Aug. 10, 2017 | The conventional story of philosophy treats Indian, Buddhist, Chinese, and Islamic thought as isolated from the Western tradition. Time for an integrated approach... more »


Aug. 9, 2017 | Journalism may never have been as public-spirited as some ink-stained nostalgics like to think. But the myth mattered, and now it's in tatters... more »


Aug. 8, 2017 | “There are no facts, only art,” wrote David Shields in 2010. It's a prescient description of our myopic and self-absorbed journalistic era... more »


Aug. 7, 2017 | Wherever there is anger and agony, there is Guernica. What is it about Picasso's mural that answers our need for an epitome of death – and for life in the face of it?... more »


Aug. 5, 2017 | Meet the New Optimists. This stubbornly cheerful lot rejects doom-mongering. But is the world really getting better?... more »


Aug. 4, 2017 | When did disagreeing with someone become akin to oppression? When we conflated our opinions and our identities... more »


Aug. 3, 2017 | Diogenes wanted his body, upon his death, to be thrown over a wall for the dogs — a rational and ecological approach. Why has no society followed suit?... more »


Aug. 2, 2017 | First the yuppie, then the hipster, now the “aspirational class.” These people consume conscientiously — and have no intention of relinquishing their status... more »


Aug. 1, 2017 | The ancient Greeks had color words for “pansy-like” and “wine-like,” but never sea or sky blue. Can we understand their descriptions if we can’t see as they did?... more »


July 31, 2017 | Two centuries is a long time to be contemporary. Do we read Jane Austen to escape our own times, or to see it clearly? Why would we need to do either?... more »


July 29, 2017 | Academic writing is obscure. More problematic, it's vague. Why? The vaguer you are, the less you can be held accountable for anything you say. See: Slavoj Zizek... more »


July 28, 2017 | Nazism and the supernatural. Of all the Third Reich’s bizarre experiments with the occult, none was embraced as effusively as World Ice Theory. Hitler thought it would replace Christianity... more »


July 27, 2017 | It happened gradually. The surges, surprising transitions, turns of phrases came less often. Then hardly at all. For Sven Birkerts, writing became a lot more difficult... more »


July 26, 2017 | The life and death of John Keats. His talent drew attention, as did his penchant for fighting. When death neared, he longed for it with frightening urgency... more »


July 25, 2017 | What do we get from poems and songs? The effects are probably as much a product of what you bring as what you take... more »


July 24, 2017 | How Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the supremely rational Sherlock Holmes, came to proselytize for spiritualism, participate in séances, and believe we can speak to the dead... more »


July 22, 2017 | In 1967, Timothy Leary told Allen Ginsberg to drop out. "What can I drop out of?" Ginsberg asked. "Your teaching at Cal," Leary said. Ginsberg chuckled. "But I need the money"... more »


July 21, 2017 | The Cold War lasted until 1991, but Cold War philosophy is still with us. Consider the strange and enduring career of rational choice theory... more »


July 20, 2017 | Biology and its discontents. Techno-optimists come in all stripes — scientists, seekers, grifters, con artists. They share a zeal for augmenting their bodies... more »


July 19, 2017 | Alcohol dissolves the barrier between aspiration and judgment. Come morning, the barrier is rebuilt. You mourn for the feeling you had last night. Metaphysics of the hangover... more »


July 18, 2017 | Charles Fourier thought men would grow tails. John Humphrey Noyes had a penchant for awkward sexual metaphors. Meet the founders of America’s utopian experiments... more »


July 17, 2017 | A Chinese writer sets a novel during the Holocaust? A Jewish boy writes about a black man in 1810? It’s the result that matters, not the creator... more »


July 15, 2017 | Artistic fashion comes and goes. What remains is the experience of culture — its beauty, its reach, its strangeness, its ability to transform an ordinary life... more »


July 14, 2017 | Truman Capote's excesses would, in his final years, seal his fate as an outcast of the "in" crowd. Now that Capote the personality has faded, it's easier to assess Capote the artist... more »


July 13, 2017 | The emphasis on smarts, combined with black people’s grievous history in America, suggests an approach to the issue of race and IQ: Stop talking about it. John McWhorter explains... more »


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