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

democracy 3
The Rise and Fall of Democracy
democracy 3
Speakers: Michael Howard, Owen Jones, Laurie Penny, Jamie Whyte
What next for politics?

We see democracy as progress. Yet with the evidence of Chinese success, the Arab spring that turned to winter, and crisis in the Ukraine, its victory looks precarious. Might democracy be a temporary blip in world history? Or is this a heresy favoured only by tyrants and powermongers?
The Voice of Openness
Speakers: Lyse Doucet, Carl Miller, Steve Richards
Does social media aid democracy?

Social media had all the appearance of a democratic revolution, hailed after the Arab Spring as the power of the people. But there's now a growing army of government and corporate propagandists seeking to control and influence opinion. Has social media become a threat to democracy? Or is it still the voice of freedom?
evil 2
The Banality of Evil
Nature versus nurture

We tend to believe in evil acts, but not evil people. But can we separate a person's actions from their nature? Would believing that some people are born evil help us to understand human nature, or is this a dangerous heresy that would eradicate freedom and responsibility?  
Caffeine Crystals
The Elegant Universe
Is truth always simple?

The world around us is manifestly complex. Yet from Aristotle to Einstein, we have found truth in elegant simplicity. Do our theories stand the test of time because the universe has an eye for aesthetics? Or are simplicity and Occam's Razor false idols that hide the messy nature of reality?
395 Heraclitus Dream 2
Heraclitus' Dream
Reality in flux

From everyday objects to the stars, the world of things appears stable and fixed. Yet for quantum physics and the ancient philosopher Heraclitus nothing remains the same. Rather than a framework of things might the world be essentially fluid?
Truth, Error & Adventure
Philosophers have pursued truth, and many have placed truth at the centre of their account of meaning. But might this be a mistake? Could error be at the heart of language, and adventure, rather than truth, be the matter in hand? In the first of three events on the theme, Hilary Lawson will argue for a radical reappraisal of the importance of error...
266 On Ugliness
On Ugliness
266 On Ugliness
Categories: Art & Aesthetics
Speakers: Stephen Bayley
Critic and curator Stephen Bayley reveals why ugliness is superior to beauty. “He charmed my trousers off, then returned them dry-cleaned and pressed” Will Self
63 Humanity Unbound
Humanity Unbound
63 Humanity Unbound
Categories: Life & The Living
Speakers: John Harris
Science is destined to change human nature. Bioethicist John Harris reveals why ‘universal rights’ will need to change with us. “Uncompromising intellectual honesty” Independent
117 Beyond Reality
Beyond Reality
The limits of understanding

From trees to houses, atoms to stars, we assume our senses and instruments reveal the truth about the world. But could our picture of reality be radically incomplete? Is this hocus pocus best reserved for fools and philosophers, or does it open a world of infinite potential?
Drugged Up
Drugged Up
Fads and fallacies in psychiatry

Medicating mental illness has never been more prevalent or more controversial. Is it too risky to abandon drugs in favour of softer treatments? Or is sanity itself the illusion?
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