In Our Time: Philosophy

130 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4

From Altruism to Wittgenstein, philosophers, theories and key themes.

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Authenticity

March 14th, 2019

50:33

Melvyn Bragg and guests dicuss what it means to be oneself, a question explored by philosophers from Aristotle to the present day, including St …

Aristotle's Biology

February 7th, 2019

50:10

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the remarkable achievement of Aristotle (384-322BC) in the realm of biological investigation, for which he has been …

Hope

November 22nd, 2018

53:01

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the philosophy of hope. To the ancient Greeks, hope was closer to self-deception, one of the evils left in Pandora's box or jar, in Hesiod's story. In Christian tradition, hope became …

The Fable of the Bees

October 25th, 2018

50:42

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733) and his critique of the economy as he found it in London, where private vices were condemned without acknowledging their public benefit. In his poem The …

Montesquieu

June 14th, 2018

49:59

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas of Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (1689-1755) whose works on liberty, monarchism, despotism, republicanism and the separation of powers were …

Tocqueville: Democracy in America

March 22nd, 2018

50:51

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) and his examination of the American democratic system. He wrote De La Démocratie en Amérique in two parts, published in 1835 and 1840, when France was …

Augustine's Confessions

March 15th, 2018

47:55

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss St Augustine of Hippo's account of his conversion to Christianity and his life up to that point. Written c397AD, it has many elements of autobiography with his scrutiny of his earlier …

Sun Tzu and The Art of War

March 1st, 2018

48:23

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas attributed to Sun Tzu (544-496BC, according to tradition), a legendary figure from the beginning of the Iron Age in China, around the time of Confucius. He may have been the …

Cicero

January 25th, 2018

49:16

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas developed by Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43BC) to support and reinvigorate the Roman Republic when, as it …

Kant's Categorical Imperative

September 21st, 2017

49:29

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss how, in the Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) sought to define the difference between right and wrong by applying reason, looking at the intention behind actions rather than at …

Plato's Republic

June 29th, 2017

48:43

Is it always better to be just than unjust? That is the central question of Plato's Republic, discussed here by Melvyn Bragg and guests. Writing in c380BC, Plato applied this question both to the individual and the …

Roger Bacon

April 20th, 2017

50:33

The 13th-century English philosopher Roger Bacon is perhaps best known for his major work the Opus Maius. Commissioned by Pope Clement IV, this …

Seneca the Younger

February 23rd, 2017

51:25

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Seneca the Younger, who was one of the first great writers to live his entire life in the world of the new Roman empire, after the fall of the Republic. He was a Stoic philosopher, he …

Hannah Arendt

February 2nd, 2017

47:17

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the political philosophy of Hannah Arendt. She developed many of her ideas in response to the rise of totalitarianism …

Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morality

January 12th, 2017

48:03

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Nietzsche's On The Genealogy of Morality - A Polemic, which he published in 1887 towards the end of his working life …

Zeno's Paradoxes

September 22nd, 2016

46:30

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Zeno of Elea, a pre-Socratic philosopher from c490-430 BC whose paradoxes were described by Bertrand Russell as "immeasurably subtle and profound." The best known argue against motion, …

Sovereignty

June 30th, 2016

47:21

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of the idea of Sovereignty, the authority of a state to govern itself and the relationship between the sovereign and the people. These ideas of external and internal …

The Muses

May 19th, 2016

45:29

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Muses and their role in Greek mythology, when they were goddesses of poetry, song, music and dance: what the …

Simone de Beauvoir

October 22nd, 2015

46:00

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Simone de Beauvoir. "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman," she wrote in her best known and most influential work, The Second Sex, her exploration of what it means to be a woman …

Utilitarianism

June 11th, 2015

43:59

A moral theory that emphasises ends over means, Utilitarianism holds that a good act is one that increases pleasure in the world and decreases pain. …

Al-Ghazali

March 19th, 2015

44:12

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the life and work of Al-Ghazali, a major philosopher and theologian of the late 11th century. Born in Persia, he …

The Wealth of Nations

February 19th, 2015

46:05

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Adam Smith's celebrated economic treatise The Wealth of Nations. Smith was one of Scotland's greatest thinkers, a moral philosopher and pioneer of economic theory whose 1776 …

Phenomenology

January 22nd, 2015

46:33

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss phenomenology, a style of philosophy developed by the German thinker Edmund Husserl in the first decades of the 20th …

Truth

December 18th, 2014

42:10

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the philosophy of truth. Pontius Pilate famously asked: what is truth? In the twentieth century, the nature of …

Zen

December 4th, 2014

45:08

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Zen. It's often thought of as a form of Buddhism that emphasises the practice of meditation over any particular set …

The Philosophy of Solitude

June 19th, 2014

47:06

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the philosophy of solitude. The state of being alone can arise for many different reasons: imprisonment, exile or …

Weber's The Protestant Ethic

March 27th, 2014

50:40

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Max Weber's book the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Published in 1905, Weber's essay proposed that Protestantism had been a significant factor in the emergence of …

Bishop Berkeley

March 20th, 2014

47:29

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the work of George Berkeley, an Anglican bishop who was one of the most important philosophers of the eighteenth …

Plato's Symposium

January 2nd, 2014

42:11

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Plato's Symposium, one of the Greek philosopher's most celebrated works. Written in the 4th century BC, it is a dialogue set at a dinner party attended by a number of prominent …

Ordinary Language Philosophy

November 7th, 2013

41:57

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Ordinary Language Philosophy, a school of thought which emerged in Oxford in the years following World War II. …

Pascal

September 19th, 2013

41:57

Melvyn Bragg and his guests begin a new series of the programme with a discussion of the French polymath Blaise Pascal. Born in 1623, Pascal was a …

Epicureanism

February 7th, 2013

42:12

Angie Hobbs, David Sedley and James Warren join Melvyn Bragg to discuss Epicureanism, the system of philosophy based on the teachings of Epicurus and founded in Athens in the fourth century BC. Epicurus outlined a …

Bertrand Russell

December 6th, 2012

42:15

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the influential British philosopher Bertrand Russell. Born in 1872 into an aristocratic family, Russell is widely regarded as one of the founders of Analytic philosophy, which is …

Simone Weil

November 15th, 2012

42:06

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the French philosopher and social activist Simone Weil. Born in Paris in 1909 into a wealthy, agnostic Jewish …

The Ontological Argument

September 27th, 2012

42:11

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Ontological Argument. In the eleventh century St Anselm of Canterbury proposed that it was possible to prove …

Scepticism

July 5th, 2012

42:09

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Scepticism, the idea that it may be impossible to know anything with complete certainty. Scepticism was first outlined by ancient Greek philosophers: Socrates is reported to have said …

Al-Kindi

June 28th, 2012

41:53

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the life and work of the Arab philosopher al-Kindi. Born in the early ninth century, al-Kindi was heavily influenced by Greek philosophy and supervised the translation of many works …

Neoplatonism

April 19th, 2012

41:57

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Neoplatonism, the school of thought founded in the 3rd century AD by the philosopher Plotinus. Born in Egypt, …

Moses Mendelssohn

March 22nd, 2012

42:18

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the work and influence of the eighteenth-century philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. A prominent figure at the court of Frederick the Great, Mendelssohn was one of the most significant …

Heraclitus

December 8th, 2011

41:57

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Writing in the 5th century BC, Heraclitus believed that everything is constantly changing or, as he put it, in flux. He expressed this …

The Continental-Analytic Split

November 10th, 2011

42:06

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Continental-Analytic split in Western philosophy. Around the beginning of the last century, philosophy began to go down two separate paths, as thinkers from Continental Europe …

David Hume

October 6th, 2011

42:10

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the work of the philosopher David Hume. A key figure in the Scottish Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, Hume was an empiricist who believed that humans can only have knowledge …

Malthusianism

June 22nd, 2011

42:01

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Malthusianism.In the eighteenth century, as expanding agriculture and industry resulted in a rapid increase in …

Cogito Ergo Sum

April 28th, 2011

42:18

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss one of the most famous statements in philosophy: "Cogito ergo sum".In his Discourse on the Method, published in …

Free Will

March 10th, 2011

42:20

In the 500th edition of the programme, Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the philosophical idea of free will.Free will - the extent to which we are free to choose our own actions - is one of the most absorbing …

Maimonides

February 15th, 2011

42:13

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the work and influence of Maimonides.Widely regarded as the greatest Jewish philosopher of the medieval period, Maimonides was also a physician and rabbinical authority. Also known as …

Aristotle's Poetics

January 27th, 2011

42:00

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Aristotle's Poetics. The Poetics is, as far as we know, the first ever work of literary theory. Written in the …

Daoism

December 15th, 2010

42:22

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Daoism. An ancient Chinese tradition of philosophy and religious belief, Daoism first appeared more than two …

Logic

October 21st, 2010

42:14

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of logic. Logic, the study of reasoning and argument, first became a serious area of study in the 4th century BC through the work of Aristotle. He created a formal logical …

Edmund Burke

June 3rd, 2010

42:06

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the work of the eighteenth-century philosopher, politician and writer Edmund Burke.Born in Dublin, Burke began …

William James's 'The Varieties of Religious Experience'

May 13th, 2010

42:18

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss 'The Varieties of Religious Experience' by William James. The American novelist Henry James famously made London his home and himself more English than the English. In contrast, his …

William Hazlitt

April 8th, 2010

41:55

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and works of William Hazlitt. Hazlitt is best known for his essays, which ranged in subject matter from …

Ibn Khaldun

February 4th, 2010

42:15

Melvyn Bragg and guests Robert Hoyland, Robert Irwin and Hugh Kennedy discuss the life and ideas of the 14th-century Arab philosopher of history Ibn Khaldun.Ibn Khaldun was a North African statesman who retreated into …

The Frankfurt School

January 14th, 2010

42:03

Melvyn Bragg and guests Raymond Geuss, Esther Leslie and Jonathan Rée discuss the Frankfurt School.This group of influential left-wing German …

Mary Wollstonecraft

December 31st, 2009

41:59

Melvyn Bragg and guests John Mullan, Karen O'Brien and Barbara Taylor discuss the life and ideas of the pioneering British Enlightenment thinker Mary …

Pythagoras

December 10th, 2009

41:47

Melvyn Bragg and guests Serafina Cuomo, John O'Connor and Ian Stewart discuss the ideas and influence of the Greek mathematician Pythagoras and his …

Schopenhauer

October 29th, 2009

42:18

Melvyn Bragg and guests AC Grayling, Beatrice Han-Pile and Christopher Janaway discuss the dark, pessimistic philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer.As a radical young thinker in Germany in the early 19th century, …

St Thomas Aquinas

September 17th, 2009

42:18

Melvyn Bragg discusses the life, works and enduring influence of the medieval philosopher and theologian St Thomas Aquinas with Martin Palmer, John …

Logical Positivism

July 2nd, 2009

42:20

Melvyn Bragg discusses Logical Positivism, the eye-wateringly radical early 20th century philosophical movement. The Logical Positivists argued that much previous philosophy was built on very shaky foundations, and …

Baconian Science

April 2nd, 2009

42:09

Patricia Fara, Stephen Pumfrey and Rhodri Lewis join Melvyn Bragg to discuss the Jacobean lawyer, political fixer and alleged founder of modern …

The School of Athens

March 26th, 2009

42:18

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss The School of Athens – the fresco painted by the Italian Renaissance painter, Raphael, for Pope Julius II’s private …

Thoreau and the American Idyll

January 15th, 2009

42:09

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the 19th century American writer and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau. Anti-slavery activist and passionate environmentalist, Thoreau was above all a champion of self-reliance and …

The Consolations of Philosophy

January 1st, 2009

42:20

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the consolation of Philosophy. In the 6th century AD, a successful and intelligent Roman politician called Boethius …

Aristotle's Politics

November 6th, 2008

42:04

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the most important works of political philosophy ever written - Aristotle’s ‘Politics’. Looking out across the …

Godel's Incompleteness Theorems

October 9th, 2008

42:08

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss an iconic piece of 20th century maths - Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems. In 1900, in Paris, the International Congress of Mathematicians gathered in a mood of hope and fear. The edifice …

The Translation Movement

October 2nd, 2008

42:14

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the greatest intellectual projects in history - the mass translation of Greek ideas into Arabic from the 9th century onwards.One night in Baghdad, the 9th century Caliph Al-Mamun …

Miracles

September 25th, 2008

42:16

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the parting of the Red Sea, the feeding of the five thousand and the general subject of miracles. Miracles have been …

Materialism

April 24th, 2008

42:05

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Materialism in Philosophy – the idea that matter and the interactions between matter account for all that exists and all that happens. We trace the descent of materialism from the ancient …

Kierkegaard

March 20th, 2008

42:10

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the rich and radical ideas of Soren Kierkegaard, often called the father of Existentialism.In 1840 a young Danish girl called Regine Olsen got engaged to her sweetheart – a modish and …

The Social Contract

February 7th, 2008

41:49

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Social Contract and ask a foundational question of political philosophy – by what authority does a government …

Camus

January 3rd, 2008

42:06

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Algerian-French writer and Existentialist philosopher Albert Camus. Shortly after the new year of 1960, a …

Avicenna

November 8th, 2007

41:49

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Persian Islamic philosopher, Avicenna. In the city of Hamadan in Iran, right in the centre, there is a vast …

Guilt

November 1st, 2007

42:14

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss morality by taking a long hard look at the idea of guilt. The 18th century politician and philosopher Edmund Burke …

Socrates

September 27th, 2007

42:02

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Greek philosopher Socrates, acknowledged as one of the founders of Western philosophy. Born in 469 BC into the …

Common Sense Philosophy

June 21st, 2007

42:08

Melvyn Bragg looks at an unexpected philosophical subject - the philosophy of common sense. In the first century BC the Roman statesman Marcus …

Ockham's Razor

May 31st, 2007

42:10

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the philosophical ideas of William Ockham including Ockham's Razor. In the small village of Ockham, near Woking in Surrey, stands a church. Made of grey stone, it has a pitched roof and …

Spinoza

May 3rd, 2007

28:13

Melvyn Bragg discusses the Dutch Jewish Philosopher Spinoza. For the radical thinkers of the Enlightenment, he was the first man to have lived and …

Popper

February 8th, 2007

42:09

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century, Karl Popper whose ideas about science and politics …

Anarchism

December 7th, 2006

42:07

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Anarchism and why its political ideas became synonymous with chaos and disorder. Pierre Joseph Proudhon famously …

Altruism

November 23rd, 2006

42:08

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss altruism. The term altruism was coined by the 19th century sociologist Auguste Comte and is derived from the Latin …

Averroes

October 5th, 2006

42:22

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the philosopher Averroes who worked to reconcile the theology of Islam with the rationality of Aristotle achieving …

Mill

May 18th, 2006

42:12

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the great nineteenth century political philosopher John Stuart Mill. He believed that, 'The true philosophy is the …

Friendship

March 2nd, 2006

41:46

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the concept of friendship. In Greek and Roman times, friendship was thought of as being an essential constituent of both a good society and a good life; a good society because it lay at …

Relativism

January 19th, 2006

28:09

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss relativism, a philosophy of shifting sands. "Today, a particularly insidious obstacle to the task of educating is the …

The Oath

January 5th, 2006

42:11

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the importance of the oath in ancient Greece and Rome, The importance of oaths in the Classical world cannot be …

Hobbes

December 1st, 2005

28:07

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the great 17th century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes who argued: "During the time men live without a common …

Pragmatism

November 17th, 2005

42:01

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the American philosophy of pragmatism. A pragmatist "turns away from abstraction and insufficiency, from verbal …

Cynicism

October 20th, 2005

28:09

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Cynics, the performance artists of philosophy. Eating live octopus with fresh lupins, performing intimate acts in public places and shouting at passers by from inside a barrel is …

Marx

July 14th, 2005

42:03

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Karl Marx. "Workers of the World Unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains", "Religion is the opium of the people", and "From each according to his abilities, to each according to …

Beauty

May 19th, 2005

28:21

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss beauty and its qualities."Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."That was John Keats' emphatic finale to his Ode on a Grecian Urn. It …

Abelard and Heloise

May 5th, 2005

41:33

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the story of Abelard and Heloise, a tale of literature and philosophy, theology and scandal, and above all love in …

Stoicism

March 4th, 2005

28:14

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Stoicism, the third great philosophy of the Ancient World. It was founded by Zeno in the fourth century BC and …

The Mind/Body Problem

January 13th, 2005

42:08

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the mind/body problem in philosophy. At the start of René Descartes' Sixth Meditation he writes: "there is a great difference between mind and body, inasmuch as body is by nature always …

Machiavelli and the Italian City States

December 9th, 2004

42:06

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the political philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli. In The Prince, Machiavelli's great manual of power, he wrote, "since …

Jung

December 2nd, 2004

28:21

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the extraordinary mind of the psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung. In 1907 Sigmund Freud met a young man and fell into a conversation that is reputed to have lasted for 13 hours. That man was …

Rhetoric

October 14th, 2004

42:07

Melvyn Bragg and guests discusses rhetoric. Gorgias, the great sophist philosopher and master of rhetoric said, "Speech is a powerful lord that with …

The Han Synthesis

October 14th, 2004

27:57

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Han Synthesis philosophies of China. In The Analects the Chinese sage Confucius says of statecraft: "He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north …

Sartre

October 7th, 2004

42:05

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Jean-Paul Sartre, the French novelist, playwright, and philosopher who became the king of intellectual Paris and a …

Politeness

September 30th, 2004

28:23

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the idea of Politeness. A new idea that stalked the land at the start of the eighteenth century in Britain, …

Empiricism

June 10th, 2004

28:23

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Empiricism, England’s greatest contribution to philosophy. At the end of the seventeenth century the philosopher John Locke wrote in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding: “All ideas …

Heroism

May 6th, 2004

42:19

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss what defines a hero and what place they had in classical society. On the fields of Troy a fallen soldier pleaded with …

Wittgenstein

December 4th, 2003

42:22

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life, work and legacy of Ludwig Wittgenstein. There is little doubt that he was a towering figure of the twentieth century; on his return to Cambridge in 1929 Maynard Keynes wrote, …

Duty

November 13th, 2003

28:19

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the concept of duty. George Bernard Shaw wrote in his play Caesar and Cleopatra, “When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty”. But for …

Bohemianism

October 9th, 2003

42:15

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the 19th century Parisian philosophy of life lived for art. In 1848 the young Parisian Henri Murger wrote of his bohemian friends: Their daily existence is a work of genius…they know how …

The Art of War

June 12th, 2003

42:04

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history and philosophy of warfare. The British historian Edward Gibbon wrote: “Every age, however destitute of science or virtue, sufficiently abounds with acts of blood and military …

Originality

March 20th, 2003

41:04

Melvyn Bragg and guests explore the creative force of originality. How far is it to do with origins, how far with the combination of the discoveries of others, which were themselves based on the thoughts of others, into …

Redemption

March 13th, 2003

28:05

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss redemption. In St Paul's letter to the Galatians, he wrote: "Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not …

The Enlightenment in Scotland

December 5th, 2002

27:56

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century. In 1696 the Edinburgh student, Thomas Aitkenhead, claimed theology …

Freedom

July 4th, 2002

28:16

Melvyn Bragg considers what it is to be free and how freedom became such a powerful value. Freedom has been a subject of enquiry for philosophers, …

The Soul

June 6th, 2002

28:13

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Soul. In his poem ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ WB Yeats wrote:An aged man is but a paltry thing, A tattered coat upon a …

The Examined Life

May 9th, 2002

42:05

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss self-examination. Socrates, the Greek philosopher of the 4th century BC, famously declared that "The unexamined life is not worth living." His drive towards rigorous self-enquiry and his …

Virtue

February 28th, 2002

42:10

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of virtue. When Socrates asked the question ‘How should man live?’ Plato and Aristotle answered that man …

Happiness

January 24th, 2002

28:04

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss whether 'happiness' means living a life of pleasure, or of virtue. It is an old question, and the Roman poet Horace …

Confucius

November 1st, 2001

28:16

Melvyn Bragg examines the philosophy of Confucius. In the 5th century BC a wise man called Kung Fu Tzu said, 'study the past if you would divine the …

Democracy

October 18th, 2001

28:14

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the origins of democracy. In the Gettysburg Address Abraham Lincoln called it “Government of the people, by the …

Existentialism

June 28th, 2001

27:56

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss existentialism. Imagine being back inside the bustling cafes on the Left Bank of Paris in the 1930s, cigarette smoke, strong coffee and the buzz of continental voices philosophising about …

Evil

May 3rd, 2001

28:23

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the concept of evil. When Nietzsche killed off God he had it in for evil as well: In Beyond Good and Evil, he constructed an argument against what he called the “herd morality” of …

The Philosophy of Love

March 29th, 2001

28:07

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the philosophy of love. In Plato’s Symposium a character called Aristophanes tells a story about Love. He says that once, near the beginning of time, there were three types of human, one …

Humanism

February 8th, 2001

28:21

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Humanism. On the 3rd January 106 BC Marcus Tullius Cicero, lawyer, politician, Roman philosopher and the founding …

Nihilism

November 16th, 2000

28:16

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of Nihilism. The nineteenth-century philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, wrote, “There can be no doubt that morality will gradually perish: this is the great spectacle in a …

Laws of Nature

October 19th, 2000

28:05

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Laws of Nature. Since ancient times philosophers and physicists have tried to discover simple underlying …

Economic Rights

January 27th, 2000

27:41

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss economic rights. Is democracy the truest conduit of capitalism, or do the forces that make us rich run counter to the democratic institutions that safeguard our rights? The economist …

Consciousness

November 25th, 1999

27:58

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the problems of consciousness, one of the greatest mysteries facing science and philosophy today. The frustrations, the stubborn facts and the curiosities of today’s thinkers, …

Progress

November 18th, 1999

28:36

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss progress. As man has grown in years and knowledge, has he also progressed in terms of happiness and a true understanding of the human condition? It was the Enlightenment which gave birth …

The Individual

October 21st, 1999

28:07

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of the concept of the individual. The Renaissance gave birth to the concept of the individual. Shakespeare defined this individual in language which accepted the primacy of …

Utopia

October 7th, 1999

28:00

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the concept of Utopia. Both the idea of, and the longing for a perfect society have been in our imagination for centuries, even millennia. Utopian dreams have driven fantasy, Fascism and …

Just War

June 3rd, 1999

28:14

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the idea of a just war. There were theories about a justified or noble war before the birth of Christ, but it was his …

Good and Evil

April 1st, 1999

28:17

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss whether religion can still be seen as a way of interpreting and judging good and evil in modern western civilisation and examines what the discoveries of Darwin and our knowledge of the …

Feminism

January 7th, 1999

28:24

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the most important events of the 20th century - the rise of Feminism and the subsequent empowerment of women. What have been the most important and lasting changes for women in the …

Cultural Rights in the 20th Century

December 10th, 1998

28:07

On the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Human Rights at the United Nations in New York, Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the current status of that original declaration. Is it possible for any …

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