Arts & Humanities

The science of singing: When speech and music combine

Speech and music unite in the form of song. Human speech and music both use the characteristics of pitch, loudness, duration and timbre to communicate with the audience. In a series of diverse studies, Professor Jaan Ross of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and his colleagues have investigated how speech and music combine in the form of song. […]

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Arts & Humanities

Assessing the role of foreign aid donors and recipients

In his book ‘Re-Inventing Africa’s Development’, Dr Jong-Dae Park, South Korean Ambassador in South Africa, examines the relationships between sub-Saharan Africa aid recipients and its foreign aid donors. Dr Park looks at the inherent limitations of foreign aid and the international development architecture, and the paradox that the region remains poor and underdeveloped, despite massive amounts of aid. He contends […]

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Arts & Humanities

Envisioning Utopia: Being-in-the-zone and the game of our life

In The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia, Bernard Suits devises a thought experiment using dialogues between Aesop’s Grasshopper and two former ants. These characters debate the definition of “game,” and how game playing might relate to the meaning of life. In Utopia, all activity would be voluntary and intrinsically valuable, rather than necessary and instrumentally valuable. Unfortunately, Suits leaves the […]

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Arts & Humanities

What makes Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet what it is? An unexpected meeting between Aristotle and Schumann

What makes a great work of music what it is? What integrates a given piece as one coherent whole? It may help to step back and ask what makes any given thing essentially itself. Fortunately, Aristotle can help us understand this question and its surprising ramifications. No less surprising are the parallels between Aristotle’s ideas and what Robert Schumann says […]

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Arts & Humanities

Hate speech regulation on social media: An intractable contemporary challenge

Catherine O’Regan and Stefan Theil of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights in the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford investigate initiatives to regulate hate speech online. They highlight the difficulties of finding a widely agreed definition of hate speech and assess the legislative initiatives in four major jurisdictions to inform those engaged in the policy debate concerning […]

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Arts & Humanities

Fractured Knowledge: “Fake News”

Prof Jagdish Hattiangadi, York University, Canada explores how a common or shared knowledge base, including specialised secular science, helped bring peace to warring religious factions in modern liberal democracies. This interreligious peace is threatened by a philosophical backlash, with claims and counter claims of fake news, thus fracturing the common knowledge base needed for dispute resolution. Populist political movements have relied […]

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Arts & Humanities

Ethical political economy lessons from the Malay world through the Hikayat Abdullah 1849

Alan Chong of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, examines the social and economic viewpoints of indigenous people about the positive and negative impacts of the colonial experience and good governance on the maritime silk route. He uses the quasi-autobiographical book Hikayat Abdullah as a lens to examine an outsider’s view of the colonial experience in Southeast Asia and the effects of […]

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Arts & Humanities

Political systems and economic growth: The democracy myth

Democracy is often held to be the ideal political system, conferring growth and prosperity on nations’ citizens; however, this paradigm of thought has come under increasing debate. While many studies show a positive correlation between democracy and growth, others have observed neutral or even negative impacts. Dr Thomas Osang of the Southern Methodist University, Texas, and Dr Jeffry Jacob of […]

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