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

Plato, Rousseau, and the politics of philosophy

A recent book by Cambridge intellectual historian Christopher Brooke traces Philosophic Pride not to its usual imagined source, a utopian faith in abstractions, but to Stoicism, which places faith in the concrete world around us. Philosophers’ inflated sense of self comes out of, well, the self, as physically instantiated in our biological constitution. Eventually, Stoicism … Continue reading Plato, Rousseau, and the politics of philosophy

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

The realist school: An emerging paradigm

Sometimes, intellectual thought undergoes a rupture that cannot be stopped. It does not matter how much you resist the conceptual tsunami, or how far you run. It will tear down what you know, and force any remaining ideas to cluster around the victorious Noah’s ark of the God-given intellectual inundation. ‘Après moi, le deluge’, said … Continue reading The realist school: An emerging paradigm

The politics of truth: A manifesto

We live in undeniably dark times. News headlines of death and despair abound. In such a climate, politics is hardly seen as our salvation. Indeed, politics is seen by many as the problem. One reason given for the decay of our political institutions is that politicians lie. The phrase ‘fake news’ also abounds news headlines … Continue reading The politics of truth: A manifesto

Language as evolution

Language as legitimation: The evolution of the signs of space and time Changes of State, a study of natural and political languages, in space and time. Institutions are linguistic insofar as they are are based upon actors’ knowledge, conscious or unconscious, of certain ‘rules of the game’. These rules denote the linguistic basis for institutional … Continue reading Language as evolution

The foundational contradictions of liberalism

Liberalism is an ideology—a system of thought. It has a centrepiece: the individual, defined by liberalism as a free-floating unit, separate from other units. It has two basic contradictions: The politico-moral contradiction; and The public-private contradiction. Meet Immanuel Kant: A founding liberal. These contradictions arise from two factors. Liberalism: Accepts the early-modern separation between politics … Continue reading The foundational contradictions of liberalism