Reaching the Adjacent

Alan Jacobs

Are we willing to undertake the long, slow work of persuasion in a time of the politics of personal destruction?

You Are Not a Server

Alan Jacobs

We have been trained by social media to use our brains as servers.

States of Purple

Richard Hughes Gibson

The red vs. blue electoral map has contributed to the toxicity of our politics.

Race, MLK, and the Allure of Made-for-TV Justice

Andrew Lynn

Media executives have honed the craft of attracting national interest to flair-ups and clashes over school board proceedings, controversial small business practices, or more recently, police misconduct.

Where Turing Tests Go Wrong

Alan Jacobs

Perhaps computers are so bad at conversation because it is something like prayer.

Time to Quit

Richard Hughes Gibson

Facebook is free only in the most superficial sense.

Athelstan the Woke

Alan Jacobs

I myself stopped using the term a while back.

It’s the Status, Stupid!

Michael Signer

Because this cannot be ignored. And because it may be prologue to the future.

Where the Humanities Aren’t in Crisis

Scott Samuelson

The benefits of the humanities have danced so gracefully through these tutorials that it’s never occurred to any of us to ask what’s the point.

Talk with the Hand!

Richard Hughes Gibson

I observed that the most effective communicators delivered the most histrionic performances. 

Between Utopia and Disaster

Malloy Owen

The modern state is founded on a dream—the dream of perfect knowledge that secures perfect power.

The Wisdom Hypothesis

Matthew J. Milliner

Even defenders of the idea today such as Bruno Latour admit that Gaia in the original Greek context is “a figure of violence."

Why Carl Schmitt Matters to China

Addis Goldman

It would be prudent to take the Chinese at their word––especially if it is bound up in the mystifying language of Carl Schmitt.

Neither This Nor That

Rhoda Feng

We view the concept of “compromise” from all sorts of oblique angles.

The Problem with Productivity and the Good Work of Love

Alan Jacobs

That means, first, that I have to love my neighbor—my colleague—above my own productivity.

Field Notes of a Sentence Watcher

Richard Hughes Gibson

Taking pleasure in a well-crafted sentence is a good in itself.

The Professional-Managerial Novel

Sohale Andrus Mortazavi

Pretending that all workers are the same obscures rather than clarifies the reality of class.

Where the Critics of Liberalism Go Wrong

Andrew Lynn

Postliberalism comes to embody a form of cultural criticism that ultimately does not believe in culture itself.

Looking Under the Hood of AI’s Dubious Models

Ethan Edwards

Models are only valuable in the long run if we are free to take them apart.

In the Sideshadows

Richard Hughes Gibson

Everyone contributes to the pandemic, so all bear responsibility.

Finding Fukuyama’s Ends

Addis Goldman

Western liberal democracy is something worth aspiring toan optimal destiny, not an imminent fate.

Changing Times

Mark Edmundson

Once upon a time there was a publication that was doing all it could to tell a straight story and to listen to all sides.

Who Killed Essentialism?

Charlie Riggs

We seem to be unable to do without our essences.

The Idiosyncratic School of Reading

Richard Hughes Gibson

Self-knowledge and pleasure, the Idiosyncratics teach us, go hand in hand through the library.

Writing a Life

Alan Jacobs

The question I want to ask is simply this: Is the writing of a Life a game that, in our current moment, can be played?

Critical Theory and the Newest Left

Alexander Stern

Corporations are not defanging a threatening ideology but welcoming it back home from a field trip.

The Desk

Mike Rose

These were places where I could imagine anything, be anybody. Space travel was new, fresh, a laboratory of possibility.

A Stacked Deck

Jonathan Malesic

What makes someone a likely Substack star is an ability to cultivate one-way, parasocial relationships with readers.

All Eyes on Me

Alan Jacobs

Sometimes irony is a painful awareness of our own absurdity.

Wordsworth and the Paradox of Self-Writing

Kathryn Hamilton Warren

When I give myself over to the self-writers I love most, I am transformed.

Let Us Now Praise the Periodical Cicadas

Vincent Ercolano

The pulsating song of billions of seventeen-year cicadas.

More than a Matter of Taste

Joshua Hren

Henry James’s fiction shows how aesthetic misjudgments can be connected to moral vice.

Lawn Care

Alan Jacobs

If you get out in your yard with a push mower, everyone who passes wants to talk with you about it.

No Mere Acquaintances

Richard Hughes Gibson

Renewing your weaks social ties might make your closest ties stronger.

The Serf’s Story

Alan Jacobs

Like the tenants of the Bishop of Worcester, they know that in a tightening job market they have leverage.

The Problem with “Western” Religions on Campus

Anna Keating

The workplace had become so toxic that it was affecting my well-being.

A New Guild System

Alan Jacobs

What if the more successful political commentators on Substack, or music teachers on YouTube, or masters of the podcast interview, began to teach their craft to others?

Do We Absolutely Disagree?

Alan Jacobs

Well known free speech advocates may not always be free speech absolutists.

Groundhog Daze

B.D. McClay

On living the same day over and over.

Dare We Call It Charisma?

Mark Edmundson

A trick that only the most gifted demagogues can bring off.

More Than Just a Word

Richard Hughes Gibson

Americans have been making arguments about the nature of their unity from the beginning.

Is Trumpism Marxism?

Ronald Osborn

On the dangerous absurdity of political caricature.

A History Lesson from Alexander Hamilton

Richard Hughes Gibson

The events of January 6 went off script.

When Disaster Is an Invaluable Lesson

Jay Tolson

Donald Trump’s manner was a declaration of indifference toward the values that make democracy possible.

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.

Are Honor Codes Still Necessary?

Guest Blogger

Rampant cheating at my university was bad enough; more troubling was the culture of omertà among the professors.

Shame: An Argument for Preserving “Those” Monuments

Guest Blogger

In spite of myself, something in my gut told me that the statue of General Robert E. Lee should have stayed.

Missing Michael Cromartie

Guest Blogger

We need bridges between journalism and religion now more than ever.

Charlottesville Daze

Jay Tolson

The fish rots from the head, runs an old adage. But it does not really describe America’s current condition. The rot is general through the body politic.

Navalny’s Gamble

Guest Blogger

The lesson the young protesters received on the Day of Russia was clear: They cannot expect the current government to change.

In Defense of Dirty Meat: Ecology, Techno-Utopianism, and the Cultured Meat Movement

Guest Blogger

Should food have loftier aspirations than merely satisfying hunger?

We Need a (Historian) Hero

Guest Blogger

What we really need right now is a new kind of hero—calling all historians!

The Crisis in the Climate Change Crisis

Guest Blogger

“Crisis” itself is in crisis, such that both the structure and urgency of the crisis of climate change could elude us.

What Is Innocence Worth?

Lisa Lorish

What should the compensation be for overserving a prison sentence?

The New Russian Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Guest Blogger

March 26 was the seventeenth anniversary of Vladimir Putin’s election to the Presidency of Russia. The day did not turn out as Putin had probably hoped.

Princeton Seminary, Presbyterian Pastors, and Purpose

John D. Inazu

Confident pluralism at its best requires people and institutions that know themselves well enough to articulate the reasons for their differences.

The Worth of “Useless” Knowledge

Real insight often comes in mysterious ways.

Empire’s Regrets

If empire wants stability, capitalism favors instability.

Mom, Apple Pie—and Lady Gaga

Leann Davis Alspaugh

Lady Gaga keeps it classy at Super Bowl LI.

Silicon Valley’s Survivalists

Chad Wellmon

The disruptors and innovators promise a future that they have no intention of sharing.

Irony Goes to Washington

In what sense is Trump’s speech ironic?

Illiberalism Rising

Guest Blogger

Both the left and the right warn of growing illiberalism.

Infernal Machine Collective Manifesto: On the Occasion of the Inauguration

Chad Wellmon

On this inauguration day, we dedicate this platform to finding those positions, to develop the techniques, to find the pressure-points in our media and rhetoric to make sense of our new conditions, technological and political, and to articulate commonalities and goals.

Will Trump Cure the Great (White) Depression?

Jay Tolson

For the moment, according to Thomas Edsall, the former sufferers of what might be called the Great White Depression are feeling "elated." What might this mean?

An Academic Haven Under Fire

Guest Blogger

The Humanities Center at Johns Hopkins is under threat.

Where Now, America?

Guest Blogger

My family worked hard to join a nation that would respect us. We became Americans. We loved American traditions. But today, we feel lost.

A Political Revolution

Guest Blogger

What happened yesterday?

High Hopes

Carl Desportes Bowman

Just as Obama became a symbol of progressive diversity, Trump has become a symbol of longing for a pre-Obama America.

Putin’s Russia: Playing the Cultural Conservative Card

Guest Blogger

In the twentieth century, Russia presented itself to the world as a model of a different way of life. In this century, things haven’t changed.

Calibrating the Moral Compass

Guest Blogger

The necessary but unavoidable complexities of character education.

Why Not to Despair When the Barbarians Are at the Gate

Guest Blogger

The Creator is a comedian, and we’ve all become too pious, cynical, or despairing to laugh at our circumstances. In the end, shared success is contingent on the individual trusting the timeless human spirit.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Politics

Ned O’Gorman

Many began watching last night’s debate wondering: Which Trump would it be? But there’s only one.

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?

It’s the System, Stupid

Ned O’Gorman

In identifying “the system” as the issue of this election, Trump has managed to find a singular concept by which to encompass issues from wage stagnation to political corruption.

Desperately Seeking Relevance

Guest Blogger

Why has relevance become so prominent as a goal and a de facto accomplishment?

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.

The Hedgehog Recommends: Summer Reading

Hedgehog staff and contributors share their summer reading plans.

The World Our Parents Left Us

Jay Tolson

Throughout an increasingly fractured nation—and not just America, but other Western nations—too many citizens felt that they were being left behind...

Two Cultures, At Least

B.D. McClay

The world of higher education may still be ruled by culture war. But it’s not about the canon.

Neither Hero nor Villain

Julia Ticona

Uber’s legal troubles and the future of work.

Which Religious-Liberty Protections Mean Something? A Question for Jonathan Merritt

Guest Blogger

Jonathan Merritt is right to point out many “religious liberty” protections are driven by fear. Still, that’s not the only reason.

Apple’s Fight with the FBI: A Follow Up

The Apple-FBI dispute has been resolved, but in the worst possible way for Apple.

Why Trump?

Guest Blogger

Trump makes a lot Americans feel good about being our worst selves.

Public Displays: FBI, Apple, and Preserving Open Debate on Cybersecurity

Guest Blogger

Private sector involvement in cybersecurity is likely to produce better policy than the government could produce without public or corporate scrutiny.

The Public, the Private, and Apple's Fight with the FBI

What kind of privacy is Apple protecting?

Why It’s Good to Love Football (Or Any Sport)

Guest Blogger

Sports provide the rarest of experiences in modern society—an escape into clear-cut-ness.

Against Flat-Earthers (No, Really)

Guest Blogger

We’re bound to look up to the brave, skeptical iconoclast more than the unassuming puzzle-solver. But we should resist the temptation to valorize scientific iconoclasm.

Speaking Truth to Power

Leann Davis Alspaugh

As we remember the Challenger disaster, let’s not forget the engineers who tried to convince NASA not to send up the Space Shuttle on a cold morning thirty years ago.

Things to Do Instead of Watching the Debate Tomorrow

B.D. McClay

Read this blog post many times until the evening has somehow slipped away.

Dispatches from Today's Youth Culture: Social Visibility

Murray Milner, Jr.

Teenagers have multiple motivations for their use of social media, but a concern about their status with other peers is certainly central—and social visibility is a prerequisite to such status.

Recommended Reading: “A Conversation With Mark Noll”

Dan Turello interviews Mark Knoll for the Kluge Center.

The Talking Cure

Sherry Turkle believes that our “capacity for solitude” is undercut by picking up the phone and checking our email.

T. S. Eliot on Psychology and the Modern Novel

Jay Tolson

Eliot credits Dostoevsky with peering into the abyss at least as intently as Freud and his acolytes did, but nevertheless coming away from the experience with a richer, fuller, and, yes, deeper understanding of human psychology.

The Critical Fate of the Major Novel

B.D. McClay

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; even smaller minds complain about the rest of these people.

Nature Writing Gets Personal

James McWilliams

After situating themselves in a “wild” context, both women do what the entire history of nature writing has implicitly instructed them not to do: they bring their emotional backpacks into the landscape.

In Defense of Scientific Asteroids

Jeffrey Guhin

Is the science in social science worth defending? The short answer is yes, and the long answer is that it depends on how you define science.

The Daily Show in the Age of Irony

Johann N. Neem

Jon Stewart and the age of irony.

The Quandary of Internet Openness

Joseph Kreiter

If we want the Internet to remain free and open for everyone, is it right to exclude bullies and jerks? Lessons from the Ellen Pao incident.

My Love/Hate Relationship With Streaming

James Rathjen

It's just not possible to love something that says “be unique, but only as unique as we'll allow you to be.”

Pope Francis and Humane Ecology

Steven Knepper

Francis’s integral ecology challenges some tendencies on both the right and the left.

Cheering for Thanatos

James Mumford

For the editors of The Economist, euthanasia is "an idea whose time has come."

The Incomprehensible Witness of Forgiveness

John D. Inazu

Meaningful social change requires the kind of social reconciliation that can only emerge through aggregated instances of both forgiveness and repentance.

With Friends Like These

B.D. McClay

Stop me if you think you've heard this one before.

Big Easy Ink

Leann Davis Alspaugh

New Orleans, where spectacle and transgression are part of the infrastructure, is the ideal place to conduct completely unscientific research on tattooing.

Questions of Life and Death—The Tsarnaev Case

Lisa Lorish

We have no way of knowing whether Tsarnaev was given the opportunity to avoid a trial and plead to a life sentence, or if he would have taken that offer had it been made. It seems clear that there are inconsistencies when government determines when to seek death sentences.

Beyond the Reveal: Toward Other Hermeneutics

Guest Blogger

In some ways, our thinking about our technologies and algorithms stands to get stuck on the “reveal,” the first encounter with the existence of a black box. Such reveals are appealing for scholars, artists, and activists––we sometimes like nothing better than to pull back a curtain. But because of our collective habit of establishing new systems to extricate ourselves from old ones, that reveal can set us on a path away from deliberative and deliberate shared social spaces that support our fullest goals for human flourishing.

Beyond the Reveal: A Metaphor’s Effect

Guest Blogger

Maybe, by structuring our engagement with the experience of Facebook’s opaque processes through the black box metaphor, we’ve set ourselves up to construct a new black box, and ignored the ways in which our relations to others, within and without the present system, have been changed by our newfound awareness.

Beyond the Reveal: Living with Black Boxes

Guest Blogger

More than a mere Taylorist repeater of actions, the new ideal worker of post-war Human Factors research not only acts but perceives, acting according to learned evaluative routines that correlate sensation to action. The ideal post-War laborer is not a person of a particular physical build, conditioned to perform particular motions, but rather a universalized collection of possible movements, curated and selected according to mathematical principles.

Culture, Authority, and the University

Guest Blogger

Professors matter a lot, but a good university education requires more than a good professor.

Throwing Away the Key

Lisa Lorish

When did we stop believing in rehabilitation? The case of Lima-Marin should make us stop and ask why we punish, and what happens to those we punish.

Up in Smoke—Plain Packaging and Brand Identity

Leann Davis Alspaugh

Is plain packaging for cigarettes a barrier to trade?

Beethoven and the Beef Jerky Maker

Leann Davis Alspaugh

If technology rarely delivers on its claims, then need we waste so much as a backward glance as we dash ahead to the next digital milestone?

In Little League, All Racial Politics Are Local

Guest Blogger

There is a great irony, even hypocrisy, in Little League International's coming down on Jackie Robinson West now—and only now—that they have won a national championship.

Where Moth and Rust Doth Corrupt

B.D. McClay

The Internet never forgets? Maybe. It's more likely that, in a few years, you won't be able to read this blog post at all.

Harlequin as Hammer

Leann Davis Alspaugh

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.

The End(s) of History

Jay Tolson

Moyn's ambition for the discipline of history undercuts its legitimacy as a distinct form of knowledge and denies the ethic of the craft.

Algorithms Who Art in Apps, Hallowed Be Thy Code

Guest Blogger

How we talk about algorithms is impeding our ability to think clearly about them and their place in society.

Could Show You Incredible Things—But That Would Be a Trademark Violation

Leann Davis Alspaugh

Taylor Swift’s recent trademarking frenzy is another example of how artists are scrambling to maintain control over their work in the face of the digital tsunami.

Mirror, Mirror

B.D. McClay

For now, the television show that really will hold up the mirror to our technological lives probably has yet to air.

What Is It About Culture?

Jay Tolson

When the word culture was selected as Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2014, we at The Hedgehog Review took notice.

The Public and Private, Once Again

Encryption offers a false substitute for real solutions—something that is the moral equivalent of vigilante force when what we need is better government and law.

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.

Crime, Punishment, and Serial

Guest Blogger

I don’t care whether or not Adnan Syed is guilty anymore. For me, if he is guilty, the big question is how long he should be in jail.

The Arts and Humanities Save Lives!

If saving lives is our metric, the biggest deficit we face is not an "innovation deficit" but a "wisdom deficit."

The New Class and The New Republic

Guest Blogger

The New Republic helped us to see through technological determinism’s crippling fatalism and techno-utopianism’s sonorous pretensions.

Color Commentary

Leann Davis Alspaugh

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

The Chokehold That Is Prosecutorial Discretion

Guest Blogger

Every victim stands at the whim of the prosecutor to determine whether or not a case even starts down the path of seeking justice from a criminal court.

Reflections on Sexual Assault and Its Contemporary Cultural Context

Guest Blogger

Like everyone in this community, I read the Rolling Stone story about the violent gang rape at the University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity with profound sadness and indignation.

Law and Violence

Guest Blogger

Missouri’s flawed use-of-force law was in place long before the day Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown.

The Spectacle of Waste

Guest Blogger

For the second time in as many months the University of Virginia is being asked to reckon with the fact that predatory sexual violence—so prevalent in many parts of the world—is also present in its midst.

A Century of The New Republic

Jay Tolson

Still fundamentally liberal in spirit, though less certain than ever about what liberalism means, the magazine reflects the uncertainty that many Americans feel about the viability of politics, and political ideas, in our fragile democracy.

Universitybot Responds: Gang Rape as "Sexual Misconduct"

Brianne Alcala

Sullivan's statement was a missive from the bureaucratic bowels of an accounting machine. It was surely manufactured by public relations specialists and lawyers whose interests are simply fiduciary, concerned only with legal liability and potential fundraising.

Portrait of the Artist as Algorithm

We generally think of artists as living to express themselves and to leave indelible records of their existence—but Dejan Lazić would apparently prefer to be forgotten.

Feeding the Homeless, and Other Crimes

B.D. McClay

Erasing every ugly reality from view might make life a little more pleasant for the currently fortunate, but it makes for irresponsible governance and cold-hearted citizens.

Here Comes the Potentiated Self

Brianne Alcala

Raising the self to a higher power is grounded not in the liberating promises of technology but in the more mundane pursuit of excellent habits. Sometimes data can help. But only with coaches and teachers skilled enough to help us make sense of it, and help us learn how to practice.

Prejudice and Place

B.D. McClay

If by “prejudice” Sandel means “subjective understanding,” then I’m not entirely sure it needs defending.

Innovation Is Not a Style: Considering Starchitecture and Locatecture

While architects like Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas despise the term starchitecture, it continues to bubble up in our celebrity obsessed culture. How does this term complicate how we talk about architecture and how we understand our cities?

Some Not-So-Scary Stories for Halloween

B.D. McClay

Looking for some stories for Halloween? Start here.

Divided We (Barely) Stand

Jay Tolson

Brooks is persuasive about the pernicious consequences of partyism, but I find his explanation for it both baffling and incomplete.

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.

“What is Liberal Education For?”: A Conference Postmortem

B.D. McClay

The liberal education conference has now come and gone. My own panel went well, though I think I left with the same question I had going in, namely: Are there any truthful instrumental arguments to be made for liberal education?

John Searle and the Threat of Artificial Intelligence

It is at the point of this speculative possibility that Searle’s argument becomes both more interesting and more problematic, for it probes—somewhat indirectly, but powerfully nonetheless—the significance of the “artificial,” a category under which we can put both “art,” “artifice,” and certainly “technology.”

The Morality of Food—Then and Now

It is interesting to contrast the motivations behind the World War I food conservation efforts with those behind today’s food-related activism. We are all foodies now, it seems.

"What is Liberal Education For?": A Preview

B.D. McClay

One difficulty faced by people talking about higher education—or marketing institutions of higher education—is that the purpose of education is now widely considered to be job training, and on that level, it doesn't appear to be succeeding particularly well

So Who Edits Google?

Brianne Alcala

We are only now beginning to understand why the unstated norms that shape the design and use of computational algorithms need to be made more explicit—and therefore subject to critical public debate. For now, Google and Facebook don't have mastheads or editorial pages. The names of the people who make judgments about what an algorithm does are hidden. All we have is the veneer of mechanical neutrality and the invocation of an objectivity that operates beyond the human.

Virtual Assembly and the Legal Limits of Digital Dualism

John D. Inazu

The virtual dimensions of assembly may yield insights for how we understand more traditional assemblies and the legal protections that we assign to them.

Big Data, Small Data, and the Ethics of Scale

Brianne Alcala

If we think of Facebook and Google and the computations in which we are enmeshed merely as information-processing machines, we concede our world to one end of the scale, a world of abstracted big data and all powerful algorithms. We forget that the internet, like any technology, is both a material infrastructure and something we do.

Twitter, Racism, and the “Safe” Campus

Brianne Alcala

What is the proper context for even citing a tweet, let alone understanding the import or effects of 140 characters delivered as part of a longer, partially public, partially private exchange?

Living With Ferguson

These representative acts of public judgment were meaningful in ways that transcend the unjust system. The world was watching and that was significant.

Monkey Takes Selfie, Lawsuits Ensue

Leann Davis Alspaugh

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

Algorithms Rule

Brianne Alcala

We are living in an age of algorithmic authority. Algorithms filter our music choices, track our purchasing decisions, find our airline tickets, and help us withdraw money from an ATM. They are ubiquitous. They are forming who we are and who we want to become. But we are only beginning to ask about our algorithmic selves.

Deans Care About Books

Brianne Alcala

By clinging to the idea that that humanities and humanistic social science scholarship must take the form of a print book, scholars and deans threaten the future of university presses and erode their ability to evaluate and distribute high-quality scholarship.

Twilight of an Idol: College, Purpose, and Zombies

Brianne Alcala

College has come to bear an impossible burden, both individually and socially. Its most confident advocates treat it like a stand-alone ethical resource, capable of funding and guiding the self- transformations of America's elite.

And Who Is a Person? The Problem with Hobby Lobby (Part II)

Does the Hobby Lobby decision not call for a better concept of corporate personhood that would allow us to differentiate between various types of entities and religious liberty claims?

And Who Is a Person? The Problem with Hobby Lobby (Part I)

Guest Blogger

It is this extension of protections to for-profit corporations (closely held), that has moved early commentary from the legal academy to conclude that the most enduring legacy of Hobby Lobby may not be in the area of religious liberty but, rather, in an expanded (and expanding) notion of corporate personhood

Trigger Alert

Leann Davis Alspaugh

One person’s trigger alert is another person’s censorship.

Are We Losing the Attention War?

Jay Tolson

In its upcoming summer issue, The Hedgehog Review has invited contributors to examine aspects of our attention disorder that seldom receive careful consideration. As they show, attention may be far less a technological or neurobiological problem than a cultural, ethical, and philosophical one, bound up with our deepest ideas about the human person and the purposes of our lives.

You must change your graduate program!

Andrew Piper

We can either change in substantive ways or pretend to do something else while actually continuing to do the same things we’ve always done. The MLA report looks a lot like the latter and no doubt so will most of the responses to it.

Just Deserts

Just what do you deserve? Quite a lot according to today’s marketers and ad copywriters. From healthcare to fast food, you deserve choices, you deserve the best, and—most hyperbolically—you deserve it all.

She Knew Why the Caged Bird Sings

Jay Tolson

Maya Angelou, born Marguerete Ann Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri in1928, died today in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, having accomplished in a little over 86 years what would take most gifted people at least two lifetimes to equal.

Happy Birthday, Brown v. Board of Education!

Jay Tolson

Yes, there are still reasons to rejoice. One of the most powerful bulwarks of Jim Crow segregation began to fall that day in 1954, when the high court justices unanimously overruled the "separate but equal" doctrine encased in the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision

Minimalist Food For a Streamlined Life

Guest Blogger

In our digitally instantaneous times, the desire for speed and efficiency is nothing new, including in our eating habits. Rob Rhinehart’s Soylent project is simply an accelerated response to popular demand for the cheap, convenient, and fast.

This is an Artisan Post

Brianne Alcala

The gourmet, bespoke, personalized, and designed just-for-you creation is so appealing on this planet of 7 billion people. You are not just a number. You are special. Even your burger roll is artisan.

Dishonesty in the Headlines

Murray Milner, Jr.

“My word is my bond,” business “done with a handshake,” and “honor codes” are not even the rhetoric of the day, much less the reality.

Measuring Virtue in the Audit Society

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the conference was the very question of measuring virtue. Who is asking this question and why now?


Jay Tolson

If the world is turning into a bleak stage for the cynical manipulation and abuse of democratic principles for undemocratic, illiberal, or simply self-aggrandizing ends, then the United States cannot hold itself entirely blameless.

In Defense of the Misunderstood Hedgehog

Brianne Alcala

It is our 21st-century age-of-the-brand duty to come to the defense of our namesake, the hedgehog, recently maligned.

The Debate Over Nudging

Brianne Alcala

A recent post on "nudging" by Charles Mathewes and Christina McRorie has sparked three thoughtful replies on the blog Political Theology, each representing a different philosophical camp.

A Peek at the Spring Issue

Brianne Alcala

A preview of our forthcoming spring issue, "Europe in Search of Europeans," for the curious.

The American Tradition of Civil Religion

Brianne Alcala

Civil religion is a distinctly American tradition, an engagement with enduring principles set against two rival traditions, explains Philip Gorksi.

There is Hope in Africa

Guest Blogger

A recent global survey shows that high numbers of Africans believe that brighter days are ahead. One potential explanation: the influence of Prosperity Gospel Pentecostalism.

Winter Storm Pax and the Power of Names

Claire Maiers

As Winter Storm Pax pushes across the eastern United States this week, I find myself pondering the power of names.

Self-Knowledge in the Age of the Digital Panopticon

Jay Tolson

A short piece in the British thought journal Prospect, "Quantified Self: The Algorithm of Life," reminds me once again that satire of the dystopian variety can barely keep up with what the real world throws at us every day.

The European Issues

Brianne Alcala

Readers whose interest has been whetted by the Harper's symposium on Europe should look forward to the Hedgehog's diverse delvings into Europe's current crisis.

The Best Case for the Humanities

Jay Tolson

Many years ago, a friend of mine was asked what she planned to do with her English degree after she graduated from university. Her reply was terse but only partly ironic: "I plan to read novels."

Compared to What?

Chad Wellmon

What debates and research about the effects of digital technologies on our lives so often lack is historical perspective.

Lyndon Johnson's War

Jay Tolson

Few would dispute that America’s war on poverty—declared 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson in his State of the Union Address—is still a long way from over. With 15 percent of Americans today living under the poverty line, only four percent fewer than when Johnson launched his campaign, many might even agree with Ronald Reagan’s stinging assessment that “poverty won.”

Is the Distracted Life Worth Living?

Jay Tolson

Philosophy is something close to a national pastime in France, a fact reflected not just in the celebrity status of its big thinkers but also in the interest its media show in the subject. So perhaps it's not surprising that several French publications recently sent correspondents, interviewers, and even philosophers to the Richmond, Va. motorcycle repair shop of Matthew Crawford, mechanic, philosopher, and a senior fellow at the University of Virginia's Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.

Taylorism and the Work of Health

The principles of Taylorism have had an enduring effect on job design practices. Something very like them is now being applied to the job of health.

60 Minutes Bows to Amazon, Delivery Drones, and the Endless Joys of Disruption

Jay Tolson

60 Minutes has never been the journalistic paragon of its makers' proud imaginings, but its slips have been particularly noticeable of late.

"Where's the Betterness?"

Chad Wellmon

A lot of our society's overblown technophilia goes on fulsome display at Austin's annual gathering of the hip and innovative, South by Southwest Interactive. Jacob Silverman, an independent writer, travelled to the 2013 festival to cover it for the fiercely contrarian review, The Baffler.

Have Children Become the New Opium of the Masses?

Jay Tolson

Without going to any pains to prove it, Stewart charges that while previous ages valued honor, glory, heroic achievements, or an active public life, ours is "the first civilization to find its deepest fulfillment in its descendants. Our opium," he adds, "is our children."

The Imagined American Center

The bitter partisanship of the Obama era leaves some pundits and commentators longing for political transcendence, for a land of harmony and cooperation in which Americans work together to achieve common purposes. Such longings for political and cultural unity surface whenever partisanship threatens to paralyze government and bickering brushes aside reasonable discourse and debate