Sacred Reading

Chad Wellmon

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.

Trivial Pursuits

Paul Scherz

The decline of scientific research.

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.

From the Editors

Jay Tolson

Great as they are, the challenges of the digital age are not only profoundly intellectual and conceptual.

Digital Metaphysics

Leif Weatherby

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.

Seeing and Being Seen

Russell C. Bogue

Our political moment demands to see who we are—a beautiful and terrifying ordeal.

The Phantom Economy

Joseph E. Davis

The highly abstract and immaterial phantom economy is inextricable from the “real economy.”

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.

Work and Dignity

Joseph E. Davis

Work is not just an economic matter. Beyond survival, a range of other human values and ideals are at stake.

Minding Our Minds

Joseph E. Davis

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 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.

Impossible Wonder

Paul Nedelisky

Does understanding really rule out wonder?

Neither Hero nor Villain

Julia Ticona

Uber’s legal troubles and the future of work.

Hacking Moneyball

Ned O’Gorman

Numbers and big data may be able to show us how to do things better, but they cannot show us how to do things.

Introducing Our Spring Issue

Jay Tolson

What does dominion “over every living thing that moves on the earth” mean? Brute sovereignty and ruthless exploitation? Or thoughtful stewardship and responsible cultivation?