Philosophy

Too early to tell

A modern consensus has all but consigned free will to the graveyard of outmoded ideas. But one philosopher isn’t so sure.

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Feeling is good, but choosing is better

Animals, argues philosopher Mark Rowlands in a recent book, are capable of feeling sympathy for others, and as a result are capable of good acts. But is this enough for us to call them moral?

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Night lights

Paul Bogard’s scientific, literary, and philosophical account of why the end of night — driven by unremitting and ever-increasing light pollution around the world — should worry us all.

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Only one universe to observe

Theoretical cosmologist Roberto Trotta talks to SCOPE about the anthropic principle, slow data, and his science’s happy similarity to art

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Before corporations were people

The protection of corporate “speech” has been a contentious subject in the United States, most recently so in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision of 2010, in which the U.S. Supreme Court used the First Amendment to prohibit

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The factual refracted

Over the past century a important minority of writers have turned their minds to the philosophy of literature itself, or even simply of books — Jorge Luis Borges’ 1941 short story “The Library of Babel” (La biblioteca de Babel), a

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More important than a better shell

Alaskan journalist (and contributor to SCOPE‘s inaugural issue) Charles Wohlforth’s most recent book, The Fate of Nature, is now out in paperback. An extended and deeply thoughtful reflection on human nature and on our collective ability to solve our global

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Cosmopolitanism and the duty to assist

A January 31 podcast interview with Oxford political and moral philosopher Cécile Fabre has turned out to be rather timely, concerning as it does the question of how the cosmopolitan concern for individuals, whoever they are and wherever they might

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Because reality is weird

When I was fourteen or so, I came across the works of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft in a maze-like used-book shop that my parents used to take me to, and spent many evenings after that lost in discovery of Lovecraft’s

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Exuberance and repulsion

Since the attacks of 9/11 and the subsequent U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, much mental effort has been spent on the justification of war. This effort has most often revolved around the medieval theory of “just war”, and its

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Too much evidence, too little judgment?

When confronted with the complexity and ambiguity of disease or even of every-day sickness, each of us as patients could hardly be blamed for taking comfort in an approach to medicine that is advertised as scientific, rational, and founded on

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The faces behind the books

As people professionally caught up in the life of the mind, philosophers exist for many of us as disembodied names linked to embodied books — we can remember the colour, cover design, and size of many of the books we’ve

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