Philosophy & Law

Daniel Dennett photographed by Stephen Pyke (Getty)

What about consciousness?

Anil Gomes

20 June 2024

There is something of the handyman about Daniel Dennett’s approach to philosophy proper – a confidence that we can make progress on philosophical questions by getting a grip on the details, and an irritation with those who, it seems to him, prefer easy solutions to the complicated work of getting it right.

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Adorno's Aesthetics

Owen Hatherley

25 May 2024

Adorno​ is easily parodied. Photos on social media show him frog-like, myopic and bald, denouncing the willing consumption of dross, the personal embodiment of a refusal to ‘let people enjoy things’ . . .

What was the ghetto?

Erin Maglaque

6 June 2024

In his book​ 16 ottobre 1943, Giacomo Debenedetti describes the deportation of Rome’s Jews to the death camps. When the soldiers came in the early evening, everyone in the neighbourhood was at home.The . . .

Trouble with the Troubles Act

Daniel Trilling

6 June 2024

Andy Seaman​ felt out of place when, on 26 May 2022, he walked into the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith. Andy has little connection to Ireland; he’s from East London and his family’s roots are . . .

Women in Philosophy

Sophie Smith

25 April 2024

Women in philosophy​ have always needed a special stroke of luck. Like men, they have usually had to be well-born, well-off, talented and – in the European tradition at least – white. But most women . . .

Bantu in the Bathroom

Jacqueline Rose, 19 November 2015

Pistorius was surely not aware that when he insisted the person he shot in the bathroom was an intruder he was re-enacting one strand of his nation’s cruellest past.

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The Adulteress Wife: Beauvoir Misrepresented

Toril Moi, 11 February 2010

In June 1946 Simone de Beauvoir was 38. She had just finished The Ethics of Ambiguity, and was wondering what to write next. Urged by Jean Genet, she went to see the Lady and the Unicorn...

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Where is my mind?

Jerry Fodor, 12 February 2009

If there’s anything we philosophers really hate it’s an untenable dualism. Exposing untenable dualisms is a lot of what we do for a living. It’s no small job, I assure you. They...

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Lunging, Flailing, Mispunching: Richard Dawkins

Terry Eagleton, 19 October 2006

Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology....

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No, it’s not anti-semitic: the right to criticise Israel

Judith Butler, 21 August 2003

Profoundly anti-Israel views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities. Serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-semitic in...

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You can’t build a new society with a Stanley knife: Hardt and Negri’s Empire

Malcolm Bull, 4 October 2001

Forget Bob Geldof, Bono and the other do-gooders, Genoa’s only significance was as the latest battle in the war of Neoliberalism. It was a clear victory this time for the...

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Why anything? Why this?

Derek Parfit, 22 January 1998

It might have been true that nothing ever existed: no living beings, no stars, no atoms, not even space or time. When we think about this possibility, it can seem astonishing that anything exists.

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Subduing the jury

E.P. Thompson, 4 December 1986

It was nice to be awoken on 12 November by the BBC informing us that the Queen’s Speech would announce measures ‘to strengthen the jury system’. It is, after all, a very ancient...

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The Contingency of Language

Richard Rorty, 17 April 1986

About two hundred years ago, the idea that A truth was made rather than found began to take hold of the imagination of Europe. The French Revolution had shown that the whole vocabulary of social...

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Trickes of the Clergye: Atheistical Thoughts

Alexandra Walsham, 25 April 2024

In an environment in which binary thinking prevailed, atheism was a potent ‘other’ against which devout Christianity defined itself. At its most extreme, this line of interpretation has led to the...

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Breaking Point: Militant Constitutionalism

Martin Loughlin, 25 April 2024

Democracies implode when the authoritarian tendencies of the leaders of mainstream political parties are not reined in by constitutional mechanisms that are supposed to impose checks. 

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Mrs Berkshire went swiftly upstairs and put a bold eye to the keyhole. When she did, she saw that Pratt and Smith’s trousers were down. Later, in court, she confirmed that she had seen both men’s private...

Read more about Eye to the Keyhole: Pratt and Smith

The Call of the Weird: Last Gasp Apparitions

Michael Ledger-Lomas, 4 April 2024

It wasn’t a belief in the supernatural that marked someone out as insane, but the judgment of the authorities that this belief was held with harmful vehemence. One inmate who proclaimed himself to be...

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Short Cuts: No Safe Routes

Frances Webber, 4 April 2024

The higher courts have always acquiesced to government ministers’ views of national security, but in Shamima Begum’s case the court appears to have given Sajid Javid carte blanche to conclude that...

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Seeds of What Ought to Be: Hegel gets real

Terry Eagleton, 22 February 2024

For Hegel, the actual contains the possible, so that you can plunge into it with no fear of losing sight of a desirable alternative. You don’t need to tack some arbitrary utopian dimension onto what...

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Our Way of Proceeding: Jesuit Methods

Diarmaid MacCulloch, 22 February 2024

What​ was this Society for which Pope Paul III provided a charter? It was not a religious order, though it is often styled as such. Its members were neither monks nor friars. Its self-descriptor as a...

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Multiplying Marys: On Mary Magdalene

Marina Warner, 22 February 2024

Devotees often exult in the stripping of her beauty and her wealth; she is imagined as a woman of substance, who owned property in Magdala (hence her name), and when she repents and gives all this up,...

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Short Cuts: Corrupt Cops

Matt Foot, 8 February 2024

I have spent 25 years working as a criminal defence lawyer and have yet to find anyone who knows of a single police officer being convicted for their role in a wrongful conviction.

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Alasdair MacIntyre drew a conclusion he has stuck to ever since: that philosophy takes time. Instead of choosing an opinion that appeals to you and forsaking all others, you need to take on different arguments...

Read more about Like a Top Hat: Morality without the Metaphysics

Antidote to Marx: Oh, I know Locke!

Colin Kidd, 4 January 2024

Contrary to the myth that from itsa founding document America was dedicated to capitalism, private property and the personal accumulation of wealth, ‘happiness’ in its 18th-century definition meant...

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Rwanda Redux

Tom Hickman, 14 December 2023

If Parliament deems Rwanda to be a safe third country, in the face of the Supreme Court judgment, it is rejecting and contradicting the ruling of our highest court on the facts, and thus infringing the...

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Short Cuts: War Crimes

Conor Gearty, 30 November 2023

All agree that Israel has a right to defend itself, though there are many differences of opinion among lawyers as to the basis for this. What no one contests, however, is that serious violations of humanitarian...

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Searching for the Bee: Rarities and Marvels

Helen Pfeifer, 30 November 2023

For the 13th-century Muslim scholar Zakariyya al-Qazwini and his contemporaries, to contemplate the wonders of nature was to contemplate the majesty of God, so much so that cosmography was a mainstay of...

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Diary: When I Met the Pope

Patricia Lockwood, 30 November 2023

The invitation​ said ‘black dress for Ladies’. ‘You’re not allowed to be whiter than him,’ my husband, Jason, instructs. ‘He has to be the whitest. And you cannot wear a hat because that...

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To call him a ‘great republican’ doesn’t mean much nowadays and downplays his radicalism. Nonetheless, like de Gaulle, he is an undisputed national figure whose legend is apparently sacrosanct, if...

Read more about Coins in the Cash Drawer: Jean Jaurès’s Socialism

Why did he not speak out? The Pope at War

Richard J. Evans, 19 October 2023

Only when a dictatorship actually attacked the Church and distanced itself from Christianity did it alienate the papacy, but even the actions of Hitler’s Germany in this direction were insufficient to...

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Let them eat oysters: Animal Ethics

Lorna Finlayson, 5 October 2023

It hardly needs to be said that all is not well with our world. We are disempowered, isolated and (quite rationally) anxious about the future. The animal world offers both an escape and the promise of...

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