Martin Rowson Epicurus illustration

In defence of hedonism

Epicurus was far from the lover of fine food his name now suggests. In fact, his ideas liberated his followers from fear of the gods, writes David Sedley

Dissident Gardens

Here come the bohemians

Jonathan Lethem has become the leading American novelist of his generation by chronicling the hopes and failures of the Left, writes Fatema Ahmed

Ariane Sherine

Everything must go

What happened when Ariane Sherine decided to sell half of all her possessions and give the money to charity?

Yassin al-Haj Saleh

Editor's Choice

The conscience of Syria

An interview with activist and intellectual Yassin al-Haj Saleh, a leading voice in the struggle against the Assad regime. By Danny Postel and Nader Hashemi

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From the archive

Rhyme & reason

On this day in 2011 Percy Bysshe Shelley was expelled from Oxford for publishing ‘The Necessity of Atheism’. Jonathan Rée reassesses the romantic poet’s rationalism

Illustration by Sergio Membrillas

In pursuit of happiness

A policy revolution is under way to improve our well-being. Are its motives genuine? Niki Seth-Smith reports

Cosmos

How Cosmos moved us all to tears

Neil deGrasse Tyson's remake of Carl Sagan's classic series is worthy of the hype – it even introduced my six-year-old to the vastness of the universe, says Dale DeBakcsy

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What on earth is mindfulness?

Cheap and easy to deliver, a new mental health treatment is all the rage. But should we be asking tougher questions about its effectiveness?

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Growing up in the Sagan household

Chris Stedman, Assistant Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University and author of the book Faitheist, has a lovely interview on his blog with Nick Sagan, son of Carl, in which Nick discusses his father's work and legacy, his thoughts on the new remake of the iconic Cosmos series, and what it was like growing up in the Sagan household.

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Dieric Bouts’s “The Entombment” (c. 1450), a landmark in changing conceptions of the sacred. The National Gallery, London

People power

The history of Western art tells a story of how humans came to think of themselves as beings who could shape the world

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Editor's Choice

Universal Idol

From the archive: How did a stateless German Jewish physicist become the first pop star of science, asks Joseph Schwartz

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History

Fault lines

The miners' strike of 1984 changed British politics forever, argues Francis Beckett

Flying thought

Editor's Choice

The benefit of doubt

From the archive: We shouldn’t be afraid of being uncertain, argues Christopher Lane

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