History of Ideas


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Essay/Neuroscience

Freud the philosopher

Before fathering psychoanalysis, Freud first slayed the dominant Cartesian intellectual tradition of mind-body dualism

David Livingstone Smith

Essay/History

Agony in the agora

Democracy, by nature, is a contest between clashing political desires. That is why the public square matters so much

Saul Frampton

Essay/History

America’s hidden philosophy

When Cold War philosophy tied rational choice theory to scientific method, it embedded the free-market mindset in US society

John McCumber

Idea/Politics & Government

Moderation may be the most challenging and rewarding virtue

Aurelian Craiutu

Essay/History of Ideas

The anger of Achilles

Homer’s warrior is no mere tragic human figure: fuelled by anger, he is at once a man of honour and a sword of the gods

C D C Reeve

Idea/History of Ideas

Before you can be with others, first learn to be alone

Jennifer Stitt

Essay/Economics

Of money and morals

Moneylending has been taboo for most of human history. So how did usury stop being a sin and become respectable finance?

Alex Mayyasi

Idea/Politics & Government

Even the ancient Greeks thought their best days were history

Johanna Hanink

Idea/Knowledge

The tree of knowledge is not an apple or an oak but a banyan

Jonardon Ganeri

Idea/Art

Why does contemporary art make for wildly popular blockbusters?

Judith H Dobrzynski

Essay/Cognition & Intelligence

Had a good think lately?

Not busy-work, ticking off to-do lists or keeping-up-with-stuff. Just sitting. And thinking. Is it so hard?

André Spicer

Idea/History

The strange story of inventing the ‘bastard’ in medieval Europe

Sara McDougall

Idea/History of Ideas

Voluntary taxation: a lesson from the Ancient Greeks

Dominic Frisby

Idea/Philosophy of Language

Who needs a perfect language? It’s already perfectly imperfect

Charlie Huenemann

Video/History of Ideas

How quantum superposition could unravel the ‘grandfather paradox’

3 minutes

Essay/Economics

Platonically irrational

How much did Plato know about behavioural economics and cognitive biases? Pretty much everything, it turns out

Nick Romeo

Essay/Art

Has art ended again?

Ever since Hegel, artists and critics alike have been claiming that art is finished. But what could that actually mean?

Owen Hulatt

Idea/Cultures & Languages

Stuck on one idea of truth or beauty? Rhizomes can help

Nicholas Tampio

Essay/History of Science

The cosmology of Poe

Drawing on intuition, Edgar Allan Poe offered some remarkably prescient ideas about the universe in his poem 'Eureka'

Paul Halpern

Idea/Politics & Government

How Robert Nozick put a purple prose bomb under analytical philosophy

Brad Baranowski

Idea/Automation & Robotics

Science has outgrown the human mind and its limited capacities

Ahmed Alkhateeb

Idea/History of Ideas

When philosophy needed Muslims, Jews and Christians alike

Peter Adamson

Essay/Consciousness & Altered States

What lurks beneath

The grand drama of Freud’s ideas has obscured the reality: every school of psychology needs a theory of the unconscious

Antonio Melechi

Essay/Politics & Government

Age of sincerity

In politics, as in militant religion, the performance of sincerity is everything, no matter whether right or wrong

Faisal Devji

Idea/Internet & Communication

Should you feel sad about the demise of the handwritten letter?

Siobhan Phillips

Essay/Stories & Literature

Walk the lines

Can walking the city streets still be liberating, when every path is paved with literary quotations and artistic prefiguring?

Will Wiles

Essay/History of Ideas

What is good rhetoric?

Plato said we ought to be suspicious of persuasive speakers and the appeal to emotions. But rhetoric can be a civic good

Tushar Irani

Idea/Cognition & Intelligence

Descartes was wrong: ‘a person is a person through other persons’

Abeba Birhane

Idea/Architecture & Landscape

Feelings are a better way to discuss architecture than concepts

Timothy Brittain-Catlin

Essay/Political Philosophy

The last hollow laugh

Since Francis Fukuyama proclaimed ‘The End of History’ 25 years ago, he has been much maligned. His work now seems prophetic

Paul Sagar