‘a dance of shadows emerging when sunlight filters through trees’
Although his story is a mystery, the Lion Man forever binds us to our prehistoric past