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Think of genius not as an isolated individual, but as the spirit of circumstance. <strong>Genius is contingent</strong> &mdash; precarious, rare, magical

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 18:34
Think of genius not as an isolated individual, but as the spirit of circumstance. Genius is contingent — precarious, rare, magical

When the <em>Times</em> called to tell Alice Dreger that she's part of a powerful alliance &mdash; the "<strong>intellectual dark web</strong>" &mdash; she laughed. Then she got worried

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 17:32
When the Times called to tell Alice Dreger that she's part of a powerful alliance — the "intellectual dark web" — she laughed. Then she got worried

How many <strong>spaces &mdash; one or two &mdash; to leave after a period</strong> at the end of a sentence? The question is a matter of reading comprehension, yes, but also decency

Sun, 05/13/2018 - 19:20
How many spaces — one or two — to leave after a period at the end of a sentence? The question is a matter of reading comprehension, yes, but also decency

How <strong>Victorian essayists</strong> used tact to come up with a creative rather than controlling, playful rather than violent way of handling not only other people but also the world and its objects

Sun, 05/13/2018 - 19:20
How Victorian essayists used tact to come up with a creative rather than controlling, playful rather than violent way of handling not only other people but also the world and its objects

<strong>Aristotle in America</strong>. His understanding of the middle class was a truth upon which the country's founders depended when legislating their own republic

Sun, 05/13/2018 - 19:20
Aristotle in America. His understanding of the middle class was a truth upon which the country's founders depended when legislating their own republic

For Plato, uprightness made us human; for Kant, people were inherently bent; Hegel worried about stiffness. Why does <strong>posture</strong> attract such philosophical attention?

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 18:25
For Plato, uprightness made us human; for Kant, people were inherently bent; Hegel worried about stiffness. Why does posture attract such philosophical attention?

<strong>Quantum theory</strong> is real and successful. It's also weird. Even those who understand it best, like Richard Feynman, aren't sure they understand what it means

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 18:25
Quantum theory is real and successful. It's also weird. Even those who understand it best, like Richard Feynman, aren't sure they understand what it means

&ldquo;The evil opinions and acts of <strong>Baruch de Spinoza</strong>.&rdquo; At the age of 23, the future philosopher was expelled from his Jewish community. What had he done?

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 18:25
“The evil opinions and acts of Baruch de Spinoza.” At the age of 23, the future philosopher was expelled from his Jewish community. What had he done?

Beware the <strong>autodidact's curse</strong>! You&rsquo;ve read everything on a topic but haven&rsquo;t spoken with anyone. You might be missing things, says Bryan Caplan

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 18:25
Beware the autodidact's curse! You’ve read everything on a topic but haven’t spoken with anyone. You might be missing things, says Bryan Caplan

The gags of a &ldquo;gonzo&rdquo; journalist. <strong>Hunter S. Thompson</strong> lit dynamite under beer kegs, sprayed unsuspecting people with Mace, blasted his assistant with a shotgun

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 18:25
The gags of a “gonzo” journalist. Hunter S. Thompson lit dynamite under beer kegs, sprayed unsuspecting people with Mace, blasted his assistant with a shotgun

Chekhov, Beckett, Woolf, Poe &mdash; all childless. Thomas Mann had kids but locked himself in his room and forbade them to disturb him. <strong>Are kids kryptonite</strong> to writers?

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 18:25
Chekhov, Beckett, Woolf, Poe — all childless. Thomas Mann had kids but locked himself in his room and forbade them to disturb him. Are kids kryptonite to writers?

While the quality of <strong>French intellectual life</strong> has plummeted, its reputation remains. What makes Left Bank scribblers so compelling?

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 18:38
While the quality of French intellectual life has plummeted, its reputation remains. What makes Left Bank scribblers so compelling?

<strong>Dostoevsky, broke</strong>. He ducked landlords, always lost at roulette, and pawned his wife&rsquo;s dowry and their clothing. One project dominated his thinking: <em>The Idiot</em>

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 18:38
Dostoevsky, broke. He ducked landlords, always lost at roulette, and pawned his wife’s dowry and their clothing. One project dominated his thinking: The Idiot

Joyce&rsquo;s Dublin, Dos Passos&rsquo; New York, Woolf&rsquo;s London, Proust&rsquo;s Paris, Kafka&rsquo;s Prague: How <strong>writers don't merely describe a city</strong> but reconstruct it

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 17:36
Joyce’s Dublin, Dos Passos’ New York, Woolf’s London, Proust’s Paris, Kafka’s Prague: How writers don't merely describe a city but reconstruct it

Every generation of intellectuals finds a way of coming to terms with the limits of its agency. Consider <strong>Joseph Brodsky's doctrine</strong> of passive resistance

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 18:36
Every generation of intellectuals finds a way of coming to terms with the limits of its agency. Consider Joseph Brodsky's doctrine of passive resistance

<strong>Hans Asperger</strong> did pioneering work on the syndrome that now bears his name. He was also, it turns out, complicit in the Nazi killing machine

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 18:36
Hans Asperger did pioneering work on the syndrome that now bears his name. He was also, it turns out, complicit in the Nazi killing machine

Derided by Dadaists and Surrealists and hijacked by contemporary narcissism, <strong>beauty</strong> is an idea that's been up and down. What does it mean today?

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 18:36
Derided by Dadaists and Surrealists and hijacked by contemporary narcissism, beauty is an idea that's been up and down. What does it mean today?

Julia Kristeva's alleged collaboration with the <strong>Bulgarian secret police</strong> is unfortunate but understandable. Her other political errors are not

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 18:38
Julia Kristeva's alleged collaboration with the Bulgarian secret police is unfortunate but understandable. Her other political errors are not

What gave rise to the <strong>selfie</strong>? Don't blame Steve Jobs. Blame basic human jealousy. &ldquo;Beggar is jealous of beggar and poet of poet,&rdquo; wrote Hesiod

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 18:38
What gave rise to the selfie? Don't blame Steve Jobs. Blame basic human jealousy. “Beggar is jealous of beggar and poet of poet,” wrote Hesiod

<strong>Timothy Snyder</strong> is one of our foremost historians of evil. He also personifies a certain paranoid style that has taken hold of liberals

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 18:38
Timothy Snyder is one of our foremost historians of evil. He also personifies a certain paranoid style that has taken hold of liberals