The life choices that had led me to be sitting in a booth underneath a banner that read “Ask a Philosopher" – at the entrance to the New York City subway at 57th and 8th – were perhaps random but inevitable.

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5 of Albert Einstein's favorite books

Some books had a profound influence on Einstein's thinking and theories.

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  • Einstein had a large library and was a voracious reader.
  • The famous physicist admitted that some books influenced his thinking.
  • The books he preferred were mostly philosophical and scientific in nature.
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Why your favourite film baddies all have a truly evil laugh

What's the role of evil in storytelling?

Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Night, Christopher Nolan, 2008

Towards the end of the Disney film Aladdin (1992), our hero's love rival, the evil Jafar, discovers Aladdin's secret identity and steals his magic lamp. Jafar's wish to become the world's most powerful sorcerer is soon granted, and he then uses his powers to banish Aladdin to the ends of the Earth.

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Philosophy can make the previously unthinkable thinkable

Philosophers and practical ethicists might gain something from considering the Overton window of political possibilities.

In the mid-1990s, Joseph Overton, a researcher at the US think tank the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, proposed the idea of a 'window' of socially acceptable policies within any given domain. This came to be known as the Overton window of political possibilities. The job of think tanks, Overton proposed, was not directly to advocate particular policies, but to shift the window of possibilities so that previously unthinkable policy ideas – those shocking to the sensibilities of the time – become mainstream and part of the debate.

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Philosopher Alan Watts on the difference between money and wealth

What would you do if money was no object?

  • Philosopher, Alan Watts believed we too easily mistake the symbolic for the real.
  • If money was no object, we'd seek what we truly desire.
  • Watts believed we can only have so much ostentatious consumption.
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