A Woman and a Philosopher
An interview with Amia Srinivasan.
An interview with Amia Srinivasan.
Today, artificial intelligence and information technologies have absorbed many of the questions that were once taken up by theologians and philosophers: the mind’s relationship to the body, the question of free will, the possibility of immortality.
Should humans try harder to protect even wild creatures from predators and disease? Should we care whether they live good lives? Some philosophers and scientists have an unorthodox answer.
To speak of the human as such, as the modernists did, is like taking a piece of the wild, putting it into a petri dish, adding bleach and antibiotics until more than half of what’s in there is dead and then celebrating the barely-living remains as “the human.” Provocatively put, the human is a sterile abstraction, a harmony of illusions.
The schism at the heart of cosmology.
How did feeling good become a matter of relentless, competitive work; a never-to-be-attained goal which makes us miserable?
Examinations of literature, philosophy, and the self.
Elizabeth Anderson thinks we’ve misunderstood the basis of a free and fair society.
A profile of philosopher Timothy Morton, who wants humanity to give up some of its core beliefs.
For mountaineers, it’s not enough just to get to the top—it’s how you get there that matters.
The night America elected Donald J. Trump president, 38-year-old Richard B. Spencer, who fancies himself the “Karl Marx of the alt-right” and envisions a “white homeland,” crowed, “we’re the establishment now.” If so, then the architect of the new establishment is Spencer’s former mentor, Paul Gottfried, a retired Jewish academic...
An Oxford philosopher pursues the formula for morality.
The doctors, patient, and ethics behind the experiment.
A profile of Martha Nussbaum, whose ideas illuminate the often ignored elements of human life—aging, inequality, and emotion.
Thomas Pogge is a Yale professor and one of the world’s most prominent ethicists. He also stands accused of sexually harassing his female students.
A trip to the zoo, Charlie Kaufman’s new film, and human despair.
Looking to Nietzsche for self-help.
An American writer living in Japan, unread and underpublished, sends an email to a group of writers he doesn’t know informing them that he is committing suicide.
A narrator shares a philosophical discussion with the late orator.
"Cicero and I mounted a johnboat banked in the mud along this near finger of Mark Twain Lake. Neither of us wanted to do the shoving off. Our feet would have to get wet."
A narrator's philosophical observations on travel.
"How lost they must feel in the world, where all instructions, all the lyrics of all the stupidest possible songs, all the menus, all the excruciating pamphlets and brochures—even the elevator buttons!—are in their private language. They may be understood by anyone at any moment, whenever they open their mouths. They must have to write things down in special codes. Wherever they are, people have unlimited access to them—they are accessible to everyone and everything! I heard there are plans in the works to get them some little language of their own, one of those dead ones no one else is using anyway, just so that for once they can have something just for themselves."
A long, philosophical courtship between a wealthy man and an intelligent woman.
"She looked up. Man and manservant were circling the property. They picked their way slowly, gazing down, grimly. She had not seen anyone move like this; it was the walk of people in a graveyard who knew all the buried. He was wrong. For him it was a test of devotion. Her devotion had nothing to do with it. She craved that man’s face and hands, her sweetest concern was what he would say next, the air she liked best had the damp of his breath in it."
A museum taxidermist offers fantastic assessments of his work and philosophy.
"Each day masses throng displays I have created, though hardly do they pause to consider dark hours and livid eyes and lemur fingers needed to bring to full completion the task they come to see once I am gone. They will surround a parliment of owls, each feather of them set as if responding to a wind that blows for them, and them alone. They will gape before cave bears whose bones I clothed with pelts I once acquired of Russian merchants and stitched together until made sufficient cape to draw about the great beasts’ napes and narrow shoulder bones."
Time is speeding up. And to what end? Maybe we were told that two thousand years ago.
On the shortcomings of both reality and fiction.
An interview with Douglas Hofstadter, who after winning the Pulitzer for Gödel, Escher, Bach retreated into the lab and published only sparingly in technical journals, on what it would mean if a program could generate humor and/or masterful compositions.
Jung’s ‘Red Book’, a secret journal of dreams and drawings, has been in a Swiss vault for the better part of a century. The burden of its care has fallen on his descendants, who have reluctantly allowed it to be published.