Sally Davies
Senior Editor, Aeon+Psyche

Sally is a writer and editor with interests spanning science, philosophy, feminism and the arts. She was digital editor of FT Weekend and the technology and innovation correspondent for the Financial Times. Sally founded the Libreria bookshop in east London as its director, and was on the original editorial team of Nautilus Magazine. She can be found on Twitter @daviesally.

Written by Sally Davies

Déesse V Nine Goodbye Kisses by Delphine Lebourgeois

Essay/
Cognition and intelligence
Women’s minds matter

Feminists never bought the idea of the computational mind set free from its body. Cognitive science is finally catching up

Sally Davies

Edited by Sally Davies

Emerging towards 241 18th Street (centre), home to Amazon’s new HQ2 in Crystal City, Virginia. Photo by Dermot Tatlow/Panos Pictures

Essay/
Technology and the self
The problem with prediction

Cognitive scientists and corporations alike see human minds as predictive machines. Right or wrong, they will change how we think

Joseph Fridman

From Amours Difficiles by Adriana Lestido. Photo courtesy of Adriana Lestido/Agence VU

Essay/
Gender and identity
What makes a woman’s body

A pang of hunger, a stab of pain, a sense of dread – these experiences emerge on the shore where biology and culture meet

Mallory Feldman & Kristen Lindquist

A northern gannet (Morus bassanus) breeding colony on Heligoland, Germany. Photo by Brais Seara/Getty

Essay/
Evolution
Evolution’s engineers

Organisms do not evolve blindly under forces beyond their control, but shape and influence the evolutionary environment itself

Kevin Laland & Lynn Chiu

A deadly coral snake moves across fallen pine needles in a woodland in central Florida. Photo by Kristian Bell/Getty

Essay/
Evolution
Eyes in the dark

From cobra to caterpillar, warning signals are a rich natural vocabulary shaped by the communicative dance of predator and prey

David Kikuchi

Detail from The Vision of Saint John (1608-14) by El Greco. Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
The body as mediator

The phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty entwines us, via our own beating, pulsing, living bodies, in the lives of others

Dan Nixon

Water lilies in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Photo © Frans Lanting/Lanting.com

Essay/
Biology
Is the Earth an organism?

The Gaia hypothesis states that our biosphere is evolving. Once sceptical, some prominent biologists are beginning to agree

W Ford Doolittle

Shane Battier #31 of the Miami Heat drives against Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers, 14 November 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Noah Graham/NBA/Getty

Essay/
Complexity
All stars

Is a great team more than the sum of its players? Complexity science reveals the role of strategy, synergy, swarming and more

Jessica Flack & Cade Massey

Władysławowo beach, Poland, August 2020. Photo by Kacper Kowalski/Panos Pictures

Essay/
Neuroscience
How close is too close?

The neuroscience of peripersonal space explores how you create, defend or relax the buffer zone between you and the world

Frédérique de Vignemont & Colin Klein

Coloured scanning electron micrograph of a macrophage white blood cell (purple) engulfing a tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) bacterium (pink). Photo by Science Photo Library

Essay/
Biology
Life with purpose

Biologists balk at any talk of ‘goals’ or ‘intentions’ – but a bold new research agenda has put agency back on the table

Philip Ball

Photo by Cristina Garcia Rodero/Magnum Photos

Essay/
Human evolution
Vulnerable yet vital

The dance of love and lore between grandparent and grandchild is at the centre, not the fringes, of our evolutionary story

Alison Gopnik

Photo by Eve Arnold/Magnum

Essay/
Neuroscience
The need to touch

The language of touch binds our minds and bodies to the broader social world. What happens when touch becomes taboo?

Laura Crucianelli

Photo by Catalina Martin-Chico/Panos Pictures

Essay/
Archaeology
The deep Anthropocene

A revolution in archaeology has exposed the extraordinary extent of human influence over our planet’s past and its future

Lucas Stephens, Erle Ellis & Dorian Fuller

A red deer stag in autumn mist. Photo by Arterra/Sven-Erik Arndt/Getty

Essay/
Biology
Sex is real

Yes, there are just two biological sexes. No, this doesn’t mean every living thing is either one or the other

Paul Griffiths

Activists clash with police on 1 March 2020 in Kolkata during a protest against India’s new citizenship law and following sectarian riots in New Delhi. Photo by Indranil Aditya/NurPhoto via Getty

Essay/
Mood and emotion
Politics is visceral

In an age thick with anger and fear, we might dream of a purely rational politics but it would be a denial of our humanity

Manos Tsakiris

Illegal gold miners working in a pit in Manicaland, Zimbabwe. Photo by Robin Hammond/Panos Pictures

Essay/
Human rights and justice
Weak links

The idea of the ‘supply chain’ shackles how we think about economic justice. What forces could new metaphors unleash?

Michael Gibb

The view towards Milano Centrale station down via Vittor Pisani during lockdown, 29 March 2020. Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket/Getty

Essay/
Complexity
Uncertain times

The pandemic is an unprecedented opportunity – seeing human society as a complex system opens a better future for us all

Jessica Flack & Melanie Mitchell

Illustration by Richard Wilkinson

Essay/
Evolution
Catastrophes and calms

Evolution is extraordinarily creative in the wake of a cataclysm. How does life keep steadily ticking over in between?

Renée A Duckworth

Malibu, California, 1957. Photo by Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos

Essay/
Gender and identity
Sexual dinosaurs

The charge of ‘feminist bias’ is used to besmirch anyone who questions sexist assumptions at work in neuroscience

Cordelia Fine

Photo by Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Essay/
Work
The flexible work fallacy

Breaking free of the 9-to-5 was originally a feminist project. So how did it become part of oppressive 24/7 work culture?

Sarah Stoller

Joan Miller in labour. Chicago, 19 September 1946. Photo by Wayne Miller/Magnum

Essay/
Pleasure and pain
The hysteria accusation

Women’s pain is often medically overlooked and undertreated. But the answer is not as simple as ‘believing all women’

Elizabeth Barnes

Václav Havel wrote: ‘all at once, I seemed to rise above the coordinates of my momentary existence in the world into a kind of state outside time …’ Photo by Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
Peak ellipsis

Does philosophy reside in the unsayable or should it care only for precision? Carnap, Heidegger and the great divergence

Sam Dresser

A guard in the ‘segregation block’ at the Adelanto Detention Center, the latest Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in California and managed by the private GEO Group. ICE detains an average of 33,000 undocumented migrants. Photo by John Moore/Getty

Essay/
Human rights and justice
Private gain, public loss

Putting public services in private hands is bad economics. Worse, it undermines our bonds as a political community

Alon Harel

On a mountain road from Koya to Ryujin, Japan. 1998. Photo by Peter Marlow/Magnum

Essay/
Physics
From chaos to free will

A crude understanding of physics sees determinism at work in the Universe. Luckily, molecular uncertainty ensures this isn’t so

George Ellis

Scientists working extra hours during the COVID-19 pandemic at the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases in Athens, Greece. 18 March 2020. Photo by Enri Canaj/Magnum

Essay/
Philosophy of science
The good scientist

Science is the one culture that all humans share. What would it mean to create a scientifically literate future together?

Martin Rees

‘Take if you need, give if you can’: a local response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Naples, Italy, 30 March 2020. Photo by Ciro De Luca/Reuters

Essay/
Public health
It didn’t have to be this way

A bioethicist at the heart of the Italian coronavirus crisis asks: why won’t we talk about the trade-offs of the lockdown?

Silvia Camporesi

The dilution refrigerator for the IBM Q quantum computer, September 2019. Photo by Graham Carlow/IBM

Essay/
The future
At the limits of thought

Science today stands at a crossroads: will its progress be driven by human minds or by the machines that we’ve created?

David C Krakauer

From the Chansonnier of Zeghere van Male (1542), Bruges. Cambrai, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 128B, Folio 116v. Courtesy ISMPL.org

Essay/
Environmental history
Human crap

We are demigods of discards – but our copious garbage became a toxic burden only with the modern cult of ‘disposability’

Gabrielle Hecht

Photo by Martin Parr/Magnum

Essay/
Personality
Spot the psychopath

Psychopaths have a reputation for cunning and ruthlessness. But they are more like you and me than we care to admit

Heidi Maibom

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