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Philosophy

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

A footballer in the Manchester United red strip runs past cheering fans in the stadium
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Sports and games

The moral risks of fandom

Players, coaches and team owners sometimes do terrible things. What, if anything, should their fans do about that?

Jake Wojtowicz & Alfred Archer

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Computing and artificial intelligence

Frontier AI ethics

Generative agents will change our society in weird, wonderful and worrying ways. Can philosophy help us get a grip on them?

Seth Lazar

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Thinkers and theories

Against power

As a republican, Sophie de Grouchy argued that sympathy, not domination, must be the glue that holds society together

Sandrine Bergès & Eric Schliesser

Black-and-white photo of a man and a woman, seen from behind, on the deck of a boat, looking out to shore
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Philosophy of language

Metaphors make the world

Woven into the fabric of language, metaphors shape how we understand reality. What happens when we try using new ones?

Benjamin Santos Genta

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Thinkers and theories

‘My art is oratory, Socrates.’ An ancient warning on the power and peril of rhetoric

4 minutes

A couple lying on grass on a hill nearby an American listening station in Berlin
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Metaphysics

What awaits us?

Humanity’s future remains as unthinkable as the still-uncolonised galaxy or the enduring mystery of our own births and deaths

Jennifer Banks

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Thinkers and theories

On knowing who he was

Alan Watts, for all his faults, was a wildly imaginative and provocative thinker who reimagined religion in a secular age

Christopher Harding

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Logic and probability

What is incoherence?

We can all be inconsistent. Philosophy illuminates a bigger puzzle: how do we hold contradictory beliefs at the same time?

Alex Worsnip

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Animals and humans

An animal myself

When we imagine ourselves as another creature, we become more attuned to the world around us – and better at being human

Erica Berry

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Meaning and the good life

Why strive? Stephen Fry reads Nick Cave’s letter on the threat of computed creativity

5 minutes

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Language and linguistics

Our language, our world

Linguistic relativity holds that your worldview is structured by the language you speak. Is it true? History shines a light

James McElvenny

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Information and communication

How to hate

The manifesto was always a hotheaded call to arms. Then it got a slick, digital makeover in the cause of coldblooded hate

Tyler Thier

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Human rights and justice

‘I know that change is possible’ – a Deaf prison chaplain’s gospel of hope

18 minutes

A black and white shot shows three men sitting on a sea wall and seen from a diminishing perspective such that they represent a scale of size
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Philosophy of language

The geometry of other people

Some friends are ‘close’. Others are ‘distant’. But our spatial descriptions of social life are more than just metaphors

David Borkenhagen

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Space exploration

Capturing the cosmos

When self-replicating craft bring life to the far Universe, a religious cult, not science, is likely to be the driving force

Jay Olson

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History of science

The missing conversation

To the detriment of the public, scientists and historians don’t engage with one another. They must begin a new dialogue

Lorraine Daston & Peter Harrison

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Art

The overlooked polymath whose theatrical oeuvre made all of Rome a stage

30 minutes

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Thinkers and theories

We’ll meet again

The intrepid logician Kurt Gödel believed in the afterlife. In four heartfelt letters to his mother he explained why

Alexander T Englert

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Thinkers and theories

Dancing and time

For Rachel Bespaloff, philosophy was a sensual activity shaped by the rhythm of history, embodied in an instant of freedom

Isabel Jacobs