Category: Philosophy

Walt Whitman’s Advice to the Young on the Building Blocks of Character and What It Takes to Be an Agent of Change

“In the long run,” Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in considering how we bring about social change, “there is no more liberating, no more exhilarating experience than to determine one’s position, state it bravely, and then act boldly.” A generation after her, Albert Camus examined what it really means to be a rebel and asserted that the […]

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Reality, Representation, and the Search for Meaning: Argentine Artist Mirtha Dermisache’s Invented Graphic Languages

  “Is language the adequate expression of all realities?” Nietzsche asked in contemplating how we use language to both reveal and conceal reality. A century after Nietzsche, the Argentine artist Mirtha Dermisache (February 21, 1940–January 5, 2012) set out to probe the limits and possibilities of language by filling countless notebooks, letters, and postcards with […]

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Pioneering Mathematician G.H. Hardy on the Noblest Existential Ambition and How We Find Our Purpose

“Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ­being satisfied,” Zadie Smith counseled in the tenth of her ten rules of writing — a tenet that applies with equally devastating precision to every realm of creative endeavor, be it poetry or mathematics. Bertrand Russell addressed this Faustian bargain of ambition in his 1950 […]

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Nabokov’s Synesthetic Alphabet: From the Weathered Wood of A to the Thundercloud of Z

Some of our mightiest metaphors draw on color to describe our perceptual and psychoemotional reality — a blue mood, a red rage. But while for most of us these metaphorical pairings of concepts are a form of abstract thinking encoded in symbolic language, some people experience a literal transliteration of the senses — for them, […]

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The too-believable truth

This weeks, bound proofs of my forthcoming book dropped through my letterbox, signalling the start of the pre-publication marketing and publicity campaign. Years ago, authors wouldn’t have had much to do with his. Now, like many others freelancers and gig workers, we have had to become our own publicists, all year round. The culture of […]

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