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Stephen T Asma

Professor of Philosophy, Columbia College Chicago

Stephen Asma is professor of philosophy and cofounder of the Research Group in Mind, Science and Culture at Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of many books, including The Evolution of Imagination (2017) and The Emotional Mind: Affective Roots of Culture and Cognition (2019), co-authored with Rami Gabriel. Asma is the host of YouTube channel “Monsterology.”

Written by Stephen T Asma

Animal spirits | Aeon
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Biology

Animal spirits

The more we learn about the emotions shared by all mammals, the more we must rethink our own human intelligence

Stephen T Asma

Families made us human | Aeon
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Anthropology

Families made us human

The evolution of human culture can be explained, not by the size of our brains, but by the quality of our relationships

Stephen T Asma

The weaponised loser | Aeon
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Gender and identity

The weaponised loser

Mass shootings have one thing in common: toxic masculinity. Where does it come from and what can be done to stop it?

Stephen T Asma

We could all do with learning how to improvise a little better | Aeon
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Cognition and intelligence

We could all do with learning how to improvise a little better

Stephen T Asma

Imagination is ancient | Aeon
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Human evolution

Imagination is ancient

Our imaginative life today has access to the pre-linguistic, ancestral mind: rich in imagery, emotions and associations

Stephen T Asma

Religion is about emotion regulation, and it’s very good at it | Aeon
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Philosophy of religion

Religion is about emotion regulation, and it’s very good at it

Stephen T Asma

United by feelings | Aeon
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Human evolution

United by feelings

Universal emotions are the deep engine of human consciousness and the basis of our profound affinity with other animals

Stephen T Asma & Rami Gabriel

Ancient animistic beliefs live on in our intimacy with tech | Aeon
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Computing and artificial intelligence

Ancient animistic beliefs live on in our intimacy with tech

Stephen T Asma

Phantasia | Aeon
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Dance and theatre

Phantasia

Imagination is a powerful tool, a sixth sense, a weapon. We must be careful how we use it, in life as on stage or screen

Paul Giamatti & Stephen T Asma

Imaginology | Aeon
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Knowledge

Imaginology

We need a new kind of approach to learning that shifts imagination from the periphery to the foundation of all knowledge

Stephen T Asma



Recent Comments

The weaponised loser

Stephen T Asma

Thank you for the interesting comments and feedback on my article. It’s early still so I suspect there will be similarly provocative perspective to come. I’ll make a few brief remarks now and try to circle back later for more conversation.

I think NT is right, in the sense that this psychological dynamic is observable in school yard interactions. Of course bullying and revenge are as old as school itself, but is there something new going on? –I mean besides the obvious ready availability of guns in the U.S. (which is –as several have pointed out –a crucial root cause/condition of current violence. I live in Chicago. I get it.). But is there a new level of self-repression that allow...

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We could all do with learning how to improvise a little better

Stephen T Asma

The responses to my article have been wonderful to read. I especially appreciate the way people are forwarding paragons of improvisational thinking, like theater practitioners, military soldiers, medical improvisors and of course musicians. I share a funny story here –it ends with me standing in my underwear in a crowded store in China.

Recently, when I was living in Shanghai, I went to a chain superstore to buy a new watch. The superstore was an enormous hangar-sized structure and when I found a watch I liked, the nearby salesperson was not authorized to help me so she ran to get someone else. He arrived with a walkie-talkie and seemed like he would get things done. I pointed out ...

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