Dec. 19, 2020 | The best of 20th-century philosophy urges us to be fearless, critical, and creative, and to avoid orthodoxies, ideologies, and obscurantist nonsense... more »


Dec. 18, 2020 | Isabel Wilkerson’s study of caste illuminates much about India. But in an American context, it merely obfuscates ... more »


Dec. 17, 2020 | Of the many misrepresentations about Adorno, the most persistent is that he had little aptitude for practical politics. Nonsense ... more »


Dec. 16, 2020 | For Twain and Woolf, little was as tedious as discussing the weather. And yet such conversation continues — implacably, abysmally... more »


Dec. 15, 2020 | A spate of books peddles philosophers, from Socrates to William James, as gurus of the good life. Try Spinoza... more »


Dec. 14, 2020 | Is strongman a useful category for political analysis? A new book stretches the definition beyond its limits... more »


Dec. 12, 2020 | Philip Roth, Jewish patron saint of rage and writing, never forgave ex-wives, nosy neighbors, or scathing critics. His thin skin grew thinner over the years... more »


Dec. 11, 2020 | When people struggle to read a classic like the Iliad, it’s not because of a moral aversion. It’s because they’re bored and confused ... more »


Dec. 10, 2020 | What’s behind the highbrow hostility to works of self-help? It’s the status anxiety of professional critics, argues a new book... more »


Dec. 9, 2020 | Beneath Thorstein Veblen’s austere exterior and grim scowl lurked a dimly perceptible reservoir of hope  ... more »


Dec. 8, 2020 | Michel Gallimard and Albert Camus were killed in a car crash in 1960. Gallimard was driving fast, but was foul play the true cause?   ... more »


Dec. 7, 2020 | Graham Greene's restlessness — a new country, a new woman — shaped his work and wrecked his life  ... more »


Dec. 5, 2020 | What's right about rights and wrong with virtues? Rights don't depend on those who suppose themselves to be virtuous ... more »


Dec. 4, 2020 | Kate Manne’s consideration of misogyny is full of mockery, condemnation, and fatalism. We deserve better from our public intellectuals ... more »


Dec. 3, 2020 | Michael Sandel’s critique of meritocracy misses something obvious: Merit and credentials are not synonymous  ... more »


Dec. 2, 2020 | It was a neoclassical homage, “empire style,” “gauzy nudity.” In the late 18th century, a clinging white bedgown was the height of fashion ... more »


Dec. 1, 2020 | Like a nightmarish accordion, Kafka’s “lost” writings expand, trapping readers in their complexities. They make no easy task for the critic... more »


Nov. 30, 2020 | Thorstein Veblen seemed intent on torching every school of thought. Does the academy still produce such thinkers?  ... more »


Nov. 28, 2020 | The Ferrante Letters, a supposedly experimental critical project, ventures little beyond textual analysis. Quelle horreur!... more »


Nov. 27, 2020 | “Fail fast,” “fail better” — we celebrate failure as something inevitable on the path to success. That’s nonsense   ... more »


Nov. 26, 2020 | Down with occurrences! Our politics, wars, triumphs, and failures are mere “surface disturbances” and “crests of foam” on the great sea of history  ... more »


Nov. 25, 2020 | The question of how to live has long flummoxed great minds. But not cats: They have nothing to learn from philosophy... more »


Nov. 24, 2020 | The clock, the astrolabe, the university — the so-called “Dark Ages” produced some of our most important tools and concepts. It’s time to revisit the period... more »


Nov. 23, 2020 | The Didion gaze. What makes her work fascinating is also what makes it rare: a woman looking at men and not looking away  ... more »


Nov. 21, 2020 | Why did the West rise? Meritocracy, democracy, trust, innovation, and restraint, argues a new book. But was it really so simple?... more »


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