PoW: Plato, pop culture and swag

Angie Hobbs came and spoke at the London Philosophy Club earlier this month. She's an expert on Plato, and in her talk she used Platonism as a way of making sense of last year’s riots. She noted that many media commentators called the rioters ‘shameless’. This wasn’t true at all, she said. The rioters had a sense of shame and honour, it was just warped, or misdirected.

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Economies of pleasure

Our lives are economies of pleasure, made of habitual ways of trying to feel good. If we want to change ourselves we have, as it were, to reform our habitual structures of pleasure and build new structures. We must change the ways that we get pleasure, and perhaps deny ourselves pleasure in the habitual forms in which we get it, in order to get pleasure in new ways.

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In defence of Stoic Week

I was slightly surprised to see that Julian Baggini had used his column in the Independent to make some criticisms of 'Stoic Week', part of a project at Exeter University with which I'm involved. When you think of all the serious things happening in the world at the moment, from extreme weather to the war in Gaza, it seems odd to use your column in a national newspaper to criticise a project which, taken all together, is in my opinion a small but positive thing within the philosophical landscape.

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The re-birth of Stoicism

We’re coming to the end of Stoic Week. People all over the world have been practicing Stoic exercises and reflecting on Stoic ideas this week, thanks to this wonderful initiative, launched by a young post-grad at Exeter University called Patrick Ussher. Some of Patrick’s students have been sharing their thoughts on the exercises via YouTube.

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Top ten tips for recovering from mental illness

Here are my top ten tips for recovering from mental illness. Tell me any really good tips I've missed out in the comments. They're not commandments, just what worked for me in recovering from social anxiety and minor depression - feel free to disagree. And although I don't mention medication, because I personally didn't use it, I know lots of people find that a helpful part of the recovery process - and an essential one if you suffer from a serious psychotic condition.

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Moments of epiphany

There's an interview with me in de Volksrant, a Dutch newspaper, published today. The very nice interviewer asked me about an experience I described right at the end of the book, which was sort of a near-death experience I think.

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The Master: self-help, and the Puritan longing to escape the past

Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, The Master, tells the story of drifter Joaquin Phoenix’s relationship with the head of a New Age sect, which looks suspiciously like Scientology. The group, called The Cause, aims (like Scientology) to clear its members of the karmic traces of their past lives, and return them to their inherent perfection. They do this by hypnotising their members to retrace their past incarnations, or by subjecting them to a b

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