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Philosophy

Essays and videos on philosophy, the history of ideas, ethics and life’s big questions
Philosophy’s blindspot | Aeon
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Philosophy of mind

Philosophy’s blindspot

Education has long been ignored by contemporary philosophers. That is a myopic view that must change

David Bakhurst

Seeing and somethingness | Aeon
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Consciousness and altered states

Seeing and somethingness

An evolutionary approach to consciousness can resolve the ‘hard problem’ – with radical implications for animal sentience

Nicholas Humphrey

The turbulent brain | Aeon
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Neuroscience

The turbulent brain

Energy flow between brain and environment drives the non-equilibrium that sustains life. Could turbulence help us thrive?

Morten L Kringelbach & Gustavo Deco

The philosopher’s zombie | Aeon
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Philosophy of mind

The philosopher’s zombie

The infamous thought experiment, flawed as it is, does demonstrate one thing: physics alone can’t explain consciousness

Dan Falk

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

How do you know? | Aeon
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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

Homo imaginatus | Aeon
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Human evolution

Homo imaginatus

Imagination isn’t just a spillover from our problem-solving prowess. It might be the core of what human brains evolved to do

Philip Ball

The development of mindreading | Aeon
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Philosophy of mind

Forget babbling and toddling – mindreading is babies’ most incredible skill

7 minutes

A theory of my own mind | Aeon
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Cognition and intelligence

A theory of my own mind

Knowing the content of one’s own mind might seem straightforward but in fact it’s much more like mindreading other people

Stephen M Fleming

ORIGINALAlison Gopnik: Cognition, care and spirituality | Aeon
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video

Philosophy of mind

Caring for the vulnerable opens gateways to our richest, deepest brain states

7 minutes

What animals think of death | Aeon
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Evolution

What animals think of death

Having a concept of death, far from being a uniquely human feat, is a fairly common trait in the animal kingdom

Susana Monsó

The mind does not exist | Aeon
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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

You are a network | Aeon
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Philosophy of mind

You are a network

You cannot be reduced to a body, a mind or a particular social role. An emerging theory of selfhood gets this complexity

Kathleen Wallace

The joy of being animal | Aeon
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Animals and humans

The joy of being animal

Human exceptionalism is dead: for the sake of our own happiness and the planet we should embrace our true animal nature

Melanie Challenger

Myth and the mind | Aeon
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Neuroscience

Myth and the mind

Saturated with rites and symbols, psychology feeds a deep human need once nourished by mythology

Rami Gabriel

The problem of now | Aeon
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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

The body as mediator | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

The body as mediator

The phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty entwines us, via our own beating, pulsing, living bodies, in the lives of others

Dan Nixon

How close is too close? | Aeon
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Neuroscience

How close is too close?

The neuroscience of peripersonal space explores how you create, defend or relax the buffer zone between you and the world

Frédérique de Vignemont & Colin Klein

On the same wavelength | Aeon
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Cognition and intelligence

On the same wavelength

The urge to align our minds and emotions with those we care for, whether they are near or far, makes our species unique

Hayden Kee

The value of uncertainty | Aeon
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Philosophy of mind

The value of uncertainty

In fiction, it grips us. In life, it can unravel us. How can brains hooked on certainty put its opposite to good use?

Mark Miller, Kathryn Nave, George Deane & Andy Clark

The face of the fish | Aeon
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Biology

The face of the fish

They’re not cuddly, they don’t behave at all like us – yet they are sentient. Why fish belong in the moral community

Michael Woodruff

ORIGINALHow we build perception from the inside out | Aeon
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Philosophy of mind

Anil Seth on why our senses are fine-tuned for utility, not for ‘reality’

10 minutes

Scars | Aeon
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Personality

How scars continue to shape the mind long after the tissue has settled

19 minutes

Frames of consciousness | Aeon
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Neuroscience

Frames of consciousness

Can electrical impulses in the brain explain the stuff that dreams are made on? What a new consciousness-detector reveals

Joel Frohlich