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Sally Davies
Conversations
40

Edited by Sally Davies

Essay/Biology
The minds of plants

From the memories of flowers to the sociability of trees, the cognitive capacities of our vegetal cousins are all around us

Laura Ruggles

Essay/Philosophy of Science
Metaphysics of metamorphosis

The swarming, ever-changing character of the living world challenges our deepest assumptions about the nature of reality

John Dupré

Essay/History of Science
Against citizen science

It might style itself as a grassroots movement but citizen science is little more than a cheap land-grab by big business

Philip Mirowski

Essay/Physics
Why trees don’t ungrow

The cliché that life transcends the laws of thermodynamics is completely wrong. The truth is almost exactly the opposite

Jeremy England

Essay/Philosophy of Science
Life is not easily bounded

Working out where one hare ends and another begins is easy; a siphonophore, not so much. What is an individual in nature?

Derek J Skillings

Essay/History of Science
Monster mash

Beastly births, ass-popes and satanic hybrids: nothing distils the weirdness of the early moderns like their woodcuts

Jon Crabb

Essay/History of Science
Does science need mavericks?

Staid and conformist, science risks losing its creative spark. Does it need more mavericks, or are they part of the problem?

Adrian Currie

Essay/Rituals & Celebrations
Mrs Myself

Self-marriage promises love and fulfilment – but is it a radical act or a depressing concession to self-absorption?

Polina Aronson

Classic /Social Psychology
CLASSIC

The herd instinct

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud, 1921

With a new introduction and commentary by Elizabeth Lunbeck
Essay/Data & Information
The bit bomb

It took a polymath to pin down the true nature of ‘information’. His answer was both a revelation and a return

Rob Goodman & Jimmy Soni

Essay/Consciousness & Altered States
Model hallucinations

Psychedelics have a remarkable capacity to violate our ideas about ourselves. Is that why they make people better?

Philip Gerrans & Chris Letheby

Essay/Cultures & Languages
Is linguistics a science?

Much of linguistic theory is so abstract and dependent on theoretical apparatus that it might be impossible to explain

Arika Okrent

Essay/Economics
Of money and morals

Moneylending has been taboo for most of human history. So how did usury stop being a sin and become respectable finance?

Alex Mayyasi

Essay/Cities
Common ground

When we think of urban public space in terms of competing rights, we create a battleground. Is there a better way to share?

Farhan Samanani

Essay/Computing & Artificial Intelligence
fAIth

The most avid believers in artificial intelligence are aggressively secular – yet their language is eerily religious. Why?

Beth Singler

Essay/Technology & the Self
Natural, shmatural

Mother Nature might be lovely, but moral she is not. She doesn’t love us or want what’s best for us

Molly Hodgdon

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