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Philosophy

Essays and videos on philosophy, the history of ideas, ethics and life’s big questions
We are interwoven beings | Aeon
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essay

Metaphysics

We are interwoven beings

A dragon needs the clouds and the wind in order to fly. What happens when we too relinquish individualistic reasoning?

Mercedes Valmisa

Bernard Williams and Bryan Magee on Descartes | Aeon
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video

Thinkers and theories

Bernard Williams on Descartes’s audacious endeavour to prove knowledge is possible

43 minutes

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

Trenches in Chernobyl | Aeon
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War and peace

Trenches in Chernobyl

Disturbing and inhaling radioactive dust, in their haste Russian soldiers unburied the wrecked, undead Earth itself

Michael Marder

The lethal act | Aeon
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essay

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

AC Grayling: Why not nothing? | Aeon
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video

Metaphysics

Is the question ‘Why is there something instead of nothing?’ even worth asking?

9 minutes

The Boltzmann brain paradox | Aeon
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Logic and probability

Is it more likely you’re a person with a past, or an ephemeral brain in a void?

6 minutes

Why read Fichte today? | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

Why read Fichte today?

Inspired by Kant, Fichte launched a radical philosophical system based on subjectivity and aspiring to freedom for all

Gabriel Gottlieb

Martha Nussbaum and Bryan Magee on Aristotle | Aeon
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video

Thinkers and theories

Metaphysics and beyond – Martha Nussbaum on Aristotle’s indelible ideas

43 minutes

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

What is movement? | Aeon
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video

Metaphysics

To see the Universe more clearly, think in terms of processes, not objects

6 minutes

Karl Friston: embodied cognition | Aeon
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video

Philosophy of mind

Embodied cognition seems intuitive, but philosophy can push it to some strange places

14 minutes

Hegel today | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

Hegel today

Too dense, too abstract, too suspect, Hegel was outside the Anglophone canon for a century. Why is his star rising again?

Willem deVries

The Rashomon effect | Aeon
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video

Knowledge

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

5 minutes

The mind does not exist | Aeon
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essay

Philosophy of mind

The mind does not exist

The terms ‘mind’ and ‘mental’ are messy, harmful and distracting. We should get rid of them

Joe Gough

The divine Dante | Aeon
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essay

Stories and literature

The divine Dante

At 700, Dante’s Divine Comedy is as modern as ever – a lesson in spiritual intelligence that makes us better at being alive

Mark Vernon

Ideas that work | Aeon
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History of ideas

Ideas that work

Truth, knowledge, justice – to understand how our loftiest abstractions earn their keep, trace them to their practical origins

Matthieu Queloz

On the necessity of obedience | Aeon
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essay

Thinkers and theories

On the necessity of obedience

George Berkeley was a visionary immaterialist. And a philosopher whose views on subordination to God legitimised slavery

Tom Jones

Reincarnation now | Aeon
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Philosophy of religion

Reincarnation now

Modern mindfulness strips Buddhism of its spiritual core. We need an ethics of reincarnation for an interconnected world

Avram Alpert

The problem of now | Aeon
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essay

Philosophy of mind

The problem of now

The injunction to immerse yourself in the present might be psychologically potent, but is it metaphysically meaningful?

John Martin Fischer

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

Peak ellipsis | Aeon
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essay

Thinkers and theories

Peak ellipsis

Does philosophy reside in the unsayable or should it care only for precision? Carnap, Heidegger and the great divergence

Sam Dresser

Leonard Susskind: Why do we search for symmetry? | Aeon
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video

Metaphysics

‘The whole thing is a monstrosity!’ How a symmetry heretic sees the Universe

8 minutes

What is the soul if not a better version of ourselves? | Aeon
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idea

Spirituality

What is the soul if not a better version of ourselves?

John Cottingham