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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:

Bonus Episode: The Struggle for Social Justice | Angela Eagle

Thursday 17th January 2019

Britain is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, so why do so many feel short-changed? Labour MP and former minister Angela Eagle sees an urgent need to protect social cohesion and makes a case for radical economic reform.In association with the New College of the Humanities:

E129 | Big Bang Creation Myths | Sean Carroll, Roger Penrose, Laura Mersini-Houghton

Tuesday 15th January 2019

The big bang theory won out over the Steady State alternative 50 years ago because we discovered the universe was expanding. But now we know that the universe is in fact accelerating away from us. Might the whole big bang theory be mistaken? Is the theory of the universe's origin just another creation myth, or is it still the best account we've got? Eminent mathematician Roger Penrose, CalTech physicist and author of From Eternity to Here Sean Carroll and multiverse cosmologist Laura Mersini-Houghton look at the story of creation once again.In association with the New College of the Humanities:

E128 | Innocence and Punishment | Ritula Shah, Emma Sulkowicz, David Aaronovitch, Sarah Langford

Tuesday 8th January 2019

'Innocent until proven guilty' is a core principle of democracy. Yet from the BBC's coverage of the Cliff Richard raid to the social media storms around MeToo, it seems we are increasingly happy to destroy reputations and careers before the proof is in. Can trial by media be more effective than the legal system? Is the individual less important than the common good? Or is the presumption of innocence a cornerstone of a free society? Times columnist David Aaronovitch, performance artist dubbed as 'Mattress Girl' Emma Sulkowicz and criminal barrister and author of In YourDefence Sarah Langford debate how justice gets made.In association with the New College of the Humanities.

E127 | Reality in the Digital World | Laurence Scott

Wednesday 2nd January 2019

Our worlds were once human and solid, but now our lives are increasingly virtual. What place has reality in this fantasy world?‘Picnic Comma Lightning’ author Laurence Scott explores the challenges of finding meaning amidst the digital noise. In association with the New College of the Humanities:

E126 | The Promise of Psychedelics | David Nutt, Amanda Feilding, Stephen Reid

Tuesday 18th December 2018

Besides being illegal, LSD has not had good press, associated with bad trips and psychological breakdown. But with a new craze for microdosing acid amongst Silicon Valley whizz kids and management gurus, and respected scientists claiming antidepressant benefits, might we have been too quick to ban psychedelics? Could they be a means to deepen experience and enhance our lives? Or is this all dangerous hippy nonsense? Pharmacologist and former Home Office drugs advisor David Nutt, drugs reformer and director of the Beckley Foundation Amanda Feilding and founder of the Psychedelic Society Stephen Reid.In association with the New College of the Humanities:

E125 | Does Universal Morality Exist? | Stanley Fish, Myriam Francois, Phillip Collins

Tuesday 11th December 2018

Is there a universal morality, and if not, are moral beliefs actually the cause of some of the greatest human suffering? To debate this issue, we have on our panel literary theorist Stanley Fish, writer, broadcaster and SOAS researcher Myriam Francois, and journalist and former speech-writer to Tony Blair Phillip Collins.In association with the New College of the Humanities:

E124 | How We Came To MeToo | Linda Woodhead

Tuesday 4th December 2018

Sexual abuse accusations have reached an unprecedented high. How have we come here, and why is this happening now? Leading British sociologist Linda Woodhead investigates.

E123 | Minds, Madness And Medicine | Lucy Johnstone, David Nutt, David Healy

Tuesday 27th November 2018

Deaths from heart disease have fallen by almost two thirds since the 1960s, yet outcomes for those with mental illness have not improved for decades. Is this because we have the wrong categories and the wrong diagnoses? Might neuroscience enable more precise descriptions and more effective treatment? Or is it a mistake to think that biological accounts of mental illness will ever provide the answers? Users and Abusers of Psychiatry author Lucy Johnstone, psychiatrist David Nutt and author of The Antidepressant Era David Healy consider plausible alternatives to diagnosis.

E122 | Who We Are | Diane Abbott, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Kemi Badenoch, Richard Reeves

Tuesday 20th November 2018

Ten years ago, the US elected its first black president. Yet race-related hate crime has increased 216% in the last year. Are we wrong to suppose that racial prejudice will be overcome by equal opportunity? Should we dream of a world where race is not a basis for social identity? Or are social groupings inevitable and equality the only possible solution?

E121 | The Evolution of Suicide | Nicholas Humphreys

Tuesday 13th November 2018

Suicide is a terrible but commonplace event amongst all societies within the human race. But at what point in our evolution did suicide come into being, and for what purpose? Can suicide be explained, and if so, can we provide an answer to those who become so desperate?Neuropsychologist and author of A History of the Mind Nicholas Humphrey answers these questions.