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Essays

Latest Popular


Essay/History of Science
Spiritual hyperplane

How spiritualists of the 19th century forged a lasting association between higher dimensions and the occult world

Paul Halpern

Essay/Evolution
Evolution unleashed

Is evolutionary science due for a major overhaul – or is talk of ‘revolution’ misguided?

Kevin Laland

Essay/Political Philosophy
The real Adam Smith

He might be the poster boy for free-market economics, but that distorts what Adam Smith really thought

Paul Sagar

Essay/Philosophy of Mind
Getting in the groove

Music reminds us that the mind is more than a calculator. We are resonant bodies as much as representing machines

Jenny Judge

Essay/Fertility, Pregnancy and Childbirth
We are multitudes

Women are chimeras, with genetic material from both their parents and children. Where does that leave individual identity?

Katherine Rowland

Essay/Physics
Radical dimensions

Relativity says we live in four dimensions. String theory says it’s 10. What are ‘dimensions’ and how do they affect reality?

Margaret Wertheim

Essay/War & Conflict
The deterrence myth

Nuclear deterrence continues to dominate international relations. Yet there is no proof it ever worked, nor that it ever will

David P Barash

Essay/Neurodiversity
The autism paradox

How an autism diagnosis became both a clinical label and an identity; a stigma to be challenged and a status to be embraced

Bonnie Evans

Essay/Economics
Economics is quantum

Money and brains are both quantum phenomena – so it's not surprising that economics is overdue for a quantum revolution

David Orrell

Essay/History of Ideas
21st-century Marx

Each era of modernity has reinvented Marx to fit its needs. How can his analysis of capitalism help us today?

Terrell Carver

Essay/Gender & Sexuality
The non-binary brain

Misogynists are fascinated by the idea that human brains are biologically male or female. But they’ve got the science wrong

Emily Willingham

Essay/Politics & Government
Beyond liberal Islam

Western liberalism is not the apex and terminus of human history, and it ought not to serve as the measure of Islam

Zaheer Kazmi

Essay/History of Science
Armchair science

Thought experiments played a crucial role in the history of science. But do they tell us anything about the real world?

Dan Falk

Essay/History
The flavour revolutionary

Henry Theophilus Finck sought to transform the modern United States, by appealing to Americans' tastebuds

Nadia Berenstein

Essay/Meaning & the Good Life
Natural-born existentialists

Ethics cannot be based on human nature because, as evolutionary biology tells us, there is no such thing

Ronnie de Sousa

Essay/Medical Research
In cold blood

Therapeutic hypothermia could save lives, propel interstellar travel and expand consciousness. Why the cold feet?

Philip Jaekl

Essay/History of Ideas
The African Enlightenment

The highest ideals of Locke, Hume and Kant were first proposed more than a century earlier by an Ethiopian in a cave

Dag Herbjørnsrud

Essay/Biology
The minds of plants

From the memories of flowers to the sociability of trees, the cognitive capacities of our vegetal cousins are all around us

Laura Ruggles

Essay/History
The other side of the curtain

During the Cold War, US propagandists worked to provide a counterweight to Communist media, but truth eluded them all

Melissa Feinberg

Essay/Neuroscience
Freud in the scanner

A revival of interest in the power of introspection and thought has brought Freud’s ideas back into the scientific fold

M M Owen

Essay/Subcultures
Touching the sky

At their best, daredevils rival philosophers and mystics in their exploration of human mortality and spirit

Lary Wallace

Essay/Ethics
The ethics of ET

The discovery of independent life beyond Earth would have deep philosophical implications for us, and our ideas of morality

Tim Mulgan

Essay/History
The empire dreamt back

To help rule its empire, Britain turned to psychoanalysis. But they weren’t willing to hear the truth it told

Erik Linstrum

Essay/Philosophy of Science
Metaphysics of metamorphosis

The swarming, ever-changing character of the living world challenges our deepest assumptions about the nature of reality

John Dupré

Essay/Politics & Government
Democratising the digital

Digital technologies are a market product and play politics by different means. It’s up to us to harness them for democracy

Jack Shenker

Essay/History of Ideas
Is goodness natural?

Philippa Foot was one of a group of brilliant women philosophers who swam against the tide of 20th-century moral thought

Nakul Krishna

Essay/Anthropology
Infanticide

There is nothing so horrific as child murder, yet it’s ubiquitous in human history. What drives a parent to kill a baby?

Sandra Newman

Essay/Earth Science
Life goes deeper

The Earth is not a solid mass of rock: its hot, dark, fractured subsurface is home to weird and wonderful life forms

Gaetan Borgonie & Maggie Lau

Essay/History of Ideas
Gandhi the philosopher

Better known as the face of non-violent protest, Gandhi was also a surprising, subtle philosopher in the Stoic tradition

Richard Sorabji

Essay/Sexual Health
Afterglow

The intensity of orgasm is sublime, but the gentle love cocktail that follows is what helps relationships to endure

Tove K Danovich