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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.

Edited by Sam Dresser

A vintage photo of six women wearing wide-brimmed hats, smiling and laughing together. One woman is holding a steering wheel, suggesting they might be on a fun outdoor adventure. The background shows a natural, slightly blurry setting.

Film

idea

Why was a laughing woman seen as lethal, not least to herself?

When early cinema weaponised the sight of women’s laughter, it borrowed from flawed psychiatric ideas about female hysteria

by Maggie Hennefeld

A black-and-white photo of a man in a suit and tie smiling while a woman in a glittery dress and gloves laughs beside him. They are at a social gathering.

Sex and sexuality

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Everything I know about flirting, I learned from the Cold War

The rewards of flirtation go beyond sex or romance. But, as in other exchanges, you have to know where the red line is

by Youngbin Yoon

A monochrome photograph from above of a man looking out to sea. His hands are in his pockets and a dog waits some metres away

Thinking and intelligence

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Philosophical reflection often begins with a disruptive mood

For many of our greatest philosophers, it was their moods, from wonder to estrangement to anxiety, that first inspired them

by Steven Segal

A marble figurine seated in a chair plays a harp

Music

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Ancient Greek ideas of attunement can breathe new life into music

In Athenian philosophy, attunement is important not only in music, but also for moods, attitudes and states of mind

by John Bagby

Black-and-white photo of two people in a small rowboat on a calm, open water body under a cloudy sky. The boat and its occupants are reflected clearly in the still water.

The nature of reality

guide

How to think about time

This philosopher’s introduction to the nature of time could radically alter how you see your past and imagine your future

by Graeme A Forbes

Black and white photo of a boy walking across a littered street, with signs saying ‘No Hang Out Here’ and ‘Keep Away!’. Behind him, a man lies on the ground under a fire escape.

Transcendent experience

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Our days are both rough and slippery. Hope brings traction

I want to defend and buoy hope – it’s a fragile, quirky thing, but it has the power to help us act in the face of finitude

by John Lysaker

A young girl, seen from the back, in a museum in China stands before a huge, oval multicoloured image of ‘fossil’ microwave radiation

Virtues and vices

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The medieval notion that shows why even experts should be humble

Nicholas of Cusa and others saw the importance of ‘learned ignorance’ or recognising there is always something more to learn

by Christopher M Bellitto

A close up of a vibrant yellow-gold tulip flower

History of ideas

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I smell, therefore I am. On the philosophy of the olfactory

To truly grip us, philosophy must engage with the practical and animalistic. It’s time to stop turning its nose up at smell

by Simon Hajdini

A woman seen from behind and bathed in dawn light is looking out through a window to a forest

Altered states

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The small pleasures in life can produce moments of rapture

Rapture is a delight that turns us both towards the object of attention and towards oneself, resulting in a sense of freedom

by Christopher Hamilton

Ancient stone statue with three interconnected faces sharing one head, displaying neutral expressions, on a plain background.

Knowledge and reason

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Ancient Greek antilogic is the craft of suspending judgment

Sophists like Protagoras used the rhetoric of antilogic to escape from the illusion of truth and make room for uncertainty

by Robin Reames

A dark, moody painting of a cloaked figure with a faint smile, partially illuminated, and a small, grimacing animal-like face on their shoulder.

Sex and sexuality

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My take on ‘Venus in Furs’ as a modern-day dominatrix

My experiences as a 21st-century femdom echo the gendered themes that feature in Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novel

by Gia Marcos

Various fish displayed in groupings at a fish market

Thinking and intelligence

guide

How to think like a Bayesian

In a world of few absolutes, it pays to be able to think clearly about probabilities. These five ideas will get you started

by Michael G Titelbaum