Sam Dresser
Editor, Aeon

I'm an editor at Aeon. For any and all questions you have concerning Aeon, feel free to email me at sam.dresser@aeon.co. Questions about philosophy, politics, history, and the meaning of life also welcome.

Written by Sam Dresser

Edited by Sam Dresser

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
Secular pilgrimage

Visiting Wittgenstein’s home evokes the philosopher’s serious, ascetic mind (no doubt he would disapprove its restoration)

Julian Baggini

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
The Bible’s first critic

Centuries before Spinoza, there was Ḥiwi al-Balkhi, a Jewish freethinker for whom the Bible was too irrational for faith

Pieter van der Horst

Essay/
Stories and literature
Orphans and their quests

The sympathetic plot is a type of story, rich in tropes, that is universal to human cultures. With one big twist…

Manvir Singh

Essay/
Wellbeing
A sage on the ward

Good nurses are attuned to the lived experience of patients. Can the theory of phenomenology add more to their practice?

Dan Zahavi

Essay/
Education
The well-educated person

If we took Aristotle seriously we would revolutionise our educational systems to enable citizens to learn throughout life

C D C Reeve

Essay/
Animals and humans
Prison, spectacle, refuge

Modern zoos are proud of their contribution to animal conservation but will always be haunted by their histories

Nigel T Rothfels

Essay/
Virtues and vices
Righteous incivility

The temptation to be uncivil grows as public discourse gets nastier and more aggressive. Can rudeness ever be righteous?

Amy Olberding

Essay/
Philosophy of language
The way words mean

Words stand for things in the world, and they stand apart from it. Perhaps meaning is more sunken into words than we realise?

Alexander Stern

Essay/
History of science
No absolute time

Two centuries before Einstein, Hume recognised that universal time, independent of an observer’s viewpoint, doesn’t exist

Matias Slavov

Essay/
Social psychology
Debunking debunked

Secular modernity requires the weeding out of all the baloney. Yet it’s not clear that we are any less credulous than before

Emily Ogden

Essay/
The future
The end of us

Only since the Enlightenment have we been able to imagine humans going extinct. Is it a sign of our maturity as a species?

Thomas Moynihan

Essay/
Biography and memoir
Mistress of all trades

A campaigning journalist and an early feminist, Harriet Martineau humanised economic theory through Dickensian storytelling

Valerie R Sanders

Essay/
Music
Contrapuntal consciousness

The music of Bach is full of suggestive structures of counterpoint and recursion (even if Hofstadter got it quite wrong)

Ilari Kaila

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
Marxism and Buddhism

Life is suffering, whether you sit under a Bodhi Tree or stand with the workers. But do the two schools agree on the remedy?

Adrian Kreutz

Essay/
Film and visual culture
Celebrity matters

As aspirational avatars, idolised icons and vessels of collective memory, celebrities permeate all aspects of modern life

Holly Grout

Essay/
Anthropology
The emotional lives of others

On Nias island, the heart can be ‘squeezed’, ‘hot’, even ‘hairy’. What can anthropology say about unfamiliar emotional zones?

Andrew Beatty

Essay/
History of ideas
Against disenchantment

The move away from myth and toward reason is an ancient human impulse. But must enchantment be the enemy of enlightenment?

Jason Josephson Storm

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
The ironic feudalist

Kure Tomofusa’s hatred of democracy, human rights and liberalism has found an echo in the West. But has he been joking all along?

Jeremy Woolsey

Essay/
Film and visual culture
Love isn’t what it was

In a strangely unremarked-upon twist, Disney films have taken to subverting romance and rethinking the happy-ever-afters

Sophus Helle

Essay/
Beauty and aesthetics
More than skin deep

Beauty is a deeply moral matter that makes kindness, empathy and honesty attractive, while vice warps into ugliness

Panos Paris

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