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Philosophy

Essays and videos on philosophy, the history of ideas, ethics and life’s big questions
Ethical dilemma: whose life is more valuable? | Aeon
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Ethics

How many monkeys is it worth sacrificing to save a human life?

6 minutes

Second shot | Aeon
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Human rights and justice

Thirty years after one teenager shot another, is it time to forgive?

28 minutes

Moral mathematics | Aeon
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Ethics

Moral mathematics

Subjecting the problems of ethics to the cool quantifications of logic and probability can help us to be better people

Elad Uzan

The lethal act | Aeon
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Ethics

The lethal act

The Buddha taught not to kill, yet his followers have at times disobeyed him. Can murderers still be Buddhists?

Martin Kovan

Drawing on autism | Aeon
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Ethics

An animator wonders: can you ever depict someone without making them a caricature?

10 minutes

Collective wrongs | Aeon
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Ethics

Collective wrongs

Even when individual perpetrators and victims are dead, states and institutions have a responsibility to make restitutions

Joshua Stein

Abolish life sentences | Aeon
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Human rights and justice

Abolish life sentences

It is unjust, cruel and profoundly wasteful to consign a person to prison for life. A decent society must not do it

Judith Lichtenberg

The delights of mischief | Aeon
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Virtues and vices

The delights of mischief

Mischievousness requires humour, wit and a playful humaneness: qualities that make for a particular kind of virtue

Alex Moran

Through the eyes of another | Aeon
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Ethics

Through the eyes of another

It’s impossible to shed our individual biases. So the best way to establish objectivity is by taking on new perspectives

Heidi Maibom

Is virtue signalling a vice? | Aeon
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Virtues and vices

Is virtue signalling a vice?

Proclaiming one’s own goodness is deeply annoying. Yet signalling theory explains why it’s a peculiarly powerful manoeuvre

Tadeg Quillien

The Midas Disease | Aeon
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Ethics

The Midas Disease

Corruption is a truly global crisis and the wealth addiction that feeds it is hiding in plain sight

Sarah Chayes

The way of dharma | Aeon
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Stories and literature

The way of dharma

How do ancient stories of talking elephants and singing birds encourage a life of truth, nonviolence and compassion?

Keerthik Sasidharan

We must not own animals | Aeon
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Ethics

We must not own animals

We will never truly advance our ethical relationship with other animals until we stop treating them as chattels for use

Gary L Francione

Why you should eat meat | Aeon
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Ethics

Why you should eat meat

Not eating animals is wrong. If you care about animals, then the right thing to do is breed them, kill them and eat them

Nick Zangwill

Stoics as activists | Aeon
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Ethics

Stoics as activists

You might think of it as a philosophy for turning away from the world, but ancient Stoics took a stand against tyranny

Massimo Pigliucci

In a lion | Aeon
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Animals and humans

An unflinching look at a provocative public dissection of a ‘surplus’ zoo lion

13 minutes

Inside your dreamscape | Aeon
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Sleep and dreams

Inside your dreamscape

Dream-hacking techniques can help us create, heal and have fun. They could also become tools of commercial manipulation

Adam Haar Horowitz, Robert Stickgold & Antonio Zadra

We are all frail | Aeon
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Bioethics

We are all frail

We should be able to acknowledge that disabilities can cause pain and suffering without disabled people feeling dehumanised

Tom Shakespeare

Democracy is sentimental | Aeon
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Political philosophy

Democracy is sentimental

Reason and facts cannot be the basis of political debates and civic life. Love and laughter are the heart of the matter

Elizabeth Cantalamessa

Forget morality | Aeon
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Ethics

Forget morality

Moral philosophy is bogus, a mere substitute for God that licenses ugly emotions. Here are five reasons to reject it

Ronnie de Sousa

A just and loving gaze | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

A just and loving gaze

Simone Weil: mystic, philosopher, activist. Her ethics demand that we look beyond the personal and find the universal

Deborah Casewell

Lies and honest mistakes | Aeon
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Virtues and vices

Lies and honest mistakes

Our crisis of public knowledge is an ethical crisis. Rewarding ‘truthfulness’ above ‘truth’ is a step towards a solution

Richard V Reeves

Should we censor art? | Aeon
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Art

Should we censor art?

Tearing down sexist paintings or racist monuments raises as many problems as it resolves. There’s a better way to combat hate

Daisy Dixon

Samurai rules for peace and war | Aeon
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Values and beliefs

A samurai rulebook offers guidance on how to kill enemies and refrain from gossip

20 minutes