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Why sexual desire is objectifying – and hence morally wrong

The 18th-century philosopher Immanuel Kant believed that human beings tend to be evil. He wasn’t talking about some guy rubbing his hands and crowing with glee at the prospect of torturing an enemy.

How E E Cummings writes a poem

One of the most influential American poets of the 20th century, E E Cummings is famous for his experimental, distinctive use of capitalisation, punctuation and structure.

What would a rational criminal justice system look like?

The American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr wrote in 1925: ‘If I were having a philosophical talk with a man I was going to have hanged (or electrocuted) I should say, I don’t doubt that your act was inevitable for you, but to make it more avoidable by others we propose to sacrifice you to the c...

The minds of other animals

Animal consciousness is taboo in many areas of biological science. What’s so hard about the inner lives of other species?

How our contradictions make us human and inspire creativity

Have you ever wondered how many contradictory thoughts you have in a day? How many times your thoughts contradict your actions?

Revolutionary heroes

If the sultan of Mysore had had a bit more luck, George Washington might be known as the Haider Ali of North America By Blake Smith Read at Aeon

Crystal birth

A project by the Italian chemistry student and photographer Emanuele Fornasier, Crystal Birth features close-up time-lapse photography of electrocrystallisation, a process in which an electrical current running through a chemical solution results in the gradual buildup of metal on an electrode.

What the death of an oak tree can teach us about mortality

Amid this year’s titanic political and social upheavals, the town of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, found time for quiet mourning.

When robots read books

Artificial intelligence sheds new light on classic texts. Literary theorists who don’t embrace it face obsolescence By Inderjeet Mani Read at Aeon

Further: Jeffrey Hoffman

Travelling to and eventually colonising Mars could be humanity’s best chance of longterm survival. But the opportunity to live on a new planet would come with unprecedented challenges – some predictable, some unforeseeable.

Why schools should not teach general critical-thinking skills

Being an air-traffic controller is not easy. At the heart of the job is a cognitive ability called ‘situational awareness’ that involves ‘the continuous extraction of environmental information [and the] integration of this information with prior knowledge to form a coherent mental picture’. Vast ...

Is this medical bulimia?

A new medical device enables the expulsion of stomach contents for weight loss. Are you feeling disgusted?

Human population through time

From our origins in Africa, humans began migrating around the globe roughly 100,000 years ago. But it was only with the advent of agriculture about 12,000 years ago that our population started to swell to more than a million.

If culture is too expensive for most, everyone pays a price

It was in 2012 that Major League Baseball ran an ad showing generations of parents sharing the beloved American pastime with their kids.

Marie Tharp: uncovering the secrets of the ocean floor

Now fundamental to our understanding of Earth science, the theory of continental drift was highly controversial – if not outright derided by the majority of the scientific community – when the German geophysicist Alfred Wegener first proposed it in 1912.

Honestly, it’s fine!

Tight-lipped, frosty and fake, the passive-aggressive person never quite takes the blame. Is this always a bad thing?

Black atheists matter: how women freethinkers take on religion

Christianity has played a central role in African-American life from the late 18th century to the present.

What would Leibniz say about the schisms in Europe today?

A nation is either strong or weak. A country is either bravely independent or cravenly beholden. You are either a follower of this school of thought or that one.

Nobody is home

From the footloose networker to the exiled migrant, home has been displaced by an idea that’s both elusive and contested By Charles Leadbeater Read at Aeon

The boatman

‘This is memories... good memories...’ Joseph and Selina Gonzales are a testament to Cajun perseverance, having spent 70 years together amid the rising tide just outside of the levee system in New Orleans, weathering destructive storms and personal tragedy.