Sam Dresser

Senior Editor, Aeon+Psyche

Sam has been with Aeon since its launch in 2012. He’s most interested in how to do philosophy and in the continental/analytic divide. History and politics are also amusing to him. He considers Evelyn Waugh to be a very funny writer and enjoys pubs more than he should.

Written by Sam Dresser

Edited by Sam Dresser

Black and white image of Japanese soldiers in battle gear marching with a Rising Sun Flag, superimposed with large Japanese calligraphy characters on a plain background.


Nations and empires

Chastising little brother

Why did Japanese Confucians enthusiastically support Imperial Japan’s murderous conquest of China, the homeland of Confucius?

Shaun O’Dwyer

A historical painting of a woman in a detailed blue and silver gown with lace sleeves. She wears a pearl necklace and a hat adorned with white and pink flowers. The background features a golden tapestry and dark pillars.


Stories and literature

Her blazing world

Margaret Cavendish’s boldness and bravery set 17th-century society alight, but is she a feminist poster-girl for our times?

Francesca Peacock

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.


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

A medieval painting shows three figures: one holds a balance scale, weighing objects; two robed figures stand nearby. There are coins on the table and intricate border details.


History of ideas

Reimagining balance

In the Middle Ages, a new sense of balance fundamentally altered our understanding of nature and society

Joel Kaye

A group of people, some on horseback, gather in a desert area under a motorway bridge. Some have flags and banners. Police cars can be seen in the background.



What is ‘lived experience’?

The term is ubiquitous and double-edged. It is both a key source of authentic knowledge and a danger to true solidarity

Patrick J Casey

Five people standing against a wall at night, some in hoodies and casual wear, lit from the front, casting shadows behind them.


Human rights and justice

My elusive pain

The lives of North Africans in France are shaped by a harrowing struggle to belong, marked by postcolonial trauma

Farah Abdessamad

A bustling 19th-century cityscape featuring a wide street with construction activity, carriages and pedestrians. Hills and a bridge are also visible under a cloudy sky.



Conscientious unbelievers

How, a century ago, radical freethinkers quietly and persistently subverted Scotland’s Christian establishment

Felicity Loughlin

Ancient gold plaque depicting two figures, back to back, each holding an object, with intricate detailing on their garments, set against a black background.


War and peace

Legacy of the Scythians

How the ancient warrior people of the steppes have found themselves on the cultural frontlines of Russia’s war against Ukraine

Peter Mumford

A black and white photograph shows a woman on the edge of a sand dune overlooking the sea leaning back into a strong wind


Language and linguistics

Cathedrals of convention

Humans have a strong impulse to see things that are arbitrary or conventional as natural and essential – especially language

Reuben Cohn-Gordon

A colourful book illustration of a weary traveller in a forest being awoken by a peacock tugging at his sleeve


Comparative philosophy

Folklore is philosophy

Both folktales and formal philosophy unsettle us into thinking anew about our cherished values and views of the world

Abigail Tulenko

Seen from inside, a couple eat a basic meal whilst outside in an alleyway a queue of mostly older people wait their turn


Political philosophy

Liberal socialism now

As the crisis of democracy deepens, we must return to liberalism’s revolutionary and egalitarian roots

Matthew McManus

Close-up of a man with a long beard and shoulder-length hair, smiling slightly with a contemplative expression, black and white photograph.


Thinkers and theories

On knowing who he was

Alan Watts, for all his faults, was a wildly imaginative and provocative thinker who reimagined religion in a secular age

Christopher Harding