BBCR4 + RA.cc: The Philosopher’s Arms

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BBC Radio 4RadioArchives.ccThe Philosopher’s Arms is a new BBC Radio 4 program that moves the Café Philosophique movement into the English pub. All four episodes have been uploaded to RadioArchive.cc |HERE|!

I particularity like episode two in which one gentlemen says “it’s self evident” to a question that was not in the least self evident to me. Episode four is perhaps the most disturbing, it is an attempt to examine the feeble and disgusting groping that we feel for reasons we cannot explain, disgust (moral and physical). In another episode a participant suggested that having quick answers to these sorts of questions is likely because the answerer hadn’t thought very much about them. That sounded right to me, but I think I’ll have to think about it a bit more before I make any conclusions. To join in the fun go grab it.

The Philosophers Arms

The Philosopher’s Arms
Hosted by Matthew Sweet
4 Episodes – Approx. 28 Minutes (per episode) [DISCUSSION]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: Sept 6 – 27, 2011

Welcome to the Philosopher’s Arms – a very special pub where moral dilemmas, philosophical ideas and the real world meet for a chat and a drink. Each week Matthew Sweet takes a dilemma with real philosophical pedigree and sees how it matters in the everyday world.

Each week in the Philosphers Arms Matthew is joined by a cast of philosophers and attendant experts to show how the dilemmas we face in real life connect us to some of the trickiest philosophical problems ever thought up. En route we’ll learn about the thinking of such luminaries as Kant, Hume, Aristotle and Wittgenstein. All recorded in a pub in front of a live audience ready to tap their glasses and demand clarity and ask – what’s this all got to do with me?

So questions such as should the government put prozac in the water supply? And my daughter is a robot, how should I treat her? Lead us into dilemmas, problems and issues from the treatment of mental illness to the structure of financial markets, from animal rights to homosexuality. And they will challenge a few of the assumptions and intuitions about life that we carry round with us.

Episode 1 – The Experience Machine (September 6, 2011)
This week he’s been offered an Experience Machine. It’s a device that guarantees the sensation of a happy and fulfilled life. But it’s not real. Should Matthew plug in? David Willets, Jo Wolf and David Geaney join him for a drink to explain the big thinkers behind this idea and debate the nature of happiness, drugs, reality and the role of government.

Episode 2 – A Robot Daughter (September 13, 2011)
This week Matthew discovers that his adopted daughter is a robot. Should he treat her any differently from before? She’s indistinguishable from a human so should she have the same status as a human? Philosopher Barry Smith, Autism mentor Robyn Steward; Artificial Intelligence creator Murray Shanahan and all join Matthew for a drink and a bit of advice.

Episode 3 – The Ultimatum Game (September 20, 2011)
Where do we get our sense of justice and fairness from? Is it hardwired in us? Are we nakedly self-interested creatures, or are we, at least partially, altruistic? These are questions philosophers – from Plato to Hobbes, from Rousseau to David Hume – have pondered for hundreds of years. And a famous game invented by economists- called The Ultimatum Game – may help provide some of the answers. All this is up for discussion and debate this week in The Philosopher’s Arms.

Episode 4 – Moral Disgust (September 27, 2011)
And is there anything morally wrong with having sex with a supermarket chicken?

Guests in the series include:
David Willets, Universities Minister; Val Curtis, Hygiene Expert; Peter Tatchell, human rights activist; Barry Smith, Director of the Institute of Philosophy; Jo Wolff, professor of philosophy at University College London, Robyn Steward, mentor people on the Autism spectrum and their families; Murray Shanahan, creator of intelligent machines; Anders Sandberg from the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University.

Producer: David Edmonds

Posted by Jesse Willis

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