Understanding the World

Truth - we all claim it, we all strive for it, we all defend it. But what does it mean? Religious claims to transcendental authority? Or merely the sum of our own convictions and experiences? The European gives you... well... not quite the truth, but a few qualified opinions.

What's In a Meter? ...

Why is the Eiffel Tower 324 meters tall? Because we have agreed of what constitutes a meter. Without such shared everyday practices, our search for truth would lead to nothing but disagreement.

Room for Debate...

We want to tell stories, and we want to tell them well. But what about true stories? Beyond memory and debate, there are precious few guidances when it comes to non-verifiable facts.

Navigating Knowledge...

"Creative nonfiction" - a contradiction in terms? No. Like the sailor manning the helm of a ship, we cannot strive for the perfect course to truth. The only thing we can do is watch, listen, and carefully reconstruct the world as it presents itself.

The Double Life of Lit...

There is no such thing as absolute truth. Every sentence, every article is an editorial choice. As authors, we live a dual life: We are writers, and witnesses to the events we cover. We write the first reviews of history, and let ourselves be reviewed by the audience.

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Most People Are Rationally Ignorant

What decisions would we make if we deliberated carefully about public policy? Alexander Görlach sat down with Stanford's James Fishkin to discuss deliberative democracy, parliamentary discontent, and the future of the two-party system.

A Violent Tea Party?

For many Europeans the massacre in Arizona is another evidence that political violence is spreading in the United States but this unfortunate event was the deed of a mentally ill person, not a political activist. There is no evidence of an increasing political extremism tearing America apart. Using

Passage to India

The US and Russia don't agree on much - but they are both keen to develop a good relationship with India. How do we know? Look at the arms trade.

"Cities are making us more human"

More than 50 percent of the world's population now live in cities – and there is no end of urbanization in sight. Harvard economist Edward Glaeser believes urbanization to be a solution to many unanswered problems: pollution, depression and a lack of creativity. He spoke with Lars Mensel about the

No Glove, No Love

Contrary to the mantras repeated by the press, HIV infections are not increasing. We need to move away from activist scare tactics and towards complex risk management strategies.

Perfection Is Not A Useful Concept

Nick Bostrom directs the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University. He talked with Martin Eiermann about existential risks, genetic enhancements and the importance of ethical discourses about technological progress.

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