Immanuel Kant

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‘Nearly all of us have some desire to do what’s right  but a lot of the time our desire doesn’t really translate into motivation.’ Photograph: Getty images

Being moral is commonly associated with a kind of joyless rule-keeping. Blame Christianity if you like – and particularly that strand which sees salva(...)

Shamima Begum (19) in a Syrian refugee camp reading a copy of the UK home office letter stripping her of British citizenship. Photograph: ITV News/PA Wire

It was, former US chief justice Earl Warren remarked, “a form of punishment more primitive than torture”. For Voltaire, it was not only irrational but(...)

Shame is something we always have the capacity for; we may find the triggers for it intentionally or by accident. Photograph: Getty

I fell off my bicycle struggling my way up an incline on a country road. The day was idyllic. The sun twinkled off any vegetation that leaned toward i(...)

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley holds a photo of a victim of the Syrian chemical attack at a meeting of the  Security Council. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Faced with the appalling use of chemical weapons in Syria against civilians, including children, the familiar pattern of initial outrage gives way to (...)

Paul Gregg’s  Amorphous, 2006, plastic and helium: at the RHA Gallagher Gallery

To Swallow a Ball – Vanessa Donoso López The Lab, Dublin ***** There’s a temporary air to Vanessa Donoso López’s show at The Lab. Appropriately so (...)

Larry David in ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’: the ‘cringe comedy’ premiered in 2000

Ludwig Wittgenstein is reputed to have said that a good philosophical work could be written entirely of jokes but by praising humour he was in a mino(...)

Bricks and memories: a line drawing of Laura Kennedy’s old family home by her brother, Damien, who is an architect

Since my mother died last November, I have avoided going home to Limerick – where she lived and I grew up – as much as possible. It’s nothing against(...)

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(...)

Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made. This famous remark of German philosopher Immanuel Kant is particularly relevan(...)

St Patrick’s Day is an occasion of national celebration. But is the nation state itself deserving of applause? The crisis in Ukraine is just th(...)

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