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Philosophy for our times: cutting edge debates and talks from the world's leading thinkers

rise and fall of fantasy
The Rise and Fall of Fantasy
Do we need new fantasies for the 21st Century?

Once we paraded grand visions of the future, now such goals are more typically left to the fanatical fringe. With economic and cultural growth in the East what vision does the West have to offer? Do we need new fantasies to meet the challenges of the 21st century or is our scepticism a sign of wisdom rather than decline?
The Emperor's New God
Can art replace religion?

"I don't believe in God. I believe in Art." So claims Damien Hirst. Is this a PR pitch or could art be the ultimate reality? Can art provide the purpose of life and replace religion in teaching us how to live, or are Hirst and his cronies just modern Mad Men spinning us a new kind of lie?
Beyond Words
Beyond Words
Is meaning a human fantasy?

Perhaps responsible for the success of the human species, the power of language is remarkable. Yet a description of love, or a storm at sea, is not the same as the experience. Might language not describe reality at all? Is meaning a human fantasy of unlimited power and risk, or does it tell us how it really is?
everything we know
Everything We Know Is Wrong
Can science alone uncover the truth?

At a time of uncertainty and doubt, we often suppose that science alone can uncover the truth. Yet a recent paper found that 90% of scientific studies are notreproducible. Should we see science as a flawed method and look elsewhere for our truths, or is it the only direct line to reality we’ve got?
thinking dangerously living differently
Thinking Dangerously, Living Differently
Can philosophy change how we think?

Philosophy as therapy is an ancient idea. Endorsed by Wittgenstein and popularized by self-help books. But isn't philosophy about understanding even if the insights are uncomfortable? Can philosophy be a dynamic force changing how we think and what we can do? Or does it serve only as a guide to everyday life?
beauty bites back
Beauty Bites Back
Could beauty be real rather than subjective, and there be rules for its creation and disco...

Whether in sexual politics or high culture, we think beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Yet from the Fibonacci sequence to the golden ratio, Mother Nature seems to have an eye for aesthetics. Could beauty be real rather than subjective, and there be rules for its creation and discovery? Or is this a delusion of rakes, poets and scientists?  
after the elctrion
After the Election
after the elctrion
Speakers: Philip Collins
Tony Blair's former speechwriter Philip Collins dissects the results of the most anticipated election in a generation.
Being Free and Making Choices
Speakers: Nigel Dodd, Eliane Glaser, Julian Le Grand
Is our freedom an illusion?

Both democracy and liberal economics rely on free choice. Yet we are all influenced by cultural norms, advertising and vested interests. Might our freedom be an illusion and if so how can we respond? Or are our current choices sufficient to make us freer than we have ever been?
Fantasy and Reality FRI 22 MAY
Fantasy and Reality
Should we 'get real' or embrace fantasy?

In the topsy-turvy wonderland of the postmodern age, many of us are lost. From Baudrillard to blockbusters, cyberspace to statecraft, the contemporary world is a pageant of fantasies. Should we ‘get real’ and see reality as more than cultural consensus, or can we embrace fantasy and build better lives?
exotic england
Exotic England
Is English identity a fantasy of political propaganda? Yasmin Alibhai-Brown reclaims the n...

Is English identity merely a fantasy of political propaganda? Orwell Award-winning journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown reclaims the nation. "Magnificently entertaining" Guardian
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