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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
16
Sep
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The Great Urbanists: Jane Jacobs

There is something compelling and exciting about cities that makes many of us love (and some of us dread) them. They are full of bright attractions, intriguing strangers and endless, unimaginable possibilities. Yet despite a great migration towards city living in the modern era,...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
14
Sep
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The Great Philosophers: Niccolò Machiavelli

Our assessment of politicians is torn between hope and disappointment. On the one hand, we have an idealistic idea that a politician should be an upright hero, a man or woman who can breathe new moral life into the corrupt workings of the state....
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
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
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

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