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According to the received narrative, we have entered a new geological era in the history of our planet, the Anthropocene. Human beings, so the theory goes, have become geological agents, having an impact on the planet so profound that it can only be compared to past ice ages and the early stages of the planet’s formation. But this narrative implies…
 
What do we have to learn from the Ancient Greeks when it comes to thinking about the corruption of our own political system? Since corruption doesn’t seem to go away simply by electing different leaders, might it be fixed by rethinking our constitutional foundations? And what did Machiavelli mean when he said that “an evil-disposed citizen cannot e…
 
The Philosopher & The News will be resuming next week with guest Camila Vergara, author of Systemic Corruption: Constitutional Ideas for an Anti-Oligarchic Society. If in the meantime you're craving your weekly philosophy fix, I have just the thing for you. This week The Philosopher journal is putting on virtual lectures every single day, to coinci…
 
In 1825 the planet’s human population was 1 billion. In 2011, there were 7 billion human beings on the planet. With the current projections estimating that by the year 2050 the human population will be 9.6 billion, there is a pressing question: Can climate change be stopped simply by moving to greener energy sources and reducing the consumption lev…
 
In 2019 the US Congress representative Alexandria Occasio Cortez and US senator Edward Markey put forward a resolution called the Green New Deal. Borrowing the name from Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s, a massive state-led plan to save the economy from the 1929 crash, the Green New Deal proposes an even more ambitious state plan, this ti…
 
What if we’re been thinking about climate change the wrong way? What if it’s not a problem that can be solved, but something that can only be managed? What if climate change is here to stay? Thom Brooks is the author of Climate Change Ethics for an Endangered World. He is professor of Law and Government at the University of Durham, and the outgoing…
 
January 1st this year marked the end of the transition period in the UK’s long and tortured journey of leaving the European Union. Four and a half years after the 2016 Brexit referendum the UK began a new chapter in its history, sovereign and independent, as the Leave campaign might have put it, no longer constrained by the EU’s laws and courts. Un…
 
On February 22nd, NASA released video footage of the car-sized Rover Perseverance, landing on the surface of Mars. After a journey of seven months and 293 million miles, the robot vehicle finally reached the red planet, with the aim of searching for ancient signs of life on Mars. A couple of weeks later, Elon Musk’s company Space X tested a prototy…
 
One of the many things that the pandemic forced us to rethink is the importance of a sense we usually don’t give much attention to: Our sense of smell. More than half of people with Covid-19 experience the loss of smell or taste and while two-thirds recover within six to eight weeks, many are left without much improvement months down the line. Some…
 
The reason Covid-19 became the pandemic it did had to do with a distinctly modern phenomenon: global mass travel. Until about a year ago, getting on a plane and travelling thousands of miles across the Earth for a business meeting, or a short holiday in a different country, was something millions of people didn’t think twice about. These days, trav…
 
One set of ethical questions has been looming large since the start of the pandemic: How do we evaluate the costs and benefits that result from lockdown measures? Is it possible to weight the lives saved by lockdown measures against the unemployment, damage to mental health and education that they resulted in? Or are such comparisons impossible to …
 
One of the first things we lost as the Covid pandemic began was the handshake. It foreshadowed what would follow in the months ahead: Social distancing, the loss of human touch and our longing for the physical presence of others. As we began living an increasingly disembodied existence on Zoom meetings and video calls with friends and family, many …
 
Two days after the storming of the Capitol, following a Trump rally, and with the former president seemingly continuing to glorify the events of January 6, Facebook and Twitter decided to ban him from the social media platforms, in Twitter’s case permanently. Many welcomed this move, while others cried that this constituted a violation of the forme…
 
In the era of populism and political polarisation, listening to the other side has become harder than ever. Even agreeing to a common starting point, a set of facts about the world, has come to seem impossible. To many of us it seems that our political and cultural opponents just live in a different world, a different reality from us. Facts have be…
 
Most commentators treat vaccine hesitancy as part of a bigger problem: the death of expertise. Maya Goldenberg disagrees: vaccine hesitancy has to do with trust. According to the received narrative, people have stopped listening to experts, relying instead on Google searches and social media influencers for advice on important topics. There is an o…
 
The SARS-Covid-2 pandemic brought to the surface something that has accompanied other pandemics in the past: conspiracy theories. Now, with several vaccines having been developed, the conspiracy theories have turned to them. But how should we understand conspiracy theories? And why do people find them so attractive? Do the producers of conspiracy t…
 
On January the 6th, what started as a Trump rally in Washington DC, ended up in the violent storming of the Capitol, with, members of Congress being rushed to safety. Fuelled by the president’s words, calling the 2020 election results fraudulent, Trump’s followers took over the Capitol, shouting among other things “This is our house!” and “They wor…
 
A new podcast where leading philosophers bring to the surface the philosophy hidden behind the biggest news stories. Together we'll be exploring the ideas that can help us understand the times we're living through. Welcome to The Philosopher & The News. This podcast is made in partnership with The Philosopher journal: https://www.thephilosopher1923…
 
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