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Philosophy For Our Times


Philosophy For Our Times

Was Max Planck right about consciousness? | Patricia Churchland, Brian Greene, Amanda Gefter and Laura Mersini-Houghton

Tue, 19 Oct 2021

Most of us, scientists included, see physics as an attempt to provide an objective description of the world independent of human subjectivity and consciousness. Yet, Max Planck, one of major scientific figures of the twentieth century and the founder of quantum mechanics, stated as a result of his investigations and experiments: “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness.”

Should we listen to Planck? Can we plausibly see matter as derivative of consciousness? Might doing so help solve the deep puzzles facing contemporary physics and overcome the ‘hard problem of consciousness’ itself? Or does this outlook, as Einstein argued, undermine the very success and objectivity of science and take us back to a world of superstition?

Cosmologist, theoretical physicist Laura Mersini-Houghton, groundbreaking physicist Brian Greene, esteemed physics and philosophy writer Amanda Gefter and eliminative materialism pioneer Patricia Churchland debate Planck and the Consciousness Puzzle. Catherine Heymans hosts.

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Islands and the Anthropocene | David Chandler

Tue, 12 Oct 2021

Whether it's the discussion on rising sea levels or nuclear waste, islands have gravitated to the epicentre of the geopolitical zeitgeist. But why are we more interested in islands than ever before? Professor at the Centre for the Study of Democracy, David Chandler explores the importance of islands in the Anthropocene.

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The story of reality | Sophie Fiennes, Betty Sue Flowers, Noel Carroll

Tue, 05 Oct 2021

From fairy tales to Harry Potter, from Avatar to James Bond, we love fantasy and expect our books and films to take us there. Yet at the same time we want our poems and plays, novels and movies, to reflect life and reality.

Should our narratives be seeking to uncover reality or be seeking escape from it? Or are both goals impossible? Are we on the one hand unable to create a narrative that tells it how it is, and on the other incapable of making a fantasy that does not reflect our current circumstances? And if so, why?

Director and producer of The Pervert's Guide to Cinema Sophie Fiennes, leading figure in contemporary philosophy of art Noël Carroll and myths expert Betty Sue Flowers explore whether narratives should reflect reality, or escape it. Mark Salter hosts. 

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What it means to be human | Raymond Tallis

Tue, 28 Sep 2021

Humans are unlike anything else in the universe. We're the only part of existence that can observe and reflect on being itself, that can choose to destroy or repair our own habitat. Or so Raymond Tallis argues in this deep dive interview into what it means to be human. Watch to find out how we came to be so unique, what it means for our relationship to nature, and what Parmenides has to do with all this.

There are thousands of big ideas to discover at IAI.tv – videos, articles, and course waiting for you to explore. Find out more: https://iai.tv/podcast-offers

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The case for virtuous virtue signalling | Kwame Anthony Appiah, Crystal Fleming, David Goodhart

Tue, 14 Sep 2021

Most of us want to be good and be seen to be good. But aren't these goals contradictory? Isn't the desire to be seen to good a means of placing ourselves higher than others and wishing to gain status and position as a result?

Should we conclude that the attempt to be seen to be good is immoral and call it out as hypocritical, including philanthropist donation, explicit piety on the part of the religious, and virtue signalling be it on campus or on social media? Or is being seen to be good vital to cement socially positive behaviour? And explicit public demonstration of morality the only morality worth having?

World-leading cultural theorist Kwame Anthony Appiah, Professor of sociology and African Studies and international authority on race, Crystal Fleming, and founder of Prospect Magazine David Goodhart probe the moral maze of public morality. Mark Linsenmayer hosts.

There are thousands of big ideas to discover at IAI.tv – videos, articles, and course waiting for you to explore. Find out more: https://iai.tv/podcast-offers


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