I look at the practice of democracy not so much as a fixed set of procedural requirements, but as a process that needs to have certain kinds of symbolic markers and consummations that define where people are in relation to each other.
The shaping and conditioning of our self-understanding by consumption is one form of the commodification of self.
Depression’s prevalence can be attributed to the reduced importance of the notion of conflict.
The rate of change, the kinds of change, and the scope of change taking place today are impossible to understand without also looking at the ways they are affecting societies and how we understand and experience ourselves and others.
We no longer experience a world, or sense ourselves as the subject of that experience; we are, rather, shrouded and carried along in the moodiness of the present.
The available terms for making better sense of the human predicament are plentiful, but most are currently buried beneath layers of exhausted soil.
We know very little about what we are doing, why we do it, or how we feel about it.
The Kinsey agenda remains alive as key justifications for counting up sexual acts.
What is a Catholic philosopher?
The unscientific foundation of science and technology is in need of wisdom, practical and theoretical, about human ends.
The relationship of money to the romantic ideal of meaningful work is profound and problematic.
The exasperated tone with which evolutionary scientists, philosophers of science, and others on the side of science and philosophy received Nagel’s book was struck early.
Like it or not, the basis of human culture has a great deal to do with the evolution of a socio-affective/social-cognitive infrastructure that opens up an enormous arc of possibility.
Among their many meanings, zombies have come to symbolize the force of globalization.
Recent studies suggest that working on happiness may be counterproductive.
Every productive adult in our society needs an education that fully engages the mind and the heart.
Can dignity bear the weight we want to give it in our political, legal, and moral systems?
Hoping for a richer, particularistic philosophy of medicine.
We can be sure that, religiosity being constitutional in human and social terms, religion has survived.
With the rise of humanism and modern critical scholarly practices in subsequent centuries, texts began to be treated as material objects to be fixed and plumbed for meaning.
Confusion about our digital technologies and their use is not limited to the masters of Silicon Valley.
Coming to terms with our most basic instincts is another thing we learn through boxing.
The quest for personal authenticity and autonomy in the face of unreliable communities and institutions has become a defining feature of the modern working class.
What kind of society can be produced from a work culture that demands so much from its workers without offering them stability in return?
The solution to the unraveling of the social contract of employment may not be to prop up the ailing traditional job but, instead, to imagine what other forms work lives might take.
Selfish dreams and the pleasures of individualism never go away.
The devil was understood to be present and industrious, and America’s earliest forebears were quick to suss him out by his evil works.
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.
A hangover is about being poisoned, no doubt. The toxins linger in the body and must be expelled, or waited out. We’re sick with a mini-flu and need to get better. But isn’t a hangover about more than physical toxins, at least some of the time?
The self-made man and the confidence man have existed in dialectical tension down to the present.
A human person is a historical being, in whom the past remains immanent in the present, and whom the wear and tear of time enhances rather than diminishes.
Great as they are, the challenges of the digital age are not only profoundly intellectual and conceptual.
At the beginning of the digital revolution, there existed a speculative energy that we could use now. It was put at the service not of innovation or disruption but of maintenance and politics, of establishing categories to put our digital world on a better course.
Death is experienced as the total absence of meaning and, consequently, as something not to be understood but merely to be managed by drawing on medical ingenuity, pharmaceutical resources, and the (increasingly limited) forbearance of insurance companies.
I am concerned with the quality of our choices as choices, and I am interested in excavating from our behaviors and artifacts an archaeology of our emotional life in the hope that naming these feelings can help us begin to reclaim our choices as our own.
The fact is, work as we know it isn’t worth saving anyway.
Uncomfortable though it might be to admit, Heidegger’s thinking is part of the Jewish textual tradition.
The principal experience of the art I encountered, I found, was not the art itself, but the uncertainty and complexity of my own subjective response.
We need to learn to see animals for what, and maybe who, they really are.
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.
Demands on our attention come from the informational environments and shared physical spaces we inhabit. At issue are ethical questions about the conduct of civic life.
Is the whole world slouching toward a Panopticon of digitally enabled surveillance and control?
Desire has become longing’s counterfeit.
Why do dreams, aside from those that prove uncannily prophetic, not befit our biography?
The death and life of the great American hipster offers an alternative history of culture over the last quarter century.
To feel and give voice to the “more” of our humanity was Saul Bellow’s vocation.
Gustav Theodor Fechner’s soul neither defies naturalism nor depends on revelation.
Vampire and zombie stories are stories of a new mass folklore. But they have dreamt themselves into us for specific reasons.
Today’s witches are no longer experts in the “occult.” Instead, they rush to aid the downtrodden—and to publish their potion recipes in best-selling how-to guides.
Both Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey endorse the same belief: that there are only winners and losers.
Moral growth doesn’t just mean looking to the future but reconciling past and present selfhood. It demands regret.
We might do a better job of living together if we believed that we are meant to do so.
Nowhere has the power of disembodied observation become more pervasive than in the workplace.
We have automated the society of clues to act on its own divinations, with consequences far beyond the individual.
We shouldn’t assume that the measures we take to combat the coronavirus today are temporary.
Given the gorgeousness of George Eliot’s own prose, her translation’s eloquence comes as no surprise.
Straight women are not unusually boring. We are, however, coded.
Everything that was once considered lowbrow is now triumphant.
On locating the sublimity of art within the world and within history.
Hunting after the “hidden life of learning,” Zena Hitz defends learning for its own sake.
The disagreement between modernism and the contemporary discourse of “self-help” is not about whether literature has “therapeutic” capacities.
Privilege today still comes with strings attached, but they are different now.
The meaning of performative in contemporary parlance is almost exactly the opposite of the word’s original meaning.
What is clear is that the great divisions in our country rest on our different systems of cultural capital.
The less politics effects change, the more politics will affect mood.
Awareness is not the opposite of ignorance. Rather, it’s a stand-in for performative gestures of all kinds.
Concern with authenticity seems to be unique to societies marked by conspicuous racial or ethnic hierarchies.
Learning to read for the possibility or the certainty of laughter in the writings of Phillis Wheatley.
How is an alignment of the authentic self and the college admissions process possible?
Every critique of self-care is true. Unfortunately, you still have to take care of yourself.
The mass migration of ordinary life into virtual space begins to look like a fantasy of perfect governance.
Is a feminist movement that speaks straight at me, let alone one whose central goal is to liberate me further, really a good use of anybody’s time?
As much as we may wish otherwise, history gives us few reasons to believe that its moral arc bends toward justice.
Our identity—insofar as it may be thought of as a fortress—is less adept at resisting life’s various microassaults at 3 am.
This project is and always has been worthwhile, even if groups of detractors talk themselves out of it from time to time.
The only way out of this prison of self-deception and self-justification is to love and seek the truth.
The practice of exercising judgment requires that very common sense upon which a common world is based.
There is the looming sense that critical theory is somehow near the center of the crisis of our time.
The fact is that we do not hold desire and reason together very well.
What if the work-week were fifteen hours a week? What if it were zero?
Costică Brădățan’s argument in praise of failure rests on its ability to make us humble.
Though careful observation comes first, my process involves research: detecting palimpsests in the architecture or observing how people move and inhabit the place.
What happens 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.
Cubism’s stylistic hegemony—the dislocated binaries, the tactile surfaces in a two-dimensional work, and the distortions—interferes with what we want to understand about what few clues we can decipher.
New Orleans, where spectacle and transgression are part of the infrastructure, is the ideal place to conduct completely unscientific research on tattooing.
“The world just flipped itself over with hardly any recognition of the tentacles it would sprout”—from an interview with artist Rosamond Casey, whose work appears in our spring issue.
Why should we expect that the inner self waiting to be born corresponds to some paid job or profession?
What does dominion “over every living thing that moves on the earth” mean? Brute sovereignty and ruthless exploitation? Or thoughtful stewardship and responsible cultivation?
What’s up with us humans, us American humans, that we’re committing ourselves more and more to unbending postures?
The return to normalcy will be long, and we might even change our mind along the way.
To make promises, to stand by one words, to be answerable for them, is to open oneself to blame.
My quarrel with M.F.K. Fisher was part of a larger quarrel I’ve been having with myself ever since we went to ground in March.
A human spirit of community and kindness can be learned. But it can also be forgotten.
The Internet is a technical system that has reshaped social roles and relationships in ways that we are at this point far from fully understanding. We are living out the terms of the new social contract.
The gap between our concepts of love and justice has served us poorly.
We need to preserve a distinction between recognizing our transgressions and resolving to change, on one hand, and imagining that we can forgive ourselves, on the other.
One thinks of identity whenever one is not sure of where one belongs.
It’s easy to see how lectures got a bad rap. We have all been subjected to someone who abused the privilege of an audience.
The modern state is founded on a dream—the dream of perfect knowledge that secures perfect power.
Perhaps computers are so bad at conversation because it is something like prayer.
We’ll have to confront the chasm between our self-conception and our actual behavior
For Mark Zuckerberg, the metaverse is personally important, a way to achieve an absolute good through connecting people.
We have here two very different approaches to spiritual authenticity.
The face we present to the world is the primary signifier we possess.
Jean-Luc Godard, like Nietzsche and Wittgenstein and Heidegger, is worth paying attention to even when we think his work is bad
The central truths revealed to me by psilocybin were all the things my mother tried to teach me.
In the output of the AI generated image, the technique is there but the techne is not.
The cultivation of taste, in morals as well as in art, is neither snobbish nor elitist.