‘Lies’?

One of today's New York Times headlines raises an interesting point for the word nerds among us. Comey .... accuses the White House of 'Lies.' The implication, subtle but unmistakable,  is that  there is some doubt about the appropriateness of the final word. But there isn't any doubt. Whether or not the White House in …

“What does the Babel Trilogy have to do with the ‘Hard Problem’?”

Quite a bit of The Babel Trilogy is about consciousness: what is it, and where does it come from, and how is it possible­—that’s what philosophers call the Hard Problem. That problem is bound up with another one, dualism. The great French mathematician and philosopher Rene Descartes outlined his version of mind-body dualism in The …

“Not I”: An Open Letter to American Conservatives on the Eve of the Election

The most frightening book I’ve read in the past ten years is not a novel by Stephen King, but a childhood memoir by the German historian Joachim Fest. Not I describes Fest’s childhood and adolescence in a deeply conservative family in Berlin. Johannes Fest, Joachim’s father, was a Roman Catholic with ordinary conservative political aspirations. …

After the cataclysm: thoughts from the deck of a sinking ship

This great ship, the USS America, is in deep trouble. Captain Barry Hope — “Audacity” to his friends — is about to be helicoptered off into the sunset, and the passengers have elected as his replacement a bullying, ignorant, unstable five-year-old who has never before seen the ocean. “Donnie Boy” has now revealed his plans to fire the America’s …