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Philosophy F.O.T.

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Philosophy For Our Times

The IAI seeks to challenge the notion that our present accepted wisdom is the truth. It aims to uncover the flaws and limitations in our current thinking in search of alternative and better ways to hold the world.

 The Institute of Art and Ideas is committed to placing philosophy and big ideas at the heart of public life - building philosophy for our times.

Described by Total Politics as "Europe's answer to TED", the IAI hosts the world’s largest philosophy and music festival, HowTheLightGetsIn and curates hundreds of debates, and talks, a year with the world’s leading thinkers.

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Broadcast under a Creative Commons Licence.

Philosophy F.O.T. Show Archive:

E153 | What Is Beauty? From Plato to Kim Kardashian | Bence Nanay, Justine Kolata, Sam Roddick

Tuesday 14th May 2019

Once beauty was about goodness and truth, now we think it means little more than models, products and outdated art. Have practical concerns and the economy of desire made beauty trivial and expendable? Could we follow Goethe and Kant and cultivate our aesthetic judgment to enrich our lives? Or is the goal of living beautifully a conceit of the privileged elite? And finally, is there a difference in the feeling of pleasure one gets from looking at a Magritte painting, or at Kim Kardashian's bum? Philosopher Bence Nanay, activist Sam Roddick and Public Sphere Salons founder Justien Kolata explore beauty and pleasure.In association with the New College of the Humanities.

E152 | Trump's Foreign Policy | George Galloway, Mark Leonard

Tuesday 7th May 2019

Many think Donald Trump a buffoon and a threat to world peace. But with IS weakened, and signs of progress in North Korea, perhaps his supporters can point to some initial successes. Could a belligerent approach to foreign policy make for a safer world? Is the best way of pursuing peace to prepare for war? Or has Trump in fact made the world more precarious than ever?In association with the New College of the Humanities.

E151 | Is Reality Necessary? | Chiara Marletto, Gerard t'Hooft, Christopher Timpson

Tuesday 30th April 2019

We think that lightning strikes, and waves crash, even if there is no one to see them. Yet according to quantum physics, the observer is critical to reality. Theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg even argued that, in contemporary physics 'objective reality has evaporated'. Is a world independent of the observer an illusion? Or did quantum physics get it wrong? Nobel prize winning Gerard t'Hooft, constructor theorist Chiara Marletto and Oxford quantum philosopher Christopher Timpson debate the mysteries of reality.In association with the New College of the Humanities.

E150 | The Lure of Evil | Christopher Hamilton, Patricia MacCormack, John Milbank

Tuesday 23rd April 2019

From Milton's Paradise Lost to bad boys and femmes fatales, we are seduced by the dark and dangerous. Why does the devil have all the best tunes? Have we sanitised the good and made it vacuous? Could we imagine a world where the good was exciting, dramatic and fun? Or are danger and denial somehow essential to being alive? Moral philosopher Christopher Hamilton, theologian and Zizek collaborator John Milbank, and Professor of Continental Philosophy Patricia MacCormack look into our dark side.In association with the New College of the Humanities.

E149 | The Cult of Mindfulness | Vishpani Blomfield, Linda Woodhead, Miguel Farias

Tuesday 16th April 2019

From yoga retreats to mindfulness, meditation is fashionable and now even prescribed by the UK's National Health Service. Yet in some cases it can lead to depression and even psychosis. Is it a mistake to think that self-exploration and being at one with ourselves are necessarily good things? Would it be better to deal with our anxieties through action? Or is meditation the perfect antidote to modern life and a route to transcendental peace? The Buddha Pill author Miguel Farias, Buddhist teacher and broadcaster Vishvapani Blomfield, and sociologist of religion Linda Woodhead explore how we can reach peace.In association with the New College of the Humanities.

E148 | The Problem with Materialism | John Ellis, Susan Blackmore, Hilary Lawson

Tuesday 9th April 2019

The idea that the world is made of physical stuff alone has been central to scientific progress. But our theories do not account for experience or thought, and the particles of contemporary theoretical physics have no dimensions, so that material seemingly vanishes. Might materialism be a profound mistake? Should we see the world as being at least partly immaterial, or can stuff alone explain the universe? CERN physicist John Ellis, Consciousness author Susan Blackmore and Closure theorist Hilary Lawson.In association with the New College of the Humanities.

E147 | Should We Live Forever? | Patricia MacCormack, Anders Sandberg, Janne Teller

Tuesday 2nd April 2019

From gene therapy and fad diets to cryonically frozen corpses, many still hope to find a way to live forever. Some scientists are starting to think death might be reversible. But Heidegger famously thought life's transience gave it meaning. Does our fear of death prevent us from living fully? Can we enhance experience by embracing its end? Or could science one day banish death's shadow?Philosopher and author of 'Post-Human Ethics' Patricia MacCormack, Oxford transhumanist Anders Sandberg and author and novelist Janne Teller imagine a life without end.In association with the New College of the Humanities.

E146 | The End of Humans | Interview with Patricia MacCormack

Friday 29th March 2019

Patricia MacCormack is Professor of Continental Philosophy at Anglia Ruskin University, known for her work on Posthuman ethics. In this exclusive interview, Patricia explains why she thinks the world would be a better place without humans.In association with the New College of the Humanities.

E145 | The Future of Pornography | Brooke Magnanti, Finn Mackay, Rowan Pelling, Peter Tatchell

Tuesday 26th March 2019

Many believe that porn's dark fantasies risk corrupting relationships and society. Has this arisen because pornography is largely created by men? Could feminist pornography featuring authentic sex, diverse bodies and female perspectives offer a truly liberating alternative? Or is porn fundamentally incompatible with intimacy and a problem for all of us until its abolished? Feminist thinker Finn Mackay, author of Belle de Jour: Diary of a London Call Girl Brooke Magnanti, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and Erotic Review editor Rowan Pelling imagine the future of pornography.In association with the New College of the Humanities. This debate references adult content.

E144| The Sex Myth | Interview with Brooke Magnanti

Friday 22nd March 2019

Brooke Magnanti is best known by her pen name Belle de Jour, from the blog behind Secret Diary of a Call Girl. In this exclusive interview, Brooke explains how we should free ourselves from the shackles surrounding sex from shame, to guilt and toxic femininity.In association with the New College of the Humanities.