If you know what’s good for you…
microphilosophy
by Julian Baggini
21h ago
The closer a critic is to the cause they critique, the more treacherous and disloyal their criticisms are perceived to be. This general (though not universal) truth means I fear I am losing my friends in the organic movement more quickly than recent Conservative prime ministers have lost cabinet members. I am not yet a persona non grata at the Soil Association, the UK’s leading organic organisation, but I am surely now one of its least popular paid-up members. It started with an article in the Guardian in which I highlighted the futility of pursuing organics as the model for the future of agri ..read more
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The meanings of equality
microphilosophy
by Julian Baggini
1w ago
A new settlement is needed in which the values of freedom, equality and social solidarity are in better balance. Despite the tensions between them, they are not necessarily trapped in a zero-sum game.  Latest philosopher-at-large column for Prospect ..read more
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Living for Pleasure – Review
microphilosophy
by Julian Baggini
1w ago
Austin ultimately shows that Epicurus is a pretty good guide on the journey of life, but you should let some other thinkers show you around too. Review for the Guardian ..read more
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Goodbye Pixel
microphilosophy
by Julian Baggini
1w ago
Although it felt more like bereavement for a person than the loss of a thing, the death of a pet isn’t exactly like either ..read more
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Warm gives and hot takes
microphilosophy
by Julian Baggini
2w ago
The last decade has seen the rise of the “hot take”. Google’s Ngram viewer, which tracks the prevalence of words and phrases in a huge corpus of English-language texts, shows this clearly. Given that the plural is also rising, we can safely assume this is not because more people are talking about hot take-outs. (Curiously, it also shows that the collocation “hot take” was even more popular in the early nineteenth century. If anyone knows the context, do enlighten me.)  A hot take is generously described as “a quickly produced, strongly worded, and often deliberately provocative or sensati ..read more
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Period romance
microphilosophy
by Julian Baggini
2w ago
The UK has the oldest, draughtiest and least energy-efficient homes in Europe yet they are fetishised. Why? Article for the FT Weekend ..read more
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The Pessimism Project
microphilosophy
by Julian Baggini
1M ago
Do humans tend to see the glass as half-full or half-empty? Psychology should be able to tell us which of these tendencies is more common. In fact, different psychologist seems to tell us different things. On the one hand, we have the likes of Tali Sharot, who concludes that we have an optimism bias, ‘The belief that the future will be much better than the past and present’. Sharot claims that the evidence clearly shows that ‘On average, we expect things to turn out better than they wind up being. People hugely underestimate their chances of getting divorced, losing their job or being diagnose ..read more
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The return of the light
microphilosophy
by Julian Baggini
1M ago
Reasons to be cheerful in dark times, books and culture of the year, and highlights from my 2022 writings. For me, the holiday season has become less Christmas and more Yule as the years have passed. The winter solstice in the northern hemisphere falls today, 21 December. It’s worth celebrating as the time when the days begin to lengthen again and we can look forward to the regrowth of spring and the rejuvenation of life. Although the coldest months are (probably) yet to come, the gradually lengthening days make them more tolerable as they point towards warmer days to come. Metaphorically, thi ..read more
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Has organic food passed its sell-by date?
microphilosophy
by Julian Baggini
1M ago
Short answer: Organic produce still has an important role to play in our food system. I will continue to buy it, and am a member of the Soil Association, too. It may not quite be past its sell-by date, but the crude organic/non-organic divide has gone stale. Article for the Guardian which ruffled a few feathers, despite this pretty pro-organic conclusion ..read more
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The case for climate compensation
microphilosophy
by Julian Baggini
2M ago
The reparations argument leads to a moral quagmire. Forget blame and liability, however, and the core injustice is clear… Latest philosopher-at-large column for Prospect ..read more
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