Can secular people still be moved by sacred art?
Does disgust have any place in moral reasoning?
Can the creative weirdness of CGI be recovered from cliche?
Moral character is the foundation of a sense of personal identity
Fra Angelico’s frescos inspired generations of devotion. Can religious art still work its magic on the godless?
Disgust is often used as a tool of persuasion. But are gut feelings ever a reliable guide in questions of right and wrong?
Numbing the imagination
CGI has become wearingly dull and cliched. Can its deep weirdness be recovered and filmgoers’ minds stretched again?
The self is moral
We tend to think that our memories determine our identity, but it’s moral character that really makes us who we are
The bitter truth
Today’s bitter craft beers are dominated by hoppy preservatives. How did they taste back when brewers were shamans?
Is the growing market for male escorts a sign of female sexual liberation or just a re-run of the same old stereotypes?
The most exciting discovery in physics could come about thanks to telecoms satellites. Is a single theory of reality in sight?
In the 1940s, Japan’s search for a national philosophy became a battle for existence. Did Zen ideas create the kamikaze?
People once woke up halfway through the night to think, write or make love. What have we lost by sleeping straight through?
We prize originality, yet humans are natural-born copycats and only good imitators survive. Is it time to celebrate the rip-off?
Chicken of tomorrow
How a massive breeding contest turned a rarely eaten backyard bird into the technological marvel that feeds the world
The unearned gift
How does it feel when writer’s block finally gives way, and what is it that brings back the grace of creation?
Going to the chapel
Paul Simon’s album ‘Graceland’ is a joyous political statement. Does it strike the same chord in the sombre Rothko Chapel?
My husband got the death threat, but I went into hiding. Are some brains wired for courage and others for fear?
Life is quantum
Weird quantum effects are so delicate it seems they could only happen in a lab. How on Earth can life depend on them?
Boatload of swine
Rafting the Grand Canyon seemed the perfect wilderness escape until we found we’d brought a deadly virus with us
The essence of evil
You don’t have to be a monster or a madman to dehumanise others. You just have to be an ordinary human being
If you have a mouthful of teeth shaped by a childhood in poverty, don’t go knocking on the door of American privilege
Houses of the holy
Sacred structures needn’t be religious. Great buildings have a curious power to command reverence in any cultural setting
Snake in the grass
Animals and viruses practise deception, fast and slow, in ways that help us understand human predators and scammers
Everything and Moore
The legendary comics author Alan Moore has written a million-word novel, tribute to every eternal speck in his universe
Sorry but not sorry
No longer the hardest word, a public apology is now the defence strategy of the rich and powerful. Can it still do good?
Human industry is now noisy enough to drown out whale songs. What would happen in the ocean if we went quiet?
Cutting brings relief because emotion and pain criss-cross in the brain. Can we untangle the circuits and stop self-harm?
Human sprawl is usually a threat to wildlife, but birds buck the trend. Can we help biodiversity take wing in our suburbs?
Does relentless enthusiasm really help the world, or should generation TED learn to take a more sceptical view?
The psychology of torture
The Milgram experiments showed that anybody could be capable of torture when obeying an authority. Are they still valid?
Freedom from food
It takes time to plan a meal, to say nothing of cooking and eating it. What if we could opt out of food altogether?