Existentialist philosophers Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre enjoy the freedom of the beach in Rio in 1960. Photograph: STF/AFP/Getty

Our movements have been restricted by the Covid-19 lockdown, but there’s nothing to stop our minds from running free. In that spirit, Unthinkable this(...)

“It’s only recently that we thought animals should be treated with respect and dignity and not tormented.” Photograph: iStock

Western civilisation has been slow to take seriously the suffering of animals. For “slow” read thousands of years, and yet we’re only starting to get (...)

Commemorative plaque for Friedrich Nietzsche at the house where he lived in Turin.  Photograph: istock

Nietzsche once famously wrote, in one of his notebooks and published in The Will to Power, that failure and pain are richly to be embraced, and even d(...)

Leo Varadkar: some of the 40 things he should know on his 40th – do yoga, avoid cycling, cut out meat, avoid supplements, get reading glasses

Happy Birthday Leo. The Big FOUR O eh? You might have woken up this morning feeling a little glum and middle aged and found yourself staring into an e(...)

Kylian Mbappé: faster than Ronaldo? Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

The most common comparison that has been made these past few weeks has been with one Brazilian great, Ronaldo, but there have been messages from the g(...)

Schopenhauer lived with a succession of poodles, which neighbouring children rather unkindly referred to as “Mrs Schopenhauer”. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Since I am not an optimist by disposition, the very thought of weddings stresses me out. Not mine – that isn’t happening any time soon, if at all. No(...)

Prof Martin Seligman, left, and Prof Ian Robertson: According to Seligman: ‘Human beings want much more in life than not to be miserable.’Professor Martin Seligman. Photograph: Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX

One of the great imponderables of human society is how much of our religion, psychology, philosophy and art through the millennia has been dedicated (...)

Kropotkin, above, ‘pointed out that the national postal union came about without state control’. Photograph:  Edward Gooch/Getty Images

From an early age, we are taught to honour the state. We learn anthems, salute flags and give thanks for services rendered by government. But do we(...)

Socrates with Athena looking over his shoulder in Athens

In a bid to push beyond “common sense”, The Irish Times explores important ideas of the past, present and future through conversations with different (...)