Film & TV

Review | ‘Dunkirk’

“There are several leading characters in the film but there is nobody around which the entire story revolves. Not even Kenneth Branagh’s Commander who stands on the pier attempting to direct the evacuation is master of his own fate. All rely on the other interlinking perspectives of the story. The perspective of Mark Rylance’s retired veteran’s pleasure boat crossing the channel to a war zone is fuelled by the duty to do his bit.  As is Tom Hardy’s endless dogfights in the air knowing he might lack the fuel to get himself home.” (Read More)

History & Philosophy

Liberalism’s problem with the concept of violence

“What is violence? In truth, there is no clear definition. Political theorists often disagree about the parameters of the word and its relation to other metaphysical concepts such as power. This leads to radical differences. An anarchist may see violence as any act which restricts choice; whereas, a liberal may view violence as physical, empirical, an action of causing harm. How violence is theoretically treated radically defines many political doctrines.” (Read More)

Photograph: Pexels
History & Philosophy

In defense of wonder

“I’m an Atheist. No, not the kind who troll Christian websites. I fall into the reluctant Atheist category. If the late Christopher Hitchens were alive today, some of his most scathing rhetoric would be reserved for me. I’m not sure whether I’m proud or ashamed to admit that.” (Read More)

Photograph: 'Walk of Fame' / Davide D'Amico
Arts & Culture

There will be no more mourning celebrities in the future

‘Today, in our interconnected, globalised and culturally internationalist world, it’s a macabre, but easy temptation, to look around and imagine which artists will generate the same shockwaves when they die. Who will, for the twenty-somethings of today, be the ‘legends’ that receive posthumous awards and extensive media coverage lavishing praise or skewering with retrospectives?’ (Read More)

'History is all around us' / CC
History & Philosophy

Why we need citizen philosophers

The discipline and expertise of academic philosophers, and the broader set of experiences, challenges, and opportunities for new questions and unique ways of understanding the larger community of ‘citizen philosophers’ each serve to keep the other more honest, more challenged, and more informed, in the great world conversation we’re all having. (Read More)

History & Philosophy

Brussels vs Istanbul: The proximity principle and selective caring

The proximity principle explains why a terrorist attack in the U.S. would affect us more than an attack in Nigeria. Proximity can also refer to cultural proximity where we perceive a certain culture to be closer to our own. This better equips us to relate to what has happened. An attack on a culture similar to ours makes the scenario that similar events could happen at home much more credible. We can rationally understand that attacks taking place in a faraway country could theoretically take place anywhere, but this hardly ever translates into an emotional response. (Read More)

History & Philosophy

Communitarianism, Writ Large

So a communitarian could argue that while the moral ideal of freedom is traditional in the US, it’s the broader implementation of it that tool a long time as traditional practices caught up. (Read More)

History & Philosophy

On free speech and political correctness: A response to Lindy West

Yet when it came to the central argument of her piece, the ‘silencing’ argument, she lost me. And when she went from disagreeing with to railing against Jonathan Chait, a columnist with New York Magazine who explains why he thinks free speech is being threatened on college campuses, to the extent that she accuses him, no, downright slanders him, of ‘imply[ing] that black Americans being shot in the streets by agents of the state are the real puppetmasters of an authoritarian regime’, she really lost me. (Read More)

'Lion' / CC
History & Philosophy

Cecil the lion exposes our ignorance about the human condition

Cecil the lion proved the point. The tragedy of a great beast being slain for sport is not lost on me in a world where extinction for most creatures beckons in the near future. It was quite right for their to be a shocked global outcry, particularly on social media, at something so garish. Yet the event unified people in such a wisdom of crowds type way as to beg the question why we’re not like this about the daily human travesties that occur every day all over the world. Have we become so used to hearing of famines, murder, rape, genocides, female genital mutilation and terrorism that we’ve accepted it as a fact of life? Even if these are facts of our global civilisation that may well be perennial, have we really lost our ability to care and our desire to see change? (Read More)

History & Philosophy

To understand federalism’s future, we must look to the past

From the cyclical nature of history we can learn a lot. In our current turbulent political atmosphere we may look to historical antecedents for knowledge and wisdom. As the general election looms ever closer on the horizon and the political arguments take shape one issue will ever present in the mind of Scottish voters whether they were in the Yes or No camp, that is the promise of ‘near federalism’ by Westminster officials. This is the story of a struggle for federalism from which we may gain some insight. (Read More)

Asia

Unity or Division? Assessing the impact of the Japanese occupation on modern Indonesia: Part 3

The elimination of Dutch influence and mobilization of the population for the Japanese war effort demanded the systematic indoctrination of Indonesians throughout the archipelago. Although this constant propaganda failed to convince Indonesians of the apparent superiority of Japanese culture, it did, however, intensify anti-Western and nationalistic attitudes, which in the process helped unify Indonesians in their commitment to independence. (Read More)

Asia

Unity or Division? Assessing the impact of the Japanese occupation on modern Indonesia: Part 1

When Showa Japan invaded the Dutch East Indies in 1942, different groups began to compete for the goodwill of their new colonial masters. In the course of these events remaining Europeans were either killed or sent as forced labour into Japanese concentration camps. Many Indonesians had welcomed the Japanese as liberators but their hopes were soon balked. The occupying power brutally quelled resistance since its ultimate aim was to incorporate the East Indies into the ’Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere – a Japanese dominated imperial order. (Read More)

History & Philosophy

Scotland’s Empire in the Sun

A current of thought amongst contemporary historians follows that empires have a life span. Like living organisms they grow, mature and begin to decay in a natural and seemingly inevitable process of decline. This has proven true for the greatest empires known to the world – Rome, Egypt, Spain, Britain and perhaps America today. (Read More)

'U.S Flag' by Ian Ransley / CC
History & Philosophy

Remembering Welsh America

Columbus discovered America in 1492’ is a line most likely to appear in standard school textbooks. In actual fact, it was his voyage of 1492 that registered his recognition, even though he never set foot on the mainland of the Americas until 1498. Although some will debate aspects of the story, what is not in the standard school textbooks is the fact that almost three centuries before Columbus’s great claim to fame, there was another from the European world to set foot on the ‘New World’. (Read More)