Nigel Warburton
Consultant Editor and Interviewer, Aeon

Nigel Warburton is a writer, philosopher and podcaster. His most recent book is A Little History of Philosophy (2011).

Written by Nigel Warburton

Photo by Stuart Franklin/Magnum
Essay/
Art
Moments of depth

Stuart Franklin has photographed conflict, nature and people. He discusses what makes a memorable image

Stuart Franklin & Nigel Warburton

Bernard Henri Levy (left) and Jean Paul Sartre refuse to discuss matters at the Musée Grévin waxwork museum in Paris, France. Photo by Sylvain Sonnet/Hemis/Corbis

Essay/
History of ideas
Talk with me

Philosophy should be conversation, not dogma – face-to-face talk about our place in the cosmos and how we should live

Nigel Warburton

Who should we care about: queuing for food in Haiti. Photo by William Daniels/Panos

Essay/
Cosmopolitanism
Cosmopolitans

It’s not just me, you and everyone we know. Citizens of the world have moral obligations to a wider circle of humanity

Nigel Warburton

Edited by Nigel Warburton

Photo by Debbie Lee Harrison/Getty

Essay/
Cognition and intelligence
It’s hard to fool a nose

Theories of perception are heavily tilted to the visual: we have much to learn from our surprisingly acute sense of smell

Ann-Sophie Barwich

Photo by Getty Images

Essay/
Sports and games
Love is a hold’em game

While some keep their cards close to their chest, others try raising the stakes. What can poker teach us about dating?

Suki Finn

Photo bt Emin Ozmen/Magnum Photos

Essay/
Knowledge
Nihilism

The risk of nihilism is that it alienates us from anything good or true. Yet believing in nothing has positive potential

Nolen Gertz

Photo by ragz13/Getty

Essay/
Philosophy of language
The ethics of speech acts

It’s one thing to say something. It’s quite another for a person to do (or not do) something because of what you’ve said

Guy Longworth

Aldous Huxley in 1958. Photo by Philippe Halsman/Magnum

Essay/
Philosophy of religion
Perennial philosophy

Aldous Huxley argued that all religions in the world were underpinned by universal beliefs and experiences. Was he right?

Jules Evans

Couple in the kitchen, USA, 1952. From the series ‘Love Story’. Photo by Dennis Stock/Magnum

Essay/
Love and friendship
Love is a joint project

For Simone de Beauvoir, authentic love is an ethical undertaking: it can be spoilt by devotion as much as by selfishness

Kate Kirkpatrick

Colourised photographs taken using the schlieren technique depict for the first time the shockwaves of two supersonic jets, typically heard on the ground as the sonic boom. Photo courtesy NASA

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
Before, now, and next

Pastness, presentness and futurity seem to be real features of the world, but are they? On McTaggart’s philosophy of time

Emily Thomas

A screen demonstrates facial-recognition technology at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China, on Thursday 29 August 2019. Photo by Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Idea/
Technology and the self
How Confucius loses face in China’s new surveillance regime

Philip Ivanhoe

The Funeral of Shelley (1889), by Louis Édouard Fournier. Photo courtesy the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool/Alamy

Essay/
Rituals and celebrations
Death by design

We can chose how we live – why not how we leave? A free society should allow dying to be more deliberate and imaginative

Daniel Callcut

At the Extinction Rebellion protest in London, 9 October 2019. Photo by Crispin Hughes/Panos Pictures

Essay/
The environment
Habermas and climate action

Jürgen Habermas offers a framework for action on climate change – justice and deliberation are as important as the science

Emilie Prattico

Detail from Self Portrait (1500) by Albrecht Dürer. The text to the right broadly translates as ‘Thus I, Albrecht Dürer from Nuremberg, created myself with characteristic colours at the age of 28 years.’ Courtesy Wikipedia/Alte Pinakothek München

Essay/
Consciousness and altered states
Consciousness is real

Consciousness is neither a spooky mystery nor an illusory belief. It’s a valid and causally efficacious biological reality

Massimo Pigliucci

Isaiah Berlin in 1985. Photo by Gemma Levine/Getty Images

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
Philosopher of the human

One can only imagine how much nobler and more decent the world might be if it took more notice of Isaiah Berlin

Johnny Lyons

Astronomy and geometry from Le Livre et le vraye hystoire du bon roy Alixandre (c1420), Royal 20 B XX f3. Courtesy the British Library

Essay/
Religion
Science + religion

The science-versus-religion opposition is a barrier to thought. Each one is a gift, rather than a threat, to the other

Tom McLeish

Photo by Ante Badzim/Getty

Essay/
Sex and sexuality
Being asexual

What is it like to feel love and share physical intimacy yet feel no sexual attraction to the person you are with?

Natasha McKeever & Luke Brunning

Artwork by G Clausen. Photo by SSPL/NRM/Pictorial Collection/Getty

Essay/
Education
Classics for the people

A Classical education was never just for the elite, but was a precious and inspiring part of working-class British life

Edith Hall

Photo by Peter Marlow/Magnum

Essay/
Philosophy of science
What’s everything made of?

To answer whether the fundamental building blocks of reality are particles, fields or both means thinking beyond physics

Charles Sebens

Antarctic Beeches (Nothofagus moorei) in temperate rainforest, Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia. Photo by Minden Pictures/National Geographic

Essay/
Nature and landscape
Rooted

What if, rather than mere props in the background of our lives, trees embody the history of all life on Earth?

Dalia Nassar & Margaret M Barbour

Photo by Patrick Zachman/Magnum

Essay/
Love and friendship
My friend, my self

Female friendship is central to much recent fiction and film. What can it say about the role of relationships in identity?

Susan Bright

Parallax (Candles) (1951). Courtesy the Estate of Berenice Abbott/Getty Images

Essay/
Philosophy of science
But is it science?

Theoretical physicists who say the multiverse exists set a dangerous precedent: science based on zero empirical evidence

Jim Baggott

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