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

The End of Aid
Does foreign aid maintain poverty?

We think aid saves lives. Yet the IMF warns there is no correlation between aid and growth. Might the UK's £11bn maintain the very cycles of poverty it seeks to abolish?  Worse still, is aidjust another name for colonialism?  Or would giving up on aid neglect our responsibility to the worlds poorest?  
space time
Spacetime and the Structure of Reality
space time
Speakers: Carlo Rovelli
Founder of loop quantum gravity Carlo Rovelli heads behind the curtain of spacetime to reveal deeper and more mysterious structures of reality. “A deeply original thinker” Lee Smolin
mad inc
Madness, Incorporated
Are psychiatric diagnoses real?

From depression to bipolar disorder, we think psychiatric diagnoses are real. Yet many now argue that categories of mental illness have little basis in nature. Is it time to abandon psychiatry and its classifications? Would this usher in a new era of effective health care or cause widespread harm?
dreams of universe
Dreams of the Universe
Is particle physics unscientific?

From string theory to the multiverse, the theories of modern physics look increasingly exotic and untestable. But while they may be good for selling books, are they bad science? Do we need a return to empirical experiment, or should imagination be allowed its playground?
Cool Values
Categories: Narrative & Reality
Speakers: Mike Figgis, Caspar Melville, Sandra Newman
Does being cool teach us how to live?

Like Roman stoicism and Japanese bushido, modern-day ‘cool’ is sleek, capable and unfazed by fortune. Is it simply a product of consumer capitalism, or, in our relativistic age, might cool be a value that we should take seriously, and which could even teach us how to live?
secrets of the mind
Secrets of the Mind
Can science explain consciousness?

We have no explanation of consciousness. Yet from the origins of life to the workings of the atom, science has provided answers when none were thought possible.  Might we be about to crack consciousness as well?  An impossible fantasy or an exciting adventure for mankind?
Puff or Propaganda
Categories: Ideas & Ideology
Speakers: Tanya Gold
Is the Daily Mail harmless puff or dangerous propaganda? Times columnist Tanya Gold sheds light on the methods of the Mail.
gathering storm
The Gathering Storm
Russia, China and the New World Order

China may be on the way to replacing the US as the world's dominant economic power, but with Russia also growing its reach, could the future be more dangerous still? Do we face an uncontainable multipolar world with many nations vying for power? Or should we applaud a break from US global dominance and look forward to a more equal future?
ethics moral maze
Escaping The Moral Maze
Is morality a figleaf for prejudice?

Despite the decline in religion, most of us remain attached to morality. Yet as the Moral Maze attests and suicide bombers confirm, there are an unlimited number of contradictory 'moral' outlooks. Should we recognise morality as a figleaf for prejudice? Or is this to give up on a capacity that makes us human?
life and the
Life and the Universe
Are we alone in the cosmos?

Copernicus and Darwin taught us that we are not the centre of the universe. But fifty years have passed since we began listening for life in the cosmos. A billion radio channels have scanned the sky. No extra terrestrial intelligence has been found. Is it once again time to think we may be alone, and to reassess what it is to be human?
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