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01
Sep
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The Great Philosophers 16: John Rawls

Many of us feel that our societies are a little – or even plain totally – ‘unfair’. But we have a hard time explaining our sense of injustice to the powers that be in a way that sounds rational and without personal pique...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
18
Aug
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The Great Philosophers 15: La Rochefoucauld

There’s a belief that philosophy, when properly done, should sound dense, forbidding, a little confusing, as if it might have been awkwardly translated from the German. But at the dawn of the modern age lived a French philosopher who trusted in a very different...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
15
Aug
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The Great Philosophers 14: Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold was the most important educational reformer of the 19th century. He realised that, in the modern world, education would be one of the keys to a good society. But it had to be education of a special kind - and not...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
07
Aug
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The Great Philosophers 12: Augustine

Augustine was a Christian philosopher who lived in the early 5th century AD on the fringes of the rapidly declining Roman Empire, in the North African town of Hippo (present day Annaba, in Algeria). He served as Bishop for over thirty years, proving popular...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
07
Aug
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The Great Philosophers 11: Emile Durkheim

Emile Durkheim is the philosopher who can best help us to understand why Capitalism makes us richer and yet frequently more miserable; even – far too often – suicidal. He was born in 1858 in the little French town of Epinal, near the German...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
06
Aug
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The Great Philosophers 10: Martin Heidegger

The field is not without other distinguished contestants, but in the competitive history of incomprehensible German philosophers, Martin Heidegger must by any reckoning emerge as the overall victor. Nothing quite rivals the prose of his masterpiece Being and Time (1927) in terms of contortions and...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
05
Aug
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The Great Philosophers 9: Max Weber

Max Weber is one of the three philosophers best able to explain to us the peculiar economic system we live within called Capitalism (Karl Marx and Adam Smith are the other two). Born in Erfurt in Germany in 1864, Weber grew up to see...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
04
Aug
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Utopia series: how Capitalism should be reformed

The system we know as Capitalism is both wondrously productive and hugely problematic. On the downside, capitalism promotes excessive inequality; it valorises immediate returns over long-term benefits; it addicts us to unnecessary products and it encourages excessive consumption of the world’s resources with potentially disastrous consequences...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
01
Aug
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Utopia series: the role of culture

We generally hold culture – by which we understand art, museums, cinema, literature and the study of history – in extremely high regard. But, equally, we tend not to look very closely at why culture has such prestige. In fact, we are encouraged to...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
31
Jul
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Utopia series: the government of the future

For hundreds of years now, humans have tended to believe that the best sort of government is one which leaves its citizens maximally ‘free’. We’ve come to associate good government directly and uncomplicatedly with the promotion of ‘freedom’: freedom to worship as one pleases, to...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
30
Jul
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Utopia series: the news of the future

The news is the most powerful and prestigious force in contemporary society, replacing religion as the touchstone of authority and meaning. It is usually the first thing we check in the morning and the last thing we consult at night. What are we searching...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail

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