Claire Hall

Claire Hall is a research fellow at Durham.

Galen​ couldn’t stand gym bros. They were so occupied in the business of ‘amassing flesh’, he said, that they paid no attention to their souls, which were ‘smothered in a heap of mire’. Lucian, Galen’s contemporary, agreed. One of his short satires shows Hermes refusing to let a famous local beefcake called Damasius across the Styx to the underworld:...

Nietzsche​ found Anaximander troubling. In Basel in the 1870s, struggling to balance his duties as a lecturer in classics with his philosophical writing, Nietzsche described Anaximander as a ‘true pessimist’ with a guilt-ridden, punitive view of the universe. But he was also envious. Anaximander was born in 610 BC, long before the word ‘philosophy’ was coined: such...

From The Blog
17 June 2022

Blake Lemoine, an engineer at Google, was recently suspended after claiming that LaMDA, one of its chatbot systems, was a conscious person with a soul. His view is theologically informed: describing himself as a mystical Christian, he is an ordained priest in a small religious organisation called the Cult of Our Lady Magdalene (a ‘for-profit interfaith group’).

Favourably Arranged: Horoscopy

Claire Hall, 20 May 2021

It​ was an auspicious beginning: ♄☌♃. On 25 October 1979, the date of the first issue of the London Review of Books, Jupiter and Saturn were in conjunction in the sign of Virgo. Not only that, there was a triple conjunction of Venus, Mercury and the Sun (☉☌♀︎☌☿) in Scorpio. This suggested that the LRB would, according to the second-century astrologer Vettius Valens, be...

Theexiled tyrant Pisistratus, planning his return to Athens in the early sixth century bc, hired an unusually tall woman named Phye to ride beside him in his chariot. She was to pretend to be the manifestation of the goddess Athena, the patron of Athens. Herodotus gives her height as some four cubits – around 5’11", more than a foot taller than the average woman at the time...

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