Oct. 14, 2016 | The future won’t be decided by all of humanity, united under the banner of liberalism. It will be haphazard, and just as purposeless as the past... more »


Oct. 13, 2016 | From the painter Thomas Kinkade’s cozy little cottages to the flowerbeds of Mary Oliver’s poetry, sentimentality is a plague for art — Christian art in particular... more »


Oct. 12, 2016 | For Robert Penn Warren, the civic work of poetry was the weighty job of rejecting stereotypes and writing for a democratic audience... more »


Oct. 11, 2016 | In defense of comic literature. A line of thought extends from Hamlet to Leopold Bloom to Herzog and beyond: Comedy sets us free... more »


Oct. 10, 2016 | Learning from John Cage means listening not just to his work but also to the world through his sensibility... more »


Oct. 8, 2016 | When, like Faust, we despair at the limitations of human knowledge, another path opens. Experience, in the Emersonian sense, can show the way to transcendence... more »


Oct. 7, 2016 | The art and artifice of the poetic pilgrimage. Can seeing Shakespeare’s First Folio or Dickinson’s house in Amherst bring a reader closer to the work itself?... more »


Oct. 6, 2016 | Beyond self-evident. In a time of Lockean philosophy and trompe-l’oeil art, America’s founders embraced doubt and ambiguity. Was their stance a weakness?... more »


Oct. 5, 2016 | The Marquis de Sade as your guide to the modern office? His 120 Days of Sodom explains it all: hierarchy, accounting, bonuses, boredom... more »


Oct. 4, 2016 | Inside the nonsense machine. ?i?ek’s ideas are repellent, argues Roger Scruton. Behind the slick, occasionally persuasive writing lie “little pellets of poison”... more »


Oct. 3, 2016 | Where deconstruction came from. Americans blame French theorists, like Derrida, for the idea. Its rise, however, is an American story... more »


Oct. 1, 2016 | Poems are inefficient by design, like taking a long walk. That’s why a society that celebrates efficiency, profit maximization, and productivity needs them... more »


Sept. 30, 2016 | The notion of time travel beguiled Bertrand Russell, Kurt Gödel, and Stephen Hawking. Has any idea produced more convoluted and futile philosophical analysis?... more »


Sept. 29, 2016 | Philosopher problems. “All we do is gloss each other,” complained Montaigne in the 16th century. Since then the field’s issues have only worsened... more »


Sept. 28, 2016 | There's long been a vexed relationship between flesh and thought. We stubbornly cling to the hope of transcending the former to achieve a higher state of the latter   ... more »


Sept. 27, 2016 | Step aside, Ann Landers. The advice columnist has evolved into the advice artist, essayistic excavator of complexity and vulnerability ... more »


Sept. 26, 2016 | The boundary between science journalism and PR is so porous that the task of informing the public about science is often indistinguishable from efforts to promote it... more »


Sept. 24, 2016 | The genius of Duchamp’s “Fountain.” His porcelain urinal is more than a cultural oddity. It is both art and non-art, a self-referential philosophical paradox... more »


Sept. 23, 2016 | From 1876 until 2007, everyone used the telephone for talking. No longer. The cost of that change is dear: the human voice... more »


Sept. 22, 2016 | Epidemics of political insanity are unique: Islamists are distinct from Maoists. But they're united by an iconography and an attraction to dogmatism and violence... more »


Sept. 21, 2016 | Making sense of Mahler. His symphonies burst with seemingly incoherent themes and moods. The immensity of his productions are a problem -- and a gift ... more »


Sept. 20, 2016 | Smartphones haven't made us happier, but they've made us less aware of our unhappiness, says Andrew Sullivan. "There is no dark night of the soul anymore that isn’t lit with the flicker of the screen" ... more »


Sept. 19, 2016 | Are you a jerk? If the question causes genuine worry, you're probably not. But note: Often it's the most educated who are the least self-aware... more »


Sept. 17, 2016 | We're used to irony and polemic from our public intellectuals, but a higher standard is to be found. Exhibit A is Jürgen Habermas... more »


Sept. 16, 2016 | The virtue of analogies, said Wittgenstein, consists in "changing our way of seeing." But most offer just temporary distraction, not illumination ... more »


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