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Viewing entries posted in May 2011

31
May
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Cathy Haynes on Taking Pictures

Some of us hate having our photo taken. For the French novelist Honor de Balzac (1799-1850) the discomfort of having this daguerreotype made by Nadar must have been particularly acute. According to Nadar, Balzac believed that physical bodies are made up of spectral layers;...
Posted by Cathy Haynes
27
May
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Ruth Potts and Andrew Simms on Crafting our own Environment

Modern life has slowly robbed us of the ability to craft our own environment. We have become de-skilled, spending our waking-hours in offices staring at screens, buying ready-meals and ready everything. What does it mean when we're told we need a TV chef to...
Posted by Ruth Potts and Andrew Simms
23
May
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On Computer Science and the Non-Deterministic Lifestyle

Are you fed up with 'find-your-passion' literature and discourse? Well if you're anything like me then you are. On top of that, I've felt guilty or in some way inadequate and definitely jealous, just because I haven't been able to find my passion. Can...
Posted by Philip Witt
20
May
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Hilary Lawson on Philosophy Very Much Alive In Hay

Speaking at Google's Zeitgeist Conference in Hertfordshire this week, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking again declared that 'Philosophy is dead'. Almost all of us must sometimes wonder: Why are we here? Where do we come from?, said Hawking. Traditionally, these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy...
Posted by Hilary Lawson
18
May
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Gretchen Rubin: Why Samuel Johnson Is The Patron Saint Of My Happiness Project

I love Samuel Johnson. He wasn't always that happy in his own personal life, but he's one of the patron saints of my happiness project, because he made and broke resolutions so many times, yet kept on making them. There's a quote of...
Posted by Gretchen Rubin
17
May
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On Primates and Princes

Status is an appetite like food or sex. We've inherited brains that care about status despite our best intentions. Our mammalian ancestors had to rise in the ranks of their herd or pack or troop to pass on their DNA. The brain that evolved...
Posted by Loretta Breuning
11
May
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Mark Vernon on Consumerism

What is it like to be alive in a consumer culture such as our own? What is the shape of life for us as members of that modern sub-species of homo sapiens, known as the consumer? The French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan had one...
Posted by Mark Vernon
10
May
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Jules Evans on David Hume and the Limits of Philosophy

Last week was the tercentenary of the birth of David Hume, the great Enlightenment philosopher, whose most famous idea is that reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions. That's an extraordinary statement, if you think about it, coming in...
Posted by Jules Evans
09
May
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Dr. Johnson on Conversation

We live in an age where the possibility of conversation is greater than ever. We update Facebook statuses. We Twitter. We follow and are followed. We subscribe to feeds and lists. The flow of information is instantaneous, the response rapid, the exchanges frequent. Social...
Posted by Nick Southgate
04
May
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Fionnuala Barrett On Not Finishing A Book

Not finishing a book you have started is a very particular kind of guilt, certainly for those of us who have never quite grown out of a wish to please a teacher, literal or figurative. In setting out to read a book, one...
Posted by Fionnuala Barrett

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