The Independent | Battle of Ideas

The Law’s cyber drug war. Is it time to hold peace talks with internet suppliers of ‘legal highs’?

Like alcohol, can these chemicals not be taken in the right way, at the right dose?

What happened to the caring professions?

The Tory drive to make teachers and carers chase after statistics has hindered rather than helped

Mozart or Skrillex? There shouldn't be any competition

Arguments about what kind of music is best, what will survive the test of time, miss the point

Should the law try and correct society's prejudices?

While the 2010 Equality Act seems to be discouraging prejudice, it has also come under attack for limiting freedom

The ‘Dark Ages’ were a lot brighter than we give them credit for

We still view European history as taking off with the Renaissance and Enlightenment, but this position gets more out-of-date the more we learn

Forget the Booker, the prize every author really wants is academic validation

There's so many prizes today's writers aren't bothered about who wins. The purpose awards serve now is to tell readers what to read.

There's a new species of prohibitionism on the rise

Instead of an outright ban on activities deemed "undesirable" - like getting off your head on booze - the state is trying to render them socially inacceptable

The EU’s Nobel has come at the price of democracy

Now be against the political institution in its current form is apparently to be anti-peace as well as anti-European

Can you be spiritual and not religious?

As religious observance is on the wane, people's desire to connect at some higher level faces a quest for new forms

Am I the only fan of modern classical music?

People expect melody and emotion from their music; but just because modern classical doesn't conform to this doesn't make it worthless

New students should seek education, not satisfaction

A fresher on the joys of exchanging a rigid and prescriptive curriculum for learning through free-form debate.

Choirs are magical - but should they be a social tool, too?

There's a risk that in using choirs for everything from helping fragmented communities to stress relief, we drag them down to the level of the mundane

Engineers, be bold - Britain needs grander designs

A dearth of real engineering ambition is holding back the sector. Big, ambitious projects are needed to put us back on track.

Education is not ‘for’ anything - it is an end in itself

The knowledge and understanding of subjects has no moral purpose. It may lead to discontent.

What happens when you take the politics out of protest?

Unlike past protest movements where ideologies came into conflict, today's uprisings are raw and reject traditional political structures

Will this year's Turner Prize winner stand among the all-time greats?

Whichever the year, whoever the artists, the Turner Prize always brings us back to the same old, endlessly fascinating question: what makes great art?

Riot-hit communities need more than this lazy policy

Too often government tries to "fix" communities whose problems can only truly be solved from within

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Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
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How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
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On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
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Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
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Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
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Bradley Cooper is terrific