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Philosophy

Essays and videos on philosophy, the history of ideas, ethics and life’s big questions
Seen from inside, a couple eat a basic meal whilst outside in an alleyway a queue of mostly older people wait their turn
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Political philosophy

Liberal socialism now

As the crisis of democracy deepens, we must return to liberalism’s revolutionary and egalitarian roots

Matthew McManus

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Thinkers and theories

Against power

As a republican, Sophie de Grouchy argued that sympathy, not domination, must be the glue that holds society together

Sandrine Bergès & Eric Schliesser

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Thinkers and theories

‘My art is oratory, Socrates.’ An ancient warning on the power and peril of rhetoric

4 minutes

A man in tradional long shorts and striped shirt holds a huge heavy stone abvove his head as a crowd looks on
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Values and beliefs

How traditions progress

The colourful Swiss sport of stone putting illuminates Aristotle’s insights into the shortcomings of conservative thought

Daniel Kranzelbinder

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Political philosophy

Liberal democracies are backsliding worldwide. Could anarchy help?

24 minutes

Eugene V Debs making a speech from a stage on which several other men, women and a young girl are seated behind him; also shows 48-star flags of the United States hanging at the back of the stage
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Political philosophy

In the interests of all

How Eugene V Debs turned American republicanism against the chiefs of capitalism – and became a true crusader for freedom

Tom O’Shea

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History of ideas

Equality without compromise

Liberal philosophy has clipped the wings of the egalitarian ideal. We should return to the bolder ideals of Iris Murdoch

Christine Sypnowich

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Political philosophy

Liberalism against capitalism

The work of John Rawls shows that liberal values of equality and freedom are fundamentally incompatible with capitalism

Colin Bradley

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Thinkers and theories

The Indian pragmatist

Ambedkar was not only a politician, but a profound thinker whose philosophy of democracy challenged the caste system

Scott R Stroud

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Political philosophy

Is the idea that democracy always benefits society misguided, or just mathematics?

7 minutes

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Fairness and equality

To build a fair society, we must first be able to envision it. John Rawls can help

64 minutes

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Political philosophy

The Swedish theory of love

All countries must balance the freedom of individuals with the demands of the community. Sweden’s solution is unique

Lars Trägårdh

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Thinkers and theories

The scar of identity

Alexandre Kojève was an immense influence on many French thinkers. What was so compelling about his lectures on Hegel?

Samantha Rose Hill

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Politics and government

Wielding death

When everyday life is marked by oppression and violence, can a martyr’s death truly be an act of freedom and resistance?

Umar Lateef Misgar

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Global history

Geopolitics is for losers

The concept of geopolitics comes from German and Russian attempts to explain defeat and reverse loss of influence

Harold James

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Thinkers and theories

The generous philosopher

Bruno Latour showed us how to think with the things of the world, respecting their right to exist and act on their own terms

Stephen Muecke

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Beauty and aesthetics

What does art do?

Good art, laced with irony, ambiguity and suspense, is not obviously political. That’s what makes it politically interesting

Vid Simoniti

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Human rights and justice

Beyond ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ – could a range of verdict options be more just?

9 minutes

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Thinkers and theories

Democracy or apocalypse

Eric Voegelin and Hans Kelsen fled the Nazis. In the US, they clashed over the nature of modernity and government

David Dyzenhaus

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Politics and government

What lies beneath government

Buka Town in Bougainville shows how bureaucratic states could be reimagined, not as concrete buildings but as living gardens

Gordon Peake & Miranda Forsyth

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Politics and government

Is mass media still ‘manufacturing consent’ in the internet age?

5 minutes

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Ageing and death

Old not Other

Here’s a puzzle: why do we neglect and disdain the one vulnerable group we all eventually will join? Beauvoir had an answer

Kate Kirkpatrick & Sonia Kruks

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Political philosophy

Democracy entails conflict

Democracy is a system of politics that has disagreement at its heart. But how do we stop conflicts becoming destructive?

Rochelle DuFord

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History of ideas

Beyond dust and grime

Zhuangzi thought Confucians were like frogs trapped in a well, unable to perceive the limitlessness of the sea

Tao Jiang