Philosophy for our times: cutting edge debates and talks from the world's leading thinkers
The Rise and Fall of Fantasy
Do we need new fantasies for the 21st Century?
Once we paraded grand visions of the future, now such goals are more typically left to the fanatical fringe. With economic and cultural growth in the East what vision does the West have to offer? Do we need new fantasies to meet the challenges of the 21st century or is our scepticism a sign of wisdom rather than decline?
The Emperor's New God
Can art replace religion?
"I don't believe in God. I believe in Art." So claims Damien Hirst. Is this a PR pitch or could art be the ultimate reality? Can art provide the purpose of life and replace religion in teaching us how to live, or are Hirst and his cronies just modern Mad Men spinning us a new kind of lie?
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?
After the Election
Being Free and Making Choices
Is our freedom an illusion?
Both democracy and liberal economics rely on free choice. Yet we are all influenced by cultural norms, advertising and vested interests. Might our freedom be an illusion and if so how can we respond? Or are our current choices sufficient to make us freer than we have ever been?
Fantasy and Reality
Should we 'get real' or embrace fantasy?
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?
Is English identity a fantasy of political propaganda? Yasmin Alibhai-Brown reclaims the n...
Is English identity merely a fantasy of political propaganda? Orwell Award-winning journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown reclaims the nation. "Magnificently entertaining" Guardian