What does it mean to be

Let's find out

My name is Stefani. I’m a scholar of human nature and religion, and I am completing a PhD in philosophy, religion, and science at the University of Oxford. I began having panic attacks about dying, meaninglessness, and the human condition when I was four years old. I’ve been looking for answers ever since. In some cases, I think I’ve found them.

Stefani Ruper

#49x: Why You Shouldn’t Rely Only on Reason

Here are the notes for episode #49x of Naked Humanity. A listener writes in and asks, why are some people so obsessed with reason? He asks the question because “prioritizing reason to know the world” is listed as a mission statement of a church he tried going to. I...

#49: Are Robots the Next Gods? with Dr. Beth Singler

Here are the notes for episode #49 of Naked Humanity. Super-intelligent machines are coming - but what does that mean for us? Will they become like Gods? Maybe. Will we treat them like Gods? Some people are already doing it. In today’s fascinating episode, Dr Beth...

#48x: Philosophical Perspective on Slut Shaming

Here are the notes for episode #48 of Naked Humanity. A listener writes in and asks: am I a slut? I use what I know about the histories of religion, philosophy, and culture to explain why the idea of a slut exists at all, and options for handling it. I also argue that...

No Easy Answers

Once, long ago, humans lived in small tribes where everybody believed in the same spiritual story. This became more complicated over time, but until a few hundred years ago pretty much everybody met their spiritual needs in the same way.

Come the 1500s, however, Christianity began splintering.  And Europeans cast their gazes across the seas. They realised: no one anywhere in the world has the same beliefs.

Today, we live in a world in which there are no longer any easy spiritual answers. This world is also rife with anger, anxiety, and despair. This is no coincidence.

Easy spirituality is a thing of the past. Our longing for it might be killing us. How did we end up like this, and is there anything that can be done?


The book is currently being written alongside several articles, podcast episodes, and the final chapters of a dissertation. It will likely be published in 2022. Many excerpts and related philosophical ramblings will be published on this website as they are completed. You can find those under the tag “No Easy Answers.”


Have you ever wondered why people today are always so angry, so afraid, so anxious?  While there are various answers to these questions—and many of them very important—in this book I argue that a key component to these problems is the amount of what I call existential ambiguity we are forced to live with every day. Modern humans in the West have to live with the greatest amount of uncertainty—and specifically uncertainty about life’s biggest, most pressing questions, such as what is a good life? How do we be moral? Is there a soul? Does God exist? What happens when we die?—that has ever existed in the history of the human species. This has enormous consequences for the ways in which we feel, live, and relate to one another. We can collapse into fear and nihilism, or we can use this as an opportunity to create new and beautiful things. 

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Why Certain Truth Needs to Die

Last week I was tagged several times in the comment section of a Facebook post I didn’t remember liking. Puzzled, I scrolled through the comments and realized that people were repeatedly tagging me in order to demand justification for why I had liked the post. A woman...

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The Destructive Side of Science

Just before his death in 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus argued that the Earth revolves around the Sun in a book called On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres. This moment is often heralded as the birth of modern science. Now, theories and experiments that we would...

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What does it mean to be human?

How do people around the world cope with life’s ineluctable tragedies?

What do we need to save us from ourselves?