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Jon Elster, 5 November 1981

La Distinction: Critique Sociale du Jugement 
by Pierre Bourdieu.
Editions de Minuit, 670 pp., £9.05, August 1979, 2 7073 0275 9
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... luxury, for instance, as a regrettable but unavoidable side-effect of prosperity. It was left to Bernard Mandeville – the founder of the modern sociodicy – to argue more boldly that luxury, by creating employment, was actually a means to prosperity. The theme struck by The Fable of the Bees has been pursued for more than two centuries, by Adam ...

Getting it right

Bernard Williams, 23 November 1989

Contingency, Irony and Solidarity 
by Richard Rorty.
Cambridge, 201 pp., £25, May 1989, 0 521 35381 5
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... and how mobilised, that indeed make DNA for the first time ‘a subject of conversation’? (Might Crick and Watson have economised on all that trouble with the X-ray photographs – there’s a causal story for you – and just spread some gossip about the helix, as they did occasionally about their rivals?) What, above all, makes a project ‘possible’ for ...

Do squid feel pain?

Peter Godfrey-Smith, 4 February 2016

Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts 
by Stanislas Dehaene.
Penguin, 336 pp., £11, December 2014, 978 0 14 312626 3
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... it was too elusive, too much of a mess, yielding little but fruitless speculation. But in 1988, Bernard Baars put forward his ‘global workspace’ theory, that a system in the brain functions to integrate diverse sources of information for use in a slow, attentive style of thinking. We are conscious of whatever is currently in that workspace. In ...

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