The Creative Side of War: Parts 1-3

  I. When an army feeds its horses with grain, and kills its cattle for food, and when the men do not hang the cooking pots over the camp fire, you may know that they are determined to fight to the death. Sun  Tzu, The Art of War. War. Possibly the Alpha and Omega of Human...
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Memory, Unity and Diversity in Catalonia and Europe

    The Catalan crisis has brought up deep and perplexing questions about identity, Europe and nationalism which do not have simple answers. These questions echo similar ones raised throughout Europe, with other secessionist/independence movements (most notably Brexit)....
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Gotta Serve Somebody: Nationalism and the Man

  Bob Dylan was almost certainly thinking of the future of the European Union when he penned his gospel song Gotta Serve Somebody. Doubtless he was describing Europe’s rich panoply of characters when he sung: “Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk, Might like to...
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The Creative Side of War Part 3: Ancient Greece

What was Ancient Greek war all about?   In two previous posts (see here for all 3 posts together) we have discussed the idea that war actually created peace in many ancient  societies, specifically by making many states one. In particular, we discussed how China became China...
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The Case For and Against Progress

For most of my life as a thinking individual I’ve struggled with two opposing ideas: On the one hand, humans are horrible–taken as a species–both self-serving and self-destructive, weirdly.   And yet they are at the same time extraordinary, overcoming obstacles...
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Remember Hiroshima: North Korea, Trump and Nuclear War

Thinking through Trump’s Nuclear “strategy,” and his relationship with North Korea, it would be useful for him to understand some background. Long before North Korea was a household name in America, the Nuclear genie was out of the box. At 05:29:45 on July 16,...
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The Creative Side of War. Part 2: Ancient Egypt

War is the father of all, king of all. Some it makes gods, some it makes men, some slaves, some free. Heraclitus. The Narmer Palette is carved from a single piece of schist dated to around 3200 BCE. It tells the tale, in picture and hieroglyph, of the military conquest by King...
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The Creative Side of War. Part One: China

When an army feeds its horses with grain, and kills its cattle for food, and when the men do not hang the cooking pots over the camp fire, you may know that they are determined to fight to the death. Sun  Tzu, The Art of War. War. Possibly the Alpha and Omega of Human history....
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AI Likely to be our undoing?

The Doomsday Invention Last year, a curious nonfiction book became a Times best-seller: a dense meditation on artificial intelligence by the philosopher Nick Bostrom, who holds an appointment at Oxford. Titled “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies,” it argues...
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The History of Greek Philosophy in Four Questions

The History of Greek Philosophy in Four Questions Understanding the history of Greek philosophy is understanding Aristotle’s account of it. His work is authoritative in a way that no other history is, and not only because of the quantity of information we get from him. In...
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