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Essays

Fine writing on philosophy, psychology, science, history and the arts
Our trip to Antioch | Aeon
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The ancient world

Our trip to Antioch

Ancient Romans bought mementos to commemorate their travels. These speak eloquently of their world, if we care to listen

Maggie Popkin

Out of the forest | Aeon
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Human evolution

Out of the forest

We have thought of humans for a century or more as creatures of the savannah, shaped in every way by grassland life. Not so

Patrick Roberts

The haunted city | Aeon
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Cities

The haunted city

The city, for all its mechanical speed, artificial light and industrialisation, is the most uncanny of human habitats

Azania Imtiaz Khatri-Patel

Seeing life | Aeon
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Biology

Seeing life

Driven by insatiable curiosity, early histologists revealed the hidden structures of cells in works of sensual artistry

Benjamin Ehrlich

The polyglots of Dardistan | Aeon
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Language and linguistics

The polyglots of Dardistan

At the crossroads of south and central Asia lies one of the world’s most multilingual places, with songs and poetry to match

Zubair Torwali

Connected-up-brains | Aeon
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Evolution

Connected-up-brains

Bat friends, monkeys sharing, and humans holding hands: the brains of social animals synchronise and expand one another

Sofia Quaglia

A God beyond logic | Aeon
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Philosophy of religion

A God beyond logic

The history of natural theology shows that Intelligent Design and New Atheism both got it wrong, in strangely similar ways

Adam R Shapiro

Cracking the Cretan code | Aeon
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The ancient world

Cracking the Cretan code

Linear B has yielded its secrets, but Linear A remains elusive. Can linguistic analysis unlock the meaning of Minoan script?

Ester Salgarella

Old not Other | Aeon
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Ageing and death

Old not Other

Here’s a puzzle: why do we neglect and disdain the one vulnerable group we all eventually will join? Beauvoir had an answer

Kate Kirkpatrick & Sonia Kruks

Democracy entails conflict | Aeon
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Political philosophy

Democracy entails conflict

Democracy is a system of politics that has disagreement at its heart. But how do we stop conflicts becoming destructive?

Rochelle DuFord

The smile: a history | Aeon
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History

The smile: a history

How our toothy modern smile was invented by a confluence of French dentistry and Parisian portrait-painting in the 1780s

Colin Jones

Her body is a problem | Aeon
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Art

Her body is a problem

When 1970s women artists put the female body under the female gaze, why did the critics see only obscene monsters?

Lauren Elkin