Menu
Aeon
DonateNewsletter
SIGN IN

Society

Essays and videos on social issues, history, political life and the future
Shopfront of NY 99 Cent Fresh Pizza restaurant with an open sign, vaccine notice, and menu visible through the window.
Save

essay

Economic history

Economics 101

Why introductory economics courses continued to teach zombie ideas from before economics became an empirical discipline

Walter Frick

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.
Save

essay

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

Many figures in traditional dress are gathered beneath a structure from which hang paper lists. In the foreground are horses. The colours are muted with age
Save

essay

Education

The exam that broke society

Keju, China’s incredibly difficult civil service test, strengthened the state at the cost of freedom and creativity

Yasheng Huang

Children stand in a line facing a teacher in a classroom, with “Transcription” written on the blackboard behind her.
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

A group of boys stands in front of a white picket fence with trees and a house in the background. The boys are dressed in dark jackets.
Save

essay

Human rights and justice

Do not forget them

Thousands of Indigenous children suffered and died in residential ‘schools’ around the world. Their stories must be heard

Steve Minton

Two girls sitting at a wooden table, studying with notebooks and stationery, with a large world map on the wall behind them.
Save

essay

Education

Unschooling

It takes nerve to go against the grain and take your child out of school. But, for some, that’s when learning really starts

Naomi Fisher & Heidi Steel

Save

essay

Education

Hitozukuri

Japan’s Cold War education policy used religion to ‘make’ the ideal humans needed by its nascent economy. Did it work?

Jolyon Baraka Thomas

Save

essay

Teaching and learning

Learning styles don’t exist

A teaching approach that is based on students’ preferences sounds laudable. But this misunderstands how learning happens

Carl Hendrick

Save

essay

Philosophy of mind

Philosophy’s blindspot

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

David Bakhurst

Save

essay

Self-improvement

Many wisdoms

There are no transcendent insights that rise above human difference. Yet wisdom exists if we look in the right places

Avram Alpert

Save

essay

History of ideas

Views from everywhere

Academic philosophy can indeed make sense of our interdependent world. But only if it transforms by becoming truly diverse

Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach & Leah Kalmanson

Save

essay

Stories and literature

Great books are still great

Read with love, rather than critical distance, the classics can provide tools to subvert oppressive hierarchies

Roosevelt Montás

Save

video

Animals and humans

An unflinching look at a provocative public dissection of a ‘surplus’ zoo lion

13 minutes

Save

essay

Education

Sex on the curriculum

Sex education is a battlefield over morals and young bodies, and has exposed fractures in American life for over a century

Kristy Slominski

Save

essay

Education

Jefferson’s university

Thomas Jefferson founded a university believing it would safeguard republican freedom. Slavery was another matter altogether

Alan Taylor

Save

essay

Childhood and adolescence

We’re all teenagers now

Adolescence isn’t a time of life so much as a frame of mind. Liberating yet damaging, it’s transformed the US and the world

Paul Howe

Save

video

Film and visual culture

Shoddy filmmaking meets the miracle of life in a police training film turned cult classic

11 minutes

Save

essay

Thinkers and theories

Pause. Reflect. Think

Susan Stebbing’s little Pelican book on philosophy had a big aim: giving everybody tools to think clearly for themselves

Peter West

Save

essay

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

Save

video

Global history

The American Museum of Natural History grapples with its most controversial piece

16 minutes

Save

essay

Education

Education, unchained

Rousseau’s child-centred ideals are now commonplace but his truly radical vision of educational freedom still eludes us

James Brooke-Smith

Save

idea

Rituals and celebrations

We need highly formal rituals in order to make life more democratic

Antone Martinho-Truswell

Save

idea

Teaching and learning

I was homeschooled for eight years: here’s what I recommend

Mordechai Levy-Eichel

Save

essay

Education

The scholar’s vocation

A century ago, Weber both diagnosed the ills of the corporatised, modern university, and pointed out the path beyond it

Chad Wellmon