Students of Socrates

The Socratic method is renowned as the foundation of western philosophy. Through asking questions and critiquing implicit assumptions, Socrates destroys the value foundation of Homeric Athens, bringing about a new age of ideas. This age, German philosopher Hegel argued, paved the way for our own time, free from felt values or thought ideas. ‘The debate … Continue reading Students of Socrates

The market of music

Music is a peculiar fusion of emotion and technicality. The coldest of cold sciences, mechanics, is integrated with the warmest of warm poetries, music, to produce something lukewarm: the market of music, a unity of technicality and artistry. But the market itself threatens the balance on which it rests. As value is transformed into prices, … Continue reading The market of music

The rebirth of the market state

Recent events have brought into question the durability of the ‘market state’, a system of political protection over a system of economic transaction. The state, by outlawing war, makes possible a system of peace through trade. At least, that’s the idea. But the US-China trade war put into question states’ ability to maintain peaceful trade … Continue reading The rebirth of the market state

The birth of the market state

In the beginning, there was power. This was the power to sort and arrange the layers of reality into a complex whole, reassembling what had been divided into something resembling unity. In Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan, the 'real unity' of the state plays this role, uniting the divided 'Multitude' into a seamless 'Commonwealth' under the leadership … Continue reading The birth of the market state

What we don’t know: Between planning and possibility

The limits of knowledge occupy a central position in political and economic thought. Hayek’s arguments against state control of the economy rested on the limited knowledge of any individual or organisation about the total economic data of a given society. This problem, the problem of what we don’t know, demanded an institution distributed enough to … Continue reading What we don’t know: Between planning and possibility

Why the left is so divided

What does it mean to be ‘left-wing’? Nowadays, buzzwords like ‘oppression’ and ‘inequality’ have replaced the old left-wing theories of ‘exploitation’ and ‘alienation’. Contrary to right-wing mantra, Marxism is out of fashion on the left — who on the left seriously reads Capital and cites the labour theory of value when arguing with right-wingers on … Continue reading Why the left is so divided

The realist manifesto

What is reality? This question is of great importance for all areas of life — including three I take great interest in: philosophy, history, and politics. I’d like to consider each area of study in turn, considering how what we consider to be ‘real’ is influenced by our vantage point, before bringing these perspectives together. … Continue reading The realist manifesto

Why so satirical? Against the cult of shallowness

I’m starting to notice something, about the way we behave in the 21st century. And it’s not OK. George Herbert Mead, the sociologist and father of the theory of ‘symbolic interactionism’. Historically, people have interacted in all sorts of ways. Symbols of gods and kings and angels and fairies abound in human history, and often … Continue reading Why so satirical? Against the cult of shallowness

Market states and pandemic politics: Some lessons from coronavirus

When news spread in January of 2020 that the SARS coronavirus which killed 774 people worldwide in 2002-2004 had mutated, and spread once again from China to the rest of the world, it was not clear things would get so bad. Two years on, and six million people are dead, and many more injured by … Continue reading Market states and pandemic politics: Some lessons from coronavirus