Oct 042010
 

Arts & Letters Daily

ideas, criticism, debate

The Italian artist <strong>Carol Rama</strong> saw the psychiatric ward as a place of vibrancy and liberty. &ldquo;Madness is close to everybody,&rdquo; she said

The Italian artist Carol Rama saw the psychiatric ward as a place of vibrancy and liberty. “Madness is close to everybody,” she said
 
 

The &ldquo;eerie, queery, sometimes weary&rdquo; <strong>Edward Lear</strong>. A gay man in Victorian times, he lived a life full of sadness. Nonsense helped fill the void

The “eerie, queery, sometimes weary” Edward Lear. A gay man in Victorian times, he lived a life full of sadness. Nonsense helped fill the void
 
 

<strong>Democracy</strong>&nbsp;can be an unsightly spectacle. Much of the demos is ignorant or has just enough knowledge to screw things up. Is "epistocracy" the answer?

Democracy can be an unsightly spectacle. Much of the demos is ignorant or has just enough knowledge to screw things up. Is "epistocracy" the answer?
 
 

In the beginning was the <strong>pissing boy</strong>. Since then, painters and sculptors have depicted the act of urination. "A river of piss runs through art history"

In the beginning was the pissing boy. Since then, painters and sculptors have depicted the act of urination. "A river of piss runs through art history"
 
 

<strong>Montaigne</strong>&nbsp;was a politician, soldier, bureaucrat, and courtier before he became a philosopher. His work stands as a reminder of the permanent necessity of judgment

Montaigne was a politician, soldier, bureaucrat, and courtier before he became a philosopher. His work stands as a reminder of the permanent necessity of judgment
 
 

Why has the <strong>concept of truth</strong>&nbsp;become so problematic? It's a consequence of the opening of a distinction between truth-as-meaning and truth-as-fact

Why has the concept of truth become so problematic? It's a consequence of the opening of a distinction between truth-as-meaning and truth-as-fact
 
 

<strong>Secrets of the stacks.</strong> The New York Public Library&rsquo;s archives contain dentures, roller skates, and, as David Grann discovered, evidence of a systematic campaign of murder

Secrets of the stacks. The New York Public Library’s archives contain dentures, roller skates, and, as David Grann discovered, evidence of a systematic campaign of murder
 
 

<strong>Consider the couch.</strong> From the supine <em>symposia</em> of ancient Greece to Freud&rsquo;s psychoanalytic sessions, horizontality has been associated with deep thinking -- why?

Consider the couch. From the supine symposia of ancient Greece to Freud’s psychoanalytic sessions, horizontality has been associated with deep thinking -- why?
 
 

Why is <strong>Gottlob Frege,</strong> one of the founders of analytic philosophy, largely unknown today? For starters, little was recorded of his personality -- except his virulent racism

Why is Gottlob Frege, one of the founders of analytic philosophy, largely unknown today? For starters, little was recorded of his personality -- except his virulent racism
 
 

&ldquo;The era of world literature is at hand,&rdquo; proclaimed <strong>Goethe</strong> in 1827. His colleagues disagreed, and gave him a turban for his birthday. Thankfully, the debate has evolved

“The era of world literature is at hand,” proclaimed Goethe in 1827. His colleagues disagreed, and gave him a turban for his birthday. Thankfully, the debate has evolved
 
 
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