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Can sexual desire lead us to something that transcends the physical act? Socrates seemed to think so. In Plato’s Symposium, Socrates recalls the words of his apparent teacher of erotics, the priestess Diotima of Mantinea, who instructed him that lust was the first rung on a ladder leading upwards towards an appreciation of the form of beauty itself and, further, to morality and virtue.
Knowing if you’re awake seems simple. Why has it vexed philosophers for centuries?
Stories and literature
Solaris and beyond – Stanisław Lem’s antidotes to the bores of American sci-fi
Ecology and environmental sciences
To renew Yosemite, California should embrace a once-outlawed Indigenous practice
Before the Beatles dropped acid, a BBC workshop was creating far-out sounds
Philosophy of language
For Ludwig Wittgenstein, language is a game, but not a frivolous one
Is paying with hand-drawn banknotes artistry or forgery? The knotty case of J S G Boggs
Consciousness and altered states
You need to make friends with pain to run through the Grand Canyon and back
Grotesque imagery meets religious conservatism in Hieronymus Bosch’s art
Why a sculptor pivoted from gallery installations to big-box stores design