The status quo is broken. Humanity today faces multiple interconnected challenges, some of which could prove existential. If we believe the world could be different, if we want it to be better, examining the purpose of what we do – and what is done in our name – is more pressing than ever.
The What Is It For? series examines the purpose of the most important aspects of our contemporary world, from religion and free speech to animal rights and the Olympics. It illuminates what these things are by looking closely at what they do.
The series offers fresh thinking on current debates that gets beyond the over-heated polemics and easy polarizations. Across the series, leading experts explore new ways forward, enabling readers to engage with the possibility of real change.
The first books in the series, on war, cybersecurity and philanthropy published in March 2023, with animal rights publishing in October 2023 and titles on religion, prisons and many more set to be published soon.
Each book explains not only the history behind the topic and how it functions, but also the purpose it serves in our society – and, crucially, how it could work better.
ON WRITING ABOUT WAR IN AN ERA OF CONFLICT
In this episode, George Miller speaks to Jack McDonald, author of What is War for?, about why he chose to focus on war’s twenty-first century character rather than its ancient origins, and writing the book as the events of the Russo-Ukrainian war unfolded in real time. Listen to the podcast.
WHAT IS PHILANTHROPY AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?
George Miller speaks to Rhodri Davies, author of What is Philanthropy for?, about why he thinks this is a good time to ask questions about the purpose of philanthropy, and its relationship to democracy, inequality and the market. Listen to the podcast.
WHAT IS CYBERSECURITY ANYWAY?
Tim Stevens, author of What Is Cybersecurity For?, considers the infinite need for cybersecurity and explains why it’s simply not working. Read the article.
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