Meeting of Minds

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Aristotle argued that there were three kinds of friendship – those motivated by utility, by pleasure and by virtue. According to the political scientist Dennis C Rasmussen, the bond between David Hume and Adam Smith was a ‘textbook model’ of the last kind, ‘a stable, enduring, reciprocal bond that arises not just from serving one […]

Evolving Ideas

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

‘A biography of Darwin must, chiefly, be the biography of an idea.’ A N Wilson’s observation, made nearly a third of the way through this longish work, may be well founded. But it is belied by the content of his book, which abounds in incidental detail about Darwin and his life without offering any clear statement […]

Deifying Gravity

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Albert Einstein famously quipped, ‘Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.’ In 1940 he had major difficulties, but they had nothing to do with mathematics. An acquaintance of his, the polymath and collector Abraham Yahuda, had four years earlier acquired a huge swathe of Isaac Newton’s […]

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RLF - March