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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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41.

Thinking Afresh

We take pride in holding morally and intellectually consistent views about the world. Yet these shift wildly over time, and some see consistency as a patriarchal fiction. Is consistency consistent? Would welcoming a mind in flux open up a world of possibility, or leave us out at sea? The Panel Shahidha Bari asks philosopher of mind and language Barry C. Smith, radical feminist and Guardian journalist Julie Bindel and author of Breakfast with Socrates Robert Rowland Smith to think differently.
Online
2017; 2015
42.

Enlightenment's Wake

Many assume Enlightenment values will triumph over violence and prejudice. But in the wake of ISIS and Charlie Hebdo, victory seems less inevitable and the age of reason less secure. Might history not be on our side after all? Do we need more passion to combat zealotry's allure or will reason alone win in the end? The Panel Philosopher and theologian Christopher Hamilton, author of Contesting the Saudi State and visiting professor at LSE Madawi al-Rasheed, and editor of Spiked Online Brendan O'Neill push reason to the extreme.
Online
2017; 2015
43.

Of Lies and Necessities

From lying politicians to dishonest lovers, we judge deception harshly and demand honesty and truth as core values. Yet small and not-so-small lies have a habit of creeping into our lives. Is it possible to be completely honest - and would it be desirable? Is lying a necessity for life or should we insist on honesty as a means for social cohesion and trusting relationships? The Panel Peter Curran trusts Cambridge feminist philosopher Rae Langton, Warwick professor of Philosophy and Politics Tom Sorrell and Cambridge post-doctoral researcher Sophie Van der Zee to give honest answers.
Online
2017; 2015
44.

The End of Secrets

In many aspects of our lives we want privacy. Yet when it comes to leaders and politicians we look for openness. Would full transparency make for good government and honest citizens? Or is mass surveillance of private records a step to an Orwellian nightmare? The Panel Sean Curran asks co-founder of the Open Data Institute Nigel Shadbolt, Telegraph columnist Dan Hodges and Director of the Oxford Internet Institute Helen Margetts to speak the truth about transparency.
Online
2017; 2015
45.

Making Humans

Dawkins’ Selfish Gene has defined how we think about evolution. But now the new science of epigenetics suggests culture and the environment can play a part. Is the age of the selfish gene over? Do we need a new story to replace the survival of the fittest, or is Darwin’s essential insight secure? The Panel Oxford evolutionary psychologist Oliver Scott Curry, neo-Lamarckian and author of Evolution in Four Dimensions Eva Jablonka, and biologist Rupert Sheldrake look beyond the genetic revolution.
Online
2017; 2015
46.

The Next Universe

What came before the big bang? What happens when our universe ends? The Speaker, eminent theoretical physicist Roger Penrose, presents his extraordinary new view of the cosmos.
Online
2017; 2015
47.

A Checklist for Sanity

Have we reduced mental health diagnosis to a challenge for checklists? The speaker and consultant psychiatrist Mark Salter considers what to do when patients say "I tick all the boxes".
Online
2017; 2015
48.

Positive Thinking and the Name Game

When we are ill we want a name for our illness. Yet every case is different, and as placebos indicate, how we think also matters. Could we be healthier if we were less attached to naming illness? Can we improve our health by improving our mind, or is this an old lie peddled by quacks? The Panel President of the World Psychiatric Association Dinesh Bhugra, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at UWE Havi Carel, Deputy Editor of the BBC’s Parliamentary Programmes Sean Curran and Professor in Psychological Medicine David Healy discuss what’s in a name.
Online
2017; 2015
49.

Truth, Lies and Self-Deception

It is not an unusual human trait to imagine we are good when we are not, that we are loved when this is implausible, that we are selfless when we are selfish. But deep down, don't we know the truth? Can’t we see ourselves clearly if we want to? Or is self-deception real, in which case, who is doing the deceiving? The Panel President of the Royal College of Psychiatry Simon Wessely, author of Nothing Janne Teller, and UCL neuroscientist Parashkev Nachev seek answers.
Online
2017; 2015
50.

The Art of Imagination

Is art the ultimate arbiter of truth? The Speaker Philosopher Andrew Bowie shows that reason alone cannot uncover all.
Online
2017; 2015
51.

Beyond Knowledge

The quest for knowledge has driven progress and led us from the savannah to the stars. Yet knowledge is limited by culture, language, and our human constraints. Is knowledge an illusion, a straight-jacket we should escape to discover new worlds? Or is the pursuit of definitive knowledge vital to our future? The Panel Philosopher and author of Nihil Unbound Ray Brassier, postmodernist Hilary Lawson, and philosopher of science Michela Massimi uncover the limits of knowledge
Online
2017; 2015
52.

Storm and the Butterfly

We rely on our models to chart the future. Yet from the financial crash to climate change, life has a habit of defying prediction. Do our models necessarily fail? Must we live cautiously, in fear of unforeseeable risks, or can we refine our models to enable accuracy, reliability and prosperity? The Panel Philosopher and politician Rupert Read, eminent economist Anatole Kaletsky and lecturer Felix Reed-Tsochas find the edge of uncertainty.
Online
2017; 2015
53.

Being Certain

From Galileo to Mandela, history is made by those with strong convictions. Yet as Nietzsche argued and Islamic State attest, those most convinced of their righteousness are often the most dangerous. Should politicians and the rest of us avoid convictions and see them as dangerous fantasies, or is conviction essential to leadership and action? The Panel Philosophers Julian Baggini and Andrew Bowie and former Conservative politician Edwina Currie are convinced about conviction. Richard Coles hosts.
Online
2017; 2015
54.

The Puzzle of Progress

Western culture is a story of technological advance, medical miracles, and material progress. But depression and suicide rates have oddly not diminished. Why have advances not brought us the good life? Is technology and material benefit irrelevant to our inner being or should we be more thankful for the riches we have? The Panel Barry C. Smith asks philosopher and author of Middle Age Christopher Hamilton, digital editor of Newsweek Serena Kutchinsky and explorer Bruce Parry how far we have come.
Online
2017; 2016
55.

The Morality of War

The Iraq war left us acutely aware of the dangers of intervening in foreign lands. Yet the outrages of Isis have demanded a response. Do we have a responsibility to protect Western values, or is the high ground held by staying out of it? Or is morality irrelevant in foreign affairs and our interest all that matters? The Panel Former chief speechwriter to Tony Blair, Phillip Collins, and military historian Hew Strachan, clash over the prospect of peace with founder of the Stop the War Coalition Lindsey German.
Online
2017; 2016
56.

A Philosophy of Confidence

Nietzsche famously said 'That which does not kill us makes us stronger', but how should we deal with failure? The speaker, author, and Wired editor Rowland Manthorpe declares war on defeat.
Online
2017; 2016
57.

Beyond Borders

The nation, the tribe, the union, are all sources of strength. But they are also a means to entrench advantage and exclude others. Are borders and boundaries really about privilege? Should we strengthen them so we have greater power and status, or remove them to create a fairer world? The Panel Independent columnist and author of Exotic England Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Labour politician Jon Cruddas and LSE political theorist Chandran Kukathas look beyond borders.
Online
2017; 2015