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New Philosopher February 2017

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
# 15 the future

“It may be that in the future you will be helped by remembering the past.”Virgil Although the term and precise starting point might be disputed, many anthropologists believe that ‘behavioural modernity’ – when certain traits such as abstract thinking and symbolic behaviour are said to have emerged in humans – started around 50,000 years ago. Some 500 centuries later, here we stand, a link in a chain of human beings stretching back tens of thousands of years. Looking to the future, one can’t help but wonder: Do we have another 50,000 years as a species? Or are we set to be the architects of our own demise? Based on our current trajectory, the latter seems more likely: existential threats abound, from malevolent artificial intelligence to runaway climate change. Or perhaps it will end…

1 min
online at

newphilosopher.com Who cares? Which problems facing the modern world do you really, truly care about the most, and how willing are you to take action? newphilosopher.com/articles/who-cares/ The end of climate deniers There is one point of agreement for politicians from the left and the right, and leading scientists and philosophers: climate change is real. newphilosopher.com/articles/climate-deniers/ New Philosopher online store Visit the online store for previous editions of New Philosopher magazine, subscriptions, and other gift ideas. newphilosopher.com/products-page/magazines/ I should be so lucky It’s bedevilling for the man and woman in the street, who only wish to know whether it’s safe to cross the busy road. newphilosopher.com/articles/so-lucky/ New Philosopher Writing Prize Entries are open for the New Philosopher Prize for Philosophical Writing. Enter now to win $1,000 and have your work featured in the magazine. 0pen to NP subscribers, award XV entries close 31 May 2017 Up to…

5 min

DBC Pierre DBC Pierre won the Booker Prize for his debut novel Vernon God Little, which was also awarded the Whitbread First Novel Award in 2003 – the first time the two awards had been granted to the same book. Pierre is also the author of Ludmilla’s Broken English, Lights out in Wonderland, a book of short stories, and a novella, Breakfast with the Borgias. He was awarded the James Joyce Award from the Literary and Historical Society of University College Dublin. Tom Chatfield Tom Chatfield is a British writer and commentator. He is the author of five books exploring digital culture, including Netymology, and speaks around the world on technology, the arts, and media. Chatfield was launch columnist for the BBC’s worldwide technology site, BBC Future, is an associate editor at Prospect…

1 min
fight or flight?

“There is nothing more wretched than worry over the outcome of future events... minds are set aflutter with unaccountable fear.”Seneca Poor people own electric animals because real animals are too rare, too expensive to afford. Most of humanity has colonised other planets such as Mars, leaving the Earth behind. In his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Philip K. Dick describes a dystopian time, in keeping with the majority of science fiction, where Earth has been irreparably damaged by the ‘progress’ of science and technology, culminating in “World War Terminus”. In fact, finding a dystopian scenario in which science and technology are not to blame is as rare as sheep’s blood in Dick’s novel. It is somewhat ironic, therefore, that as we face existential threats such as environmental devastation, artificial intelligence, and…

2 min
the art of prolonging life

“As I travelled, talking about these issues, I met so many young people who had lost hope. Some were depressed; some were apathetic; some were angry and violent. And when I talked to them, they all more or less felt this way because we had compromised their future and the world of tomorrow was not going to sustain their great-grandchildren.”Jane Goodall For as long as there have been human civilisations, it seems that we’ve been trying to live longer. In The Art of Prolonging Life, first published in English in 1854, Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland noted that each of the Ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks had different methods for lengthening lifespans. The Ancient Egyptians were partial to the use of emetics and sudorifics – which caused vomiting and sweating, respectively – and,…

2 min
jevons’s paradox

It’s an old adage that conjures up images of used car dealers and snake oil salesmen: if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. But the peddlers of fantastic cure-alls aren’t always clothed in shonky suits – in fact, some of today’s most successful con-artists may well be those in charge of the world’s response to the unprecedented threat of global warming. A 2010 editorial in The New York Times entitled “Everybody Wins” epitomised that response, arguing that greater fuel efficiency would have a trifecta of benefits: “reduced dependence on foreign oil, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and consumer savings at the pump”. In other words, even though global warming caused by greenhouse emissions is the greatest existential threat faced by humankind, we shouldn’t worry: the solution –…