Essays

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Essay/Metaphysics

Bun or bump?

Does the mother contain the foetus or is it a part of her? On the metaphysics of pregnancy, and its ethical implications

Suki Finn

Essay/Work

The quitting economy

When employees are treated as short-term assets, they reinvent themselves as marketable goods, always ready to quit

Ilana Gershon

Essay/Neuroscience

Now you see it, now you…

Seeing things that are hidden; failing to see things in plain sight. How magic exploits the everyday weirdness of perception

Vebjørn Ekroll

Essay/Ethics

Moral luck

Two people drive drunk at night: one kills a pedestrian, one doesn't. Does the unlucky killer deserve more blame or not?

Robert J Hartman

Essay/Physics

Operation: neutrino

How the neutrino went from ghost particle to vital physics tool – a tale of bombs, espionage and subtle flavours

David Kaiser

Essay/Bioethics

The pig on your plate

That pigs are smart and sensitive is not in doubt. How can we justify continuing to kill them for food?

Barbara J King

Essay/History

America’s hidden philosophy

When Cold War philosophy tied rational choice theory to scientific method, it embedded the free-market mindset in US society

John McCumber

Essay/Cultures & Languages

Is linguistics a science?

Much of linguistic theory is so abstract and dependent on theoretical apparatus that it might be impossible to explain

Arika Okrent

Essay/History of Ideas

The anger of Achilles

Homer’s warrior is no mere tragic human figure: fuelled by anger, he is at once a man of honour and a sword of the gods

C D C Reeve

Essay/Demography & Migration

Law in the Jungle

The ultimate ‘outsider’ space, the Jungle refugee camp in Calais became its own society, the no-borders idea made real

Natasha King

Essay/Neuroscience

When is stress good for you?

The subtle flows and toxic hits of stress get under the skin, making and breaking the body and brain over a lifetime

Bruce McEwen

Essay/Philosophy of Mind

I attend, therefore I am

You are only as strong as your powers of attention, and other uncomfortable truths about the self

Carolyn Dicey Jennings

Essay/Economics

Of money and morals

Moneylending has been taboo for most of human history. So how did usury stop being a sin and become respectable finance?

Alex Mayyasi

Essay/Cities

Common ground

When we think of urban public space in terms of competing rights, we create a battleground. Is there a better way to share?

Farhan Samanani

Essay/Biology

Scents and sensibility

Our sense of smell gives flavour to food, emotion to memories, and connects us to each other. But how exactly does it work?

Katherine Whitcroft

Essay/Politics & Government

Return of the grotesque

The postmodern carnival has arrived, and there are good reasons to prefer François Rabelais’s version

Robert D Zaretsky

Essay/Meaning & the Good Life

Do we matter in the cosmos?

Humanity is nothing more than a microscopic blip in the universe. But does that mean we are insignificant?

Nick Hughes

Essay/History

‘Here we are all the same’

The US Constitution guaranteed freedom of religion, but the fight for religious equality was only just beginning

Richard D Brown

Essay/Social Psychology

Microaggressions?

Prejudice remains a huge social evil but evidence for harm caused by microaggression is incoherent, unscientific and weak

Scott O Lilienfeld

Essay/Values & Beliefs

Dissolving the ego

You don’t need drugs or a church for an ecstatic experience that helps transcend the self and connect to something bigger

Jules Evans

Essay/Work

The future is emotional

Human jobs in the future will be the ones that require emotional labour: currently undervalued and underpaid but invaluable

Livia Gershon

Essay/Quantum Theory

Quantum common sense

Despite its confounding reputation, quantum mechanics both guides and helps explain human intuition

Philip Ball

Essay/Cognition & Intelligence

How totalism works

The brainwashing methods of isolation, engulfment and fear can lead anyone to a cult. I should know – I was in one

Alexandra Stein

Essay/Politics & Government

The bloodstained leveller

Throughout history, plagues and wars have left greater equality in their wake. Can we get there again without violence?

Walter Scheidel

Essay/Gender & Sexuality

The orgasm cure

What if we could expand ecstasy, reduce stress and lift depression, all by delaying and extending orgasm?

Peter von Ziegesar

Essay/Cognition & Intelligence

Had a good think lately?

Not busy-work, ticking off to-do lists or keeping-up-with-stuff. Just sitting. And thinking. Is it so hard?

André Spicer

Essay/Computing & Artificial Intelligence

fAIth

The most avid believers in artificial intelligence are aggressively secular – yet their language is eerily religious. Why?

Beth Singler

Essay/Bioethics

Which lives matter most?

Thinking about children who are not yet born confronts us with the question of our ethical obligations to future people

Dominic Wilkinson & Keyur Doolabh

Essay/Anthropology

The scalp from Sand Creek

Even after museums return human remains pillaged from a massacre in 1864, can repatriation heal the wounds of history?

Chip Colwell

Essay/Subcultures

What is a cult?

Cults are exploitative, weird groups with strange beliefs and practices, right? So what about regular religions then?

Tara Isabella Burton