Category: Philosophy

  • Zero Gravity: Floating Towards Posthumanism

    Zero Gravity: Floating Towards Posthumanism

    ‘They say it got smart, a new order of intelligence’, rasps Kyle Reese in The Terminator, referring to the Skynet computer system that launched a nuclear attack against humanity in the catastrophe known as Judgment Day. The trope is as old as science fiction itself, and shadows the genre with all of the tenacity of an Uzi-toting T-800.

  • Not the debate we need: On mitochondrial donation

    Not the debate we need: On mitochondrial donation

    If a society consisted of human beings who had been partly engineered or edited, would we think about human life in the same way or would we lose a sense of reciprocity with others?

  • Identity Crisis: Radical Gender Theory and the Left

    Identity Crisis: Radical Gender Theory and the Left

    In his latest series of documentaries Can’t Get You Out of My Head (reviewed by Guy Rundle in Arena Quarterly No. 6), sociologist and filmmaker Adam Curtis focuses on a number of individuals who sit at the uneasy intersection of modern individualism, an increasingly technologised vision of the human mind and human behaviour, and a liberatory politics denuded of grand historical narratives.

  • On Kate Holden’s The Winter Road

    On Kate Holden’s The Winter Road

    ‘The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying “This is mine”, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society.’ So wrote the Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his Discourse on Inequality (1754) …

  • Eagleton on Humour

    Eagleton on Humour

    Not long ago a new category appeared, temporarily, on the Netflix homepage, called something like ‘Politically Incorrect Comedy’. Whether this was meant as a warning or a promise, or a bit of both, is hard to say; but there’s no doubt it spoke to something in the culture: a self-consciousness in debates around women and minorities, related to the political moment.

  • On Fukuyama, Babones and Tingle

    Francis Fukuyama is annoyed. In the preface to Identity, he accuses his critics of misreading his thesis, first set out in 1989, that Western-style liberal democracy, combined with a market economy, represented the final stage in humanity’s socio-political evolution.

  • Revenge of the Nerds

    Revenge of the Nerds

    Don’t be alarmed if you hear a tinkling noise in the San Francisco Bay Area these days. Chances are that it’s simply the sound of scales falling from the eyes of tech employees, as they come to realise that the companies they work for aren’t quite as upstanding as they claim to be …

  • Bullshit Jobs and Blue Collar Frayed: A Review

    In 2013 an essay entitled ‘On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs’ appeared in the radical magazine Strike! Its author was the anthropologist and political activist David Graeber, who sought an answer to a simple question: How is it that developed economies in thrall to ideals of efficiency and high productivity generate so many jobs that […]

  • Peak Bullshit?

    Earlier this year, as the US journalist Michael Wolff was angrily defending his chart-busting exposé Fire and Fury against allegations that it was thinly sourced and inaccurate – allegations, it should be pointed out, that flowed principally from its apricot-coloured subject – a passage purporting to be an extract from the book was published and […]

  • Three Books on Democracy

    A review of: A. C. Grayling, Democracy and Its Crisis (Oneworld Books) Richard Walsh, Reboot: A Democracy Makeover to Empower Australia’s Voters (MUP) Steve Richards, The Rise of the Outsiders: How Mainstream Politics Lost Its Way (Atlantic Books)   In his 1984 book The Fall of Rome German historian Alexander Demandt lists all the reasons […]