Philosophy

What exactly do we mean by the mind?

6 August 2022 9:00 am

Given the ingenuity of machine-makers, said Descartes in the 17th century, machines might well be constructed that exactly resemble humans.…

The amazing grace of Bruce Lee’s fight scenes

6 August 2022 9:00 am

Early on in Enter the Dragon our hero, the acrobatic Kung Fu fighter Bruce Lee, tells a young pupil to…

Life’s great dilemma: Either/Or, by Elif Batuman, reviewed

28 May 2022 9:00 am

In this delightful sequel to her semi-autobiographical novel The Idiot (2017), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Elif…

Know your left from your right: the brain’s divided hemispheres

12 February 2022 9:00 am

The dust jacket of The Matter With Things quotes a large statement from an Oxford professor: ‘This is one of…

The great disrupter: how William of Occam overturned medieval thought

28 August 2021 9:00 am

Astonishing where an idea can lead you. You start with something that 800 years hence will sound like it’s being…

Foucault was shielded from scandal by French reverence for intellectuals

31 July 2021 9:00 am

Consider the hare and the hyena. The hare, Clement of Alexandria told readers of his 2nd-century sexual self-help manual Paedagogus,…

The life cycle of the limpet teaches universal truths

17 July 2021 9:00 am

Adam Nicolson is one of our finest writers of non-fiction. He has range — from place and history to literature…

Waiting for Gödel is over: the reclusive genius emerges from the shadows

29 May 2021 9:00 am

The 20th-century Austrian mathematician Kurt Gödel did his level best to live in the world as his philosophical hero Gottfried…

The insidious attacks on scientific truth

19 December 2020 9:00 am

What is truth? You can speak of moral truths and aesthetic truths but I’m not concerned with those here, important…

Four German-speaking philosophers in search of a theme

28 November 2020 9:00 am

How do you write a group biography of people who never actually formed a group? Such is the challenge Wolfram…

Macron is preparing for intellectual battle against Islamism

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Muslim thinkers offer a remedy to fundamentalism

How time vanishes: the more we study it, the more protean it seems

27 June 2020 9:00 am

Some books elucidate their subject, mapping and sharpening its boundaries. The Clock Mirage, by the mathematician Joseph Mazur, is not…

We all need to be let alone —not just Greta Garbo

18 April 2020 9:00 am

‘You’re never alone with a Strand,’ went the misbegotten advertisement for a new cigarette in 1959. What the copywriter didn’t…

Let’s leave philosophers to puzzle over the reality of numbers

7 March 2020 9:00 am

The reality (or lack thereof) of numbers is the kind of problem some philosophers consider overwhelmingly important, but it’s of…

new nationalism

What the new nationalism means

28 February 2020 5:19 am

This article is in The Spectator’s March 2020 US edition. Subscribe here. For most of the past 200 years, the left, whether…

A toast to Roger Scruton

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

In clubs and other admirable locations throughout the civilised world, glasses have been raised and toasts proposed. But this was…

‘A perfect knight’: Remembering Roger Scruton

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Daniel Hannan Roger Scruton changed the course of my life. He addressed my school’s philosophy society when I was 16,…

It’s a dull world in which children don’t challenge their parents

9 November 2019 9:00 am

On the Shoulders of Giants consists of 12 essays that the late Umberto Eco gave as lectures at the annual…

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,…

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…

Help over the hump

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…

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…