A protest in Athens: people have become more nationalistic in countries that were worst hit economically. Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

We tend to think people choose to be nationalist in the same way people choose to be vegetarian or opt to support one football team over another. It’s(...)

Photograph: Thinkstock

An ever-expanding mindfulness industry tells us to “live in the now” and to “be present” in the moment. But what do these exhortations mean when the (...)

“One of the most eloquent quiet stares in human history”: Denial of Peter (detail) by Carl Heinrich Bloch

People working to relieve human suffering in conflict zones can face difficult choices. Notwithstanding their moral principles, in practice they will(...)

Ballot box: election reformers want to see more of the people involved in more of the decisions more of the time. Illustration: Kevin Smart/Getty

As Peter Emerson stood in the RDS last weekend, watching Irish politics enter a new phase of uncertainty, he might have been forgiven for saying “I to(...)

Friedrich Nietzsche: what would he have thought of academics on Twitter?

Ireland prides itself on the relatively high proportion of its young people who have higher-education qualifications. But Friedrich Nietzsche would no(...)

The freedom to self-harm in the western, liberal tradition would have been anathema to Kant’s philosophy

In the western, liberal tradition, freedom is king, and that includes the freedom to be unhappy. If someone wants to engage in self-harming acts such(...)

The state funds Catholic faith formation in the primary sector to the tune of € 90 million per year. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Is secularism really a threat to the Catholic Church? The answer is far from straightforward as “secular” hasn’t always been seen as such an antagonis(...)

“Vaccines aren’t perfect, nor can we expect them to be”

There is perhaps no more emotive parenting issue at present than vaccination. When Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg last month posted a photograph of his ne(...)

“Reformers argue that the Koran is a living text and can be reinterpreted”

A charge commonly laid against Islam is that it is incompatible with western values. Certainly, passages of the Koran can be hard to reconcile with to(...)

A visitor appraises Caravaggio’s The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew. Photograph: Getty Images

As time goes on there seems to be less agreement as to what exactly constitutes art. Consider a Caravaggio painting, a shark in formaldehyde, Duchamp(...)