The Philosophers Zone
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Updated: 52 min 18 sec ago
Shakespeare’s Hamlet is perhaps the most famous Danish depressive, but Soren Kierkegaard gives him a run for his money. He wrote uncompromisingly difficult philosophical works, so it’s not surprising that he’s an outsize but rather remote figure in the popular cultural imagination. This week’s guest wants to change all that – she’s written a biography of Kierkegaard that brings the man and the work into sharp, sympathetic focus.
Hungarian philosopher Agnes Heller was a Holocaust survivor, a dissident under Hungary’s communist regime, and one of the great modern political thinkers. She was also a wonderfully engaging speaker, and this week we hear her in conversation from 2013, as well as the reflections of a close friend and colleague.
Early 20th century French thinker Henri Bergson was a celebrity. Today he’s a more obscure figure, but we're asking if his ideas should be restored to the intellectual map of the 20th century. Also: a philosopher-geologist on rocks, science and climate change.
Buddhist teaching is radically egalitarian, and yet the need for a Buddhist feminism is pressing. Is gender irrelevant to Buddhist teaching? And for women who have been denied agency or a sense of identity, how reasonable is the doctrine of non-self?
In a century that produced a dizzying array of philosophers and philosophical approaches, few philosophers were as distinctive, and stood out quite so conspicuously, as Iris Murdoch (1919-1999).
What constitutes a "philosophical" conversation? You might reasonably expect such a conversation to be conceptual, exploring abstract notions of self, time, being, ethics and so on. For indigenous Australian philosophers, the conversation gets real very fast.
What happens when we take philosophy into the field? This week we’re talking archaeology, with focus on feminism, tensions between indigenous and Western scientific knowledge, and the principles of reconciliation.
Karl Popper's idea of "the open society" promoted values of inclusivity, transparency and democratic freedom. Today, some fear that the open society is under threat, with negative consequences for a lot of things we've come to take for granted - including public health.
Most people agree that nation states don't have any moral right to control the movement of citizens within their borders, or to prevent citizens from travelling beyond those borders. So why should we accept that states have the right to exclude or restrict entry to refugees and immigrants?
The march of technology never stops, and sometimes institutions have trouble keeping up with the changes. This week we’re looking at possible future crimes committed via technology that’s already with us: brain-computer interfaces, which enable things to happen in the physical world by means of neural impulses – thoughts and imaginings, rather than movements.
A quick scan of leading philosophy journals reveals that what passes for "philosophy" is selectively screened, with analytic philosophy clearly the dominant style. We look at the history of this phenomenon, some of the likely consequences, and how might it be addressed.
When Nicola Redhouse had each of her two children, she experienced shattering post-natal anxiety that sent her deep into the mystery of the self, and the relationship between mind and body. A long standing participant in psychoanalysis, she found herself up against the practical limits of Freudian theory - but would science provide more useful insight?
Can science potentially reveal everything, giving us a "God's eye view" of the world? Some hope that the answer is (or will one day be) Yes - other more cautious observers wonder if science can ever overcome its blind spot.
In 1944, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer published their famous claim that "Enlightenment reverts to mythology" - meaning that any rational order sooner or later collapses into irrationality. Seven decades later, it seems they were were right on the money. Is human society fated to be irrational? And why is the alt-right having all the crazy fun these days?
Reality TV draws increasing concern from observers who fear that cast, producers and audiences alike could be participating in something morally reprehensible - and that serious consequences for society lie ahead.
Resentment, blame and guilt are generally placed on the negative side of the ledger of human emotions. Nobody particularly enjoys the way they feel. But they are morally important all the same, both in the public sphere and in the realm of interpersonal relationships.