Philosophy

God save us from Søren Kierkegaard

27 April 2019 9:00 am

Surely God, if He existed, would find a major source of entertainment down the ages in the activities of theologians,…

You can hate me as much as you like – it’s not a crime,

1 December 2018 9:00 am

As a middle-class conservative I get no legal protection

Searching for God in the twilight on the Aegean Sea

27 October 2018 9:00 am

My friend Jonathan Gaisman recently gave rise to a profound philosophical question concerning wine. Jonathan is formidably clever. He has…

The young Descartes: I fought, therefore I thought

5 May 2018 9:00 am

Descartes is most generally known these days for being the guy who was sure he existed because he was thinking.…

Six wintry days in Saratoga Springs: Upstate by James Wood reviewed

14 April 2018 9:00 am

Alan Querry, the central figure in James Wood’s second novel, is someone who, in his own words, doesn’t ‘think about…

Jessie Greengrass’s Sight is unashamedly philosophical

10 March 2018 9:00 am

The precarious stasis of late pregnancy offers the narrator of Jessie Greengrass’s exceptional first novel a space — albeit an…

The secret to midlife: enjoy yourself without regrets

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Losing our way in life’s trackless forest, whither should we turn for solace and advice? Wisdom used to be the…

An easy way for the Tories to combat the Corbyn threat? Idleness

14 October 2017 9:00 am

As the Tories struggle to find a policy which might appeal to their traditional supporters and not simply ape those…

An early modern battle scene depicted in a Mughal miniature looks like a graceful pageant compared to today’s nuclear and cyber warfare

Racing to Armageddon

6 May 2017 9:00 am

An enduring solution to war becomes ever more pressing. But will it always be wishful thinking, as Milos Stankovic suspects?

César Aira is a master of the supernatural

8 April 2017 9:00 am

The Argentinian writer César Aira is a prodigy: at the age of 68 he has published, according to a ‘partial…

The Russian way of lying

25 March 2017 9:00 am

It’s an old communist tradition – but the roots go back to Ancient Greece

Paul Durand-Ruel, who created the market for impressionism, commissioned Renoir’s ‘Dance in the Country’, painted in 1883

Connoisseurs and con artists

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Rogues’ Gallery describes itself as a history of art and its dealers, and Philip Hook, who has worked at the…

Portrait of Persia’s Prince Abbas Mirza c. 1820. From his bailiwick near the Russian border he dispatched educational missions to Europe, sponsored translations of key European works and imported metal casting techniques and the printing press

When Islam was a byword for benign Enlightenment

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Christopher de Bellaigue, a journalist who has spent much of his working life in the Middle East, has grown tired…

Siri Hustvedt’s thoughts on art, science and the human condition

21 January 2017 9:00 am

This past autumn has felt more uncomfortable than usual to be a woman looking at men looking at women. From…

The colourful life of ‘Mad Madge’, Duchess of Newcastle

31 December 2016 9:00 am

There has never previously, I believe, been a novel about Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, one of the 17th century’s…

The secret of the universe in 250 pages

19 November 2016 9:00 am

A few years ago, in Berne, I visited the apartment where Einstein wrote his theory of special relativity, which changed…

How Boris Johnson is like Socrates

22 October 2016 9:00 am

In writing an article that argued both for and against the European Union, Boris Johnson was following a solidly classical…

Aristotle on the collective wisdom of Brexit voters

10 September 2016 9:00 am

It comes as no surprise to find that there has recently been much talk among Brexit supporters about ‘the wisdom…

Will there be free will in a brave new bioengineered world?

3 September 2016 9:00 am

The idea that death may prove a mere ‘technical problem’ in the future just makes me want to hole up in front of Netflix and eat crisps, says Steven Poole

A very Mexican shaggy dog story — from Juan Pablo Villalobos

3 September 2016 9:00 am

The Mexican author Juan Pablo Villa-lobos’s first short novel, Down the Rabbit Hole (Fiesta en la madriguera), was published in…

J.M. Coetzee has lost the plot

20 August 2016 9:00 am

The Schooldays of Jesus is not, as it happens, about the schooldays of Jesus. It is the Man Booker-nominated sequel…

Even Chekhov might have envied Geoff Dyer’s talent, says Jan Morris

25 June 2016 8:00 am

White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World

How Plato predicted the EU referendum campaign

18 June 2016 9:00 am

Our politicians, realising that the referendum campaign will be settled not by themselves under the usual parliamentary constraints but by…

Universities’ war against truth

11 June 2016 9:00 am

Expressing certainty — about almost anything — is now a sure way to make yourself a pariah on campus

How Aristotle would hire civil servants

4 June 2016 9:00 am

The civil service is to be allowed to find out what job applicants’ ‘socio-economic background’ is. What abject drivel is…