Kids? Just say no
You don’t have to dislike children to see the harms done by having them. There is a moral case against procreation
Treat people as citizens
How a generation of political thinkers has underestimated the abilities of ordinary people and undermined democracy
In his Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard created a philosophy of at-homeness, rich in emotion and memory
Does science need mavericks?
Staid and conformist, science risks losing its creative spark. Does it need more mavericks, or are they part of the problem?
The death of languages
Endangered languages have sentimental value, it's true, but are there good philosophical reasons to preserve them?
An unlikely triumph
In its first century the American higher-education system was a messy, disorganised joke. How did it rise to world dominance?
Why women stray
Evolutionary theory says men stray to increase offspring, but what motivates women? Enter the mate-switching hypothesis
The battlefield is dead
The traditional arena of war is no more. Will it give way to a perpetual continuum of military and paramilitary violence?
Universe in a bubble
Maybe we don’t have to speculate about what life is like inside a bubble. It might be the only cosmic reality we know
The last sacred kings
The veneration which surrounds the world’s last sacred kings shows how secular most of political life has become
The kindled brain
If each bout of depression, bipolar disorder or PTSD makes another more likely, should sufferers stay on medication for life?
Why nation-states are good
The nation-state remains the best foundation for capitalism, and hyper-globalisation risks destroying it
Spoiling for a fight
Short of a battlefield, the most violent place in medieval England was Oxford. Why did Brits stop beating each other up?
Art by algorithm
From book critiques to music choices, computation is changing aesthetics. Does increasingly average perfection lie ahead?
Self-marriage promises love and fulfilment – but is it a radical act or a depressing concession to self-absorption?
Is taxation theft?
The assumption that you own the contents of your pay-packet, although almost universal, is demonstrably confused
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
Not just American or British, the Anglo-Saxon is a mirror to Frenchness: the country’s alter-ego and most feared enemy
The study of languages has long been prone to nonsense. Why is linguistics such a magnet for dilettantes and crackpots?
Don’t look away
Photography came of age amid the wars and atrocities, as well as the humanitarian aspirations, of the modern world
Where pain lives
Fixing chronic back pain is possible only when patients understand how much it is produced by the brain, not the spine
Imagination is ancient
Our imaginative life today has access to the pre-linguistic, ancestral mind: rich in imagery, emotions and associations
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?
The Irish diaspora
There are 70 million people around the world who claim Irish ancestry. What shaped and made the great Irish emigration?
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
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
The bit bomb
It took a polymath to pin down the true nature of ‘information’. His answer was both a revelation and a return
Mata Hari uncovered
Dancer, courtesan, spy: on the centenary of her execution, how much do we really know about the woman behind the legend?
Ideas were not enough
Locke, Spinoza and Voltaire were all brilliant, but religious freedom in Europe was driven by statecraft not philosophy