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Philosophy

Essays and videos on philosophy, the history of ideas, ethics and life’s big questions
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Metaphysics

The enchanted vision

Love is much more than a mere emotion or moral ideal. It imbues the world itself and we should learn to move with its power

Mark Vernon

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Knowledge

What is ‘lived experience’?

The term is ubiquitous and double-edged. It is both a key source of authentic knowledge and a danger to true solidarity

Patrick J Casey

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Rituals and celebrations

A beginner’s guide to a joyful Persian tradition of spring renewal and rebirth

3 minutes

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Thinkers and theories

Philosophy is an art

For Margaret Macdonald, philosophical theories are akin to stories, meant to enlarge certain aspects of human life

Peter West

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Metaphysics

Simple entities in universal harmony – Leibniz’s evocative perspective on reality

4 minutes

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Ethics

The scourge of lookism

It is time to take seriously the painful consequences of appearance discrimination in the workplace

Andrew Mason

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Thinkers and theories

Our tools shape our selves

For Bernard Stiegler, a visionary philosopher of our digital age, technics is the defining feature of human experience

Bryan Norton

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Biology

The cell is not a factory

Scientific narratives project social hierarchies onto nature. That’s why we need better metaphors to describe cellular life

Charudatta Navare

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Stories and literature

Terrifying vistas of reality

H P Lovecraft, the master of cosmic horror stories, was a philosopher who believed in the total insignificance of humanity

Sam Woodward

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Bioethics

The dangers of AI farming

AI could lead to new ways for people to abuse animals for financial gain. That’s why we need strong ethical guidelines

Virginie Simoneau-Gilbert & Jonathan Birch

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Biography and memoir

The unique life philosophy of Abdi, born in Somalia, living in the Netherlands

29 minutes

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Thinkers and theories

A man beyond categories

Paul Tillich was a religious socialist and a profoundly subtle theologian who placed doubt at the centre of his thought

Ted Farris

A weary looking medical staff member in scrubs and face mask sits at a desk in a hospital room surrounded by medical paraphernalia
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Public health

It’s dirty work

In caring for and bearing with human suffering, hospital staff perform extreme emotional labour. Is there a better way?

Susanna Crossman

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Social psychology

The magic of the mundane

Pioneering sociologist Erving Goffman realised that every action is deeply revealing of the social norms by which we live

Lucy McDonald

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Political philosophy

The battles over beginnings

Niccolò Machiavelli’s profound insights about the violent origins of political societies help us understand the world today

David Polansky

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Ethics

For Iris Murdoch, selfishness is a fault that can be solved by reframing the world

6 minutes

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Death

A hunter’s lyrical reflection on the humbling business of being mortal

6 minutes

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Love and friendship

After his son’s terrorist attack, Azdyne seeks healing – and his granddaughter

25 minutes

A black and white photograph shows a woman on the edge of a sand dune overlooking the sea leaning back into a strong wind
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Language and linguistics

Cathedrals of convention

Humans have a strong impulse to see things that are arbitrary or conventional as natural and essential – especially language

Reuben Cohn-Gordon

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Art

More than breathtaking, ‘The Birth of Venus’ signalled an aesthetic revolution

19 minutes

A colourful book illustration of a weary traveller in a forest being awoken by a peacock tugging at his sleeve
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Comparative philosophy

Folklore is philosophy

Both folktales and formal philosophy unsettle us into thinking anew about our cherished values and views of the world

Abigail Tulenko

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Evolution

Kinship

Science must become attuned to the subtle conversations that pervade all life, from the primordial to the present

David Waltner-Toews

Seen from inside, a couple eat a basic meal whilst outside in an alleyway a queue of mostly older people wait their turn
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Political philosophy

Liberal socialism now

As the crisis of democracy deepens, we must return to liberalism’s revolutionary and egalitarian roots

Matthew McManus

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Values and beliefs

A Zen Buddhist priest voices the deep matters he usually ponders in silence

5 minutes