Mind & body.

I am interested in the idea and practice of spirituality: but it may all be nonsense, and I may be venially corporeal. This category is a bit of a catch-all for posts on subjects ranging from the intellectual (I should be so lucky), to the spiritual (likewise) via the psychological and the creative.

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The Classics and modernity (#2)

This is a pair of essays on the theme of the Classics and their continuing influence. It's in two parts: #1 The Classics and Us (the reverberations of the Classical world on our civilisation) and #2 The Classics and Me (the reverberations of the Classical world on me much more personally). So this is #2... Read more...

Published

26 April 2016

The UK economy and the welfare state

For an outing on the BBC 1 Big Questions ethics show, I pulled together some research on whether Britain was a fair society. My general view is that one should worry about the poor, on the assumption that they are unhappy because of poverty and need help. It is not a dead cert that people in need of help can be given it, of course. Moreover, it may well not matter whether (or even how much) a country is unequal. Nor is the amount of welfare spending by any means a perfect indicator of whether a country is a good place for either rich or poor to live. Other posts have discussed those themes. (Try an in-site search for "inequality".)  This one is intended to capture a picture of where the UK is compared with its neighbours, and - even more important - with other broadly comparable countries, in matters of wealth, welfare spending and educational outcomes. Read more...

Published

02 April 2016

RDN on BBC shows: Syrian refugees

I was asked onto BBC1's The Big Questions (7 February 2016, Episode 5, Series 9); on BBC Radio Scotland's Call Kaye phone-in (25 February 2016); and BBC Radio Scotland Good Morning Scotland (27 February 2016) to discuss whether Britain's stance on Syrian refugees was morally acceptable (TBQ) and whether one had a moral responsibility toward helping them (Call Kaye) or both (Good Morning Scotland). Read more...

Published

26 February 2016

EU obligations to Med-migrants

I have had a couple of recent outings on BBC Radio Scotland's Call Kaye phone-in show, on the UK's obligations - and Scotland's in particular - toward the "Med-migrants". My line, I am almost sorry to say, was that we will probably need to be cruel to be kind.... Read more...

Published

14 May 2015

Following Sachs’ advice to let go a bit

Oliver Sachs writes beautifully about growing old and, in particular, about his imminent death. The essence of his message in the New York Times is that he remains interested in life and quite cheerful about it, but.... Read more...

Published

20 February 2015

The Anthropocene, Prof Cox, and more

The idea of the Anthropocene has been gaining traction, not least in a spate of books (as exemplified in an FT books review roundup, "Masters of the Earth", 13/14 December 2014). Unfortunately, most takes on the Anthropocene seem misanthropic. Luckily, Professor Brian Cox makes a sort-of exception.  We are alone, and it is exciting. Read more...

Published

19 December 2014
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