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David Edmonds (Uehiro Centre, Oxford University) and Nigel Warburton (freelance philosopher/writer) interview top philosophers on a wide range of topics. Two books based on the series have been published by Oxford University Press. We are currently self-funding - donations very welcome via our website http://www.philosophybites.com
 
2011 is the 300th anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest figures in Western Philosophy – David Hume. As well as an economist and historian, Hume was specifically known for his scepticism and empiricism, and was also an important figure in the Scottish Enlightenment period in the 18th century. In this audio collection, The Open University’s Nigel Warburton is joined by A.C. Grayling and other philosophers to discuss Hume’s key theories around the self, induction and his argument agai ...
 
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show series
 
In Oxford during the Second World War four women philosophers came to prominence. Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Iris Murdoch, and Mary Midgley were friends and met to discuss their ideas, particulary about ethics. Benjamin Lipscomb, author of a recent book about them, The Women Are Up To Something, speaks to David Edmonds in this episode of th…
 
“I tell my students, ‘If somebody utters the sentence that starts with the words, “History teaches us” the rest of the sentence is probably wrong.’ History has no direct lessons for almost anything. Our own age is sufficiently different, sufficiently unique, from what happened in the past that any facile lessons from history are more likely to misl…
 
Verbal arts, explains Karin Barber, emeritus professor of African cultural anthropology at the University of Birmingham, are “any form of words that have been composed in order to attract attention or invite interpretation which is intended to be repeatable in some way.” They are, she continues, central to all sorts of social processes, “just as mu…
 
Stoic philosophers described anger as a temporary madness and argued that we should eliminate it wherever possible. More recently Martha Nussbaum has argued for keeping anger out of political debates. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast, in contrast, Myisha Cherry makes the case for rage in some specific circumstances. She discusses rag…
 
COVID-19 has changed everything, including how we work (and to be more precise, are employed). But in order to best understand how things have changed, and hopefully to grapple with how they will be, it helps to have studied how they were. Enter Melanie Simms, professor of work and employment at the University of Glasgow ‘s Adam Smith Business Scho…
 
“Convict criminology,” Jeffrey Ian Ross explains in this Social Science Bites podcast, is “a network, or platform, that’s united in the perception that the convict voice has been either neglected or marginalized in scholarship or policy debates in the field of criminology in general, and corrections in particular.” Ross, a professor in the School o…
 
Molefi Kete Asante, the chair of the Department of African American Studies at Philadelphia’s Temple University, has long been at the forefront of developing the academic discipline of Black studies and in founding the theory of Afrocentrism, “the centering of African people in their own stories.” In this Social Science Bites podcast, Asante offers…
 
There is inequality in the United States, a fact most people accept and which data certainly bears out. But how bad do you think that inequality is, say, based on comparing the wealth held by the average Black person in America and the average white person? This is one of the questions that Jennifer Richeson, a social psychologist at Yale Universit…
 
The twin prods of a U.S. president trying to rebrand the coronavirus as the ‘China virus’ and a bloody attack in Atlanta that left six Asian women dead have brought to the fore a spate of questions about Asian Americans in the United States. Columbia University sociologist Jennifer Lee has been answering many of those questions her entire academic …
 
Despite being someone who doesn’t “particularly enjoy the game,” cognitive anthropologist Martha Newson is drawn to football. “Football is one of the most exciting games to watch as an anthropologist,” she explains in this Social Science Bites podcast. “I’m not watching the ball go around the pitch – I’m watching the fans. I’m transfixed by them! Y…
 
When human judgment enters the picture, so too will errors in human judgment. Think of this as “noise,” just as you might think of a signal-to-noise ratio in an audio signal. And just as in listening to music, this noise is not a feature, but a flaw. In the context of human action, management professor at HEC Paris and former McKinsey senior partne…
 
"That’s such a hard question,” Gina Neff, a sociologist at the Oxford Internet Institute, responds when asked what social science research or thinker most influenced her. “It’s like a busman’s holiday for an academic, because so many things have influenced my thinking.” Her answer, by the way, was Ulrich Beck’s concept of the risk society, as expla…
 
When Jim Scott mentions ‘resistance,’ this recovering political scientist isn’t usually talking about grand symbolic statements or large-scale synchronized actions by thousands or more battling an oppressive state. He’s often referring to daily actions by average people, often not acting in concert and perhaps not even seeing themselves as ‘resisti…
 
What is the status of something that is an absence, like a hole? Suki Finn explores the metaphysics of nothing in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. Suki is also the editor of a new book based on Philosophy Bites interviews with women philosophers selected from our archive Women of Ideas, to be published by Oxford University Press in Apr…
 
The study of stigma, , says Michèle Lamont, is a “booming field.” That assessment can be both sad and hopeful, and in this Social Science Bites podcast the Harvard sociologist explains stigma’s manifestations and ways to combat it, as well as what it takes for a researcher to actually study stigma. Lamont defines stigma “as the negative characteriz…
 
Jacques Derrida was a controversial philosopher whose writing could be fiendishly difficult to read. Nevertheless he had many followers. Here Pete Salmon, author of a recent biography of Derrida, manages to give a clear account of what Derrida meant by deconstruction. This episode was sponsored by St John's College. For more information about the c…
 
What we tell people about ourselves is not exclusively, or often not even majorly, what comes out of our mouths. A host of nonverbal messages emanate from us, many of them intentionally sent to create or reinforce a narrative for a recipient who is left trying to judge the veracity of the sum total of the information. The study of this signaling in…
 
Arthur Schopenhauer is best known for the deep pessimism of his book The World as Will and Representation. Here we focus on a slightly less pessimistic aspect of his philosophy: his views on compassion. Very unusually for an early nineteenth century thinker, he was influenced here by his reading of Indian philosophy. David Bather Woods is the inter…
 
Consider two different, but similar situations. In the first, children are asked to pull ropes together. Candy cascades down, but in unequal distribution – three for one child and one for the other. In the second situation, the children come across the sweets but without joint labor, and again find an uneven distribution. What usually happens next …
 
Hannah Arendt's experience of the Eichmann trial in 1961 led her to reflect on the nature of politics, truth, and plurality. Samantha Rose Hill, author of a biography of Arendt, discusses the context for this, and the key features of Arendt's views. We are grateful for support for this episode from St John's College - for more information about the…
 
Forensic psychologist Belinda Winder, who founded and heads the Sexual Offences, Crime and Misconduct Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University, wants society to understand one key aspect about pedophilia. “Many people understand pedophilia to be both a sexual attraction to children but also the act of committing abuse against children,” she exp…
 
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