Support Aeon

‘I support Aeon because I value excellence over up-to-the-minute, depth over speed, beauty over fact-dropping.’

Ole S, Germany, Friend of Aeon

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Make a donation

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Make a donation

Essays

Latest Popular


Essay/
Stories & Literature
Pagans against Genesis

Confused, inferior and philosophically unsound: the Greco-Roman critique of the Old Testament could have been written today

Pieter van der Horst

Essay/
Physics
Time after time

The question of whether time moves in a loop or a line has occupied human minds for millennia. Has physics found the answer?

Paul Halpern

Essay/
Ethics
What is offensive?

Quarrels over honour in duelling cultures can enlighten us today and demonstrate why some insults are intolerable

Clifton Mark

Essay/
Future of Technology
Calculating art

Artistic success takes a mysterious mix of talent, luck and timing. But could algorithms now predict and produce the hits?

Hannah Fry

Essay/
Anthropology
Relics of power

From the foreskin of Jesus to the scarf of Elvis: why humans cannot resist the magical potency of charismatic objects

Jesper Sørensen

Essay/
History of Science
Mathematics as thought

Mathematical ideas are some of the most transformative and beautiful in history. So why do they get so little attention?

Mordechai Levy-Eichel

Essay/
Technology & the Self
Gamified life

From scoreboards to trackers, games have infiltrated work, serving as spies, overseers and agents of social control

Vincent Gabrielle

Essay/
Stories & Literature
L’art de la traduction

What is the task of the translator – to be a servant to the source or to create a new work of illuminated meaning?

Mark Polizzotti

Essay/
Political Philosophy
The voice of Hobsbawm

How the Marxist ideas of a British historian ended up on the bookshelves of Indian civil servants and Brazilian housewives

Emile Chabal

Essay/
Free Will
Just deserts

Can we be held morally responsible for our actions? Yes, says Daniel Dennett. No, says Gregg Caruso. Reader, you decide

Daniel C Dennett & Gregg D Caruso

Essay/
Computing & Artificial Intelligence
Godmother of intelligences

Mary Shelley foresaw that artificial intelligence would be made monstrous, not by human hubris but by human cruelty

Eileen Hunt Botting

Essay/
Physics
Through two doors

How a sunbeam split in two became physics’ most elegant experiment, shedding light on the underlying nature of reality

Anil Ananthaswamy

Essay/
History of Ideas
The greatest use of life

The pragmatist philosopher William James had a crisp and consistent response when asked if life was worth living: maybe

John Kaag

Essay/
History of Ideas
A truly African philosophy

‘Consolation philosophy’ understands the human being as a unity of feeling and reason, in a cosmos rich with primal emotion

Ada Agada

Essay/
Religion
Christian Zionism

It’s one of the most successful, and in some ways unlikely, interfaith movements in the modern world

Dan Hummel

Essay/
Cultures & Languages
The say of the land

Is language produced by the mind? Romantic theory has it otherwise: words emerge from the cosmos, expressing its soul

Mark Vernon

Essay/
Philosophy of Science
Principia

Is it possible that, in the new millennium, the mathematical method is no longer fundamental to philosophy?

Jeremy Avigad

Essay/
Poverty & Development
What really helps the poor?

It’s difficult to test whether poverty relief actually works. Do randomised controlled trials provide a scientific measure?

Stephanie Wykstra

Essay/
Social Psychology
Our age of horror

In this febrile cultural moment filled with fear of the Other, horror has achieved the status of true art

M M Owen

Essay/
Cosmology
Anthropic arrogance

Claims that the Universe is designed for humans raise far more troubling questions than they can possibly answer

David P Barash

Essay/
History of Ideas
Dignity is delicate

Human dignity is a concept with remarkably shallow historical roots. Is that why it is so presently endangered?

Remy Debes

Essay/
Neuroscience
The inner voice

From a very early age, children learn to talk to themselves. That voice in your head is the thing that makes you, you

Philip Jaekl

Essay/
History
Slavery-entangled philosophy

John Locke took part in administering the slave-owning colonies. Does that make him, and liberalism itself, hypocritical?

Holly Brewer

Essay/
History of Science
Forging Islamic science

Fake miniatures depicting Islamic science have found their way into the most august of libraries and history books. How?

Nir Shafir

Essay/
Subcultures
The big empty

How an impossibly flat expanse of absofreakinglutely nothing inspires creativity and transformation at Burning Man

Graham St John

Essay/
Future of Technology
Sim ethics

Say you could make a thousand digital replicas of yourself – should you? What happens when you want to get rid of them?

Philip Ball

Essay/
History
The big squeeze

Sicily’s mafia sprang from the growing global market for lemons – a tale with sour parallels for consumers today

Ola Olsson

Essay/
Music
Musical pleasures

We know music is pleasurable, the question is why? Many answers have been proposed: perhaps none are quite right

Roger Mathew Grant

Essay/
Meaning & the Good Life
On going on and on and on

The fantasy of living forever is just a fig leaf for the fear of death – and comes at great personal cost

Paul Sagar

Essay/
Fertility, Pregnancy & Childbirth
The macho sperm myth

The idea that millions of sperm are on an Olympian race to reach the egg is yet another male fantasy of human reproduction

Robert D Martin