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Philosophy

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

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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

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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

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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

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Design and fashion

Sitting on the art

Given its intimacy with the body and deep play on form and function, furniture is a ripely ambiguous artform of its own

Emma Crichton Miller

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Wellbeing

Learning to be happier

In order to help improve my students’ mental health, I offered a course on the science of happiness. It worked – but why?

Bruce Hood

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Medicine

Last hours of an organ donor

In the liminal time when the brain is dead but organs are kept alive, there is an urgent tenderness to medical care

Ronald W Dworkin

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Thinkers and theories

A rare female scholar of the Roman Empire, Hypatia lived and died as a secular voice

5 minutes

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Architecture

The celebrated architect who took inspiration from sitting, waiting and contemplating

29 minutes

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Stories and literature

Do liberal arts liberate?

In Jack London’s novel, Martin Eden personifies debates still raging over the role and purpose of education in American life

Nick Romeo

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History of ideas

Reimagining balance

In the Middle Ages, a new sense of balance fundamentally altered our understanding of nature and society

Joel Kaye

A marble bust of Thucydides is shown on a page from an old book. The opposite page is blank.
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History

What would Thucydides say?

In constantly reaching for past parallels to explain our peculiar times we miss the real lessons of the master historian

Mark Fisher

A man and a woman in formal evening dress but with giant fish heads covering their faces are pictured beneath a bridge on the foreshore of a river
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The environment

Emergency action

Could civil disobedience be morally obligatory in a society on a collision course with climate catastrophe?

Rupert Read

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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