The Universe in a Grain of Sand?

Johann N. Neem

Those committed to human rights at the global level should seek not to universalize the particular but rather to particularize the universal.

The Shifting Experience of Self

Joseph E. Davis

We know very little about what we are doing, why we do it, or how we feel about it.

Ghost Marketing

From the Editors

Analyses of ghostwritten articles shows them to both exaggerate effectiveness and downplay adverse effects. 

Watching and Worrying

Jeffrey S. Dill

The author’s interpretive framework truncates the narrative by forcing her to see thick cultural issues only through the lens of social class.

Profiles in Humility

James K.A. Smith

Our moral educations should happen at dinner tables, in classrooms, on football fields, in synagogues and churches.

Trivial Pursuits

Paul Scherz

The decline of scientific research.

The Murderer’s Mother

John J. Lennon

Because of me, Alex will never realize his potential, never discover the man he might’ve been. I’m deeply sorry for that. And that’s the sort of existential shame I grapple with: Here I am, years later, sober and learning and writing and finding out who I can be, and yet Alex can never do any of those things. Because of me.

Saving the Soul of the Smart City

Joshua J. Yates

Taking a hard look at the smart city requires that we ask not only where it might fail to live up to the promises of its boosters, but also where it is successful and how it might nonetheless still fail us as citizens and as human beings.

The New Urban Agenda and the Limits of Cities

Noah J. Toly

Many have suggested that cities should be the vanguard of global governance on issues such as climate, immigration, and terrorism.

Next-Door Strangers

Marc J. Dunkelman

Within cities themselves, new wealth has been greeted with great fanfare—except by those who see gentrification as a threat to the communities that remained during the decades of white flight.

For the Love of Goats

Matthew Denton-Edmundson

Goats, like cats, are closer to nature than most domesticated animals, both species going feral more easily than domesticated dogs, which are rarely able to acclimate to life in the wild.

When Work and Meaning Part Ways

Jonathan Malesic

The fact is, work as we know it isn’t worth saving anyway.

Forgiving Heidegger

Nathan Goldman

Uncomfortable though it might be to admit, Heidegger’s thinking is part of the Jewish textual tradition.

From the Editor

Jay Tolson

Reconsidering the complex relationship between humans and the wider animal kingdom.

Mary Midgley, 1919–2018

Phil Christman

Mary Midgley’s writing was profound but rarely technical; she trained her sights on general problems.

Who Pays for the Buy?

Karen Corinne Herceg

In the long run, we all pay dearly for the carefully crafted commercial illusion that we can hold people to standards on a selective basis.

Wayward Leviathans

David Ciepley

How America's corporations lost their public purpose.

A Gallery of Poems by Adam Zagajewski

Adam Zagajewski

Zagajewski’s poems call us to live more deeply, with both the ugliness and beauty of life, saying “but, just wait…there is more.”

Does Religious Pluralism Require Secularism?

Jennifer L. Geddes

What emerges in the essays in this issue is actually not one secularism, but rather a range of secularisms—French, American, Indian, and others— that can be compared, evaluated, and improved upon.

The Shifting Experience of Self

Joseph E. Davis

Social and cultural change, from the rise of the “information economy” to changes in family life to the technological mediation of our relationships, is happening all around us.

The Corporate Professor

Jennifer L. Geddes

Exploring the bureaucratization of the life of the mind.

Sustain-ability?

Joshua J. Yates

There seems to be little agreement on what it is that needs sustaining, let alone how we should go about it in practice.

Science and Moral Life

Joseph E. Davis

The successful marketing of the “new science of morality” suggests its considerable allure for the popular imagination.

Truth and Consequences

Sophia Rosenfeld

Untruth—information that could be described as unverified, misleading, or an out-and-out lie—has been spreading with new ease and abandon, and often to undemocratic effect.

Governing for the Common Good

Stephen Assink

Charlottesville city councilor Kathy Galvin on the challenges of city governance

Why the New Flows of Capital Matter for Cities

Stephen Assink

Cities are increasingly being eyed by tech companies for their social dynamism and ability to generate innovation. This will have tremendous consequences for the future of society.

Is Nothing Truly Alive?

Paul Nedelisky

What's the real-world significance of arguing in a New York Times op-ed that life doesn't exist? More than we might initially think.

Brother Rat?

Paul Nedelisky

Empirical verifiability is great when you can get it. But the worry here is what might happen to our self-understanding as human beings if we become willing to trade in an understanding of a rich and meaning-laden feature of our nature for, well, something we can share with a rat.

Monkey Takes Selfie, Lawsuits Ensue

Leann Davis Alspaugh

A monkey's selfie has done more than just raise awareness about an endangered species.

Cozy Up to Whole Foods

Leann Davis Alspaugh

Whole Foods Market is tired of your “whole paycheck” jokes. Recently, “America’s healthiest grocery store” launched a multi-million dollar advertising campaign titled Values Matter.

Color Commentary

Leann Davis Alspaugh

Pantone's Marsala is no mauve, but it does reflect our present cultural mood.

Art for Data’s Sake

Leann Davis Alspaugh

To reduce a museum experience to the laws of supply and demand devalues not only the art itself but also the curators’ years of education and expertise—connoisseurship on which we rely in institutions that position themselves as cultural arbiters.

Sluttery and Shakespeare

B.D. McClay

A translation of English to English presumes that ambiguity of language is always a flaw—but it’s not.

Law, Religion, and Confident Pluralism in the University

John Inazu

With our colleagues, and with our students, we have the space not only to express disagreement in more than tweets and sound bites, but also to probe the reasons underlying our disagreement.

Running the Country Like a Business

Guest Blogger

Is it enough for a business to turn a profit? Or should a business cultivate human flourishing and shared prosperity to be considered a success?

The Art of the Possible

B.D. McClay

A zero sum reality, in which every win is someone else’s loss, exists in a constant state of crisis.