Chapter 6.



The Value of Reading Things We Disagree with

Reading has always had a central and prestigious place in our understanding of how we can develop our minds. The more we read, we’re told, the cleverer we stand to be.…


Why We Argue in Paradise

We’re in paradise: a beachfront hotel on a tropical island; a charming cottage in a tranquil valley, a luxurious hotel in a historic city. Our spirits stand to be soothed by…


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

People have always had trouble pronouncing his name. The 19th-century British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, was once mocked in Parliament for getting it wrong. If you don’t speak German, it’s not…


The Importance of Architecture

In an odd but quietly very important way, works of architecture ‘speak’ to us. Some buildings, streets and even whole cities seem to speak of chaos, aggression or military pride; others…

Western Philosophy


Aristotle was born around 384 BC in the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia where his father was the royal doctor. He grew up to be arguably the most influential philosopher ever,…

Western Philosophy

Baruch Spinoza

Baruch Spinoza was a seventeenth-century Dutch philosopher who tried to reinvent religion – moving it away from something based on superstition and ideas of direct divine intervention to being a discipline…