Essays

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Essay/Law & Justice

Why men rape

It’s not a profound mystery, or explained by deep psychosocial complexity. For rapists, rape is easy. And that must stop

Sandra Newman

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Essay/Cosmology

Echoes of a black hole

Ripples in space-time could herald the demise of general relativity and its replacement by a quantum theory of gravity

Sabine Hossenfelder

Essay/Law & Justice

The legal imagination

Hypotheticals, fantastical beings, and a fictional omnibus: legal reasoning is made supple by its use of the imagination

Maksymilian Del Mar

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Essay/Politics & Government

When nations apologise

National apologies are a big deal: they acknowledge the past to help move everyone forward. No wonder they’re so hard

Edwin Battistella

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Essay/Human Rights

What do slaveholders think?

It is everywhere illegal yet slavery persists in many corners of the global economy. How do its beneficiaries justify it?

Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

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Essay/Fairness & Equality

In defence of hierarchy

As a society we have forgotten how to talk about the benefits of hierarchy, expertise and excellence. It's time we remembered

Stephen C Angle, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Julian Baggini and others

Essay/Political Philosophy

The last hollow laugh

Since Francis Fukuyama proclaimed ‘The End of History’ 25 years ago, he has been much maligned. His work now seems prophetic

Paul Sagar

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Essay/Stories & Literature

The real Casanova

His name is synonymous with serial seduction but Casanova's memoirs reveal a man greater than the sum of his ‘conquests’

Laurence Bergreen

Essay/Wellbeing

Tripping in the ICU

For those suffering the trauma of intensive care, the soothing swoosh of otherworldly ambient music can be a welcome gift

Charles Fernyhough

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Essay/Political Philosophy

The power thinker

Original, painstaking, sometimes frustrating and often dazzling. Foucault’s work on power matters now more than ever

Colin Koopman

Essay/Subcultures

Going underground

Subterranean metaphors have been a powerful tool of political resistance. Today, is there anywhere left to hide?

Terence Renaud

Essay/Physics

Minding matter

The closer you look, the more the materialist position in physics appears to rest on shaky metaphysical ground

Adam Frank

Essay/History of Technology

Web of war

How the hair-trigger nuclear age and fears of Armageddon inspired visionary cold warriors to invent the internet

Sharon Weinberger

Essay/History of Ideas

Infinity and beyond

Georg Cantor showed that some infinities are bigger than others. Did he assault mathematical wisdom or corroborate it?

A W Moore

Essay/History

The new authoritarians

Last century’s dictators wanted to reinvent their subjects as ‘new men’. This century’s strongmen just don’t care. Why?

Holly Case

Essay/Stories & Literature

Storyhealing

Literature can enthuse medicine, and medicine can inspire literature. They are complementary treatments for being human

Gavin Francis

Essay/History

What is global history now?

Historians cheered globalism with work about cosmopolitans and border-crossing, but the power of place never went away

Jeremy Adelman

Essay/Economics

In praise of cash

Cash might be grungy, unfashionable and corruptible, but it is still a great public good, important for rich and poor alike

Brett Scott

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Essay/Subcultures

Utopia Inc

Most utopian communities are, like most start-ups, short-lived. What makes the difference between failure and success?

Alexa Clay

Essay/Gender

Who is a sportswoman?

Elite female athletes are subjected to invasive gender tests, and hormone treatments if they fail. This is deeply unfair

Silvia Camporesi

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Essay/Art

Show me the Monet

How wealthy Americans grew to appreciate the French Impressionist painter – as an artist but also as a financial asset

Ross King

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Essay/Economics

End of a golden age

Unprecedented growth marked the era from 1948 to 1973. Economists might study it forever, but it can never be repeated. Why?

Marc Levinson

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Essay/Cognition & Intelligence

Intelligence: a history

Intelligence has always been used as fig-leaf to justify domination and destruction. No wonder we fear super-smart robots

Stephen Cave

Essay/History

The Masada mystery

Have archaeologists proven the ancient tale of mass suicide in the Judaean desert or twisted science for political end?

Eric H Cline

Essay/Stories & Literature

Sex and death in Homer

Why would Odysseus dump a hot nymph? Or toyboys lust after his wife Penelope? Unveiling the erotic mysteries of the Odyssey

C D C Reeve

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Essay/History

How Europe became so rich

In a time of great powers and empires, just one region of the world experienced extraordinary economic growth. How?

Joel Mokyr

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Essay/Economics

The great cryptocurrency heist

Blockchain enthusiasts crave a world without bankers, lawyers or fat-cat executives. There's just one problem: trust

E J Spode

Essay/Neuroscience

Living in the now

She can paint, but not name a painting; learn new music without knowing a tune. Lonni Sue is teaching us much about memory.

Michael D Lemonick

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Essay/Philosophy of Mind

Telling memories

Jewish émigrés from the former Soviet Union tell inconsistent stories. What does this say about the nature of memory?

Helen Haft

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Essay/Politics & Government

Fire, hatred and speed!

The glamour, bullying and violence of the libertarian alt-Right has a direct political ancestor, and it’s not Nazi Germany

Jay Griffiths