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Institute of Art and Ideas: Cutting Edge Debates and Talks From the World's Leading Thinkers
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21.

Death of God and the War on Terror

How did the death of God give birth to western capitalism and the religious fundamentalism that thrives under its wing? Terry Eagleton, one of Britain's most influential cultural critics, reveals the unspoken history of our supposedly faithless world.
Online
2016; 2015
22.

Entering the Unknown

Is there an unknown world beyond us? Is the self unknowledgeable? Philosopher Robert Rowland Smith examines the limits of knowledge. The Speaker Quondam Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Robert's books include Death-Drive and Breakfast with Socrates.
Online
2016; 2015
23.

Missing Matter: Is Consciousness Inexplicable?

Why is there a profound imbalance in the universe? Tara Shears puts antimatter under the microscope. ''Rapidly becoming the go-to scientist to explain all things CERN.
Online
2016; 2015
24.

Bang Goes Another Theory of the Universe: Are Black Holes a Fantasy?

Early in his career, Hawking described black holes and claimed they break all physical laws. Since then they have been 'found' at the centre of galaxies. Now leading cosmologists, Hawking amongst them, doubt they exist. Are black holes a fantasy? If so, much is at stake including relativity and the origin of the universe. The Panel Theoretical physicist Laura Mersini-Houghton, author of The Perfect Theory Pedro Ferreira and former Royal Astronomical Society president Michael Rowan-Robinson explore beyond black holes.
Online
2016; 2015
25.

Everything and Nothing: Is Nothing an Illusion?

Some claim it created the universe. Sartre argued it was central to our being. Yet Nothing turns out to be strangely elusive. Scientists can't find it or describe it. Bertrand Russell argued it was just a logical mistake. Is Nothing an illusion, a fictitious error? Or is it a vital key to our understanding of the universe and who we are? The Panel Multiverse cosmologist Laura Mersini-Houghton, CERN physicist John Ellis and philosopher of science and James Ladyman, author of "Every Thing Must Go".
Online
2016; 2015
26.

Guns and Butter: Hard and Soft Power

Early in 2014, Obama teased Putin that we had grown out of military solutions. That was before Russia invaded Ukraine and US bombers returned to the Middle East. Is it a fantasy to imagine the economy has replaced the barrel of the gun as the real source of power? Or is this a short route to Armageddon? The Panel Oxford historian Rana Mitter and politician Clare Short, who resigned from the cabinet over the Iraq war, are joined by Tony Blair's chief speech writer Philip Collins to question where true power lies.
Online
2016; 2015
27.

Hidden Desires and Secret Thoughts: Are We in Control of Our Selves?

Many have been skeptical of Freud's claim that unconscious desires control our lives. Yet recent studies show the conscious brain processes only a tiny fraction of the brain as a whole. Are hidden desires and secret thoughts driving our actions, or is our conscious brain in full control? The Panel Clinical psychologist and author of Madness Explained Richard Bentall, philosopher of mind Barry C. Smith, and BBC New Generation Thinker Shahida Bari uncover the unconscious.
Online
2016; 2015
28.

In Search of the Self: Who Are We?

There is no self, no "I," only a flickering illusion. So claim many neuroscientists and philosophers. Yet for the rest of us, the denial of the self feels like a bitter pill to swallow. Is the self a fantasy? Or is it essential to our being and consciousness? The Panel Cambridge and NCH philosopher Simon Blackburn, neuroscientist Colin Blakemore, philosopher and author of Are You an Illusion? Mary Midgley seek out the all seeing I. In association with New College Humanities.
Online
2016; 2015
29.

Matter and Mind: Is Consciousness Inexplicable?

Neuroscience has enabled us to explain how the brain affects the body. Yet there is no theory to explain how the matter of the brain creates thought and experience. Is consciousness inexplicable because it is not part of the material world? Or is it somehow physical after all and within our grasp? The Panel German philosopher Markus Gabriel, philosopher and author of Nihil Unbound Ray Brassier, and evolutionary biologist Eva Jablonka seek answers. Prize winning novelist Joanna Kavenna hosts.
Online
2016; 2015
30.

Rethinking Capital: Are There Alternative Economic Systems?

As China and Russia adopt their own variants, the reign of capitalism seems absolute. Yet there are many who wish for an alternative and some who claim a final crisis is in the making. Is there a radical alternative that we have not yet discovered? Or is the reality that capitalism is the only viable economic system? The Panel Former Secretary of State for Health Stephen Dorrell, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman and Marxist political theorist Alex Callinicos reimagine capitalism and the current economic system.
Online
2016; 2015
31.

Strange New Worlds: Imagining Reality

From writing to art, the intense to the light hearted, imagination transports us to untold fantasy worlds. Yet Picasso claimed "everything you can imagine is real." Should we dismiss this as the overblown claims of a celebrity artist, or might what we take to be reality actually be the product of imagination? The Panel Literary critic Terry Eagleton, New york University philosopher Paul Boghossian and Chocolat author Joanne Harris find places where reality ends and the power of imagination begins.
Online
2016; 2015
32.

The Fantasy of Money: Are There Alternatives to Currency?

When backed by gold money had a real value. Yet now it floats free, a fantasy made real by our belief. Are there alternative fantasies that we could create to generate different and perhaps better realities? Or is there something special about the fantasy of money that makes it irreplaceable? The Panel Guardian columnist Stephen Hewlitt asks CEO of Timebanking UK Sarah Bird, reporter for the Financial Times Izabella Kaminska and The Social Life of Money author Nigel Dodd to explore the alternatives to money.
Online
2016; 2015
33.

Time, Space and Being: Are Space and Time Just a Human Fantasy?

We think space and time are the structure of the universe. Yet Einstein argued 'space and time are modes by which we think and not conditions in which we live.' And philosophers, Kant and Heidegger, saw space and time as the framework of thought not the world. Are space and time just a human fantasy? The Panel Physicist and author of The End of Time Julian Barbour, Cambridge metaphysician Huw Price and philosopher of science Michela Massimi think outside space and time.
Online
2016; 2015
34.

Unexplained Events: Does Everything Have a Cause and Effect?

We assume all events are caused by something. Yet we happily refer to random chance be it a freak accident, or the state of quantum particles. Might causality be a fiction and inexplicable events written into the character of the universe, or with greater understanding could we find an explanation for everything? Sponsored by BBC Focus Magazine. The Panel Templeton prize winning cosmologist George Ellis, Imperial College string theorist Michael Duff and American philosopher of physics Nancy Cartwright confront unexplained events and untangle cause and effect.
Online
2016; 2015
35.

Unnatural Laws: Are Eternal Laws an Illusion?

From Newton's laws to E=mc2, we think we have uncovered the secrets of the universe. But some claim these laws evolve and others point to their human and cultural origins. Might eternal natural laws be human hubris? Or is the mind of God in our grasp? The Panel CERN physicist and coiner of the term "Theory of Everything" John Ellis, author of The Science Delusion Rupert Sheldrake and American philosopher of physics Nancy Cartwright debate the sacred assumptions of science.
Online
2016; 2015