David Hume

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Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 3 Rise of the Machines. ‘The prospect of being at the mercy of a future super-intelligence seems entirely realistic,’ says Malcolm Bull. Photograph: Reuters/Warner Bros

Is it better to be just or merciful? This question has troubled politicians and preachers down the ages but in recent times the hammer of justice has (...)

Pope Francis at the canonisation of John Paul II who was credited with curing Floribeth Mora (right) of a serious brain condition by virtue of a miracle. Photograph:  Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

What makes a miracle? A glance at media output suggests we are surrounded by the supernatural. We have miracle foods, miracle drugs and miracle babies(...)

Sandy Stoddart’s sculpture of David Hume in Edinburgh

Many Irish rugby fans in Edinburgh this weekend will at some point pass the statue of David Hume, prominently located on the city’s most prestigious t(...)

The secret of happiness is practising compassion, says the Dalai Lama, pictured on a visit to Ireland in 2011. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

As the dust settles on the US presidential election, Americans are counting the cost of mean-spirited and negative campaigning. Donald Trump was succe(...)

Is sucking on a chicken leg while travelling on a train pushing the benefit of the doubt too far?

I’ve been in the UK for two days. I’ve visited many times before, of course, but these are my first two days as a resident. It’s odd, because Ireland (...)

Social justice campaigner Fr Peter McVerry, ‘probably the most credible social commentator of the Irish left’. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Liberals and left-wing types are usually well-educated, yet, time and again, they show extraordinary ignorance about what motivates people to take on(...)

 President Michael D Higgins with Sir Timothy O’Shea, principal and vice chancellor of University of Edinburgh. Photograph: Chris Bellew / Fennell Photography

Individualism has been “one of the great intellectual pitfalls of our times”, President Michael D Higgins said yesterday, the second day of his offici(...)

 Dr Oliver Sacks: also wrote the best-selling ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat’. Photograph: Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

    Oliver Sacks, the eminent neurologist and writer, has died at his home in New York City. He was 82.   The cause (...)

18th-century philosopher David Hume regarded Scots as merely a “corrupt dialect”. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

For a government document, Scotland’s policy of “wurkin wi pairtners tae heize up the status o Scots language amang folk an toons” has an unusual ring(...)

Ireland fans David Lynch, Darren O’Neill, Mark Cullen and Ross McComish, from Belfast, Co Antrim in Edinburgh for the Scotland match. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Irish fans arriving early for the Edinburgh rugby weekend were treated to almost perfect views of the solar eclipse, as light cloud cleared obligingly(...)

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