Author: Henrik Syse

Diplomacy Isn’t Delusional

Why it’s wise for Ukraine to engage with an adversary like Putin. Sven G. Holtsmark offers a rebuttal to our December Commonweal article in which we discussed possible negotiations over Ukraine by referencing an ancient Greek account of war on the island of Melos (also posted on the PRIO blog here and here). We appreciate Holtsmark’s engagement with our piece and… Read more »

Right on Its Side, but Not Might?

The lessons an ancient Greek war can teach Ukraine today. Ukraine is confronted with a stark choice: fight on through a bitter winter with death raining from above, or initiate negotiations with Russia under unfavorable terms. Two-and-a-half millennia ago, the leaders of the Greek island of Melos confronted a similar choice.

50 Years Hence: Can the Apollo Missions Inspire Us Today?

Last week, 50 years ago, Apollo 17’s lunar module left the moon. Since then, no one has set foot there. Let us pause for a moment to think about the signficance of that rather unique adventure called Apollo. The Apollo program defies belief. At a time when much of modern technology – not least computer… Read more »

Searching the Archives for a Missing Peace: Hilde Henriksen Waage Interviewed by Henrik Syse

Hilde Henriksen Waage, interviewed by Henrik Syse Between Israel and the Palestinians there has always been a huge asymmetry of power. There is a strong party and a weak party, and this has made it impossible to achieve a genuine peace. A nice little bridge-builder like Norway cannot easily change the policies of the stronger… Read more »

Philosophy and Ethics in the Age of Corona Virus

It has been interesting to see how many news outlets and broadcasters ask for angles and insights these days from what we can broadly call a philosophical perspective. As we face the COVID-19 pandemic, I am one of those to be asked, and I humbly try to contribute. So, what is philosophy good for now?

Facing terror: The possibility of hope and the need to confront hatred

In the wake of the foiled terrorist attack at a mosque outside Oslo on 10 August, and the widespread solidarity seen outside mosques around Norway on the morning of Eid, we reflect on the prospects for hope and for the endurance of social fabric. We do so by drawing on our research on responses to… Read more »

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

Many people are afraid of what faces us with Donald Trump as president. Nonetheless, I recommend keeping a cool head. My area of research should be useful for analyzing and understanding politics, namely political philosophy. This is the branch of philosophy that investigates political ideas and attempts to put them in context. The political philosopher… Read more »

A Word of Warning ahead of 2017

Decency, humility, and thoughtfulness are core virtues in a civilized society. Now we need to fight for them. «Political correctness» can be a sinister labeling for common decency «Political correctness» can be a sinister labeling for common decency. A wish to preserve dignity and openness, and to avoid willfully disrespecting others’ beliefs or characteristics, should after… Read more »