"The drb sustains a level of commentary on Irish and international matters that no other journal in Ireland and few elsewhere can reach. It deserves all the support that can be given it." X
Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

    Meet the Replicants

    Manus Charleton
    Research, backed by large financial investment, is forging ahead to turn fiction into fact and reproduce human intelligence in androids that approximate to humans. What effect might these efforts, if successful, have on how we perceive and value our own intelligence and consciousness?
    More

    The God in the I

    Manus Charleton
    The Estonian aristocrat Hermann Keyserling was recognised as a leading intellectual in Europe and America in the first half of the twentieth century. In 1911, aged thirty-one, he travelled around the world to develop his spirituality. The Travel Diary of a Philosopher was the result.
    More

    Philosophy on the Boulevard

    Manus Charleton
    Philosophy on the Boulevard
    The bloom of Existentialism may have faded today - though its presence is still felt in literary work - but fifty years ago every fashionable person wanted to learn about it, the Establishment fretted about it, and almost every journalist seemed to be using it to make a living.
    More

    Do Right Man

    Manus Charleton
    An initiative sponsored by President Higgins rightly locates ethics as not just a matter of personal behaviour or minimalist professional codes, but as forming the moral fabric of society through values and principles operating within its institutions and practices.
    More

    Deeper than God

    Manus Charleton
    Dworkin argues that, as well as religious theists, there are many others who because they believe the universe is inherently ordered while at the same time reaching beyond our comprehension, should also be regarded as religious. He calls them religious atheists. Among scientists, Einstein is the most famous religious atheist. 
    More

    Do the right thing

    Manus Charleton
    The debate over ethics and the role it might or might not play in economic life sparked by recent comments from President Higgins could be informed by a study of the Irish Enlightenment thinker Francis Hutcheson, who posited an objective source for our feelings of right and wrong.
    More

    The Opening to Others

    Manus Charleton
    Believers make use of  supernatural stories to give detailed content to and make more tangible the sense of openness to the transcendent, openness to strangers.
    More

    Mind And Mystery

    Manus Charleton

    In a BBC Four documentary (Pol Pot’s Executioner: Welcome to Hell – May 2011), a torturer said that the only way he could have tortured his victims was to regard them as animals, as he was required to do. The practice of dehumanising prisoners by relating to them only as a number was part of this process, as it was in the Nazi death camps. A torturer might be opposed to torturing prisoners but have justifiable fears of being killed and perhaps tortured to death himself if he refuses to do so, which presumably would set up conflicting signals in his brain patterns. But there are those, such as Duche, the notorious Non Pen camp commandant during the Pol Pot regime, who oversaw and implemented the extreme methods. His state of mind must somehow have been able to override a brain state of distress. Harris writes about understanding psychopathic behaviour in terms of brain pathologies. However, there is also Hannah Arendt’s phrase for the Nazi atrocities, “the banality of evil”, and Duche’s ordinariness comes across in the documentary.





    More

    Shedding The Ego

    Manus Charleton
    It is to literature we have to look to convey an experience for which there are no direct words, notably to its resources within tone and connotation. Heidegger, in the end, saw in poetry a better means than philosophy to express the experience of Being. And, for Existentialist philosopher Merleau-Ponty, philosophical language needs to become more literary if it is to convey something of the experience. Since there are no direct words for the experience, philosophy, for him, needs to proceed indirectly or obliquely.
    More