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29. A walk across the universe

“Why is there something rather than nothing?” asked the German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz several centuries ago. It’s one of the main questions animating Christopher Potter‘s first book, You Are Here. And given that there is something, how did it come into being? And how for that matter did we come into being, several billions of […]

Continue Reading · 16 August 2009 · podcasts, religion and belief, science and philosophy

28. The Life of a Roman Town

How easy is it to get an insight into the life of the ancient Romans from a visit to the remains of Pompeii today? How much of what we see is even Roman, and how much is recent reconstruction? What did the Romans really think about sex? And what did they believe in a world […]

Continue Reading · 17 July 2009 · food and drink, history and politics, podcasts, religion and belief

19. Mark Vernon on: What is wellbeing?

Mark Vernon has just brought out a book on wellbeing in a new series of which he’s general editor. But this isn’t a run-of-the-mill self-help series. The series is called The Art of Living  and it’s published by independent philosophy specialist, Acumen. Their stated aim is to “open up philosophy’s riches to a wider public […]

Continue Reading · 3 October 2008 · religion and belief, science and philosophy

17. “Unstitching the carefully tailored suit” – among the dead philosophers

“The book is written against the view that a philosopher’s biography is of no importance and that philosophy can be reduced to a series of systems of thought. It’s really an attempt to rewrite the history of philosophy as a history of philosophers. That was the way that philosophy was taught until the eighteenth century. […]

Continue Reading · 30 August 2008 · podcasts, religion and belief, science and philosophy

What’s the big idea?

In May I made a number of recordings for this year’s Bristol Festival of Ideas, a series of very popular events which brought some high-powered thinkers to the city to stimulate discussion on subjects as diverse as the legacy of ’68 to why the human brain is not quite ‘fit for purpose’. I’m editing my […]

Continue Reading · 4 July 2008 · history and politics, podcasts, religion and belief, science and philosophy, technology and communication