Essays

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Essay/Ethics

Execution at Happy Farm

Which world would be better: one in which all meat is grown in a lab or one which still contains humanely farmed animals?

Rhys Southan

Essay/Art

Why people collect art

Collectors drive the art world, but what drives art collectors? It’s less about aesthetics than self-identification

Erin Thompson

Essay/Addiction

Ageing out of drugs

Most addicts just stop using in time, without needing costly treatment. Why do some people walk away while others can’t?

Stacey McKenna

Essay/Fertility, Pregnancy and Childbirth

The twin boom

The proportion of twins in the population has waxed and waned in human history. For the first time we understand why

Laura Spinney

Essay/History

It never was golden

‘The good old days’ is a virulent falsehood that infects those whose defences have been weakened by fear and insecurity

Alan Jay Levinovitz

Essay/Law & Justice

Prostitution is not sex work

Decriminalising the sex trade is touted as a means to empower women and rebrand a necessary service. This is utterly wrong

Kat Banyard

Essay/Social Psychology

Truth in stereotypes

Social scientists dismiss them, but rather than being universally inaccurate, stereotypes are often grounded in reality

Lee Jussim

Essay/Psychiatry & Psychotherapy

Spiritual emergency

After decades of practising as a psychotherapist, I am convinced that our treatment of psychosis is thoroughly wrong-headed

James Carpenter

Essay/Physics

Must science be testable?

String wars among physicists have highlighted just how much science needs philosophy – and not just the amateur version

Massimo Pigliucci

Essay/Politics & Government

The English question

Little England may have undone Great Britain. Will a nation of dark fascism or one of green and pleasant lands emerge?

Paul Harris

Essay/History

Bodies electric

We are not the first to think that the human being might be much improved with the judicious application of electricity

Iwan Rhys Morus

Essay/Biology

Microbes have no morals

First we learned to fear germs, then we learned to love our microbiome. But both sides get the biology basically wrong

Ed Yong

Essay/Memoir

For the love of stuff

I am my things and my things are me. I don’t want to give them up: they are narrative prompts for the story of my life

Lee Randall

Essay/Travel

Boldly go!

In thinking about faraway travel, the ability to assess risk falters. It's probably safer than your morning commute

Henry Wismayer

Essay/Neuroscience

My spotless mind

Imagine purging life’s disturbing events. If you could alter or mute your worst memories would you still remain yourself?

Lauren Gravitz headset Audio

Essay/Education

In praise of Dewey

He knew how to protect democracy – not by rote and rules but by growing independent-minded kids. Let us not forget it

Nicholas Tampio

Essay/Cultures & Languages

Euphemise this

Euphemisms are like underwear: best changed frequently. What work are they doing in our language and why do they expire?

John McWhorter headset Audio

Essay/Values & Beliefs

Beyond anger

Anger is the emotion that has come to saturate our politics and culture. Philosophy can help us out of this dark vortex

Martha C Nussbaum headset Audio

Essay/Self-Improvement

Don’t think too positive

Fantasies about the future have a troubling effect on achieving actual goals. If positive thinking doesn’t work, what does?

Gabriele Oettingen

Essay/Death

Nadia’s story

It is a decision that no parent should have to make: should we let our very sick baby die before she was born?

Ana Todorović

Essay/History of Science

Spot the WEIRDo

Too much research is done on Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic students. Can science widen its base?

Robert Colvile

Essay/History

What Mortimer did

A diplomat in British India blundered a border. The consequences continue to shape world politics

Rafia Zakaria headset Audio

Essay/Travel

Right on track

If there is a greater thrill of travelling than the discovery of unfamiliar places, for me it’s getting there by train

Margarita Gokun Silver headset Audio

Essay/Data & Information

Datagasm

Ever-faster feedback loops and micro-targeted digital porn are pushing human sexuality into some seriously weird places

Mark Hay

Essay/Mood & Emotion

Only the lonely

Loneliness is hell: debilitating yet formative. Can we avoid the pains of loneliness yet enjoy the pleasures of solitude?

Cody Delistraty

Essay/Religion

Against Muslim unity

Even the pilgrimage to Mecca exposes the myth of a united Islam and the formative power of the wider world

Faisal Devji headset Audio

Essay/Sleep & Dreams

Falling for sleep

When wakefulness is seen as the main event, no wonder so many have trouble sleeping. Can we rekindle the joy of slumber?

Rubin Naiman

Essay/Neurodiversity

The inheritance of crime

Eugenic ideas about criminal genes have been repudiated for decades, but a new biological approach to crime is emerging

Douglas Starr

Essay/Social Psychology

Metaknowledge

Crowds aren’t as smart as we thought, since some people know more than others. A simple trick can find the ones you want

George Musser

Essay/Politics & Government

Everyone was a liberal

On the Left, ‘neoliberal’ is an epithet but, not long ago, everyone wanted to be liberal. Will anyone claim liberalism?

Lawrence Glickman