A generation raised on Foucault and Derrida has learned to distrust claims to objective truth. Yet the mantra that 'there is no truth' is a paradox. Do we need a new conception of fantasy and reality to free us from the tyranny of truthmakers and the paradoxes of postmodernists alike?
American philosopher John Searle, post-postmodernist Hilary Lawson and Historian of Ideas at KCL Hannah Dawson untangle the truth.
Video of the debate: https://iai.tv/video/after-the-end-of-truth
Nearly twenty years have passed since scientists first proposed a mysterious force, Dark Energy, pushing our universe apart. Yet there is no direct evidence for it or any idea what it might be. Might our theories of the universe be profoundly mistaken or is an explanation of Dark Energy around the corner?
M-Theorist Michael Duff, Philosopher Massimo Pigliucci and String Theorist Erik Verlinde chase shadows in the cosmos.
The power of words is a wonder, and language perhaps our greatest skill. Yet the gap between the sound of a bell and its description is huge. Are the limits to language so profound that the big questions of science and philosophy are beyond us? Or can everything be said if we try hard enough?
Director of the New York Institute of Philosophy Paul Boghossian, Wittgenstein biographer and philosopher Ray Monk, and award winning novelist Joanna Kavenna debate the limits of language.
Watch the debate here: https://iai.tv/video/the-word-and-the-world
While the world turns we think ideas, right or wrong, are eternal. Yet meaning changes over time and context. Should we conclude that, like the material world, ideas are transient and knowledge and morality passing stories? Or is the eternal in our grasp after all?
New York Times columnist and author of 'The Trouble with Principle' Stanley Fish, philosopher of language Barry C. Smith and award-winning novelist Joanna Kavenna seek out the eternal.
We all want a better world, and we seemingly make progress, with more technology and less prejudice. Yet ideals and utopias are strangely difficult to imagine, let alone achieve. Is it that we just lack imagination or are leaders inherently corrupt? Or is there something impossible in the very idea?
Philosopher and author Roger Scruton, former Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett and MP and ResPublica Director Phillip Blond confront the future
Philosophy as therapy is an ancient idea. Endorsed by Wittgenstein and popularized by self-help books. But isn't philosophy about understanding even if the insights are uncomfortable? Can philosophy be a dynamic force changing how we think and what we can do? Or does it serve only as a guide to everyday life?
Oxford philosopher Adrian Moore, former priest and author of Wellbeing Mark Vernon and Plato Scholar Angie Hobbs consider the purpose of philosophy.
Copernicus and Darwin taught us to be skeptical of feeling we were special. Yet from the size of the electron to the cosmological constant our universe is strangely fine-tuned for life. Is this a spectacularly fortuitous accident? Has the universe been tailored for us or do the theories just make it look that way?
New York philosopher Massimo Pigliucci, M-Theorist and author of Universe or Multiverse? Bernard Carr, and Oxford constructor theorist Chiara Marletto wonder why we are here.
Music: Apache Force by Little Glass Men available under an Attribution Creative Commons License
Neuroscience has enabled us to explain how the brain affects the body. Yet there is no theory to explain how the matter of the brain creates thought and experience. Is consciousness inexplicable because it is not part of the material world? Or is it somehow physical after all and within our grasp?
German philosopher Markus Gabriel, philosopher and author of Nihil Unbound Ray Brassier, and evolutionary biologist Eva Jablonka seek answers. Prize winning novelist Joanna Kavenna hosts.
Video of the debate here: https://iai.tv/video/matter-and-mind
We think we know what is real and what is not. Yet strangely we can't even agree what reality is made of - everyday things, particles and energy, or language and thought. Is reality essentially incomprehensible because it is beyond us? Or do we just need time and patience to uncover the truth?
CERN physicist Tara Shears, author of Closure and post-postmodern metaphysician Hilary Lawson, and theologian Alison Milbank question reality beyond experience.
In assocation with Philosophy Now.
We think science is based on facts and evidence. But from gravity to dark matter, string theory to parallel universes, its theories are curiously bereft of hard evidence. Is evidence less important than we think and conjecture alone capable of leading to greater understanding? Or has science dangerously drifted into fantasy?
New York philosopher Massimo Pigliucci, CERN physicist Tara Shears and author of The Science Delusion Rupert Sheldrake seek answers.
Watch the full debate here: https://iai.tv/video/missing-evidence
From schizophrenia to depression we assume our psychiatric diagnoses are real. But as the mental health epidemic turns global, the categories now seem like the cause. Is it time to abandon our biological account of mental illness? Or is it the best strategy we've got?
Polly Toynbee interrogates Cambridge psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen, author of Madness Explained Richard Bentall and Professor of Mental Health at King's College Dinesh Bhugra.
In association with Guardian Live
Watch the debate here: https://iai.tv/video/mind-myth-and-madness
At a time of uncertainty and doubt, we often suppose that science alone can uncover the truth. Yet a recent paper found that 90% of scientific studies are not reproducible. Should we see science as a flawed method and look elsewhere for our truths, or is it the only direct line to reality we’ve got?
Outspoken philosopher of science Steve Fuller, Economist Data Editor Kenneth Cukier and bestselling theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss tell Gabrielle Walker why so much of what we think we know is wrong.
Designer babies and human enhancement were once confined to fiction. Now biotechnology allows designer genetics, and many already choose the sex of their children. Where will this technology lead the human race? Should we be nervous of the ability to enhance ourselves or embrace an exciting new future for humankind?
Science fiction author Richard Morgan, founder of Humanity+ David Pearce, and bebionic hand user Nicky Ashwell debate the future of humanity.
In collaboration with Motherboard
With technological advancements in the world of computer science and robotics, sci-fi sex robots such as Ava from Ex Machina, and Joi from Blade Runner 2049, are coming closer and closer to becoming real. Would sex robots be a disaster for healthy sexual relationships? Or might they actually help us?
In this episode, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computing at Goldsmiths Kate Devlin explores the possibilities of sex robots.
There was a time when gold money had real value. Yet now it floats free, a fantasy made real by our belief. Are there alternative fantasies that we could create to generate different and perhaps better realities? Or is there something special about the fantasy of money that makes it irreplaceable?
Guardian columnist Stephen Hewlitt asks CEO of Timebanking UK Sarah Bird, reporter for the Financial Times Izabella Kaminska and The Social Life of Money author Nigel Dodd to explore the alternatives to money.
From Newton's laws to E=mc2, we think we have uncovered the secrets of the universe. But some claim these laws evolve and others point to their human and cultural origins. Might eternal natural laws be human hubris? Or is the mind of God in our grasp?
CERN physicist and coiner of the term "Theory of Everything" John Ellis, author of The Science Delusion Rupert Sheldrake and American philosopher of physics Nancy Cartwright debate the sacred assumptions of science.
Watch the debate here: https://iai.tv/video/unnatural-laws
From writing to art, the intense to the light hearted, imagination transports us to untold fantasy worlds. Yet Picasso claimed "everything you can imagine is real". Should we dismiss this as the overblown claims of a celebrity artist, or might what we take to be reality actually be a product of the power of imagination?
Literary critic Terry Eagleton, New york University philosopher Paul Boghossian and Chocolat author Joanne Harris find places where reality ends and the power of imagination begins.
As China and Russia adopt their own variants, the reign of capitalism seems absolute. Yet there are many who wish for an alternative and some who claim a final crisis is in the making. Is there a radical alternative that we have not yet discovered? Or is the reality that capitalism is the only viable economic system?
Former Secretary of State for Health Stephen Dorrell, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman and Marxist political theorist Alex Callinicos reimagine capitalism and the current economic system.
Watch the debate here: https://iai.tv/video/rethinking-capital
Our life is made up of experiences. But what experience is remains a mystery. Heidegger thought it inexplicable and neuroscientists cannot find its location. Do we just need a better theory to uncover its secrets? Or is experience somehow both all that we have and yet not part of this world?
Formulator of the hard problem of consciousness David Chalmers, Oxford philosopher Peter Hacker and New York neuroscientist Susana Martinez-Conde debate the mystery of experience.
In association with New Philosopher
Watch the debate here: https://iai.tv/video/the-dance-of-life
If we have rights and ownership of anything it is surely of our own body. Yet we cannot dispose of it as we please, intoxicants are outlawed, and selling our body for sexual pleasure or organ donation is restricted. Is our body strangely not our own after all? Should we insist on our rights and freedom or do we need to be protected from ourselves?
Belle de Jour blogger Brooke Magnanti, bioethicist John Harris, and author of Our Bodies, Whose Property? Anne Phillips interrogate ownership.