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The Blind Programmer

From the March 1998 Print Edition

How the Mind Works . By Steven Pinker. Norton. 660 pages, $29.95. The MIT linguist Noam Chomsky once drew an important distinction between problems and mysteries. A “problem” in Chomskian parlance is a question that is symbiotically fused to an ascertainable answer; it is an explanandum (a . . . . Continue Reading »

The Heart of the Church

From the February 1997 Print Edition

Mary Through the Centuries: Her Place in the History of Culture By Jaroslav Pelikan Yale University Press, 267 pages, $25 In 1938 a famous Jewish novelist had to flee his native Austria after its annexation by Nazi Germany. Because of his poor health the journey was slow going, and in 1940 he and . . . . Continue Reading »

Eros and Rage

From the August/September 1995 Print Edition

The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics By Martha Nussbaum Princeton University Press 558 pages, $29.95 In 1986 Martha Nussbaum published The Fragility of Goodness, a study of the ethics of Plato, Aristotle, and the Greek tragedians that won immediate acclaim, not only from . . . . Continue Reading »

Poisoned Eros

From the January 1994 Print Edition

Love and Friendship by allan bloom simon & schuster, 590 pages, $25 “Christianity gave Eros poison to drink. He didn’t die, but became vice.” This is one of Nietzsche’s more famous obiter dicta, and Allan Bloom finds the occasion to cite it more than once in this, his last book, . . . . Continue Reading »