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Essays

Latest Popular


Essay/
Stories and literature
Queering Shakespeare

So many arguments are given against Shakespeare being gay – yet his sonnets contain their own message, that love is love

Sandra Newman

Essay/
History
How the poor became blessed

Greco-Roman gods had no interest in the poor nor was organised charity a religious duty. How was Christianity different?

Pieter van der Horst

Essay/
Evolution
The Neanderthal renaissance

Handprints on a cave wall, crumbs from a meal: the new science of Neanderthals radically recasts the meaning of humanity

Rebecca Wragg Sykes

Essay/
Sleep and dreams
Here’s to naps and snoozes

American work culture, seeping around the globe, threatens to ruin the pleasures and benefits of public, communal sleep

Todd Pitock

Essay/
Teaching and learning
The growth mindset problem

A generation of schoolchildren is being exhorted to believe in their brain’s elasticity. Does it really help them learn?

Carl Hendrick

Essay/
Human rights and justice
A survivor speaks

Victims of sexual assault are commonly judged by the consistency of their story. But consistency is not a high road to truth

Linda Martín Alcoff

Essay/
Political philosophy
Rorty’s political turn

When he shifted his attention from philosophy to politics, Richard Rorty revived liberalism’s potential for social reform

Alan Malachowski

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Mental health
Do antidepressants work?

Depression is a very complex disorder and we simply have no good evidence that antidepressants help sufferers to improve

Jacob Stegenga

Essay/
The environment
When the monsoon goes away

The imperious monsoon rains have ruled India for centuries. Already unstable, what happens if they shift fundamentally?

Sunil Amrith

Essay/
History of ideas
Nietzsche and the Cynics

How Friedrich Nietzsche used ideas from the Ancient Cynics to explore the death of God and the nature of morality

Helen Small

Essay/
Ethics
Imagine there’s no jealousy

Why we should understand jealousy as nothing more than a vice that ought to be replaced by the new virtue of compersion

Luke Brunning

Essay/
Politics and government
Rebirth of the body politic

Individualism is not a sufficient foundation for social life: the image of the body politic reminds us that we are all one

Nick Romeo & Ian Tewksbury

Essay/
Wellbeing
Breathtaking

From first cry to last sigh, we do it without a thought. Yet the benefits of conscious breathing are truly remarkable

M M Owen

Essay/
Stories and literature
Islam after Salman

The Satanic Verses would not be written or published today. What’s changed since Salman Rushdie’s notorious novel?

Bruce Fudge

Essay/
History of ideas
Speak to the shoemaker

Philosophy need not be arcane, argued Aristotle, as he led by example, writing treatises for peers and public alike

Edith Hall

Essay/
Genetics
Hormones united

The hormone system works like a democracy: every tissue in the body is an endocrine organ asserting its needs and demands

Liam Drew

Essay/
History of science
How to make mountains

In living memory, geologists believed that the Earth was slowly shrivelling, little guessing how vibrantly alive it truly is

Marcia Bjornerud

Essay/
Childhood and adolescence
The telling

When a parent dies by suicide, how the children are told casts a permanent shadow on their understanding of life and loss

Jesse Bering

Essay/
Education
Engines of democracy

Society will be much improved by loosening the stranglehold of top universities on the education of elites. But how?

Jennifer M Morton

Essay/
Religion
The first God

Out of the many gods of ancient Egypt an inspired Pharaoh created a monotheistic faith. What was Atenism and why did it fail?

James K Hoffmeier

Essay/
Anthropology
Did laughter make the mind?

A psychological relief valve and a guard against despotism, laughter is a uniquely human – and collective – activity

Chris Knight

Essay/
Knowledge
The why of reality

What makes a dinosaur real, but a unicorn unreal? Does philosophy even pretend to know how to answer a child’s questions?

Nathanael Stein

Essay/
Language and linguistics
Words as feelings

A special class of vivid, textural words defies linguistic theory: could ‘ideophones’ unlock the secrets of humans’ first utterances?

David Robson

Essay/
Poverty and development
After the storm

Few things tell us more about the nature of state sovereignty, and the threats to it, than the politics of disaster relief

Saptarishi Bandopadhyay

Essay/
Philosophy of language
Sex talks

The language of sexual negotiation must go far beyond ‘consent’ and ‘refusal’ if we are to foster ethical, autonomous sex

Rebecca Kukla

Essay/
Rituals and celebrations
Daily grace

Everyday rituals are ephemeral prayers, a hint to the gods for protection, encircling life like a fragrant garland

Jay Griffiths

Essay/
Human rights and justice
Purity rules

It is difficult to catch and straightforward to treat. So why does society still shame and punish people infected with HIV?

Rose George

Essay/
History of ideas
Against type

The existentialist philosophies of Simone de Beauvoir and Frantz Fanon offer important insights into the nature of prejudice

Jonathan Webber

Essay/
Philosophy of science
Getting it right

Truth is neither absolute nor timeless. But the pursuit of truth remains at the heart of the scientific endeavour

Michela Massimi

Essay/
Philosophy of mind
Buddhism and self-deception

How can I logically manage to deceive myself? Buddhist thought offers a way out of the philosophical paradox

Katie Javanaud