From fission to fusion: The technological germ of a future past

Sociology follows technology. This has always been clear, as much as the following truth: politics follows economics. In language derived from seventeenth-century political theorist James Harrington, the ‘superstructure’ follows the ‘foundation’ of society. According to Harrington’s principle of ‘ballance’, the structure of politics follows the structure of the material world underpinning it. And according to … Continue reading From fission to fusion: The technological germ of a future past

The end of time: The Heidegger-Cassirer debate and the passage from trade to war

First published in August 2022. Philosopher Immanuel Kant is often referred to as the god of modern philosophy. A recent work of intellectual history by Professor Michael Rosen, entitled The Shadow of God: Kant, Hegel, and the passage from heaven to history, considers the end of Christendom and the replacement of its accompanying hegemony of … Continue reading The end of time: The Heidegger-Cassirer debate and the passage from trade to war

Machiavelli, Weber, Nietzsche, and the music of politics

It is commonplace in the social sciences to use music as a metaphor for politics. Power is ‘articulated’ through institutions by individuals ‘harmonising’ on common themes. But by what mechanism does power flow in the modern world? We imagine power to be a top-down pyramid, but it can equally be viewed as a web-like structure … Continue reading Machiavelli, Weber, Nietzsche, and the music of politics

Survival, community, and freedom: An accelerationist manifesto for conservative civic socialism

The left and its project of equality can seem to have two enemies: the centrist project of liberty and the right-wing project of community. All these moral positions also seem to miss the realist emphasis on survival. But I think there is a way of having our cake and eating it — building a left-wing … Continue reading Survival, community, and freedom: An accelerationist manifesto for conservative civic socialism

Trade makes war: A social theory of violence

War and violence are words that denote extreme forms of social behaviour, even referred to as asocial or antisocial behaviour, in keeping with the immoral and dehumanising acts they accompany. But this was not always the case. War and violence were once seen as far more normal parts of the human conditions than they are … Continue reading Trade makes war: A social theory of violence

Why the physical world is a lie

There’s a lot of paranoia going around about ‘fraud’, ‘lying’, and ‘deception’, sometimes encapsulated by the term ‘abuse’. These are certainly ugly, often evil, realities — but not for the reason we usually imagine. In David Runciman’s seminal Political Hypocrisy, the Cambridge Professor of Politics draws a distinction between first- and second-order hypocrisy. The first-order … Continue reading Why the physical world is a lie

Will history end? Musings on the war of ideas

A legacy piece from 2017. “History” is an ambiguous word, albeit a common one. But defining history’s limits is worthwhile, as we all partake in history’s course every time we speak to a friend, write a letter or send a meme on Facebook. For philosophers Hegel, Kant and Marx, history was the history of ideas. … Continue reading Will history end? Musings on the war of ideas

Harry Potter and the return of the repressed

There is a moment in The Deathly Hallows, the final book and film duo of the Harry Potter series, when leading characters Harry and Hermione encounter a church. On this detail, the book and film versions differ. Author J. K. Rowling writes: “Harry, I think it's Christmas Eve!" said Hermione."Is it?"He had lost track of … Continue reading Harry Potter and the return of the repressed