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Essays

Fine writing on philosophy, psychology, science, history and the arts
Against longtermism | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

Against longtermism

It started as a fringe philosophical theory about humanity’s future. It’s now richly funded and increasingly dangerous

Phil Torres

Music and sex | Aeon
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Music

Music and sex

A song can take you on a journey of ecstatic arousal. Is music imitating sex, inviting it, or something else altogether?

Michael Spitzer

Defend the deep | Aeon
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Oceans and water

Defend the deep

Instead of letting waves of exploitation sweep through the deep ocean, we could choose to protect this vast living realm

Helen Scales

Fear not | Aeon
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Film and visual culture

Fear not

You might think that horror movies are a delicious, trashy pleasure. But watching them has surprisingly wholesome effects

Mathias Clasen

Healthcare workers of yore | Aeon
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History of science

Healthcare workers of yore

Looking past conventional histories of medicine we see that women delivered much of medieval healthcare. Just as today

Sara Ritchey

Why simplicity works | Aeon
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Physics

Why simplicity works

Does the existence of a multiverse hold the key for why nature’s laws seem so simple?

Johnjoe McFadden

Feeling, in situ | Aeon
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Mood and emotion

Feeling, in situ

What if emotions are not universal and hardwired but exquisite acts of meaning-making specific to context and culture?

Elitsa Dermendzhiyska

Being Persian | Aeon
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Nations and empires

Being Persian

To be Persian before nationalism was to belong to a generous, plural identity woven through language, kin and manners

Mana Kia

Acoustic naturalism | Aeon
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Architecture

Acoustic naturalism

Our movies and offices are engineered to sound natural based on what rang false in the theatres of 18th-century Paris

Joseph L Clarke

When hope is a hindrance | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

When hope is a hindrance

For Hannah Arendt, hope is a dangerous barrier to courageous action. In dark times, the miracle that saves the world is to act

Samantha Rose Hill

Slavery en famille | Aeon
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History

Slavery en famille

The story of Marie Aymard and five generations of her family tells an intimate history of slavery in a small French town

Emma Rothschild

Enduring memory | Aeon
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Biology

Enduring memory

How can animals whose brains have been drastically remodelled still recall their kin, their traumas and their skills?

Thomas R Verny