Philosophy

Books Podcast: The art of losing control

18 May 2017 14:01

Is Enlightenment rationalism overrated? Do we spend too much time thinking and not enough time letting our conscious thoughts scatter…

Books podcast: Daniel Dennett and the evolution of minds

23 February 2017 10:45

In this week’s podcast I’m talking to the philosopher Daniel Dennett — whose new book takes on one of the…

The Disappearance of Michel Houellebecq: French chin-stroking at its very best

23 September 2014 14:59

Just when you thought Bernard-Henri Lévy had taken a chin-stroking national stereotype as far as it could possibly go, you…

Alain de Botton: We need art to help us to live and to die

24 March 2014 9:55

The world’s big national museums are deeply glamorous places. We keep quiet in their hallowed halls, we wander the galleries…

Why Alain de Botton is a moron

19 March 2014 13:08

It’s become too easy of late to be rude about Alain de Botton. His banal aphoristic “insights” and homilies on…

Political philosophy, Harry-style

1 November 2013 14:34

Boy-band super-hero Harry Styles proclaimed on Twitter earlier today: ‘All social change comes from the passion of individuals.’ His shrieking fans…

Plato – slave-owning aristocrat or homosexual mystic?

30 July 2013 15:45

For over two millennia, the writings of Plato had been at the very core of a Western education. Yet  by…

Kenneth Minogue RIP

1 July 2013 10:07

The weekend brought the sad news of the death of Kenneth Minogue. Intellectually and physically active to the last, he…

Timothy Beardson interview: It’s urgent that China reforms

25 June 2013 11:32

Recent convulsions in China’s banks will not, I suspect, have surprised Timothy Beardson, a sinophile, veteran Hong Kong financier and…

The odd couples

21 June 2013 10:52

This is the first post in an occasional series about rediscovering old science books. Twins, Lawrence Wright posits, pose a…

Tory backbencher Jesse Norman. Picture: PA

Jesse Norman interview: Edmund Burke, our chief of men

24 May 2013 9:00

When he arrived in London, Burke had a very brief career in law. He soon dedicated his time to critical…

Michael Sandel interview: the marketization of everything is undermining democracy

22 May 2013 9:41

Michael Sandel is a political philosopher and a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his  ‘Justice’ course,…

The Glorious Revolution and small ‘c’ conservatism

13 May 2013 9:45

From a dialogue  between a non-juring clergyman and his wife by Edward ‘Ned’ Ward Wife: Why will you prove so obstinate,…

Interview: Jared Cohen and The New Digital Age

8 May 2013 11:29

Jared Cohen is Director of Google Ideas, a think tank set up by Google dedicated to understanding global challenges by…

A woman campaigns for the taxing of rich people at an Occupy protest. Picture: Getty.

Interview: David Graeber, leading figure of Occupy

3 May 2013 9:00

The anarchist movement in the United States has had the support of leading libertarian intellectuals, such as Noam Chomsky; but…

Schroder – one man’s journey into night

30 April 2013 10:54

Erik Schroder is an East German who last saw his mother when he was five years old. In 1975 only…

Interview with a writer: Evgeny Morozov

26 April 2013 10:15

Evgeny Morozov is an iconoclast. He believes that technology, if abused or misused, has the potential to make society less…

Douglas Adams’s big idea

12 March 2013 14:05

Had he not died 12 years ago, Douglas Adams would have been 61 yesterday. Google produced a doodle in his…

Interview with a writer: Lars Iyer

6 March 2013 9:40

People call Lars Iyer a ‘cult author,’ which is odd, because almost every paper to have reviewed him from here…

Discovering poetry: Samuel Daniel and the art of outliving death

4 March 2013 16:52

from Delia When winter snows upon thy golden hairs, And frost of age hath nipped thy flowers near; When dark…

Interview with a writer: John Gray

22 February 2013 9:59

In his new book The Silence of Animals, the philosopher John Gray explores why human beings continue to use myth…

Life of Pi asks questions of man, not God

8 January 2013 10:00

I’m conducting an experiment: Life of Pi concerns a basic metaphor about faith, how is that metaphor rendered in print and…

The Way the World Works by Nicholson Baker – an ideal Christmas present

28 November 2012 9:51

Nicholson Baker is intensely interested. He looks at the world like he has never seen it before, fixating on the…

Governing the world – an interview with Mark Mazower

12 October 2012 13:36

‘People begin to feel that… there are bonds of international duty binding all the nations of the earth together.’ This…

Should literature be political?

8 October 2012 17:46

‘Should literature be political?’ Njabulo S Ndebele asked Open Book Cape Town the other day. Ndebele, a renowned academic in…