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Philosophy

Essays and videos on philosophy, the history of ideas, ethics and life’s big questions
How to become wise | Aeon
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Comparative philosophy

How to become wise

Practice is at the heart of Korean philosophy. In order to lead a good life, hone your daily rituals of self-cultivation

Kevin Cawley

Attuned to the aesthetic | Aeon
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Beauty and aesthetics

Attuned to the aesthetic

The ultimate value of the world can be discovered if you are sensitive to what is beautiful

Tom Cochrane

You’re astonishing! | Aeon
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Meaning and the good life

You’re astonishing!

Life can be better appreciated when you remember how wonderfully and frighteningly unlikely it is that you exist at all

Timm Triplett

Look on the dark side | Aeon
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Virtues and vices

Look on the dark side

We must keep the flame of pessimism burning: it is a virtue for our deeply troubled times, when crude optimism is a vice

Mara van der Lugt

The end of travel | Aeon
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Travel

The end of travel

Driven by the need for a storied life, I relished the opportunity for endless travel. Is that a moment in time, now over?

Henry Wismayer

Fifty per cent | Aeon
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Meaning and the good life

To know or not to know? Lillian weighs the costs of a life-changing genetic test

10 minutes

Is life meaningless? And other absurd questions | Aeon
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Meaning and the good life

Albert Camus built a philosophy of humanity on a foundation of absurdity

6 minutes

Treasure them | Aeon
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Love and friendship

Treasure them

Sure, lovers and children are great. But friends are more than ever the heart of happiness, of family and of love itself

Anna Machin

Authenticity is a sham | Aeon
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Meaning and the good life

Authenticity is a sham

From monks to existentialists and hipsters, the search for a true self has been a centuries-long project. Should we give it up?

Alexander Stern

Gardening with Nietzsche | Aeon
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Meaning and the good life

Amid the chaos of being, Nietzsche believed that plants offer us inspiration for living

8 minutes

You and the thing that you love | Aeon
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Pleasure and pain

After losing his sight, a skateboarder takes an unexpected path to realising his dreams

12 minutes

Final thoughts | Aeon
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Meaning and the good life

Final thoughts

Do deathbed regrets give us a special insight into what really matters in life? There are good reasons to be sceptical

Neil Levy

Reading John Gray in war | Aeon
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War and peace

Reading John Gray in war

As a soldier, I was hard-wired to seek meaning and purpose. Gray’s philosophy helped me unhook from utopia and find peace

Andy Owen

The right right thing to do | Aeon
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Ethics

The right right thing to do

The ethical life means being good to ourselves, to others, and to the world. But how do you choose if these demands compete?

Irene McMullin

Maria’s way | Aeon
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Meaning and the good life

Maria’s life work is counting the pilgrims passing by on Spain’s Camino de Santiago

16 minutes

EXCLUSIVEPing pong Sufi | Aeon
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Values and beliefs

‘I’m just measuring myself with myself’ – ping pong as a route to Sufi spiritual practice

11 minutes

Humanity at night | Aeon
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Meaning and the good life

Humanity at night

A violinist plays in a concentration camp. A refugee carries a book of poetry. Art sustains us when survival is uncertain

Sarah Fine

Why do we love? A philosophical enquiry | Aeon
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History of ideas

For proof that love is timeless, consider how long philosophers have debated it

6 minutes

The science of wisdom | Aeon
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Cognition and intelligence

The science of wisdom

Psychological science can now measure and nurture wisdom, superseding the speculations of philosophy and religion

Igor Grossmann

Why read Boethius today? | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

Why read Boethius today?

Written while awaiting execution, the Consolation of Philosophy poses questions about human reason that remain urgent today

John Marenbon

The semi-satisfied life | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

The semi-satisfied life

Renowned for his pessimism, Arthur Schopenhauer was nonetheless a conoisseur of very distinctive kinds of happiness

David Bather Woods

Plato’s allegory of the cave | Aeon
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Knowledge

Orson Welles’s psychedelic 1973 adaptation of Plato’s timeless allegory of the cave

9 minutes

Laughter is vital | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

Laughter is vital

For philosopher Henri Bergson, laughter solves a serious human conundrum: how to keep our minds and social lives elastic

Emily Herring

Lyubov: love in Russian | Aeon
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Love and friendship

Can you love someone for life? – and other eternal questions on romantic devotion

13 minutes