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Philosophy

Essays and videos on philosophy, the history of ideas, ethics and life’s big questions
This essay isn’t true | Aeon
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essay

Metaphysics

This essay isn’t true

Alethic nihilism is the theory that nothing is true. There is much to gain by taking this radical idea seriously

David Liggins

Names for snow | Aeon
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video

Knowledge

Yes, the Inuit have dozens of words for snow – but what does each one mean exactly?

6 minutes

Jesuits in the boardroom | Aeon
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essay

Economic history

Jesuits in the boardroom

As corporations struggle to survive in a more uncertain world, they should look to the success of the Society of Jesus

Paolo Quattrone

A dinosaur is a story | Aeon
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essay

Palaeontology

A dinosaur is a story

As Brontosaurus tells us, in science as in fiction, the stories we tell to understand the world are always being revised

Nathaniel Goldberg & Chris Gavaler

A sliver of reality | Aeon
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essay

Knowledge

A sliver of reality

Science and mathematics may never fully capture the physical universe. Are there hard limits to human intelligence?

David H Wolpert

How do you know you’re not dreaming? | Aeon
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video

Metaphysics

Knowing if you’re awake seems simple. Why has it vexed philosophers for centuries?

5 minutes

Imaginology | Aeon
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Knowledge

Imaginology

We need a new kind of approach to learning that shifts imagination from the periphery to the foundation of all knowledge

Stephen T Asma

Truth is real | Aeon
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Knowledge

Truth is real

For a century, the idea of truth has been deflated, becoming terrain from which philosophers fled. They must return – urgently

Crispin Sartwell

Scepticism as a way of life | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

Scepticism as a way of life

The desire for certainty is often foolish and sometimes dangerous. Scepticism undermines it, both in oneself and in others

Nicholas Tampio

My God, it’s full of stars | Aeon
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video

Knowledge

A poet’s ode to the Hubble Telescope – and to her father, who helped to build it

2 minutes

Fringe theories stack | Aeon
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essay

History of science

Fringe theories stack

Believe in the Loch Ness monster and you’re more likely to believe the Apollo missions were fake. How do weird beliefs work?

Michael D Gordin

Zen kōans | Aeon
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video

Philosophy of religion

What Zen Buddhist riddles reveal about knowledge and the unknowable

5 minutes

Powers of ten, updated | Aeon
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video

Cosmology

Revisiting ‘Powers of Ten’ – what we’ve learned about the Universe since 1977

7 minutes

How do you know? | Aeon
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essay

Knowledge

How do you know?

Correct information doesn’t always come with its own bright halo of truth. What makes something worth believing?

Nate Sheff

The Rashomon effect | Aeon
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video

Knowledge

What can a Kurosawa classic tell us about reality, knowledge and truth?

5 minutes

A good scrap | Aeon
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Social psychology

A good scrap

Disagreements can be unpleasant, even offensive, but they are vital to human reason. Without them we remain in the dark

Ian Leslie

Philosophy’s lack of progress | Aeon
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essay

History of ideas

Philosophy’s lack of progress

For centuries, all philosophers seem to have done is question and debate. Why do philosophical problems resist solution?

Chris Daly

Against public philosophy | Aeon
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Political philosophy

Against public philosophy

For Leo Strauss, public life was muddied by opinion and persecution, so philosophers should shield their work from view

Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft

Philosophy with children | Aeon
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Knowledge

Philosophy with children

Kids don’t just say ‘the darndest things’. Playful and probing, they can be closer to the grain of life’s deepest questions

Jana Mohr Lone

Utuqaq | Aeon
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video

Earth science and climate

‘Ice has a memory’ – an Inuit poem contemplates scientific exploration of Greenland

28 minutes

Kierkegaard’s horror of doubt | Aeon
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video

Knowledge

Want to think for yourself? Start with an agonising state of doubt, says Kierkegaard

7 minutes

Mary’s room | Aeon
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video

Knowledge

Can you know everything about colour if you see in black and white? A thought experiment

5 minutes

Deluded, with reason | Aeon
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essay

Mental health

Deluded, with reason

Extraordinary beliefs don’t arise in a vacuum. They take root in minds confronted by unusual and traumatic experiences

Huw Green

The impossible chessboard puzzle | Aeon
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video

Mathematics

This puzzle is nearly impossible – but working out why is its own brain-teaser

19 minutes