Three Philosophers Set Up a Booth on a Street Corner: Here’s What People Asked

The life choices that had led me to be sitting in a booth underneath a banner that read “Ask a Philosopher” – at the entrance to the New York City subway at 57th and 8th – were perhaps random but inevitable. I’d been a “public philosopher” for 15 years, so I readily agreed to join … Continue reading Three Philosophers Set Up a Booth on a Street Corner: Here’s What People Asked

Why the Enlightenment Was Not the Age of Reason

On either side of the Atlantic, groups of public intellectuals have issued a call to arms. The besieged citadel in need of defending, they say, is the one that safeguards science, facts and evidence-based policy. These white knights of progress – such as the psychologist Steven Pinker and the neuroscientist Sam Harris – condemn the apparent resurgence of passion, emotion and superstition in politics. The bedrock of modernity, they tell us, is the human capacity to curb disruptive forces with cool-headed reason. What we need is a reboot of the Enlightenment, now.