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Neurodiversity
Against neurodiversity

The movement has good intentions, but it favours the high-functioning and overlooks those who struggle with severe autism

Moheb Costandi

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Teaching and learning
The value of shame

Immanuel Kant held that moral education is hydraulic: shame squashes down our vices, making space for virtue to rise up

Louise Chapman

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Virtues and vices
Righteous incivility

The temptation to be uncivil grows as public discourse gets nastier and more aggressive. Can rudeness ever be righteous?

Amy Olberding

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Philosophy of language
The way words mean

Words stand for things in the world, and they stand apart from it. Perhaps meaning is more sunken into words than we realise?

Alexander Stern

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Technology and the self
Privacy is power

Don’t just give away your privacy to the likes of Google and Facebook – protect it, or you disempower us all

Carissa Véliz

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History of science
No absolute time

Two centuries before Einstein, Hume recognised that universal time, independent of an observer’s viewpoint, doesn’t exist

Matias Slavov

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Stories and literature
Eros at play

Why the ancient erotic poems of Sappho and Wallada bint al-Mustakfi are far more stimulating than modern pornography

Jamie Mackay

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Neuroscience
Deep brain stimulation

DBS is an incredibly promising intervention for intractable neurological and psychiatric illness. What are the risks?

Jonathan Pugh

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Social psychology
Debunking debunked

Secular modernity requires the weeding out of all the baloney. Yet it’s not clear that we are any less credulous than before

Emily Ogden

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Economic history
The economics of bubbles

Market booms and busts might be irrational, but we can understand why they happen – and what to do to mitigate the damage

Brent Goldfarb & David A Kirsch

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Personality
Spot the psychopath

Psychopaths have a reputation for cunning and ruthlessness. But they are more like you and me than we care to admit

Heidi Maibom

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Biography and memoir
Mistress of all trades

A campaigning journalist and an early feminist, Harriet Martineau humanised economic theory through Dickensian storytelling

Valerie R Sanders

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Evolution
Life is tough

Human life is fragile but tardigrades and other extremophiles show that life itself is in little danger of disappearing

David P Barash

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Cities
The first global city

High in the Andes, Potosí supplied the world with silver, and in return reaped goods and peoples from Burma to Baghdad

Kris Lane

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Physics
The ABC of time

In our Universe, time seems to go from past to future, not in reverse. But what if time doesn’t even have a direction?

Matt Farr

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Philosophy of mind
The problem of mindfulness

Mindfulness promotes itself as value-neutral but it is loaded with (troubling) assumptions about the self and the cosmos

Sahanika Ratnayake

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Family life
Against ‘natural’ parenting

We’re opportunistic, inventive and flexible animals, and there is no ‘natural’ or ‘right’ way to bring up our children

Olga Mecking

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Ethics
Tainted by association

Would you carve a roast with a knife that had been used in a murder? Why not? And what does this tell us about ethics?

Paul Sagar

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Thinkers and theories
Marxism and Buddhism

Life is suffering, whether you sit under a Bodhi Tree or stand with the workers. But do the two schools agree on the remedy?

Adrian Kreutz

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Film and visual culture
Celebrity matters

As aspirational avatars, idolised icons and vessels of collective memory, celebrities permeate all aspects of modern life

Holly Grout