I remember sitting in my grandfather’s car a few years ago in a gray car park. I was in the second year of my undergraduate philosophy degree, and we were discussing careers. As an engineer and a thoroughly practical man, he wasn’t convinced of the merits of my degree choice.
“But what can you do with philosophy, Gem?” he asked me. “What has philosophy ever achieved?”
I doubt meeting Professor Markus Gabriel would do much to change his impression of the subject.
What do you say to people whose beliefs fly the face of overwhelming evidence? Last week, Washington D.C erupted into violence as mobs of violent Trump supporters stormed the seat of the American government.
Ostensibly they did this because they believe the 2020 Presidential election was stolen.
On January 2nd, Ted Cruz and a number of other Republican Senators released a joint statement challenging the election result on the basis of ‘allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities’.
What’s the deal with Satanism today? Should we be worried about the development of hypersonic glide vehicles? On a scale of zero to ‘fasten your seatbelts’, where do we stand in relation to the end of the world?
If these are the kinds of questions you’d like answered, you’re in luck. Small cadres of individuals around the globe are patiently watching, recording, and categorizing world events in relation to the impending ‘end times’.
It’s not a case of if, they say, but when.
Communities tell us what they really believe through how they dispose of their dead.
When my cousin died a few years ago, we marked the occasion by singing Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon in the chapel of a local crematorium. It was perhaps the strangest and sweetest thing I’ve experienced at a funeral. The vicar played the song at the end of the service, using a cheap, tinny-sounding portable CD player. Out of nowhere, someone started singing along and within seconds, everyone had joined in. It was a joyous rendition, filled with love for a life lost too soon.
This insane arrangement has to end sometime
Prince Philip has died, and the UK is in the midst of eight days of national mourning.
It seems a good time to reflect on the monarchy. It’s sad that Philip died. Well, as sad as the death of any other 99-year-old man. Just about the only impact he had on my life, or anyone else I know, is through the outdoor pursuits of the Duke of Edinburgh Award taken by students in schools. It’s a nice initiative.
Free speech sits on the boundary where theory meets reality.
Too often philosophy and ethics focus on hypothetical problems at the expense of the issues that matter most to people. Free speech is a great example of this, sitting as it does on the fault line where moral theory meets the legalities of the real world.
Arguments around free speech exist like wildfire; not as a single cohesive debate, but as hundreds of individual clashes burning across society. Recently, the flames were fanned in the small, northern UK town of Batley. …
Forget consoles — real next-gen gaming is on the cloud
If you believe everything you read, Google Stadia was killed on February 1st 2021.
For those who may not be aware (or simply don’t care), Google Stadia is a cloud gaming service that allows users to play games by streaming them online, rather than downloading and installing them. Effectively, it’s Netflix for gamers.
The technology behind Google Stadia is mind-boggling. …
Great science writing has a transformative power.
It’s not difficult to see why; the natural world holds a wealth of fascinating subject matter, often surpassing the wildest imaginings the great science fiction writers. When such content is combined with the skills of a first-class writer, the resulting books can be life-changing.
It’s like an amazing cover song. Consider some of the all time greats: Hendrix doing ‘All Along the Watchtower’, Johnny Cash’s rendition of ‘Hurt’, ‘Respect’ performed by Aretha Franklin.
It worked because of what was missing
When the House managers began proceedings for the second impeachment of former president Donald Trump on February 9th 2021, they began with a video. The video was simple, brutally effective and startlingly different to the well-rehearsed style of political attack-ads.
David Schoen, a key figure in Trump’s legal team, slammed the 14 minute video, telling Sean Hannity:
“It’s very easy to stand up and show spliced and manufactured films. Literally the Democrats, the House managers, hired a large movie company and a large law firm to put together this thing.”
Ignoring for the…
How to avoid an illusion that sets us up to fail and build a foundation for success
One of my heroes is Nicky Spinks, a 53-year-old farmer who lives in the British Peak District. In May 2016 she became the fastest person to complete a double Bob Graham round in a record-breaking 45 hours and 30 minutes. For those less familiar with British trail running challenges, a double Bob Graham involves running 132 miles around the English Lake District, up and down mountains for a total of 53,800ft of ascent. That’s close to running up two Mt. Everests.
Writer and educator in law and philosophy. Also wrote a book.