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Philosophy

Essays and videos on philosophy, the history of ideas, ethics and life’s big questions
Cyclists in a professional race riding in rainy conditions. The leading cyclist in a blue jersey raises his arms in victory, with other cyclists closely following behind on the wet road. Everyone is wearing helmets and sunglasses for protection.
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Sports and games

Performance-enhancing vices

Selfishness channels ambition, envy drives competition, pride aids the win. Does it take a bad person to be a good athlete?

Sabrina Little

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Ethics

For Iris Murdoch, selfishness is a fault that can be solved by reframing the world

6 minutes

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Love and friendship

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

25 minutes

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Human rights and justice

‘I know that change is possible’ – a Deaf prison chaplain’s gospel of hope

18 minutes

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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

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Mood and emotion

The joy of sulk

Full of implicit rules and paradoxes, sulking is a marvellous example of intense communication without clear declaration

Rebecca Roache

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Mood and emotion

In praise of irritation

Unlike anger, irritation has neither glamour nor radicalism on its side. Yet it might just be the mood we need right now

Will Rees

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Virtues and vices

The virtue of discretion

When the rules break down, you must judge what to do on your own. Discretion is necessary for navigating the muddle of life

Lorraine Daston

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Mental health

Secrets hurt their holders

Holding back the truth can take a huge toll on your relationships and your mental health. Why? And is there a better way?

Michael Slepian

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video

Virtues and vices

From violent criminal to loving parent – a son’s story of his father’s transformation

23 minutes

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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

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Virtues and vices

Look on the dark side

We must keep the flame of pessimism burning: it is a virtue for our deeply troubled times, when crude optimism is a vice

Mara van der Lugt

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Virtues and vices

Is virtue signalling a vice?

Proclaiming one’s own goodness is deeply annoying. Yet signalling theory explains why it’s a peculiarly powerful manoeuvre

Tadeg Quillien

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Ethics

Forget morality

Moral philosophy is bogus, a mere substitute for God that licenses ugly emotions. Here are five reasons to reject it

Ronnie de Sousa

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Virtues and vices

Lies and honest mistakes

Our crisis of public knowledge is an ethical crisis. Rewarding ‘truthfulness’ above ‘truth’ is a step towards a solution

Richard V Reeves

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Cognition and intelligence

How to be a genius

I travelled the world and trawled the archive to unearth the hidden lessons from history’s most brilliant people

Craig Wright

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Stories and literature

The living Mahabharata

Immorality, sexism, politics, war: the polychromatic Indian epic pulses with relevance to the present day

Audrey Truschke

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Personality

Eight men reflect on their paths to prison – and imagine their alternative lives

30 minutes

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Global history

From vice to crime

European empires were addicted to opium smoking. Then their own agents launched a moral crusade to prohibit it

Diana S Kim

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Virtues and vices

Vice dressed as virtue

Cruelty and morality seem like polar opposites – until they join forces. Beware those who persecute in the name of principle

Paul Russell

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Ethics

If all our actions are shaped by luck, are we still agents?

Jake Wojtowicz

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Virtues and vices

Boredom is but a window to a sunny day beyond the gloom

Neel Burton

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Psychiatry and psychotherapy

Humility and self-doubt are hallmarks of a good therapist

Helene A Nissen-Lie

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Virtues and vices

Modesty means more, not less

True modesty is not to be timid or meek but a way of being in the world that means you don’t get in the way of your life

Nicolas Bommarito