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New Philosopher Issue 32 - May/July 2021

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

Our relationship with energy began with fire. In the mythology of the Wurundjeri people, the Crow stole the secret of fire from the Karatgurk women. The Vainakh people gave the credit to the hero Pkharmat, while in Ojibwa myth, the hare stole fire and gave it to humans. In Greek mythology, it was Prometheus who embodied both the creation of humanity (from clay) and the arrival of fire. This was just the beginning for this God of Fire.The infamous larcenist went on to represent so much more: human striving, the quest for knowledge, and the risk of overextension. Following the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – which had the subtitle “The Modern Prometheus” – creation, change, and progress came with a warning label: remember Prometheus. Prometheus undoubtedly had ‘forethought’ – the meaning…

1 min
online at

newphilosopher.com is an online portal for exploring philosophical ideas on ways to live a more fulfilling life. Read the articles, join in discussions, and watch free online documentaries. The vastness of space When it comes to measuring the vastness of outer space, you need to talk about time in order to talk about distance. Where did we come from? I believe getting into this remote perspective and looking at us from a distance is something that... people could learn from. New Philosopher online store Visit the online store for previous issues of New Philosopher magazine, subscriptions as well as gift ideas. Invest in your masterpiece A few decades ago, psychologists began documenting the appearance of a new personality that was showing up for therapy.…

6 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. Nigel Warburton Nigel Warburton is a freelance philosopher, podcaster, writer, and the Editor-at-large of New Philosopher. Described as “one of the most-read popular philosophers of our time”, his books include A Little History of Philosophy, Thinking from A to Z, and Philosophy: The Classics. The interviewer for the Philosophy Bites podcast,…

2 min
power is power

1882 was a big year for Thomas Edison. On January 12, he opened the world’s first coal-fired power station generating electricity for public use. The station burnt coal that powered 968 16-candle incandescent streetlamps, lighting the way from Holborn Circus to St Martin’s Le Grand, a one kilometre stretch ending just near the London Stock Exchange. Eight months later, Edison opened his second coal-fired power station, on Pearl Street in Manhattan’s Financial District, with the capacity to light 7,200 lamps. Like its sister station in London, Pearl Street served a wealthy area – including the financial titans of Wall Street. The history of power production is very often the history of wealth – and every else that wealth brings. If we go back to an early power source – preceded only…

1 min
life force

Vitalism – the idea of a ‘life force’ that separates living from non-living matter – is an ancient and persistent belief. Chinese philosophers called it qi; millions of people still do today. Louis Pasteur, who made seismic advances in microbiology, argued that the need for living yeast for fermentation meant it must be a “vital process”. In 1907, the French philosopher Henri Bergson spoke of an élan vital that causes living things to spontaneously generate and develop. “It is important to realise that in physics today, we have no knowledge of what energy is.” — Richard Feynman, 1960 The thought of life as a sort of energy seems intuitively obvious. Living bodies seem to be animated by some sort of impetus or force that goes beyond the mere arrangement of their parts,…

1 min
i contain multitudes

In his second song since winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, Bob Dylan lists a catalogue of influences, including Edgar Allen Poe, William Blake, Beethoven, and Chopin. The title of the song is taken from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, in which the poet, having finally acknowledged that his self is the sum total of all that has influenced it, writes: Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.) Self-contradiction is also a theme in Dylan’s song, whose narrator declares, “I’m a man of contradictions, I’m a man of many moods.” For both poet and songwriter, incoherence seems to be inevitable – those who came before are so numerous, and so diverse, that consistency can only come at the cost of inauthenticity. Contradiction also seems…