Ideas that work | Curio
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Ideas that work

30 mins | Jul 16, 2021
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How our most abstract concepts emerged as solutions to our needs. The concepts of knowledge, truth or justice appear to have been important enough to emerge across different cultures and endure over the ages. But why did we ever come to think in these unpractical terms? Matthieu Queloz, a member of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Oxford, argues that to understand how our loftiest abstractions earn their keep, we need to trace them to their practical origins. “There are two fundamental difficulties in answering these questions. One is that, just because the concepts of knowledge, truth or justice are as old and ubiquitous as they are, there’s no particular moment in the historical record to which we could turn to find out why they were originally introduced. Wherever we look, people always had these concepts already.”

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