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Philosophy

Essays and videos on philosophy, the history of ideas, ethics and life’s big questions
Forgotten existentialist | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

Forgotten existentialist

Sartre gets much of the credit for existentialism. Karl Jaspers not only preceded him, but offered a way out of despair

Deborah Casewell

The first Romantics | Aeon
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History of ideas

The first Romantics

How a close group of brilliant friends, in a tiny German university town, laid the foundations of modern consciousness

Andrea Wulf

The herd in the head | Aeon
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History of ideas

The herd in the head

It is enormously empowering – even intoxicating – to lose yourself to a crowd. That is why we need contrarians

Costica Bradatan

We are interwoven beings | Aeon
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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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Thinkers and theories

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

43 minutes

The generous philosopher | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

The generous philosopher

Bruno Latour showed us how to think with the things of the world, respecting their right to exist and act on their own terms

Stephen Muecke

Medieval but not Christian | Aeon
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Comparative philosophy

Medieval but not Christian

It’s shocking that histories of medieval philosophy celebrate only Christian thinkers, ignoring Islamic and Jewish thought

Yitzhak Y Melamed

A singular scientist | Aeon
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History of science

A singular scientist

James Lovelock was a visionary whose greatest ideas were made possible by his unshakeable independence

Roger Highfield

Blue-eyed Buddhist | Aeon
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Religion

Blue-eyed Buddhist

The story of a working-class radical from Ireland who became a celebrated monk and challenged the British Empire in Asia

Laurence Cox

Democracy or apocalypse | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

Democracy or apocalypse

Eric Voegelin and Hans Kelsen fled the Nazis. In the US, they clashed over the nature of modernity and government

David Dyzenhaus

Sisters in dharma | Aeon
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Religion

Sisters in dharma

In Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, Parwati Soepangat pioneered a Buddhist feminist theology with deep roots

Jack Meng-Tat Chia

Peter Singer on Hegel and Marx | Aeon
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History of ideas

Peter Singer charts the path from Hegelian philosophy to Marxist revolution

43 minutes

History by numbers | Aeon
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History

History by numbers

Is history a matter of individual agency and action, or of finding and quantifying underpinning structures and patterns?

Claire Lemercier & Claire Zalc

The delights of mischief | Aeon
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Virtues and vices

The delights of mischief

Mischievousness requires humour, wit and a playful humaneness: qualities that make for a particular kind of virtue

Alex Moran

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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Thinkers and theories

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

43 minutes

Old not Other | Aeon
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Ageing and death

Old not Other

Here’s a puzzle: why do we neglect and disdain the one vulnerable group we all eventually will join? Beauvoir had an answer

Kate Kirkpatrick & Sonia Kruks

Five Lems | Aeon
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Stories and literature

Solaris and beyond – Stanisław Lem’s antidotes to the bores of American sci-fi

7 minutes

On Wittgenstein | Aeon
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Philosophy of language

For Ludwig Wittgenstein, language is a game, but not a frivolous one

43 minutes

Beyond dust and grime | Aeon
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History of ideas

Beyond dust and grime

Zhuangzi thought Confucians were like frogs trapped in a well, unable to perceive the limitlessness of the sea

Tao Jiang

The art of listening | Aeon
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Self-improvement

The art of listening

To listen well is not only a kindness to others but also, as the psychologist Carl Rogers made clear, a gift to ourselves

M M Owen

More than muses and martyrs | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

More than muses and martyrs

In the long 19th century, many women philosophers were marginalised or ignored. We need to rediscover them

Kristin Gjesdal & Dalia Nassar

Aristotle goes to Hollywood | Aeon
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Stories and literature

Aristotle goes to Hollywood

Today, the ancient Greek storyteller would be winning Oscars. To learn how, turn to the Poetics, his masterwork on writing

Philip Freeman

Philosopher of the apocalypse | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

Philosopher of the apocalypse

From the ashes of the Second World War, Günther Anders forecast a new catastrophe: technology would overwhelm its creators

Audrey Borowski