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Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC), Roman orator and statesman, was born at Arpinum of a wealthy local family. He was taken to Rome for his education with the idea of a public career and by the year 70 he had established himself as the leading barrister in Rome. In the meantime his political career was well under way and he was elected praetor for the year 66. One of the most permanent features of his political life was his attachment to Pompeii. As a politician, his greatest failing was his consistent refusal to compromise; as a statesman his ideals were more honorable and unselfish than thoseRead more »
The acclaimed author of The American Soul, The Essential Marcus Aurelius, and Money and the Meaning of Life, Jacob Needleman is Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University, and former Director of the Center for the Study of New Religions at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. He was educated at Harvard, Yale and the University of Freiburg, Germany. He has also served as Research Associate at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research and was a Research Fellow at Union Theological Seminary. In addition to his teaching and writing he serves as a consultant in the fields ofRead more »
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva in 1712. He spent much of his life travelling around Switzerland and France, working variously as a footman, seminarist and tutor. His writings included entries on music for Diderot’s Encyclopédie, the novels La nouvelle Héloise (1761) and Émile (1762), and numerous political and philosophical texts. He also fathered five children – all of whom he abandoned to a foundling home – by Thérèse Levasseur, a servant girl. The crowning achievement of his political philosophy was The Social Contract, published in 1762. That same year he wrote an attack on religionRead more »
Leonard Peikoff is universally recognized as the pre-eminent Rand scholar writing today. He worked closely with Ayn Rand for 30 years and was designated by her as her intellectual heir and heir to her estate. He has taught philosophy at Hunter College, Long Island University, and New York University, and hosted the national radio talk show “Philosophy: Who Needs It.”Read more »
Thomas More was born a Londoner in 1477 or 1478. He served as a page, then studied at Oxford, was called to the bar and subsequently had a highly successful career in the City. Sent on an embassy to Flanders in 1515, he began Utopia there and completed it back in London. From 1528 he actively resisted innovation in religious matters and clashed with Henry VIII over his break with the Church. In July 1535, after he refused to accept the royal supremacy over the church, he was tried as a traitor at Westminster Hall and beheaded on Tower Hill. He was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1935.
Dominic Baker-SmithRead more »
Climate change, killer asteroids or President Palin – how will the world end? And what exactly can we do about it?
The Rough Guide to Surviving the End of the World is a light-hearted yet well-informed look at threats to the very existence of life on Earth, how we might be able to deal with them and – if things go truly, horribly wrong – how we might just be able to survive. Written by scientist and sci fan Paul Parsons this gripping book examines scenarios ranging from megafloods to space radiation, super-volcanoes to bioengineering and what you should do when the going gets tough, Along theRead more »
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC), Roman orator and statesman, was born at rural Arpinum (in the south of modern Italy) to a wealthy local family. He was taken to Rome for his education with the idea of a public career and, by the year 70 BC, he had established himself as the leading barrister in Rome. In the meantime, his political career was well under way and he was elected praetor in 66 BC. In addition to his speeches, Cicero produced a large number of works on the theory and practice of rhetoric, on religion, and on moral and political philosophy. He was put to death in 43 BC.
Thomas HabinekRead more »
Robert Skidelsky is Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick. His three volume biography of John Maynard Keynes (1983, 1992, 2000) received numerous prizes, including the Lionel Gelber Prize for International Relations and the Council on Foreign Relations Prize for International Relations. (‘This three-volume life of the British economist should be given a Nobel Prize for History if there was such a thing’ – Norman Stone.) He was made a life peer in 1991, and aFellow of the British Academy in 1994.
Edward Skidelsky is a lecturer in the Philosophy Department of theRead more »
At 26 years old, Brian Christian is not only a universally lauded author, but has lectured at the LSE, Royal Academy, Microsoft and Google, been interviewed on The Daily Show, BBC and Paris Review, profiled in the Guardian Magazine, New York Times, the New Yorker, and on the front cover of Atlantic, and has made countless appearances at universities and in online videos, speaking on his subject. He holds a dual degree from Brown University in computer science and philosophy, and an MFA in poetry. Unsurprisingly, this is his first book, but the first of many…Read more »
Michael J. Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University. His legendary ‘Justice’ course is the first Harvard course made freely available online (www.JusticeHarvard.org) and on television. Hiss work has been translated into 15 languages and been the subject of television series in the U.K., the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Sweden, and the Middle East. He has delivered the Tanner Lectures at Oxford and been a visiting professor at the Sorbonne, Paris. In 2010, China Newsweek named him the “most influential foreign figure of the year” in China. Sandel was theRead more »