Menu
Aeon
DonateNewsletter
SIGN IN

Philosophy

Essays and videos on philosophy, the history of ideas, ethics and life’s big questions
Save

essay

Thinkers and theories

Against power

As a republican, Sophie de Grouchy argued that sympathy, not domination, must be the glue that holds society together

Sandrine Bergès & Eric Schliesser

Save

video

Thinkers and theories

‘My art is oratory, Socrates.’ An ancient warning on the power and peril of rhetoric

4 minutes

A couple lying on grass on a hill nearby an American listening station in Berlin
Save

essay

Metaphysics

What awaits us?

Humanity’s future remains as unthinkable as the still-uncolonised galaxy or the enduring mystery of our own births and deaths

Jennifer Banks

Save

essay

Thinkers and theories

On knowing who he was

Alan Watts, for all his faults, was a wildly imaginative and provocative thinker who reimagined religion in a secular age

Christopher Harding

Save

essay

Thinkers and theories

We’ll meet again

The intrepid logician Kurt Gödel believed in the afterlife. In four heartfelt letters to his mother he explained why

Alexander T Englert

Save

essay

Thinkers and theories

Dancing and time

For Rachel Bespaloff, philosophy was a sensual activity shaped by the rhythm of history, embodied in an instant of freedom

Isabel Jacobs

Save

essay

War and peace

The two Chomskys

The US military’s greatest enemy worked in an institution saturated with military funding. How did it shape his thought?

Chris Knight

A man dressed in white robes with his face obscured is seen in a cave entrance carved from rock
Save

essay

Comparative philosophy

Forging philosophy

A 17th-century classic of Ethiopian philosophy might be a fake. Does it matter, or is that just how philosophy works?

Jonathan Egid

Save

video

Thinkers and theories

Henri Bergson on why the existence of things precedes their possibility

3 minutes

Save

essay

Logic and probability

The patterns of reality

Some have thought that logic will one day be completed and all its problems solved. Now we know it is an endless task

Timothy Williamson

A graffitti sign in an underpass reads ‘Life is too short to be wasted on the pursuit of happiness’; it is reflected in pooling water underneath
Save

essay

History of ideas

Whither philosophy?

The discipline today finds itself precariously balanced between incomprehensible specialisation and cheap self-help

Siobhan Lyons

Save

essay

Ethics

Wrestling with relativism

Bernard Williams argued that one’s ethics is shaped by culture and history. But that doesn’t mean that everyone is right

Daniel Callcut

The title page and frontispiece engraving of an 18th-century book written in German. The title of the book is written in red in a Gothic font
Save

essay

Thinkers and theories

The great, forgotten Wolff

Written for laymen, read by women and kings, Christian Wolff’s mathematical method made him a key Enlightenment philosopher

Michael Walschots

Save

video

Political philosophy

Liberal democracies are backsliding worldwide. Could anarchy help?

24 minutes

Eugene V Debs making a speech from a stage on which several other men, women and a young girl are seated behind him; also shows 48-star flags of the United States hanging at the back of the stage
Save

essay

Political philosophy

In the interests of all

How Eugene V Debs turned American republicanism against the chiefs of capitalism – and became a true crusader for freedom

Tom O’Shea

Save

essay

Work

Freedom at work

There is always a demand for more jobs. But what makes a job good? For that, Immanuel Kant has an answer

Tyler Re

Save

video

Thinkers and theories

Photographs offer a colonialist window to the past – one that must be challenged

14 minutes

Save

essay

Thinkers and theories

Why seek self-realisation?

In the face of climate crisis it might seem myopic but philosophers from Spinoza to Næss argue it is the only way forward

Helen De Cruz

Save

essay

Political philosophy

Liberalism against capitalism

The work of John Rawls shows that liberal values of equality and freedom are fundamentally incompatible with capitalism

Colin Bradley

Save

essay

Thinkers and theories

Wittgenstein in the classroom

The philosopher understood that learning – of a concept, of ourselves, of each other – is the undertaking of a whole life

Calum Jacobs

Save

essay

Philosophy of religion

Who was Duns Scotus?

His name is now the byword for a fool, yet his proof for the existence of God was the most rigorous of the medieval period

Thomas M Ward

Save

essay

Thinkers and theories

Analytic women

Twin forces marginalised the women of early analytic philosophy. Correct those mistakes, and the next generation benefits

Jeanne Peijnenburg & Sander Verhaegh

Save

essay

Thinkers and theories

The Indian pragmatist

Ambedkar was not only a politician, but a profound thinker whose philosophy of democracy challenged the caste system

Scott R Stroud

Save

video

Political philosophy

Is the idea that democracy always benefits society misguided, or just mathematics?

7 minutes