Become a
Friend of Aeon

Ideas can change the world

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

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.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or make a one-off donation

Essays

Latest Popular


Essay/Political Philosophy

Is taxation theft?

The assumption that you own the contents of your pay-packet, although almost universal, is demonstrably confused

Philip Goff

Essay/Stories & Literature

Readers of the world unite

How markets, Marx, and provincial elites created world literature to fight both empire and nationalism

Martin Puchner

Essay/Philosophy of Mind

Change becomes you

Being the same person over time is not about holding on to every aspect of your current self but about changing purposefully

Kevin Tobia

Essay/History

Les Anglo-Saxons

Not just American or British, the Anglo-Saxon is a mirror to Frenchness: the country’s alter-ego and most feared enemy

Emile Chabal

Essay/Cultures & Languages

Talking gibberish

The study of languages has long been prone to nonsense. Why is linguistics such a magnet for dilettantes and crackpots?

Gaston Dorren

Essay/War & Conflict

Don’t look away

Photography came of age amid the wars and atrocities, as well as the humanitarian aspirations, of the modern world

Jeremy Adelman

Essay/Neuroscience

Where pain lives

Fixing chronic back pain is possible only when patients understand how much it is produced by the brain, not the spine

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin

Essay/Human Evolution

Imagination is ancient

Our imaginative life today has access to the pre-linguistic, ancestral mind: rich in imagery, emotions and associations

Stephen T Asma

Essay/Stories & Literature

The coming-of-age con

How can you go about finding ‘who you really are’ if the whole idea of the one true self is a big fabrication?

Cody Delistraty

Essay/History

The Irish diaspora

There are 70 million people around the world who claim Irish ancestry. What shaped and made the great Irish emigration?

Kevin Kenny

Essay/Wellbeing

The healing power of nature

The idea that immersing yourself in forests and nature has a healing effect is far more than just folk wisdom

Rebecca Lawton

Essay/Cities

Return of the city-state

Nation-states came late to history, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest they won’t make it to the end of the century

Jamie Bartlett

Essay/Data & Information

The bit bomb

It took a polymath to pin down the true nature of ‘information’. His answer was both a revelation and a return

Rob Goodman & Jimmy Soni

Essay/Stories & Literature

Mata Hari uncovered

Dancer, courtesan, spy: on the centenary of her execution, how much do we really know about the woman behind the legend?

Julie Wheelwright

Essay/History

Ideas were not enough

Locke, Spinoza and Voltaire were all brilliant, but religious freedom in Europe was driven by statecraft not philosophy

Mark Koyama

Essay/Neuroscience

Freud the philosopher

Before fathering psychoanalysis, Freud first slayed the dominant Cartesian intellectual tradition of mind-body dualism

David Livingstone Smith

Essay/Human Evolution

Sex makes babies

As far as we can tell, no other animal knows this. Did our understanding of baby-making change the course of human history?

Holly Dunsworth & Anne Buchanan

Essay/Consciousness & Altered States

Model hallucinations

Psychedelics have a remarkable capacity to violate our ideas about ourselves. Is that why they make people better?

Philip Gerrans & Chris Letheby

Essay/History

Agony in the agora

Democracy, by nature, is a contest between clashing political desires. That is why the public square matters so much

Saul Frampton

Essay/Personality

Indescribable you

Can novelists or psychologists better capture the strange multitude of realities in every human self?

Carlin Flora

Essay/Ethics

The limits of tolerance

A religious worldview cannot expect the same kinds of tolerance as racial, gender, or sexual identities. Here’s why

Paul Russell

Essay/Evolution

Aliens in our midst

The ctenophore’s brain suggests that, if evolution began again, intelligence would re-emerge because nature repeats itself

Douglas Fox

Essay/Beauty & Aesthetics

The sea was never blue

The Greek colour experience was made of movement and shimmer. Can we ever glimpse what they saw when gazing out to sea?

Maria Michela Sassi

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