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Philosophy

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

From the Irish Giant to the Ancient One, is it ever ethical for scientists and museums to study bodies without permission?

Anita Guerrini

A man dressed in white robes with his face obscured is seen in a cave entrance carved from rock
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Comparative philosophy

Forging philosophy

A 17th-century classic of Ethiopian philosophy might be a fake. Does it matter, or is that just how philosophy works?

Jonathan Egid

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Ethics

Ethics has no foundation

Ethical values can be both objective and knowable – torture really is wrong – yet not need any foundation outside themselves

Andrew Sepielli

Human figures beneath a glass dome watch the launch of a rocket from the surface of Mars
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Space exploration

The final ethical frontier

Earthbound exploration was plagued with colonialism, exploitation and extraction. Can we hope to make space any different?

Philip Ball

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Ethics

Wrestling with relativism

Bernard Williams argued that one’s ethics is shaped by culture and history. But that doesn’t mean that everyone is right

Daniel Callcut

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History of ideas

Equality without compromise

Liberal philosophy has clipped the wings of the egalitarian ideal. We should return to the bolder ideals of Iris Murdoch

Christine Sypnowich

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Thinkers and theories

Remember Richard Price!

Demonised by the political establishment for his radical, dissenting views, this 18th-century Welsh polymath deserves better

Huw Williams

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Philosophy of religion

Reckoning with compassion

After an abuse scandal destroyed my Buddhist community, I had to reconsider what it means to live an ethically attuned life

Jessica Locke

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Future of technology

Artificial ‘creativity’ is unstoppable. Grappling with its ethics is up to us

23 minutes

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Ethics

The ethics of human extinction

Why would it be so bad if our species came to an end? It is a question that reveals our latent values and hidden fears

Émile P Torres

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Ethics

If not vegan, then what?

A vegan diet can be hard to adopt, even if you’re convinced it’s the right thing to do. What are the next-best options?

Peter Godfrey-Smith

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Ethics

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

6 minutes

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Human rights and justice

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

28 minutes

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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

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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

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Ethics

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

10 minutes

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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