The Death of the Intellectual

Universities in their original conception were idealised in the Renaissance as places that could produce ‘intellectuals’. An intellectual was a person of inquiring mind who, through rational judgment and prodigious independent study, battled with an intellect they could not suppress, to reason through challenges that as yet had little or no answers, for the betterment of ...

What Law Students Need To Know About Legal Ethics Won’t Be Taught To Them In Law School

It’s 2004 and Boston Legal defence lawyer Alan Shore rises to his feet to deliver a blistering defence of personal misconduct, immorality and criminal negligence. He tells the court that ‘every first year law student is taught: don’t ever, everequate legal ethics with morality. They’re almost always mutually exclusive.’

A Lasting Peace

It’s two months before America enters World War I, and Woodrow Wilson stands before the Senate to deliver a speech to the American people. His recent appeals to the Allies and Entente for peace have failed, and yet here he stands again. His 14 points, yet to be written, are forming in the back of his mind as he makes his way to the podium for one last, desperate plea. It’s a simple message, “only a peace between equals can last.” Only a peace where all nations are seen as “equal”, with no difference between big or small, powerful or weak, will peace exist worldwide, Wilson insists. The “common good” of humanity must be placed above the “individual strength” of nations, or the world will degenerate into new and ever worse World Wars.

How to Find Meaning in Work

The argument for perspective has won. No longer can we question what is wrong with life, the world or the absurdity of a checkout line. Instead we must embrace -not the triviality of adult existence- but a new perspective on why the trivial is not so trivial at all. The late David Foster Wallace tells us that ...

Book Excerpt: On Empathy

It is a simple matter to rank the empathy we feel for those around us. Consider the following: How aggrieved would you be if a family member was murdered? How about a friend? An acquaintance? A stranger? A stranger overseas? A stranger 100 years ago in history? Our empathy diminishes the further we get from ...

The Right to Vote on War With Iraq

When Australia first entered the Iraq war in 2003, Prime Minister John Howard gave a cursory nod to representative government. Calling all Federal MP’s back into session, Howard gave them each a chance to vote for “war or peace”. The result of this vote would not overturn the Cabinet’s decision, but it would allow MP’s ...

Why Cliches are Meaningless (So Stop Using Them)

There is a growing trend of what I like to think of as the outsourcing of thought – where our own thoughts are subservient to those deemed “superior authorities”. Part of this collective-mind-holiday comes from the Internet: our tool to disassociate ourselves from the process of thinking. The rest comes from expert culture, and what ...

Clerking Mad

When I first entered law school I wanted to become a lawyer. This shouldn’t surprise you. Neither should the fact that 66% of students entering law school want to become legal practitioners. What should surprise you is that 64% of law students” don’t end up going into law. These competing statistics pose a confronting dilemma. ...

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True Detective and the Myth of the Intellectual

In 1784 Immanuel Kant answered a question, posed a year earlier by Reverend Johann Friedrich Zöllner – “What is enlightenment?” His answer was that enlightenment “was man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity”. A state of immaturity is when one allows another’s reason to guide them. Hence enlightenment was using your own rationality to guide your decisions, thoughts and actions. Kant went on ...

The Politics of Division: How Politics Destroys Rationality

There’s a long-running trend in student politics for students to shout out “shame” when their opposing political party is mentioned. I first heard this in 2012 in the heady days of the Gillard Government and Abbott Opposition. It was the Howard Debating Cup, and I had come to watch a friend debate. Liberals packed the ...

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