sloth fanatic, once described as an amalgamation of Luna Lovegood and Moaning Myrtle

Exploring the “essentially contested” concept

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Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash

What is a person? It might seem obvious at first. It’s a human being, of course. But is it? It’s certainly not a ; you’d be silly to call a lamp a person, or a book. You take a person’s feelings into consideration. You can shout abuse at a book without having to take its feelings into account.

It’s often used to confer a kind of moral value; a person has certain rights. A deserves to be treated in a certain way.

In perhaps my favorite film of all time, , Jessie Eisenberg plays a character whose life is usurped by his doppelgänger. As his double takes over his workplace, his romantic relationship, and eventually his whole life, he is at pains to assert that he is the real Simon, that exists. There’s an interview I love with Eisenberg, by DAZED, where they ask him about identity in the…


On Dukkha and having a meaningful existence.

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Photo by Jose Luis Sanchez Pereyra on Unsplash

Just as there are various Christian denominations, there is a great variance in Buddhist belief. My intention with this article is not to get bogged down in the nuanced variations between Buddhist thinkers and doctrines. I want to speak generally on Buddhist theories of suffering, because I’ve found Buddhist teachings to be very helpful in navigating life’s tricky path.

I first encountered Buddhism in my second year of undergraduate studies at Durham University, under Dr. Simon James. He is an expert on Buddhism, and taught a course called , which I attended for a year. …


Exploring theodicy

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Photo by Jake Colling on Unsplash

The problem of evil is something we hear talked about a lot: if an omnibenevolent God exists, then why is there evil in the world? The proponent of the design argument claims that the existence of a certain feature proves that God exists; one often appealed to characteristic is the eye. The eye is so intricate and beautiful, so the argument goes, that it must have been designed; such a complicated machination cannot have come about naturally.

The problem of evil works in the reverse direction: our experience of the magnitude of suffering in the world should lead us to infer that God probably doesn’t exist; or not, at least, the God we exists. And that’s important. The existence of evil doesn’t question the possibility of a God existing altogether, but moreover the possibility of the kind of God we want to exist. …


From Georges Perec’s ‘Species of Spaces and Other Pieces’

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Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash

I wouldn’t like to live in America but sometimes I would

I wouldn’t like to live in a metropolis but sometimes I would

I would like to live in the countryside but sometimes I wouldn’t

I wouldn’t like to live in the city but sometimes I would

I would like to live in France but sometimes I wouldn’t

I wouldn’t like to live in Spain but sometimes I would

I would like to live in Russia but sometimes I wouldn’t


From Georges Perec’s ‘Species of Spaces and Other Pieces’

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Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash


How do the two relate?

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Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash

Ever feel like the world is a meaningless place? Well, Nietzsche predicted that feeling pretty accurately. Of course, people have sought to find meaning in the world since human beings have existed. But religion had pretty much always been there, in one form or another, to offer guidance and support.

But what do we do now, in a world where religious attitudes are no longer assumed? Nietzsche predicted that society would feel pretty meaningless. Enter stage left: post-modern theories. …


And that’s okay — I’ve found other techniques that have

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

I recently completed a course of CBT-E; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy directed towards people with eating disorders. I’m not sure how to feel about the whole thing. I was basically given a book on binge eating and told to do the rest.

I was asked to write down everything I ate and drank over a weekly period, which did nothing but spiral me back into a restrictive period. While the treatment has helped quite a few people, I’m not sure how it’s affected me. I have learnt some really insightful things about my negative thinking patterns. But some of the most effective CBT techniques are ones I’ve taught myself. …


Exploring David Hume’s views on miracles

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Photo by Jacob Bentzinger on Unsplash

What is a miracle? It’s tough to say. I was raised as a Christian, although I no longer practice that faith. I’d say I’m something of an agnostic now. In fact, I feel like I lean towards Buddhism or a kind of Spiritualism. Much of my distaste with organized religion revolves around the kind of scandals that have come with great power.

As the great philosopher Spiderman once said, “with great power comes great responsibility”, and many of the clergy don’t seem to have taken that to heed.

The film addresses the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered a huge scandal involving the Catholic Archdiocese and child molestation. Part of why that film was so terribly upsetting was because the children had so much trust in clergy members to do the right thing. Members of the Catholic Church — some very high up — deliberately sought to conceal the abuse inflicted by priests onto these (primarily) young men. But the other thing I found a little odd about the Christian religion I grew up with was the Biblical miracles; spectacular events that supposedly defy the laws of the land. …


How my invisible illness was ignored by doctors

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Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

Dealing with an invisible illness is tough. I live with CFS/ME; a chronic health condition whereby I suffer from extreme exhaustion. It’s been demonised by the press, and sometimes by the healthcare profession. The comedian Ricky Gervais claimed that ME was the lazy condition, the one where people say stuff like, “I don’t feel like going into work today”. It’s so that. It’s terrible. I had a friend who suffered with ME, before I got it — and I thought that it was about just being really exhausted. I was wrong. I got it, and I thought differently.

What’s ME?

NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, aptly describes CFS and the myriad forms it…


Lessons from the great writer and philosopher

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Photo by fabian wohlgemuth on Unsplash

What’s so absurd about life? Well, quite a lot, actually. We’ve looked at Sartre the Existentialist, and how he was influenced by Nietzsche the Nihilist. But Sartre’s contemporary Albert Camus also had a marked impact on Sartre’s way of thinking. They both thought along the same lines — both felt Nietzsche’s prediction of a valueless modern life, a life where God was dead, most keenly — but both chose to approach the problem in different ways. In fact, they are often grouped together, but they were both at pains to emphasize their differences.

Who is Camus?

Albert Camus was born on the 7th of November 1913, in Algeria, and later moved to France. His upbringing was markedly different to that of Sartre. The bourgeois, middle-class way of thinking is seen in Sartre but not Camus; Camus was from a working-class family. This meant he often evaded the “ivory-tower”, “champagne socialist” criticisms thrown Sartre’s way. …

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