The history of popular religions can be compared to the natural history of species. Sometimes a new species arrives in an environment, and a fierce battle ensues with the native species. They may also interbreed, as the first homo sapiens interbred with earlier species of humans. The same thing happens with religions and cults: a Read more…

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There are few areas of our society going through such bewildering change at the moment as higher education. It is a difficult and distressing time for academics and students alike. But this upheaval also means we have a rare opportunity not merely to defend the status quo but to experiment with new models of higher Read more…

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The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed there was no newsletter last weekend. Apologies. The reason for this is I have journeyed deep into the warm, pulsating heart of the happiness movement. Last Thursday I took part in a conference on Positive Psychology at Wellington College (the pioneer of well-being classes), and then I went Read more…

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One of the most unchallenged and unexamined narratives in our culture is that the culture is dumbing down. High culture is disappearing beneath the toxic sludge of reality TV. The dark ages are around the corner. We are in the End Times, culturally speaking. It’s right up there with another popular narrative: our society is Read more…

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As regular readers know, I’m researching the rise of grassroots philosophy groups for a project called Philosophical Communities. This has got me thinking about the roles of groups and networks in the history of ideas, and I’d like to sketch out some initial thinking.  I hope the following isn’t too pretentious… The history of ideas Read more…

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