The Philosopher Who Coined the Term ‘Nationalism’ Also Preached Inclusivity

275 Years Ago, Johann Gottfried Herder Imagined Nations Forming Around a Common Language and Culture, Not a Common Enemy

Since the French Revolution, a brilliant cast of ideologies has starred on the world stage, ranging from conservatism to liberalism to communism. Yet the -ism that has been most resilient, and today has become resurgent, is one that modern thinkers dismissed as a walk-on. Nationalism, the political theorist Isaiah Berlin once observed, was long thought to be an allergic reaction of national consciousness when “held down and forcibly repressed by despotic rulers.” Remove this particular allergen, and the sneezing fit of nationalism would end. 
 
Yet as we stumble into …

How an Ancient Greek Notion of Goodness Can Help Us Live Right in the Modern Age

As the Anglo-Irish Writer Iris Murdoch Learned From Plato, by Overcoming Our Egotistical Desires We Can Find a Higher Truth 

By swotting the classics of Western morality, can one learn to be good? Philosophy is having a pop culture moment thanks to The Good Place, a sitcom about people in …

When Is It Right (or Wrong) to Rebel?

Considering Syria Through the Writings of Thomas Hobbes Shows the Promise and Perils of Revolution

When protesters confronted the autocrats of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria early in 2011, many liberally minded people around the world hailed this Arab Spring as a moment of great …

Is Forgiveness the Basis of a Healthy Democracy?

An Iranian Philosopher Posits That Only Absolving Others of Blame Can Open Dialogue and Rebuild Decency

Why do we have such difficulty thinking about forgiveness? Read the news on any day and you’ll find stories of war, injustices present and past, and attacks on democracy. It’s …

The Austrian Philosopher Who Showed That Words Can Spark Humanism—or Barbarism

Ludwig Wittgenstein Saw Language as a "Game," and Whoever Makes the Rules Holds the Power

Ludwig Wittgenstein, the Austrian-British philosopher and logician, famously coined the term “language-game”—a term meant, as he writes in his Philosophical Investigations (1953), “to bring into prominence the fact that the …