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Institute of Art and Ideas: Cutting Edge Debates and Talks From the World's Leading Thinkers (Series 2)
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1.

Life, the Universe and Everything

Philosophers have always sought grand theories to explain the world's mystery. And Stephen Hawking once predicted that science would have its own Theory of Everything by 2000. Yet we are no closer to an answer. Are we necessarily limited and reality beyond reach or is a solution just round the corner? The Panel Quantum physicist Sandu Popescu, philosopher Rufus Duits and independent filmmaker David Malone envisage an ultimate theory of everything. Gabrielle Walker hosts.
Online
2017; 2015
2.

Beyond Words

Perhaps responsible for the success of the human species, the power of language is remarkable. Yet a description of love, or a storm at sea, is not the same as the experience. Might language not describe reality at all? Is meaning a human fantasy of unlimited power and risk, or does it tell us how it really is? The Panel Professor Emma Borg joins anthropologist and linguist Daniel Everett and Closure theorist Hilary Lawson to confornt the limits of language. Hannah Dawson hosts.
Online
2017; 2015
3.

Science Under Siege

From many-worlds to the multiverse, does physics still need experiments? The Speaker George Ellis examines the fantasies of contemporary cosmology.
Online
2017; 2015
4.

Fantasy and Reality

In the topsy-turvy wonderland of the postmodern age, many of us are lost. From Baudrillard to blockbusters, cyberspace to statecraft, the contemporary world is a pageant of fantasies. Should we "get real" and see reality as more than cultural consensus, or can we embrace fantasy and build better lives? The Panel Oxford neuroscientist and director of The Human Mind Project Colin Blakemore, anthropologist Dan Everett and dystopian fiction author Richard K. Morgan find fantasy in reality.
Online
2017; 2015
5.

Capitalism and Anarchy

Few take anarchism and the abandonment of organized government as a viable political goal. Yet in economics, capitalism is just such a leaderless anarchic system. Might a radically decentralized political system be more credible than we think? Or is centralized government necessary in politics if anything is to be achieved? The Panel Senior Economic Adviser at HSBC Stephen King, author of Bourgeois Dignity Deirdre McCloskey and cofounder of Novaria Media Aaron Bastani take anarchy seriously.
Online
2017; 2016
6.

After the News

Between tweeting presidents and government censorship are we witnessing the end of news? The speaker and award-winning journalist John Lloyd forecasts the future.
Online
2017; 2015
7.

It's an Immaterial World

We think we understand what the world is made of. Atoms and, we are now told, bosons, quarks and leptons. Yet our theory of matter does not explain thought. Do we need a radically new model to explain how material things and immaterial thought are connected? The Panel American metaphysician John Heil, Biologist and author of The Science Delusion Rupert Sheldrake, and Australian philosopher of mind Daniel Stoljar think about thinking.
Online
2017; 2014
8.

The Dance of Time

Since we can't directly access the past or the future, the present seems to be all we've got. Yet Derrida denied the existence of the present. And physicists argue the present has no special status. Is the present an illusion? Or do we find in the present everything that is of value? The Panel Author of The End of Time Julian Barbour, Lecturer in Philosophy at Queen's University Joseph Diekemper and author of Come to the Edge Joanna Kavenna examine the present.
Online
2017; 2015
9.

Madness Incorporated

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? The panel President-elect of the World Psychiatric Association Dinesh Bhugra, radical psychiatrist David Healy and clinical psychologist Richard Bentall debate the future of psychiatry.
Online
2017; 2014
10.

After Equality

Equality is usually seen as the goal of feminism. Yet with women more than a third more likely to go to university than men, and with more female entrants to medicine and law, does this limit the horizon? Should we be championing difference rather than equality? Or is this a dangerous heresy that threatens progress? The Panel Times columnist David Aaronovitch, writer and broadcaster Beatrix Campbell and feminist journalist Julie Bindel look beyond equality.
Online
2017; 2014
11.

Thinking Dangerously Living Differently

Philosophy as therapy is an ancient idea. Endorsed by Wittgenstein and popularized by self-help books. But isn't philosophy about understanding even if the insights are uncomfortable? Can philosophy be a dynamic force changing how we think and what we can do? Or does it serve only as a guide to everyday life? The Panel Oxford philosopher Adrian Moore, former priest and author of Wellbeing Mark Vernon and Plato Scholar Angie Hobbs consider the purpose of philosophy.
Online
2017; 2015
12.

The Really Real

Different cultures see the world differently and cultural relativism is a widely accepted outlook. Yet faced with beheadings most of us want to assert that we know what is right and wrong. Do we need a new objectivity to combat the world's evils, or should we give up on the really real as a cultural fantasy? The Panel Philosopher and author of Truth Simon Blackburn, ResPublica director Phillip Blond and New Statesman columnist Myriam Francois-Cerrah debate truth and morality.
Online
2017; 2015
13.

End of the West

For 300 years European culture has dominated the world stage. But In 2014 China became the world's largest economy. India is hot on its heels. Their cultural and political influence will follow. Can we find a way to stay at the leading edge of global culture? Or is the brief European age coming to a close? The Panel HSBC Chief Economist and author of Losing Control, Stephen King, Labour politician Clare Short and Canadian political philosopher Will Kymlicka dispute the world's future.
Online
2017; 2015
14.

Cycles of Wonder

Can Science revive spirituality? The speaker, The Science Delusion author Rupert Sheldrake, explores a new paradigm of science and religion.
Online
2017; 2015
15.

Gandhi Vs Guevara

Gandhi's principle of non-violence made him the father of a nation. But it is Che Guevara whose face has come to represent liberty, justice, and revolution. Whose fantasies play the bigger part in shaping our reality? Does the pacifism of Gandhi or the passion of Che have the greatest power to change the world? The Panel Greenpeace director John Sauven, London Feminist Network founder Finn Mackay and author of The Lives of Others Neel Mukherjee debate the road to revolution.
Online
2017; 2015
16.

Rebel With a Cause

We often see community as good and modern culture as individualistic and self-centered. Yet from Salem to Auschwitz, Rwanda to Yugoslavia, communities are capable of horrors. Should we be suspicious of crowds and encourage rebels to keep the pack at bay? Or is solidarity with our fellow humans the way to a better life? The Panel Former chief speechwriter to Prime Minister Tony Blair, Philip Collins, regular presenter of The World Tonight and PM Ritula Shah, political theorist, theologian and leading proponent of "Red Toryism" Phillip Blond, and Conservative Party MP Charlotte Leslie debate the merits of community.
Online
2017; 2015
17.

Belief and the Gods

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of faiths and gods. Yet each religion believes theirs is the true account. Is this because belief in the divine is a fantasy humans have evolved to hold? Or does it indicate something essential about the character of the world? The Panel Philosopher and author of The War for Children's Minds Stephen Law, Zizek collaborator John Milbank and anthropologist of religion Madawi Al-Rasheed debate the origin of belief. Sponsored by Mostlymaps.
Online
2017; 2015
18.

Self and the Selfless

From personal acts of kindness to charitable gifts to strangers, altruism is seen as a high point of moral virtue. Yet studies suggest altruism is driven by self-interest and personal satisfaction. Does true altruism exist? Is altruism an evolved behavior shared with animals, or can it be pure and transcendental? The Panel Big Issue founder John Bird, cognitive and evolutionary anthropologist Oliver Curry, and sociologist and author of The Spiritual Revolution Linda Woodhead question kindness and ask "what is altruism?"
Online
2017; 2015
19.

The Point of It All

We keep searching for life's meaning, but we still have no answer. The Speaker The Philosopher and the Wolf author Mark Rowlands shows us where we might look.
Online
2017; 2015
20.

The Word and the World

The power of words is a wonder, and language perhaps our greatest skill. Yet the gap between the sound of a bell and its description is huge. Are the limits to language so profound that the big questions of science and philosophy are beyond us? Or can everything be said if we try hard enough? The Panel Director of the New York Institute of Philosophy Paul Boghossian, Wittgenstein biographer and philosopher Ray Monk, and award winning novelist Joanna Kavenna debate the limits of language.
Online
2017; 2015