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19
Oct
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The Great Philosophers: Karl Marx

Most people agree that we need to improve our economic system somehow. It threatens our planet through excessive consumption, distracts us with irrelevant advertising, leaves people hungry and without healthcare, and fuels unnecessary wars. Yet we’re also often keen to dismiss the ideas of its...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
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 Psychoanalysts: John Bowlby

Among our deepest and seemingly most natural aspirations is the longing to form stable, satisfying relationships: to thrive in partnerships that are good for both people. It doesn’t seem much to ask. A lot of people are looking for roughly the same thing. But...
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
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

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