Sam Haselby

Senior Editor, Aeon+Psyche

Sam is a historian of early America with a particular interest in religion and politics. He was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and has been a faculty member at the American University of Beirut, the American University in Cairo and at Columbia University in New York City. He was a Senior Executive Producer at Al Jazeera America and is the author of The Origins of American Religious Nationalism (paperback, 2016). @samhaselby

Edited by Sam Haselby

Technology and media


Chatbots remind us that natural conversation is artificial too

People fret about the authenticity of AI chatbots but precisely the same issues confront everyday exchanges between humans

by Larry S McGrath

Sadness and sorrow


When emotions rot, they compost and transform into something new

A self that fractures through loss or grief marks a psychological shift, beginning a cycle of regrowth through decomposition

by Kelsey Day

Knowledge and reason


Reason is a powerful tool, but it pays to know its limits

As a philosophy student, I was bewitched by the power of reason – but my life is freer since I escaped from its spell

by Pranay Sanklecha

Death and dying


Why ancient Mesopotamians buried their dead beneath the floor

In an age before photos or audio recordings, people found other ways to stay sensorially connected to their deceased

by Nicola Laneri

Communication and language


Facts don’t change minds: a case for the virtues of propaganda

A better understanding of propaganda and how to use it as an educational tool could advance the world in a positive way

by Anna Hennessey



The myth of machine consciousness makes Narcissus of us all

The idea that AI can be conscious is a mistake. It’s just a very shiny mirror of humanity, reflecting what we want to see

by David Bentley Hart

The nature of reality


Uncertainty isn’t a human flaw, it’s a feature of the world

They bring contrasting perspectives, but a literary scholar and a physicist agree on the wisdom of embracing uncertainty

by Richard C Sha & Nathan Harshman



A life of splendid uselessness is a life well lived

Like the fertile soil of a well-kept garden, a life of splendid, utter uselessness yields abundance beyond our immediate aims

by Joseph M Keegin

Knowledge and reason


Our big problem is not misinformation; it’s knowingness

Everybody knows we live in an age of misinformation. But everybody’s wrong, and here’s why it’s our age’s biggest problem

by Jonathan Malesic

Human rights and justice


Hidden in translation – Jewish resistance to Spanish empire

Translation as a powerful form of resistance: how a 16th-century Sephardic Jew conquered the colonial narrative from Spain

by Flora Cassen

Race and ethnicity


If racial identity can be fluid, who changes their race?

Understanding how individuals change their self-described race helps us decode racial dynamics in the US and beyond

by Alexander Agadjanian

Cooperation and collaboration


Defining social trust is a first step toward nurturing it

Researchers agree that social trust causes many positive social outcomes. But they differ on its definition and causes

by Kevin Vallier