An Anti-Fragile Life Demands Setbacks

The great wildfires of 1988 in Yellowstone National Park destroyed over one third of the park after it had been long overdue for a large fire. As a result of the lessons learned, fire management has changed dramatically since then: Natural fires are usually only monitored since they are considered helpful in reducing dead underwood […]

Marcus Aurelius on the Topic of Death

The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD) belongs to those few people who have left a unique treasure of wisdom for their posterity. He was one of the great Stoic philosophers and humanists, and currently my favorite “tutor” – day and night. If you’re interested in the ideas of Stoicism, I can highly recommend the […]

A Libertarian Argument for Reducing Meat and Dairy Consumption

I would like to start this short essay by stating that I am neither vegetarian nor vegan. Personally, I think that libertarianism can contribute to the discussion about the adverse effects of meat-eating and dairy consumption in a substantial manner. This short text isn’t meant to be a pamphlet of an ideology that is usually […]

Konzepte der Religionsphilosophie

Die Unterscheidung der wichtigsten religionsphilosophischen Konzepte folgt in der Regel den beiden Begriffen «Immanenz» (I) und «Transzendenz» (T). Freilich stellt dies lediglich eine Vereinfachung einer viel komplexeren Thematik dar. Im Folgenden können wir uns dafür auf der einen Seite «Gott» (im Sinne eines übernatürlichen Wesens oder Geistes, einer ordnenden Kraft oder Energie(quelle) oder einer übersinnlichen […]

A Story About the Humble Gardener

Confucius reportedly said that true wisdom is to know the extent of one’s ignorance. In negative terms, a lack of wisdom exists where people consider themselves all-knowing experts, or as Hayek famously put it in his Nobel Prize speech in 1974: «The Pretence of Knowledge». He concluded his lecture with a warning: «If man is […]

Equality, Individualism, and Tolerance: The Essences of a Free and Open Society

When making perfumes, a maître perfumer has to observe certain rules: At first, he selects base, middle and top notes from the spectrum of essential oils (and oftentimes he uses synthetics as well). Then, he mixes the oils together and lets the blend sit for a couple of days. Before diluting the oils with pure […]

Why Liberals Should Be More Optimistic

Optimists think that the course of events will be positive, for them personally or for society in general. Realists, on the other hand, think that the course of events might turn out to be positive; they concede, however, that they can’t really know since reality consists of complex phenomena. Optimism and realism are sometimes used […]

Der Suizid im Liberalismus

“Es gibt nur ein wirklich ernstes philosophisches Problem: den Selbstmord. Sich entscheiden, ob das Leben es wert ist, gelebt zu werden oder nicht, heißt auf die Grundfrage der Philosophie antworten. Alles andere – ob die Welt drei Dimensionen und der Geist neun oder zwölf Kategorien hat – kommt später. Das sind Spielereien; erst muss man […]

The Right to Be Let Alone in a World of Cultural Diversity

The right to be let alone, as Justice Louis Brandeis famously put it in “Olmstead v. United States”, is commonly associated with the right to privacy in the Fourth Amendment. The constitutional “[…] right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures […]” critically separates […]

Why Freedom Is Favored by Secession and Subsidiarity

Majority voting inevitably alienates large parts of a population. As a Swiss citizen, I am all too aware of that fact, since we go to the polls as often as six times a year. This may be the necessary price of our more direct form of representative democracy. But in Switzerland, it has also led […]