Category Archives: Philosophy

Theodore Zeldin on ‘what is worth knowing?’

What is worth knowing? It’s a good question, given how much there is to know and the impossibility of knowing more than a tiny fraction of the total. Theodore Zeldin’s latest collection of essays, ‘The hidden pleasures of life’ (Quercus, 2015) … Continue reading

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What is Social Capital?

The Economy of Ideas #5 What is social capital? “Connections among individuals; social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them.” Robert Putnam (b. 1941) Bowling Alone: the Collapse and Revival of American Community (2001) The American … Continue reading

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Capital as metaphor

The economy of ideas #4 We talk about social capital, cultural capital, creative capital, even ‘emotional capital’. It seems that capital can stand in for almost every human capacity. Why is this? Given its role as a real currency, it’s … Continue reading

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The global economy of care.

The economy of ideas #3. Is there a limit to how much we can care about others? Is it natural that we should care more about those who are closest to us? Is it in our nature to ‘look after … Continue reading

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Primo Levi on work and education

In his wonderful La chiave a stella (The Wrench) published in 1978, Primo Levi shares with us an exchange of stories told by Faussone, the itinerant Piedmontese rigger, and a narrator who, like Levi himself, is an industrial chemist at the point … Continue reading

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Thinking students and student research.

In his excellent book Think Again (2012), John Taylor makes a strong case for putting philosophy at the centre of our teaching in order to develop students’ ability to think. As he says in his introduction: “Education should be all about … Continue reading

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The social origins of human thinking.

What is thinking? Where does human thought come from? How did it evolve? These are important questions for us if we want to understand what makes humans different from other living things and to make the most of our abilities both as … Continue reading

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