Oct. 27, 2015 | How innovation happens. Technological change is not a tale of heroic, solo inventors but rather the incremental, inevitable creep of science... more »


Oct. 26, 2015 | Peanuts was a dark comic, full of uncomfortable truths about the selfishness and cruelty of social existence. We all stand to gain from a Snoopy-like view of the world... more »


Oct. 24, 2015 | When George met Tobias. It was 1986. Saunders figured great writers had to be dysfunctional, difficult. And here was Wolff, walking around, being nice... more »


Oct. 23, 2015 | The naïveté of neuroscience. The field makes “objective” claims, but scanning Shakespeare’s brain wouldn’t bring us closer to understanding his soul... more »


Oct. 22, 2015 | Faith and fabrics. During the Crusades, a craze for Eastern textiles swept Western culture. Was this the beginning of fashion?... more »


Oct. 21, 2015 | Rembrandt was the first modern painter. Just ask John Berger. If he had to choose an epitaph for himself, it’d be “The Polish Rider”... more »


Oct. 20, 2015 | Only one thing got young Walter Benjamin to give up his turgid, incomprehensible prose style: failing to land an academic position... more »


Oct. 19, 2015 | Philosophy and poetry. Inspired by Santayana and Spinoza, Wallace Stevens addressed poetically the search for truth... more »


Oct. 17, 2015 | Utopian fantasies are a genre of the Left, more a rebuke to the present than a vision of the future. The tradition starts with Thomas More... more »


Oct. 16, 2015 | At Santa Maria Nuova Hospital, in Florence, the staff is used to patients' complaining of short breath, panic attacks, and hallucinations. They call it Stendhal Syndrome... more »


Oct. 15, 2015 | Mencken opposed moralism and Puritanism. But about sex, he was no libertine. Frankness ruined romance. "What is neither hidden nor forbidden is seldom very charming"... more »


Oct. 14, 2015 | Economics is not a science, so why does the Nobel committee treat it like one? Here's a proposal: Overhaul the prize to include all social sciences... more »


Oct. 13, 2015 | Cultural appropriation has become fair game for a drubbing at the hands of race activists. But who, after all, owns folklore?... more »


Oct. 12, 2015 | If everything is amazing, why is nobody happy? Consider the answers of two philosophical giants: Plato and Louis C.K.... more »


Oct. 10, 2015 | World literature increasingly comprises elitist scholasticism or genre books adapted into movies. Can these forces be reconciled?... more »


Oct. 9, 2015 | So much prose is so egregious. It's always been thus. Why? Because writing, unlike speaking, is an unnatural act. Steven Pinker explains... more »


Oct. 8, 2015 | Alice in Saudi Arabia. What does Lewis Carroll have to say to the kingdom's women in a secret book club? More than you might think ... more »


Oct. 7, 2015 | The thrill of clarity: On the trouble of differentiating ethical lifestyles reducible to vanity and ego from the ones that actually do good... more »


Oct. 6, 2015 | Beyond behavioral economics. When the invisible hand goes wrong, free markets and competition cause serious problems... more »


Oct. 5, 2015 | Before it all — before Doris Lessing, drugs, the psych ward, success, cancer — Jenny Diski concluded that there was no point to life if she couldn't be a writer... more »


Oct. 3, 2015 | We don’t think of Picasso as a sculptor, but we should. His muse: a 17-year-old he approached on a Paris streets. “I’m Picasso! You and I are going to do great things together.”... more »


Oct. 2, 2015 | Poor Richard Feynman. He bemoaned the incompleteness of scientific theory. But just because we don’t have a theory of everything doesn’t mean we can’t have a theory of anything... more »


Oct. 1, 2015 | Braid, knot, spray, perm, color, curl, straighten, shave, cut: Siri Hustvedt offers notes on a theory of hair... more »


Sept. 30, 2015 | Lionel Trilling, magnet for admiration and model of critical integrity: Why did he have such a minor impact on the intellectuals of his era?... more »


Sept. 29, 2015 | Ethics beyond anthropocentrism. “Empathy” is often just a buzzword, but focusing on its true meaning can help us better understand animals... more »


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