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15
Oct
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The Great Philosophers: Alexis de Tocqueville

Democracy was achieved by such a long, arduous and heroic struggle that it can feel embarrassing – even shameful – to feel a little disappointed by it. We know that at key historical moments people have made profound sacrifices so that we can, every...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
08
Oct
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The Great Architects: Louis Kahn

Modern architecture produces truly innovative work: glittering, staggeringly tall buildings, opera houses that look like folded origami, even museums that look like spaceships. However, in turning towards everything new, architectural modernism also dogmatically left behind much of what makes buildings lovely. The best architects of...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
05
Oct
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The Great Artists: Christo and Jeanne-Claude

We tend to get pretty nervous around the idea of political art. Some terrible things have been done in its name: it’s encouraged fanaticism, demonised vulnerable groups and pumped out delusional propaganda. But despite our misgivings, our collective existence is very much in need...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
05
Oct
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The Great Philosophers: William Morris

The 19th-century designer, poet and entrepreneur William Morris is one of the best guides we have to the modern economy – despite the fact that he died in 1896 (while Queen Victoria was still on the throne), never made a telephone call and would...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
26
Sep
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The Great Eastern Philosophers: Sen no Rikyu

In the West, philosophers write long non-fiction books, often using incomprehensible words and limit their involvement with the world to lectures and committee meetings. In the East, and especially in the Zen tradition, philosophers write poems, rake gravel, go on pilgrimages, practice archery, write aphorisms...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
19
Sep
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The Great Architects: Oscar Niemeyer

One of the most depressing aspects of travel is finding that the world often looks the same in many different places. The towers of downtown Tokyo are indistinguishable from those of Frankfurt or Seattle. That’s no coincidence. Modern architecture was founded on the idea...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
16
Sep
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The Great Anthropologists: Margaret Mead

When we use ‘modern’ to describe something, it’s usually a positive. We are very appreciative and even a little smug about the miracles of modern science, the benefits of modern technology, and even the superiority of modern viewpoints. But what if, in speeding towards...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
14
Sep
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The Great Artists: Cy Twombly

Abstract art continues to provoke annoyance and confusion in equal measure. You know the kind of thing: a large empty white canvas, with a solitary deep black line down the middle. A splodge of purple paint against a yellow background. Ten steel beams arranged...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
10
Sep
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Half-Price Afternoons: 60+ and Students

We're delighted to announce a new concessionary rate for afternoon classes, for over 60's and students. 14.00 - 17.00 Monday - Thursday £20 (usual price: £40) To book call us at +44 (0) 20 7833 1010 This offer is subject to availability, and you will be asked to...
Posted by The School of Life
09
Sep
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The Great Artists: Henri Matisse

The cultural elite gets nervous about cheerful or sweet art. They worry that pretty, happy works of art are in denial about how bad the state of the world is and how much suffering there is in almost every life. Look at this picture...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
05
Sep
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The Great Artists: Johannes Vermeer

We live in a world saturated with false glamour. In truth, the problem does not lie with glamour itself, but with the things we have collectively agreed to regard as glamorous. Progress wouldn’t be found in eradicating the whole idea of glamour from our...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail

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