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New Philosopher February 2018

New Philosopher is for curious people seeking solutions to the fundamental problems faced by humankind. New Philosopher is devoted to exploring philosophical ideas from past and present thinkers on ways to live a more fulfilling life, and to seek to find solutions to the most pressing problems faced by humans in contemporary society.

United States
The Bull Media Company
4 Issues

in this issue

1 min

“People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.”Seneca An envelope is opened at the end of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, its contents promising an answer to the eternal question: What is the meaning of life? The answer: “Try to be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.” Pondering the meaning of life is not just the domain of Pythons and philosophers. Curious eight-year-olds, heartbroken teens, and expiring octogenarians alike reflect on life’s meaning, if only in difficult or…

1 min
online at newphilosopher.com

Is less more? I’m at my most productive surrounded by books and papers in my office at home, or in a café with background noise, a half-finished flat white, and people moving about. newphilosopher.com/articles/is-less-more Living in a material world The very earliest writings in philosophy and religion suggest to people that materialism is pretty problematic, that it will crowd out what it means to have a meaningful life. newphilosopher.com/articles/material-world New Philosopher online store Visit the online store for previous issues of New Philosopher magazine, subscriptions as well as gift ideas. newphilosopher.com/products-page/magazines/ Things for the future To be a refugee is to experience a series of profound losses. You lose your home, your country; perhaps your family, career, or language. newphilosopher.com/articles/things-future New Philosopher Writing Prize Entries are open for the New Philosopher Prize for Philosophical Writing. Enter now to win $1,000 and have your…

6 min

Helen Caldicott Helen Caldicott received her medical degree in 1961. In 1971, Caldicott played a major role in Australia’s opposition to French atmospheric nuclear testing in the Pacific. From 1977 to 1986, she was President of Physicians for Social Responsibility; the international umbrella group won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. Caldicott has been awarded the Lannan Foundation’s 2003 Prize for Cultural Freedom and 21 honorary doctoral degrees, and was personally nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling. André Dao Deputy Editor of New Philosopher, André Dao is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. His work has appeared in The Monthly, SBS True Stories, Meanjin, and Al Jazeera English. He is the co-founder of Behind the Wire, an oral history project documenting people’s experience of immigration detention in Australia.…

2 min
what is the meaning of life?

“It’s probably something like truth, or beauty, but having recently been plunged into the New York City summer, I think it might be air-conditioning.” Jenny Judge, academic, USA “Depends on what metaphysical views we subscribe to or develop, but generally, being compassionate and being eager to learn to think and act better.” Taimur Khan, doctor, Pakistan “I gravitate toward Aristotle’s answer: flourishing.” Nina Rosenstand, philosopher, USA “As I grow older the little things in life are more meaningful.” John Fitzgerald, lawyer, Australia “Connection and compassion.” Tamara Russell, neuroscientist, USA “What poetry teaches us: to make meaning.” Peter Worley, philosopher, UK “Nothing but the meaning we make, in community with others whose existence intersects with ours.” Justin Poon, lawyer, Australia “I think life as a whole has no meaning, but there are many ways to find meaning in one’s own life.” Tim Crane, philosopher, Hungary “I think…

1 min
the living planet

It’s humbling to think of ourselves as a combination of atoms that have existed since the dawn of the Earth, and, as physicist Frank Close puts it in the statement above, that the atoms we’re made of are one third as old as the Universe. When we also consider that, as far as we know, Earth is the only place in the Universe where life exists, it’s yet another reason to celebrate not just our life, but also the exquisite uniqueness of life on Earth. But it’s easy to get complacent, especially when we look around at so many others competing for space. This floating ball is getting more crowded by the second, with 7.6 billion humans, 18.6 billion chickens, 500 billion krill, three trillion trees, and countless others currently inhabiting…

6 min
news from nowhere

A matter of life and death Pick an apple from a tree and put it in your fruit bowl. While it was on the tree, the apple was clearly alive. Is it now dead? Or still alive? Or neither, somehow? What about your kidney? It’s clearly a part of your living body. But say you donate it to someone. When it leaves your body, is it still ‘alive’? It seems to be in a similar state to the apple, until it’s transplanted into someone else and becomes a living part of their body. Nature throws up countless threshold examples like this, from viruses to toenail clippings. Until recently we could happily ignore most of them. For most of history, working out whether people were living or not was straightforward enough: breathing, heartbeat, and…