News

Amor Mundi 3/1/15

In this week's Amor Mundi, we wonder whether humans will eventually be replaced by more efficient machines, appeal to Karl Ove Knausgaard in our attempts to understand a uniquely American form of poverty, appreciate Peter Railton's efforts to open up a broader discussion on depression, and much more. Posted on 2 March 2015 | 10:00 am

Amor Mundi 2/15/15

In this week's Amor Mundi, we investigate the increasing use of shell corporations in high-end real estate, reflect on the changing disposition of the public intellectual, comment on the dynamic nature of blogging, and much more. Posted on 16 February 2015 | 11:30 am

The Unproductive Labor of Politics: Arendt’s reading of Adam Smith

Richard Halpern, “Eclipse of Action: Hamlet and the Political Economy of Playing,” Shakespeare Quarterly, Volume 59, Number 4, Winter 2008, pp. 450-482 As he formulates an original response to the classic problem of Hamlet’s non-action, Halpern offers one of the few critical analyses of Arendt’s reading of Adam Smith in The Human Condition. He shows…Read more The Unproductive Labor of Politics: Arendt’s reading of Adam Smith Posted on 22 January 2014 | 1:13 pm

Amor Mundi – 7/28/13

Hannah Arendt considered calling her magnum opus Amor Mundi: Love of the World. Instead, she settled upon The Human Condition. What is most difficult, Arendt writes, is to love the world as it is, with all the evil and suffering in it. And yet she came to do just that. Loving the world means neither…Read more Amor Mundi – 7/28/13 Posted on 29 July 2013 | 1:57 pm

Who’s Afraid of the Intellectuals?

“WHO’S AFRAID OF THE INTELLECTUALS?” That is the opening sentence of Jan Mieszkowski’s excellent review of Belgian historian Christian Ingrao’s recent book Believe and Destroy: Intellectuals in the SS War Machine. I have not yet read the book. But Mieszkowski’s review raises important questions about the role of intellectuals in the systematic administration of evil.…Read more Who’s Afraid of the Intellectuals? Posted on 26 July 2013 | 11:31 am

The Danger of Intellectuals

[T]here are, indeed, few things that are more frightening than the steadily increasing prestige of scientifically minded brain trusters in the councils of government during the last decades. The trouble is not that they are cold-blooded enough to “think the unthinkable,” but that they do not think. -Hannah Arendt, “On Violence” Hannah Arendt’s warning about…Read more The Danger of Intellectuals Posted on 22 July 2013 | 2:20 pm

Un-shared Worlds

“Don’t hold your breath, ‘cause the pretty things are going to hell…” -David Bowie In the social spheres in which I circulate, both personal and electronic, reactions to the Supreme Court’s twin same-sex marriage rulings Wednesday have tended to fall fairly neatly into one of two categories, each sprinkled liberally with that unique brand of…Read more Un-shared Worlds Posted on 1 July 2013 | 12:27 pm

In the Age of Big Data, Should We Live in Awe of Machines?

In 1949, The New York Times asked Norbert Wiener, author of Cybernetics, to write an essay for the paper that expressed his ideas in simple form. For editorial and other reasons, Wiener’s essay never appeared and was lost. Recently, a draft of the never-published essay was found in the MIT archives. Written now 64 years…Read more In the Age of Big Data, Should We Live in Awe of Machines? Posted on 7 June 2013 | 3:21 pm

The Perplexities of Secularism

Does a cross in a courtroom infringe on the religious freedom of non-Christians involved in legal proceedings? Does it violate the principles of a secular state? These questions have recently arisen in Germany thanks to the trial of Beate Zschäpe. Zschäpe is the one surviving member of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), a band of…Read more The Perplexities of Secularism Posted on 21 May 2013 | 1:06 pm

The Politics of Intimacy

In an era defined by pervasive mass mediation, what role might intimacy—a relation of closeness and familiarity with another person—play in the realm of politics? Most of us are familiar with the town hall meetings, living-room campaign events, and other highly publicized yet simultaneously face-to-face interactions that now play a prominent role in this country’s…Read more The Politics of Intimacy Posted on 26 February 2013 | 2:45 pm