Machiavelli: Still Shocking after Five Centuries

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‘Of all the writers in the “realist” canon—from Thucydides and Hobbes to Morgenthau and Mearsheimer—it is Niccolo Machiavelli who retains the greatest capacity to shock. In 1513, banished from his beloved Florence, Machiavelli drafted his masterwork, The Prince. Five centuries later his primer on statecraft remains required if unsettling reading for practitioners and students of politics. Machiavelli’s originality—and the source of ... Read More »

The ancient roots of self-help


The self-help industry is reportedly worth $13bn in the US alone. Robin Ince looks at the roots of a literary tradition that goes from strength to strength. Once life became more than chasing beasts, running away from bigger beasts, occasional mating and surviving ice ages, things got complicated. Once your life became a little more secure, you had to work ... Read More »

Working in the Medium of Science


‘Colliding Worlds’ Explores Art Driven by Science Scientists are logical, making observations and running experiments, then building theories that explain the data. Artists are emotional, working in solitude and by intuition. Or so we are told. In “Colliding Worlds,” the historian and philosopher Arthur I. Miller argues that artists and scientists have always had the same mission: to “fathom the reality beyond ... Read More »

When It’s Cool To Have Nothing


Ditching your possessions is hip right now. The “tiny house” is popular enough that it has its own conference — the next one, in Portland, Ore., promises to be “the biggest Tiny House Conference yet.” An environmental science professor recently gained Internet fame (and some ridicule) for his decision to sell most of his belongings andlive in a Dumpster. And Joshua Fields ... Read More »

26th International Conference of Philosophy under way in Athens

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The 26th International Conference of Philosophy is currently being held in Athens, aiming at providing a broad forum for exploring moral and political issues which are crucial and relevant to the views expressed in ancient Greek philosophy. The Conference “Greek Philosophy and Moral and Political Issues of our Global Era”, which started on July 12, has already attracted great interest ... Read More »

World’s earliest erotic graffiti found in unlikely setting on Aegean island

Erotic graffiti on Aegean island of Astypalaia

Racy inscriptions and phalluses carved into Astypalaia’s rocky peninsula shed light on very private lives of ancient Greece Wild, windswept, rocky and remote, Astypalaia is not an obvious place for the unearthing of some of the world’s earliest erotic graffiti. Certainly, Dr Andreas Vlachopoulos, a specialist in prehistoric archaeology, didn’t think so when he began fieldwork on the Aegean island four ... Read More »

Speaking to My Father in a Dead Dialect


My parents’ skirmishes with standard Italian were nothing compared to the all-out war they waged on English. They would answer calls for their sons by saying “she’s a no’ home.” I took this gender-bending as an assertion of my individuality, my access to a world that separated me from all the other kids on the block. I may have lived ... Read More »

Collecting Art: Philanthropy or Self-Glorification?


BASEL — The last few years have ushered in a new era in the craze for contemporary art, with prices reaching such dizzying heights that many feel inclined to predict its collapse. Yet, the bubble shows no sign of bursting. Art buying has become the favorite playground of a super-rich elite isolated from the economic realities that shape the lives ... Read More »

Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions

sam harris Questions of good and evil, right and wrong are commonly thought unanswerable by science. But Sam Harris argues that science can — and should — be an authority on moral issues, shaping human values and setting out what constitutes a good life. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where ... Read More »