Imagine a girl called Mary. She is a brilliant neuroscientist and a world expert on colour vision. But because she grew up entirely in a black and white room, she has never actually seen any colours. Many black and white books and TV programmes have taught her all there is to know about colour vision. Mary knows facts like the structure of our eyes and … Continue reading Philosophy Now Magazine: What did Mary know?
When telephones were still a rare possession, the French artist Jean-Louis Forain decided to install a telephone in his town house. Wanting to surprise his good friend Edgar Degas with it, he invited him around for dinner and made sure to leave the table and conspicuously take a call. When he returned to the dinner table, Degas drily remarked: “So that’s the telephone? They ring, … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: Phoney Freedom
On Sunday, the cosmetics company Dove released a three-minute video on YouTube called “Dove Real Beauty Sketches”. By Friday it had nearly 9m views. The video features a former forensic artist from the San Jose police department sitting behind a white curtain as several women tell him, one after another, what they look like. “Tell me about your chin…your jaw,” he asks, as he sketches. Their replies are … Continue reading The Economist’s Intelligent Life Magazine: The Latest Beauty Product: Concern
There has been a “Women’s Library” in London since 1926, but this May it moves from its own premises in Aldgate to the fourth floor of the London School of Economics (pictured). The collection contains 60,000 books and pamphlets, press cuttings and banners about the British feminist movement. But I doubt the world’s largest library for social and political sciences—where I work as a research … Continue reading The Economist’s Intelligent Life Magazine: A Women’s Library? No, Thanks
The first thought that popped into my head when Michael Sandel walked onto the stage to deliver his lecture at the LSE was that he looks nothing like Mr Burns! According to urban legend, the Harvard Professor of Political Philosophy was the inspiration for Montgomery Burns of the Simpsons, Homer’s evil boss and owner of Springfield’s nuclear power plant, who has the habit of bribing … Continue reading The Beaver: Michael Sandel the public philosopher
While walking from the Old Building to the New Academic Building, I could not help but wonder why the LSE is such an exemplary case of an institution that lacks creativity when it comes to naming its buildings. The resemblance of “Clement House” and “St. Clement’s Building” is a source of enduring confusion for Freshers and visitors alike. “Tower One,” “Tower Two” and “Tower Three” … Continue reading The Beaver: What’s in a name?