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Philosophy

Essays and videos on philosophy, the history of ideas, ethics and life’s big questions
Black and white image of Japanese soldiers in battle gear marching with a Rising Sun Flag, superimposed with large Japanese calligraphy characters on a plain background.
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essay

Nations and empires

Chastising little brother

Why did Japanese Confucians enthusiastically support Imperial Japan’s murderous conquest of China, the homeland of Confucius?

Shaun O’Dwyer

Two men sit talking on a wooden beam by a dock. One is in jeans, the other wears a coat and holds a small item. A cargo ship, a bridge and a warehouse are in the background.
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Stories and literature

Do liberal arts liberate?

In Jack London’s novel, Martin Eden personifies debates still raging over the role and purpose of education in American life

Nick Romeo

A smiling family group stands in a living room posing for a photo. The table is adorned with red candles, a mirror, apples, and a green plant.
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video

Rituals and celebrations

A beginner’s guide to a joyful Persian tradition of spring renewal and rebirth

3 minutes

A dark, hazy scene of a figure in a top hat walking near a building with large columns. The background features a dimly lit path alongside water, with street lamps illuminating the night. The setting appears lonely and atmospheric, with distant hills visible under an overcast sky.
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Stories and literature

Terrifying vistas of reality

H P Lovecraft, the master of cosmic horror stories, was a philosopher who believed in the total insignificance of humanity

Sam Woodward

A sepia photo of a shirtless man, a woman, and a child sitting on a beach; the child and woman wear shell necklaces.
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Thinkers and theories

A man beyond categories

Paul Tillich was a religious socialist and a profoundly subtle theologian who placed doubt at the centre of his thought

Ted Farris

Painting of a scene in a historic European street with men dressed in colourful Renaissance attire, with hats and capes, and women in period clothing.
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Political philosophy

The battles over beginnings

Niccolò Machiavelli’s profound insights about the violent origins of political societies help us understand the world today

David Polansky

Elderly man in a cap and jacket sits on concrete steps outdoors holding a cup, with greenery and trees in the background.
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video

Love and friendship

After his son’s terrorist attack, Azdyne seeks healing – and his granddaughter

25 minutes

A man wearing a knit hat, facing sideways in a misty outdoor setting, with a stack of balanced stones in the background.
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Values and beliefs

A Zen Buddhist priest voices the deep matters he usually ponders in silence

5 minutes

Medieval illustration of a crowned figure, holding a sceptre, wearing a blue cloak over an intricately patterned robe, seated against a parchment background.
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Religion

Hear from blasphemes, sceptics and free-thinkers in this ‘tour of medieval unbelief’

52 minutes

Black-and-white photo of two men standing behind a sign that reads “What is the line between us?”, gesturing towards a partition with another person’s hand visible.
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Art

The irreverent duo who thumbed their noses at the Soviet Union and the US art world

11 minutes

A woman carrying a child walks past a burning structure in a smoky environment, appearing concerned and cautious.
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Ethics

Ethics has no foundation

Ethical values can be both objective and knowable – torture really is wrong – yet not need any foundation outside themselves

Andrew Sepielli

Ancient adobe village atop a hill at dusk, overlooking vast plains with a few people walking and animals grazing in the foreground.
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Metaphysics

Purposeful universe

Neither atheism nor theism adequately explains reality. That is why we must consider the middle ground between the two

Philip Goff

A man in tradional long shorts and striped shirt holds a huge heavy stone abvove his head as a crowd looks on
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Values and beliefs

How traditions progress

The colourful Swiss sport of stone putting illuminates Aristotle’s insights into the shortcomings of conservative thought

Daniel Kranzelbinder

A woman sits alone in a Parisian cafe with a glass of wine, while the neighbouring tables are full of socialising groups
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Love and friendship

Loved, yet lonely

You might have the unconditional love of family and friends and yet feel deep loneliness. Can philosophy explain why?

Kaitlyn Creasy

Ancient bronze statue of a winged figure with raised hand, displaying a humanoid form and detailed feathered wings, set against a dark background.
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video

The ancient world

Meet the absentee gods and nefarious spirits of ancient Mesopotamia

6 minutes

Woman with brown hair in a “Jews for Reproductive Freedom” shirt smiling and holding papers and a water bottle at an outdoor event.
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Religion

How Jewish leaders in the US are fighting abortion bans on religious grounds

24 minutes

A person gently caressing a calf’s head, both looking content, in a field during sunset.
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Values and beliefs

How the plight of holy cows is used to radicalise teenagers in small-town India

24 minutes

Two people sit at a desk covered in papers. Background includes book shelves and posters about the “Ulysses” novel and Arnold Bennett.
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Human rights and justice

Beyond obscenity

A century after the trial against ‘Ulysses’, we must revisit the civil liberties arguments of its defender, Morris Ernst

Brett Gary

Vintage black-and-white image of two young children standing outside, a boy wearing a jumper and a girl in a dress. They’re in the middle of explaining religion.
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video

Religion

From God’s shoes to satellites in heaven – children weigh in on religion

8 minutes

Medieval illustration of one-eyed Odin holding a sword, surrounded by two ravens and a sun with a face, with Norse text above and around the figure.
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Stories and literature

Myths from Earth’s edge – what the Icelandic sagas reveal about Norse morality

57 minutes

Painting of a lively medieval village with men and women dancing and socialising in colourful traditional clothing on a grassy area.
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Art

Why European artists shifted their focus from power to peasants in the 16th century

5 minutes

Surreal painting of fantastical creatures engaged in various activities, including playing a musical instrument, riding animals, and interacting with each other.
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Religion

Miracles not magic

It took a tremendous effort to distinguish early Christianity from the finely tuned world of pagan beliefs and rituals

Martha Rampton

A young child on a beach beside a sign that reads “No one is too small to make a difference” in colourful letters.
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Virtues and vices

Be what you hope for

In the face of global challenges, Augustine offers a way between the despair of pessimism and the presumption of optimism

Michael Lamb

Elderly woman with short hair, wearing a black jacket and white shirt, speaking inside a room with large windows and blurred background.
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Philosophy of religion

How a devout Catholic philosopher approaches the problem of evil

8 minutes