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Boston Review's 13 Top Articles of 2013

December 12, 2013

1. Beyond Blame | If scientists are right that behavior is largely determined by factors outside of a one’s control, then a justice system predicated on punishment and blame gets it wrong. Brian Leiter, Christine Korsgaard, and others debate Barbara Fried.

2. What Are Foundations For? | Rob Reich says philanthropic institutions are plutocratic by nature. Can they be justified in a democracy?

3. Do The Right Thing | Leland de la Durantaye illuminates Italo Calvino’s steadfast dedication to writing in a “world torn to pieces.”

4. Being an Octopus Peter Godfrey-Smith demonstrates how memory and imagination can provide at least a peek into the experience of another being—even one as evolutionarily distant as the eight-armed invertebrate.

5. Strapped | For eight years, Hal Stucker never left his apartment in Brooklyn without a gun. Decades later, he reflects on how “protection” may have come at a higher cost.

6. Against Conceptualism | Calvin Bedient defends the poetry of affect, suggesting that cerebral poetry emerges when progress is dead.

7. Moral Saints | New Yorker staff writer Larissa MacFarquhar talks to BR about her latest book project: telling the stories of people who commit extreme acts of moral virtue. 

8. Can Science Deliver the Benefits of Religion? | Tania Lombrozo explains why science and religion may not be so different after all. 

9. Before Greed | Richard White brings us back to a time when the endless accumulation of wealth did not define success.

10. The Cure for Loneliness Vivian Gornick on the German psychoanalyst Erich Fromm: today’s familiar ideas about the search for the “authentic self,” and the self-medication of consumerism are rooted in his groundbreaking work. 

11. The Truth About GMOs | Plant geneticist Pamela Ronald addresses the stigma around genetically-modified foods and lays out the realities about the uses and misuses.

12. Against the Brahmins An interview with Indian writer and cultural critic Pankaj Mishra on the costs of globalization, the dangers of democracy, and the stultification of today’s public intellectual. 

13. You Won’t See This on TV Former public defender Seth Abramson dispels the Hollywood myths by revealing fifteen truths about how America’s justice system actually works. 

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