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Philosophy

Essays and videos on philosophy, the history of ideas, ethics and life’s big questions
A black-and-white photo of soldiers in uniform checking documents of several men standing outdoors, with laundry hanging in the background.
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Psychiatry and psychotherapy

Decolonising psychology

At times complicit in racism and oppression, psychology has also been a fertile ground for radical and liberatory thought

Rami Gabriel

A close-up drawing of a face with detailed patterns and a hand touching the face, using earthy tones and texture on a brown background.
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Meaning and the good life

Beyond authenticity

In her final unfinished work, Hannah Arendt mounted an incisive critique of the idea that we are in search of our true selves

Samantha Rose Hill

Aerial view of an industrial site emitting smoke, surrounded by snow-covered buildings and landscape, under a clear blue sky with birds flying overhead.
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Politics and government

Governing for the planet

Nation-states are no longer fit for purpose to create a habitable future for humans and nature. Which political system is?

Jonathan S Blake & Nils Gilman

Close-up of a dog with blue and brown eyes, grey and white fur, looking directly at the camera.
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Neuroscience

Dog vision is a trendy topic, but what can we really know about how they see?

11 minutes

Illustration of various human skulls and profiles with captions detailing different ethnic groups and regions, from a historical anthropological study.
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History of ideas

Baffled by human diversity

Confused 17th-century Europeans argued that human groups were separately created, a precursor to racist thought today

Jacob Zellmer

Black and white photo of people sitting at a café, taken through a window with reflections. A sign saying ‘BUFFET FROID’ is visible.
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Meaning and the good life

Philosophy was once alive

I was searching for meaning and purpose so I became an academic philosopher. Reader, you might guess what happened next

Pranay Sanklecha

Microscopic view of various microorganisms and particles in a blue liquid, showing a large oval-shaped microorganism amidst smaller particles.
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Biology

An elegy for a dying microbe explores what we really mean by ‘death’

9 minutes

Painting of two clothed men and a naked woman picnicking in a forest, with another woman in the background near a pond.
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Art

Creating art that was aware of itself – and the viewer – made Manet the first modernist

15 minutes

President Eisenhower and Kwame Nkrumah talking. Nkrumah is wearing traditional African attire and pointing at Eisenhower, who is wearing a suit.
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Global history

The route to progress

Anticolonial modernity was founded upon the fight for liberation from communists, capitalists and imperialists alike

Frank Gerits

Handwritten notes in black ink on an open notebook, with red and black corrections.
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Thinkers and theories

Paper trails

Husserl’s well-tended archive has given him a rich afterlife, while Nietzsche’s was distorted by his axe-grinding sister

Peter Salmon

Medieval manuscript illustration of a goat and a person holding a disc, with gold circles in the background, surrounded by text in Latin script.
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Philosophy of mind

The problem of erring animals

Three medieval thinkers struggled to explain how animals could make mistakes – and uncovered the nature of nonhuman minds

Sam Alma

Elderly couple holding hands while standing in the street. The woman holds a colourful fan partially covering her face. A man in casual attire walks by on the right. Two trees and a white building with large windows are in the background, with three people looking out of one of the windows.
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Ethics

Moral progress is annoying

You might feel you can trust your gut to tell right from wrong, but the friction of social change shows that you can’t

Daniel Kelly & Evan Westra

Black and white photograph depicts a flood with rising water levels in a residential area. Strong currents and waves are visible, and houses in the background are partially submerged. Floodwater covers much of the landscape, with a lone tree and partial wooden structure in the foreground.
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The future

The disruption nexus

Moments of crisis, such as our own, are great opportunities for historic change, but only under highly specific conditions

Roman Krznaric

A close-up of an orange and black butterfly perched on a leaf with a soft, pastel-coloured background.
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History of ideas

Chaos and cause

Can a butterfly’s wings trigger a distant hurricane? The answer depends on the perspective you take: physics or human agency

Erik Van Aken

X-ray image of a single flower with visible petals, stem, and internal structures on a black background.
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Philosophy of mind

Do plants have minds?

In the 1840s, the iconoclastic scientist Gustav Fechner made an inspired case for taking seriously the interior lives of plants

Rachael Petersen

Intricate artwork of robed women with long, flowing hair in a forest, surrounding a glowing, veiled woman adorned with flowers.
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Beauty and aesthetics

All aquiver

The Decadent movement taught that you should live your life with the greatest intensity – a dangerous and thrilling challenge

Kate Hext

Abstract geometric pattern featuring overlapping rectangular and house-like shapes in various colours, including orange, yellow, green, pink, blue, red, and black, with circular details. The shapes create a visually intriguing mosaic-like composition.
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video

Political philosophy

Beyond the veil – what rules would govern John Rawls’s ‘realistic Utopia’?

6 minutes

Cyclists in a professional race riding in rainy conditions. The leading cyclist in a blue jersey raises his arms in victory, with other cyclists closely following behind on the wet road. Everyone is wearing helmets and sunglasses for protection.
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Sports and games

Performance-enhancing vices

Selfishness channels ambition, envy drives competition, pride aids the win. Does it take a bad person to be a good athlete?

Sabrina Little

A colourful, abstract image featuring a large, black and white bird in flight. The background is a swirling mix of purple, orange, and yellow hues. A small figure of a child walks in the distance, casting a long shadow.
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Ageing and death

Peregrinations of grief

A friend and a falcon went missing. In pain, I turned to ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ – and found a new vision of sorrow and time

Emily Polk

Black and white image of Japanese soldiers in battle gear marching with a Rising Sun Flag, superimposed with large Japanese calligraphy characters on a plain background.
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Nations and empires

Chastising little brother

Why did Japanese Confucians enthusiastically support Imperial Japan’s murderous conquest of China, the homeland of Confucius?

Shaun O’Dwyer

Abstract artwork featuring geometric shapes, primarily red and black triangles, against a white background. Russian text is interspersed, with a red triangle pointing rightward and a large white circle on the right. Various smaller shapes and text elements are scattered around.
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Quantum theory

Quantum dialectics

When quantum mechanics posed a threat to the Marxist doctrine of materialism, communist physicists sought to reconcile the two

Jim Baggott

A historical map of Southern Europe, including parts of Austria, Hungary, Italy, Turkey, and the Balkans. Features cities such as Milan, Vienna, Rome, and Constantinople, with regions distinguished by different colours. Sea names such as the Adriatic and Mediterranean are also visible.
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Nations and empires

A United States of Europe

A free and unified Europe was first imagined by Italian radicals in the 19th century. Could we yet see their dream made real?

Fernanda Gallo

Illustration of soldiers in action, with one leading the charge and another crawling forward. Both wear military uniforms with helmets and carry rifles. The background is a vibrant red, enhancing the sense of urgency and movement.
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Stories and literature

On Jewish revenge

What might a people, subjected to unspeakable historical suffering, think about the ethics of vengeance once in power?

Shachar Pinsker

Two embryos, colourised in shades of pink, orange, and purple, against a black background. The embryos have distinguishable head, body, and tail regions.
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Biology

Building embryos

For 3,000 years, humans have struggled to understand the embryo. Now there is a revolution underway

John Wallingford