Philosophy for our times: cutting edge debates and talks from the world's leading thinkers

metaphors mind
Metaphors of the Mind
metaphors mind
Speakers: Ophelia Deroy
Is our perception of the world no more than a metaphor? Co-director of the Institute of Philosophy and neuroscientist Ophelia Deroy uncovers the origins of experience. 
search of the self
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?
world without borders
A World Without Borders
Should we get rid of nation states?
Should we get rid of nation states?

From the Olympics to the UN we celebrate national identity and culture. Yet nations are typically the source of warfare and conflict. Would we be better to get rid of nations and borders in favour of a wider, ultimately global, community?  Or are we less fearful of warfare than the tyranny of a peace imposed by a central government?
Wallpaper String Theory Digital Colorfull Abstraction e1426832609950
A Goldilocks World
Is the universe finely tuned for life?
Is the universe finely tuned for life?

Copernicus and Darwin taught us to be skeptical of feeling we were special. Yet from the size of the electron to the cosmological constant our universe is strangely fine-tuned for life.  Is this a spectacularly fortuitous accident?  Has the universe been tailored for us or do the theories just make it look that way?
vanity fair
Vanity Fair
vanity fair
Categories: Mind & Reason
Speakers: Simon Blackburn, George Galloway, Suzannah Lipscomb
Is narcissism a virtue that we need more of?

With more photos taken every two minutes than in the entire 19th century, the Selfie generation would make Narcissus blush. Yet from Napoleon to Steve Jobs, self-absorption is often a trait of leaders. Should we celebrate self-promotion to create a more confident outgoing culture, or is British understatement a treasure?
postive thinking and the name game
Positive Thinking and the Name Game
Dinesh Bhugra, David Healy and Havi Carel put medicine on trial.

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?
everything we know
Everything We Know Is Wrong
Can science alone uncover the truth?

At a time of uncertainty and doubt, we often suppose that science alone can uncover the truth. Yet a recent paper found that 90% of scientific studies are notreproducible. Should we see science as a flawed method and look elsewhere for our truths, or is it the only direct line to reality we’ve got?
how men and women think final 1
How Men and Women Think
how men and women think final 1
Speakers: Simon Baron-Cohen, Helena Cronin, Gina Rippon
Are mental differences between the sexes real?

Many neuroscientists believe disorders of the mind will be solved when we understand the differences between the male and female brain. Yet is is frequently argued that men and women are not born but made. Are mental differences between the sexes real? Or is this just sexism dressed up as science?
Beyond Words
Beyond Words
Is meaning a human fantasy?

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?
March of the machines
March of the Machines
Is AI a threat to mankind?

Evil artificial intelligences are luckily confined to fiction. Yet leading scientists claim that intelligent machines are 'the most serious threat facing mankind'. Are they right or could a mind free from human prejudices create a better world? Or is all talk of artificial intelligence a deluded fantasy?
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