Long-form essay
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Testing the limits of universalism in science

This essay was first published by Areo magazine on 23 November 2018.  Science traditionally aspires to be universal in two respects. First, it seeks fundamental knowledge—facts which are universally true. Second, it aims to be impersonal in practice; identity should be irrelevant to the process by which a scientific claim is judged. Since the era … Continue reading Testing the limits of universalism in science

critical theory environment knowledge science
Yuval Noah Harari’s half-baked guide to the 21st century

This review was first published by Arc Digital on 25 October 2018. There is something immensely comforting about Yuval Noah Harari. In an era when a writer’s success often depends on a willingness to provoke, Harari’s calling cards are politeness and equanimity. In the new class of so-called “rock star intellectuals,” he is analogous to … Continue reading Yuval Noah Harari’s half-baked guide to the 21st century

book reviews history liberalism public intellectuals
Problems with the corporate promotion of diversity

This essay was first published by Arc Digital on July 9th 2018. See the original here. In a recent article for The Observer, Kenan Malik asked: “What is diversity? And why is it good – or not?” These seem like alarmingly basic questions to be posing at a time when, in many western countries, diversity requirements are … Continue reading Problems with the corporate promotion of diversity

diversity identity public relations
When did death become so personal?

  I have a slightly gloomy but, I think, not unreasonable view of birthdays, which is that they are really all about death. It rests on two simple observations. First, much as they pretend otherwise, people do generally find birthdays to be poignant occasions. And second, a milestone can have no poignancy which does not … Continue reading When did death become so personal?