Philosophy Bites

Philosophy Bites

www.philosophybites.com
Top philosophers interviewed on bite-sized topics


David Edmonds on Wittgenstein’s Poker
Jul 7 • 17 min
For this special episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast (produced under lockdown) Nigel Warburton interviews David Edmonds about his bestselling book, written with David Edinow, Wittgenstein’s Poker. It focuses on a heated argument between the…
Nigel Warburton on A Little History of Philosophy
Jun 24 • 15 min
For this first of two special lockdown episodes of Philosophy Bites we interviewed each other. Here David Edmonds interviews Nigel Warburton about his bestseller A Little History of Philosophy. In the companion episode Nigel interviews David about his…
Cheryl Misak on Frank Ramsey and Ludwig Wittgenstein
May 30 • 19 min
has recently published a biography of , the great Cambridge thinker who died at the age of only 26, but who nevertheless made a significant impact in several different fields including philosophy, mathematics, and economics. In this episode of the…
Philip Goff on Galileo and Consciousness
May 9 • 18 min
Philip Goff discusses some of Galileo’s insights into the nature of matter. He then goes on to discuss his own view about consciousness, panpsychism. Goff believes that matter is conscious at some level.
Elizabeth Anderson on ‘Let’s Talk’
Apr 19 • 20 min
In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast, recorded before the Covid-19 lockdowns, the political philosopher explains why we need to be prepared to talk more, even with people with whom we strongly disagree.
Christian List on Free Will
Feb 5 • 23 min
What is free will? Do we have it? These are difficult questions. Neuroscience seems to point in the direction of determinism. But suggests that there might still be room for genuine free will.
Emily Thomas on Wildly Implausible Metaphysics
Oct 21, 2019 • 19 min
Some philosophers have drawn very strange conclusions about the nature of reality. Despite this believes that their work may still be worth studying. They usually have had good reasons for what they concluded. In this episode of the podcast she…
James Wilson on Real World Ethics
Sep 21, 2019 • 20 min
Are thought experiments the best way of doing practical ethics? Not according to . He thinks we need the rich detail of real cases or complex imaginary cases not a simplified version of reality to make sense of the moral problems we face. We are…
Kate Kirkpatrick on the life and work of Simone de Beauvoir
Jul 8, 2019 • 17 min
In this episode of the , , author of a new biography of Beauvoir, Becoming Beauvoir, discusses the relationship between the life and work of Simone de Beauvoir. Beauvoir is often portrayed as applying Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialism to the condition…
Kathleen Stock on What is a Woman?
May 21, 2019 • 30 min
‘What is a woman?’ has become a contentious question with practical implications. The philosopher gives an account of the category ‘woman’ and how we should think about it. She gives a different answer to this question which Amia Srinivassan…
Christian Miller on the Character Gap
Feb 25, 2019 • 20 min
believes that there is a character gap, a gap between what we think we are like morally and how we actually behave. In this episode of the podcast he explores the psychology of moral behaviour, and how we can become better people. We are…
Philip Pettit on the Birth of Ethics
Feb 25, 2019 • 20 min
Where did ethics come from? tells an ‘as if’ story about the birth of ethics that is designed to illuminate what ethics is and why it evolved on this episode of the podcast. We are grateful for support from the and from Patreon donors for this…
Helen Beebee on Possible Worlds
Jan 14, 2019 • 16 min
Philosophers often talk about possible worlds. Is this just a way of describing counterfactual situations? As explains, some of them believe that possible worlds actually exist. This episode of the podcast is supported by the and by Patreon…
Paul Sagar on Scepticism about Philosophy
Nov 27, 2018 • 20 min
Throughout its history there have been challenges to the status of philosophy. discusses some of these in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. We are grateful for support from the in making this podcast, and for donations from Patreon…
Katherine Hawley on Trustworthiness
Oct 7, 2018 • 16 min
Is it always good to be trustworthy? Can trustworthiness come into conflict with other values, such as generosity? discusses these and other questions about trustworthiness with Nigel Warburton in this episode of the podcast. We are grateful…
Teresa Bejan on Civility
Aug 20, 2018 • 21 min
Civility is a conversational virtue that governs how people talk to each other. How important is it in political life? In this episode of the podcast discusses this manner of speaking and writing and its history. We are grateful for…
Robert B. Talisse on Overdoing Democracy
Jul 23, 2018 • 18 min
You can overdo most things, but can you overdo democracy? Political philosopher thinks you can. He explains why in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. We are very grateful for sponsorship from the for this episode.
Robert Wright on Why Buddhism is True
May 7, 2018 • 19 min
believes that there are a number of key tenets of Buddhism which are both compatible with present day evolutionary theory, and accurate about our relationship with the world and with our own minds. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast he…
Larry Temkin on Obligations to the Needy
Apr 2, 2018 • 21 min
How can we best help other people? Peter Singer has argued that we should give aid. Despite a lifetime spent believing this, has started to question whether the effects of aid are beneficial. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast he…
Sarah Fine on the Right to Exclude
Feb 14, 2018 • 21 min
Do states have a moral right to exclude people from their territory? It might seem obvious that states do have such a right, but questions this in this episode of the podcast. This episode of Philosophy Bites was sponsored by the…
Eric Schwitzgebel on Scepticism
Jan 11, 2018 • 18 min
How do I know I’m not dreaming? This sort of question has puzzled philosophers for thousands of years. discusses scepticism and its history with Nigel Warburton in this episode of the podcast. This episode of Philosophy Bites was sponsored by the…
Philip Pettit on Robustly Demanding Goods
Dec 10, 2017 • 18 min
Philip Pettit discusses the concept of robustly demanding goods with Nigel Warburton
Katalin Farkas on Knowing a Person
Nov 6, 2017 • 13 min
Philosophers talk about ‘knowing how’ and ‘knowing what’. But what is involved in knowing a person? discusses this question with David Edmonds in this episode of the podcast. This episode was sponsored by the from the Janet Prindle Institute for…
Roger Scruton on Human Nature
Aug 29, 2017 • 18 min
Are human beings fundamentally different from the rest of the animal world? Can what we essentially are be captured in a biological or evolutionary description? discusses the nature of human nature with Nigel Warburton in this episode of the …
Anil Seth on the Real Problem of Consciousness
Jul 19, 2017 • 23 min
Anil Seth on the Real Problem of Consciousness
Michael Puett on Ritual in Chinese Philosophy
Jun 26, 2017 • 20 min
Why does apparently trivial ritual play such an important part in some ancient Chinese philosophy? , co-author of The Path, explains in this episode of the podcast. This episode of Philosophy Bites was sponsored by the Examining Ethics podcast from…
Aaron Meskin on the Definition of Art
May 30, 2017 • 17 min
What is Art? That’s not an easy question to answer. Some philosophers even think it can’t be answered. discusses this question on this episode of Aesthetics Bites. Aesthetics Bites is a podcast series of interviews with top thinkers in the…
Shelly Kagan on Death and Deprivation
Apr 18, 2017 • 23 min
The process of dying can be horrible for many, but is there anything bad about death itself? The obvious answer is that deprives us of something that we might otherwise have experienced. But that leads to further philosophical issues… discusses…
Elisabeth Schellekens Dammann on Disagreement About Taste
Apr 18, 2017 • 20 min
We certainly disagree about aesthetic judgments in a range of cases. But is anyone right? Is there no disputing about taste? Are all tastes equal? discusses disagreement about taste in this episode of Aesthetics Bites. Aesthetics Bites is…
Andy Clark on The Extended Mind
Mar 18, 2017 • 18 min
, who with David Chalmers proposed the theory of the extended mind, explains what he means by this idea in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Stephen Davies on Art and Evolution
Mar 1, 2017 • 13 min
Why do we have art at all? There must be some evolutionary explanation. In this episode of the Aesthetics Bites podcast series, discusses some of the evolutionary theories about where art came from in conversation with Nigel Warburton. …
Eileen John on Art and Morality
Mar 1, 2017 • 15 min
In this episode of Aesthetics Bites, Eileen John discusses some of the ways that art explores moral questions. Nigel Warburton is the interviewer. Aesthetics Bites is a series of interviews with top thinkers in the philosophy of art. It is…
Chris Frith on The Point of Consciousness
Feb 3, 2017 • 16 min
Why do we have consciousness at all? Neuroscientist discusses this question with in this episode of Mind Bites which is part of a series made in association with Philosophy Bites for ‘s AHRC-funded project.
Keith Frankish on Conscious Thought
Jan 14, 2017 • 11 min
One distinctive feature of human beings is that we can represent aspects of the world to ourselves, and also counterfactual situations. We do this through our conscious thoughts. Keith Frankish discusses this phenomenon in this episode of Mind Bites,…
Amia Srinivasan on What is a Woman?
Jan 1, 2017 • 19 min
‘What is a woman?’ may seem a straightforward question, but it isn’t. Feminist philosophers from Simone de Beauvoir onwards have had a great deal to say on this topic. gives a lucid introduction to some of the key positions in this debate in…
Kate Jeffery on Concepts and Representation
Dec 5, 2016 • 16 min
Neuroscientist discusses how the brain represents the world. This episode is is part of a short series Mind Bites made in association with Nicholas Shea’s AHRC-funded Meaning for the project. That website is open for comments and discussion of the…
Anthony Gottlieb on Pierre Bayle
Dec 2, 2016 • 15 min
Pierre Bayle was one of the best-known philosophers in the Eighteenth Century, but his work is now rarely studied. , author of The Dream of Enlightenment, argues that he should be better known, particularly his work on toleration and on scepticism.
Kathleen Stock on Fiction and the Emotions
Nov 12, 2016 • 17 min
How should we understand the emotions that readers feel about fictional characters? discusses this question with in this, the second episode of Aesthetics Bites, a collaboration between the and , made possibly by a grant from the .
David Miller on Immigration
Nov 12, 2016 • 21 min
Immigration is one of the major, and most contentious, political issues of our day. Can philosophy help here? thinks so. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast he speaks to David Edmonds about border controls and their justification.
Sophie Scott on the Meaning of Laughter
Oct 11, 2016 • 20 min
What is laughter? What roles does it serve? , a neuroscientist, discusses this serious question with for this episode of Mind Bites, a series made in association with Philosophy Bites as part of Nicholas Shea’s AHRC-funded project
Peter Godfrey-Smith on Mental Representations
Oct 3, 2016 • 19 min
Do we map the world in our minds? Does that imply that we have a little inner map-reader in our heads interpreting mental representations? discusses these issues with in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. This episode is is part of a…
Noel Carroll on Criticism
Oct 2, 2016 • 16 min
argues that evaluation is a central element of criticism of art, drama, dance, music, and literature. is the interviewer for this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. This is the first of a series of 6 interviews on…
Cecile Fabre on Remembrance
Sep 20, 2016 • 21 min
How should we remember and commemorate those who die in war? What about the enemy dead? discusses this issue with in this episode of the podcast.
Jesse Prinz on Thinking with Pictures
Aug 1, 2016 • 21 min
Many philosophers deny the common sense view that we think with pictures. Are they right to do so? doesn’t think so. In this episode of the podcast he explains to why we need to think again about thinking with pictures. This episode is part of the…
Kieran Setiya on the Mid-Life Crisis
Jul 6, 2016 • 12 min
The mid-life crisis is a well-observed phenomenon. Is there a philosophical angle on this? MIT philosopher thinks there is. He discusses it in this episode of the podcast.
Catherine Wilson on Epicureanism
May 30, 2016 • 17 min
Epicureanism has been caricatured as a philosophy of indulgence. But what did followers of the Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus really believe? discusses Epicureanism with in this episode of the podcast.
Gregg Caruso on Freewill and Punishment
Apr 26, 2016 • 16 min
If determinism is true, can there be any justification for punishment? Gregg Caruso discusses this issue on Philosophy Bites.
Greg Currie on the Philosophy of Film
Mar 26, 2016 • 19 min
This episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast focuses on several questions about representation and perception in the philosophy of film. talks to .
Katherine Morris on Merleau-Ponty on the Body
Mar 2, 2016 • 17 min
Maurice Merleau-Ponty was one of the most interesting of the French phenomenological thinkers, but his reputation has been eclipsed by those of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Katherine Morris discusses some of Merleau-Ponty’s ideas about the…
Michael Devitt on Experimental Semantics
Feb 14, 2016 • 15 min
Does the word ‘Gödel’ straightforwardly refer to the person who came up with the incompleteness theory of arithmetic? Some think the best way to find out to ask people about their intuitions on the topic? This creates all kinds of problems,…
Steven Hyman on Categorising Mental Disorders
Jan 29, 2016 • 16 min
discusses the philosophical issues that arise from attempting to categorise mental disorders with David Edmonds in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Leif Wenar on Trade and Tyranny
Jan 10, 2016 • 18 min
Where does our oil come from? Does it matter? , author of the recent book Blood Oil, argues that Western democracies are compromising themselves by buying either directly or indirectly from vicious tyrants.
Katrin Flikschuh on Philosophy in Africa
Dec 16, 2015 • 17 min
In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast addresses the question ‘What sort of philosophy is going on in Africa?’
Carlo Rovelli on Philosophy and Physics
Nov 29, 2015 • 22 min
Some eminent physicists, including Stephen Hawking, have been sceptical of the value of philosophy to physics. i, a theoretical physicist with a strong interest in philosophy, disagrees. Here he discusses the relationship between philosophy and…
John Worrall on Evidence-Based Medicine
Nov 17, 2015 • 12 min
What sort of conclusions can we legitimately draw from the experiments that support evidence-based medicine? questions some of the received opinion on this topic in this interview with David Edmonds for Philosophy Bites.
Joshua Greene on the Construction of Thought
Oct 31, 2015 • 12 min
We take for granted the fact that we can combine concepts to give new thoughts, and understand the thoughts too. How do we do that? discusses this question in this episode of the podcast.
Graham Priest on Buddhism and Philosophy
Oct 13, 2015 • 17 min
What is the nature of the self? What is reality? How should we live? These are fundamental philosophical questions. discusses how such questions have been discussed in the Buddhist tradition for this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Jesse Prinz on Is Everything Socially Constructed?
Sep 27, 2015 • 20 min
To what degree is reality something created by us? explores this fascinating question in conversation with .
Massimo Pigliucci on the Demarcation Problem
Sep 13, 2015 • 23 min
How can you tell science from non-science? Karl Popper argued that the falsifiability of a hypothesis is the mark of science. is not so sure about that.
David Owens on Duty
Sep 1, 2015 • 12 min
What is a duty and what sort of obligation does it put us on? explores the nature of duty in this episode of the podcast. If you enjoy Philosophy Bites, please consider supporting us via .
Kimberley Brownlee on Social Deprivation
Aug 19, 2015 • 17 min
We are a highly social species: we need human contact. But do we have a right to it? In this episode of the podcast suggests that this is an ingredient in a minimally decent human life…
Shelly Kagan on Speciesism
Aug 1, 2015 • 24 min
The philosopher Peter Singer is famous for his attack on speciesism, the alleged prejudice that many exhibit in favour of human interests when compared with the interests of other animals. Here outlines Singer’s position and takes issue…
Susan James on Foucault and Knowledge
Jul 22, 2015 • 21 min
Michel Foucault’s work explores a wide range of topics; it includes histories of both punishment and sex. He also wrote more abstractly about philosophical topics. One theme to which he kept returning, whatever the topic, was the nature of our…
Larry Temkin on Transitivity
Jul 6, 2015 • 20 min
How do you choose which course of action is best? It seems reasonable that if A is better than B, and B is better than C, A must be better than C. But is it? challenges this idea, known as the axiom of transitivity.
William B. Irvine on Living Stoically
Jun 21, 2015 • 13 min
How should we live? is a basic philosophical question. The Stoics had some answers. But are they relevant today? thinks so. Listen to his conversation with on this episode of the podcast.
Steven Lukes on Power
Jun 6, 2015 • 14 min
What is power? argues for a three-dimensional account of this concept in this episode of the podcast.
Theodore Zeldin on Philosophy and History
Jun 6, 2015 • 12 min
The historian and writer gives his personal take on the relation betwen philosophy and history in this episode of the podcast.
Jesse Prinz on Art and Emotion
May 22, 2015 • 20 min
What part do emotions play in our appreciation of art? explores the sense of wonder at artworks in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Cassim Quassam on Conspiracy Theories
May 10, 2015 • 20 min
What is a conspiracy? Why do conspiracies - real or imagined - matter to philsophy? explores these questions in conversation with
Tim Williamson on the Appeal of Relativism
Apr 28, 2015 • 13 min
Are all truths relative? That’s an attractive idea for many people. , Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford University discusses why and attempts to immunise us against sloppy thinking in this area.
Shaun Nichols on Death and the Self
Apr 14, 2015 • 14 min
How does your view of the self affect your attitude to your own death? Shaun Nichols discusses this question in this episode of the podcast.
Rebecca Roache on Swearing
Mar 29, 2015 • 17 min
Warning: this episode on the philosophy of swearing includes swearing. Rebecca Roache discusses swearing and whether there are good arguments for refraining from it.
Lisa Bortolotti on Irrationality
Mar 19, 2015 • 17 min
We’re all irrational some of the time, probably more of the time than we are ready to acknowledge. discusses the nature of irrationality with in this episode of the podcast.
Jonathan Webber on Deceiving With Words
Mar 1, 2015 • 13 min
There are many ways to deceive with words, some of which don’t involve lying. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast considers whether it matters or not if you lie.
Simon Critchley on Suicide
Feb 16, 2015 • 17 min
Albert Camus described suicide as the ‘one really serious philosophical problem’. In this episode of the podcast discusses suicide with .
Christine Korsgaard on the Status of Animals
Feb 3, 2015 • 15 min
Many philosophers argue in favour of the welfare of animals because of their capacity for feeling pain. Harvard philosopher is unusual in using Kantian arguments to defend the status of animals as ends in themselves. She discusses her…
Meira Levinson on the Aims of Education
Jan 18, 2015 • 19 min
What are the aims of education? discusses this important question with in this episode of the Philosoph Bites podcast.
Lucy Allais on Forgiveness
Jan 4, 2015 • 17 min
What is forgiveness? Whom does it benefit? Is it ever obligatory? discusses these questions in conversation with in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Who is the most impressive philosopher you’ve met? A compilation.
Dec 20, 2014 • 38 min
We’ve collected a range of answers to the question ‘Who’s the most impressive philosopher you’ve met?’ This includes the late Ronald Dworkin’s response along with many others. Some of the answers are expected, but quite a few are suprising.
Julia Annas on What is Virtue Ethics For?
Dec 20, 2014 • 15 min
explains what Virtue Ethics is for and how it differs from other approaches to the question of how we should live in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Hugh Mellor on Probability
Dec 7, 2014 • 13 min
What is probability? Not an easy question to answer. We thought our best chance of clarity on this question was from Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University and author of a book on the subject, …
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein on Progress in Philosophy
Nov 13, 2014 • 15 min
In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast interviews the philosopher and novelist about whether Philosophy has made any progress since the time of Plato. If you enjoy Philosophy Bites, please support us on or via the Paypal links on…
Adam Swift on Parental Partiality
Oct 27, 2014 • 17 min
Most people think it is acceptable to advantage their children, but how far should this go? discusses the limits of parental partiality in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Keith Frankish on the Hard Problem and the Illusion of Qualia
Oct 11, 2014 • 15 min
Keith Frankish discusses consciousness, subjective experience and the brain in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Ted Honderich on What It Is to be Conscious
Oct 11, 2014 • 16 min
In this episode sketches his theory of the nature of consciousness.
John Dupre on Genomics
Sep 29, 2014 • 16 min
Genomics is a new approach to understanding our biology, one with far-reaching consequences for our understanding of what we are and where are responsibilities lie. Philosopher of biology explains in this episode of the podcast.
Peter Lamarque on Literature and Truth
Sep 14, 2014 • 17 min
Many people have claimed that one of the benefits of reading writers like Dostoevsky and Shakespeare is that they convey important truths about the human condition. is sceptical about this way of speaking about literature. He explains why in…
Jennifer Nagel on Intuitions about Knoweldge
Aug 31, 2014 • 18 min
Knowledge is part of our everyday lives. We know all kinds of things without even thinking about them. But what is going on here? discusses our intutions about knowledge with for this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast
Tamar Gendler on Why Philosophers Use Examples
Aug 17, 2014 • 14 min
Why do philosophers use examples? explores this question in conversation with in this episode of the podcast.
Amia Srinivasan on Genealogy
Aug 2, 2014 • 19 min
Does it matter where our ideas came from? Friedrich Nietzsche famously diagnosed the origin of Christian morality in what he thought of as a slave mentality. discusses genealogical reasoning with in this episode of the podcast.
Seth Lazar on Sparing Civilians in War
Jul 19, 2014 • 15 min
Why is it morally wrong to target civilians in war? Can civilians be distinguished clearly from combatants? discusses these issues in this episode of the podcast.
Chris Betram on Rousseau’s Moral Psychology
Jul 6, 2014 • 19 min
Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s insights into moral psychology and its impact on how we live are the subject of this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Roger Scruton on the Sacred
Jun 24, 2014 • 16 min
Is there any place for a notion of the sacred in contemporary life? believes that there is. In this episode of the podcast he discusses his understanding of the sacred and the part it plays in our experience of each other.
Regina Rini on the Moral Self and Psychology
Jun 8, 2014 • 17 min
What can experimental psychology contribute to our self-development as moral agents? Philosopher explores this question in this episode of the podcast.
Simon Blackburn on Narcissism
May 24, 2014 • 15 min
Vanity, smugness, narcissism - they’re not good, but they’re not all the same thing. In this episode of the podcast explores what’s wrong with narcissism and how it differs from related concepts.
Norman Daniels on the Philosophy of Healthcare
May 13, 2014 • 16 min
Should we be striving to reduce health inequalities? If so, how? Harvard philosopher discusses this question in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Tom Stoneham on George Berkeley’s Immaterialism
Apr 27, 2014 • 18 min
George Berkeley was famous for arguing that objects are really just ideas. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast clarifies what he meant by this.
Michael Ignatieff on Political Theory and Political Practice
Apr 12, 2014 • 18 min
was an academic with a keen inerest in political theory before he learnt the hard way about politics in practice. He was an academic who became leader of the opposition in Canada then lost heavily in the 2011 Prime Ministerial election. In this…
Stephen Darwall on Moral Accountability
Mar 30, 2014 • 16 min
Moral accountability is at the heart of moral obligation and it reveals much about the attitudes we hold to each otehr. Yale professor explains what this means in this episode of the podcast.
David Papineau on Philosophy and Sport
Mar 13, 2014 • 21 min
discusses a range of specific sporting incidents that are of philosophical interest in this episode of the podcast. David Papineau has a weblog on philosophy and sport:
Roberto Mangabeira Unger on Deep Freedom
Mar 4, 2014 • 17 min
r argues that contemporary political progressives have abandoned what 19th century liberals knew: that some ways of living are better than others. In this conversation with he argues that we need a different concept of freedom, one…
Nicola Lacey on H.L.A.Hart and Legal Positivism
Feb 24, 2014 • 18 min
H.L.A. Hart made significant contributions to legal philosophy. discusses his legal positivism in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
John Skorupski on Normativity
Feb 9, 2014 • 16 min
Some statements are descriptive, such as ’ is a podcast series’; others are normative, such as ‘You ought to tell the truth’. But what exactly is normativity? explores this question in conversation with David Edmonds.
Tim Scanlon on What’s Wrong with Inequality?
Jan 25, 2014 • 14 min
Is a concern for inequality of wealth just a form of envy? Are there good reasons for objecting to inequality? Harvard philosopher discusses these questions in converation with in this episode of the podcast.
Emma Borg on Language and Context
Jan 7, 2014 • 20 min
How much of the meaning of what we say depends on its context of utterance? Is there a role for literal meaning. discusses these questions with in this episode of the podcast.
Patricia Churchland on Self Control
Dec 22, 2013 • 18 min
Neurophilosopher discusses the insights that neuroscience can give us into the nature of self control in this episode of the Philosophyh Bites podcast.
Jennifer Saul on Implicit Bias
Dec 7, 2013 • 16 min
Implicit biases are tricky. We all have them, apparently, but we don’t realise we have them. What are the implications of these biases? Does it, perhaps, go some way to explaining why there are so few women in academic philosophy? discusses these…
Adrian Moore on Bernard Williams on Ethics
Nov 23, 2013 • 21 min
Bernard Williams was one of the most brilliant philosophers of his generation. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Adrian Moore discusses his ideas about Ethics.
Rom Harre on the Linguistic Turn in Philosophy
Nov 10, 2013 • 15 min
For this episode of the podcast discusses and illustrates the so-called Linguistic Turn in Philosophy, the focus on actual uses of language that was advocated by the later Wittgenstein, J.L. Austin, Gilbert Ryle and others.
Robert Talisse on the Importance of Arguments in Politics
Oct 26, 2013 • 18 min
Why is argument so important in politics? , co-author of Why We Argue (and how we should), explores this issue in conversation with David Edmonds for this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
John Tasioulas on Human Rights
Oct 12, 2013 • 21 min
What are human rights? Are they simply legal rights? What is their relation to morality? discusses the basis of human rights in conversation with in this episode of the podcast.
Eric Schwitzgebel on the Ethical Behaviour of Ethics Professors
Sep 28, 2013 • 16 min
You might expect people who specialize in moral philosophy to behave better than other people. has done some empirical investigation of whether this is the case, and it doesn’t seem to be. What does that show about ethics? investigates.
Alison Gopnik on Hume and Buddhism
Sep 14, 2013 • 15 min
Many people have noticed similarities between what David Hume wrote about the self and Buddhist teaching on this subject. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites archive Alison Gopnik discusses the possibility that there was a direct route of influence.
David Edmonds on Trolley Problems
Sep 1, 2013 • 17 min
Is it ever morally acceptable to kill one person to save many? Most people agree that in some extreme circumstances this, though psychologically difficult, can be the right action to take. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast, interviews…
Jessica Moss on Weakness of Will
Aug 17, 2013 • 12 min
You think you know what’s best but don’t do it. We’ve all been there. For Plato and Aristotle this weakness of will presented a philosophical problem. Jessica Moss explains their contrasting approaches to this topic in this episode of the podcast.
Michael Martin on Hume on Taste
Aug 3, 2013 • 17 min
David Hume’s ‘Of the Standard of Taste’ focuses on judgements about beauty in writing. Can we say with any authority that one writer or work is better than another? gives a clear analysis of Hume’s essay on this topic in this episode of the…
Samuel Scheffler on the Afterlife
Jul 20, 2013 • 17 min
What do we really care about? In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast suggests that most of us care a lot about what happens after our deaths, and that affects what we feel about what is happening now and how we value it.
Noel Carroll on Humour and Morality
Jul 6, 2013 • 19 min
Must humour be moral? What about jokes that rely on immoral attitudes? Can they be funny? Are humour and morality simply separate spheres. Noel Carroll explores the relationship between humour and morality in this episode of the Philosophy Bites…
Daniel Dennett on the Chinese Room
Jun 23, 2013 • 16 min
Can computers think? John Searle famously used the Chinese Room thought experiment to suggest that they can’t. is suspicious about the way the thought experiment is set up. In this conversation with Nigel Warburton for the Philosophy Bites podcast he…
Dale Jamieson on Green Virtues
Jun 9, 2013 • 18 min
‘How should we live?’ is a basic philosophical question. In this episode of the podcast addresses the question in a period when human beings are having devastating effects on the environment. Which virtues should we cultivate in these conditions?
Simon Glendinning on Philosophy’s Two Cultures
May 27, 2013 • 16 min
Most philosophers today self-identify as within an Analytic or a Continental tradition. Where did these two cultures of philosophy come from? What role does Continental Philosophy play for Analytic Philosophy? investigates these questions in…
Leslie Green on Same Sex Marriage
May 11, 2013 • 15 min
Is there any reasonable objection to same sex marriage? discusses this controversial issue from a philosphical perspective with for this episode of the podcast.
John Mikhail on Battery and Morality
Apr 27, 2013 • 18 min
Hitting someone, throwing a ball hard at someone’s head, spitting at someone: these are all examples of harmful acts, called ‘battery’ in Tort Law, and most of us judge those who do such things without the victim’s implied or actual consent as morally…
Noel Malcolm on Hobbes’ Leviathan in Context
Apr 14, 2013 • 17 min
Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, published in 1651, remains one of the great works of political philosophy. has recently published a 3 volume scholarly edition of this book, based on decades of research. In this episode of the podcast he discusses how a…
Mark Rowlands on Philosophy and Running
Mar 29, 2013 • 11 min
Is there any connection between philosophy and running. , who began running to exercise his pet wolf thinks there is. Find out why in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast, which was recorded at the 2013 Literary…
John Gardner on Constitutions
Mar 17, 2013 • 17 min
What are constitutions and how are we to interpret them? addresses these questions in conversation with in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. is made in assocation with the .
Fiona Macpherson on Hallucination
Mar 3, 2013 • 14 min
What is a hallucination? How does it differ from an illusion? of Glasgow University discusses these questions with in this episode of the podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Jeff McMahan on Gun Control
Feb 17, 2013 • 18 min
argues against the private ownership of guns in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Colin McGinn on Descartes on Innate Knowledge
Feb 2, 2013 • 15 min
Descartes believed that we can have knowledge that was independent of experience. In this episode of the podcast makes a case for there being some such knowledge. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Tom Sorell on Surveillance
Jan 25, 2013 • 18 min
What, if anything, is wrong with surveillance? Why value privacy? answers these questions in conversation with in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in assocation with the .
John Campbell on Schizophrenia
Jan 8, 2013 • 20 min
What can philosophers learn from schizophrenia? In this episode of the podcast discusses this intriguing question with David Edmonds. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Kendall Walton on Photography
Dec 23, 2012 • 20 min
Philosopher Kendall Walton argues that we can literally see through photographs in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the Institute of Philosophy.
Alan Ryan on Freedom and Its History
Dec 8, 2012 • 17 min
Ancient and modern concepts of freedom differ. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast political philosopher compares and contrasts ancient and modern concepts of freedom in conversation with . Philosophy Bites is made in association with the…
Who’s Your Favourite Philosopher?
Nov 30, 2012 • 39 min
To celebrate the launch of our second Philosophy Bites book Philosophy Bites Back, we’ve released this special episode of the podcast. We asked a wide range of philosophers the question ‘Who’s your favourite philosopher?’ We got a wider range of…
Peter Adamson on Avicenna’s Flying Man
Nov 26, 2012 • 13 min
Are we purely physical beings? Is the mind or soul immaterial? These questions have vexed philosophers for millenia. Avicenna, born in the 10th Century, believed he had a thought experiment that showed that we are not purely physical beings, the…
Tim Bayne on the Unity of Consicousness
Nov 11, 2012 • 15 min
Is conscious experience unified? A tricky question. Philosopher of mind investigates it in conversation with for this episode of the podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Liane Young on Mind and Morality
Oct 27, 2012 • 12 min
An important aspect of understanding morality is accurate description of what happens when people make moral judgments. In this episode of the podcast talks to psychologist and philosopher about her experiments designed to shed light on moral…
Gary Francione on Animal Abolitionism
Oct 13, 2012 • 16 min
How should we treat animals? Jeremy Bentham argued that we should weigh animal suffering in our moral decision making, and ‘s concept of speciesism is a modern version of that utilitarian approach. argues that philosophers like Peter Singer who focus…
Richard Sorabji on Mahatma Gandhi as Philosopher
Sep 28, 2012 • 17 min
discusses ‘s philosophy of non-violence in this the 200th episode of the podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Tim Crane on Non-Existence
Sep 15, 2012 • 15 min
How can we talk about things that don’t exist? explores this question in conversation with in this episode of the podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Michael Tye on Pain
Aug 31, 2012 • 13 min
Consciousness of pain may seem straightforward, but as shows, in conversation with , a number of philosophical questions arise from the experience of pain. The Philosophy Bites podcast series is made in association with the .
Daniel Dennett on Free Will Worth Wanting
Aug 18, 2012 • 15 min
What is free will and why should we care about it? addresses these questions in a wide-ranging Philosophy Bites interview with . is made in association with .
Patricia Churchland on What Neuroscience Can Teach Us About Morality (originally on Bioethics Bites)
Aug 3, 2012 • 19 min
Can science give us any insight into morality? In this episode of the podcast, originally released on , neurophilosopher argues that it can. is made in association with the with a grant from the .
Rae Langton on Hate Speech
Jul 28, 2012 • 15 min
Is it true that words can’t harm you? What about hate speech? In the US the First Amendment protects a wide range of free expression, far wider than is tolerated, for instance, in the United Kingdom. In this episode of the podcast discusses…
Molly Crockett on Brain Chemistry and Moral Decision-Making (originally on Bioethics Bites)
Jul 22, 2012 • 16 min
Can moral decision-making be affected by chemical means? And if so, should we use drugs for this purpose? ‘s research in this area is the basis of this interview which was originally released on and made in association with the and with a grant…
Huw Price on Backward Causation
Jul 15, 2012 • 16 min
Effects can’t precede their causes, can they? The direction of causation is forwards not backwards. But this common belief doesn’t mesh with every aspect of contemporary physics. In this episode of the podcast discusses the counterintuitive idea…
Hanna Pickard on Responsibility and Personality Disorder (originally on Bioethics Bites)
Jul 7, 2012 • 16 min
Does a diagnosis of personality disorder exempt an individual from moral responsibility? discusses this question with in this episode of the podcast. This episode was originally released on which was made in association with the with a grant…
Jonathan Dancy on Moral Particularism
Jun 29, 2012 • 13 min
Is morality a matter of applying general principles? , a moral particularist, thinks not. In this episode of the podcast he defends moral particularism in conversation with . Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Tim Lewens on Selling Organs (originally on Bioethics Bites)
Jun 22, 2012 • 18 min
Can it ever be acceptable to sell human body parts. discusses this increasingly pertinent moral question with . This episode of the podcast was originally released on Bioethics Bites and made in association with the with a grant from the .
John Tomasi on Free Market Fairness
Jun 16, 2012 • 18 min
Is free market fairness an oxymoron? , author of Free Market Fairness, argues that economic freedom and social justice are compatible. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast he explains his position in conversation with . is made in…
Jonathan Wolff on Political Bioethics (originally on Bioethics Bites)
Jun 10, 2012 • 20 min
How should health resources be distributed? discusses this and related questions in this episode of the podcast. This episode was originally released on in association with the and made possible by a grant from the .
Fiery Cushman on Moral Luck
Jun 2, 2012 • 14 min
Should morality be immune from luck? It seems so. Yet outcomes beyond participants’ control seem to affect our judgements of culpability. , a psychologist in the area of experimental philosophy (x-phi), has been investigating the phenomenon of moral…
Onora O’Neill on Trust (originally on Bioethics Bites)
May 27, 2012 • 18 min
Trust is crucial in areas of medicine and health. But what sort of explicit consent should doctors obtain before medical treatment? discusses the place of trust in areas of bioethics with in this episode of the podcast (originally on, a series made…
Adina Roskies on Neuroscience and Free Will
May 20, 2012 • 17 min
Some recent research in neuroscience seems to point to the conclusion that free will is an illusion. That’s certainly the conclusion that some have drawn. But is sceptical. In this episode of the podcast she explains to why she thinks that that…
NIck Bostrom on the Status Quo Bias
May 13, 2012 • 19 min
Are we systematically biases against changing the status quo? It seems that we are. In this interview, originally released as part of the Bioethics Bites series, discusses this tendency and its implications when it comes to making decisions…
Galen Strawson on Panpsychism
May 5, 2012 • 11 min
Could everything that exists have experiences? Is there something that it is like to be an electron? This sounds unlikey on first hearing, but in this episode of the podcast argues in conversation with , that panpsychism is the best explanation of…
Peter Singer on Life and Death Decision-Making (originally on Bioethics Bites)
Apr 29, 2012 • 16 min
How should doctors, patients and family make end of life decisions? explores questions about euthanasia, abortion and autonomy in conversation with in this bonus episode of the podcast (originally released on ). This episode was made as part of…
Philip Pettit on Republicanism
Apr 21, 2012 • 22 min
What is republicanism? In this episode of the podcast outlines the key features of this important strand in political philosophy, one which has a continuing relevance today. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Jeff McMahan on Moral Status (originally on Bioethics Bites)
Apr 15, 2012 • 18 min
Disagreement about moral status is at the heart of many issues in practical ethics. In this bonus episode of the podcast (originally released on ) , in conversation with , explores some of the questions surrounding the status of a human foetus,…
Adrian Moore on Philosophy and Its History
Apr 6, 2012 • 13 min
What is the point of studying philosophy’s past? Is it just to learn about the history of ideas? Is there something special about the history of philosophy that makes it different from the history of other subjects? , author of a new book on the…
Julian Savulescu on Designer Babies (originally on Bioethics Bites)
Apr 2, 2012 • 21 min
Is it ethical to select advantageous genes and select against disadvantageous genes when having babies? , Director of the in Oxford, discusses this question with . This bonus episode was originally made for in…
Neil Levy on Moral Responsibility and Consciousness
Mar 23, 2012 • 18 min
Do recent discoveries in neuroscience threaten the notion of moral responsibility? Could we have moral responsibility without full consciousness of the significance of our actions? discusses these questions in conversation with for this episode of…
Ronald Dworkin on the Unity of Value
Mar 9, 2012 • 18 min
Is liberty compatible with equality? Many philosophers think it can’t be, and that pluralism is the correct response. In this episode of the podcast argues that there is a fundamental unity of value. Philosophy Bites is made in association with…
Guy Longworth on J.L. Austin and Ordinary Language
Feb 25, 2012 • 15 min
J. L. Austin, who died in 1960, was an immensely influential philosopher whose method involved precise scrutiny of ordinary language: the precise words, the contexts in which they were uttered, and what people were doing by uttering them….
Philip Schofield on Jeremy Bentham’s Utilitarianism
Feb 11, 2012 • 15 min
Jeremy Bentham, legal reformer and philosopher, was an early Utilitarian. In this episode of the podcast interviews Bentham scholar and head of the , about Bentham’s contribution to moral philosophy. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Nicola Lacey on Criminal Responsibilityhttp
Jan 27, 2012 • 17 min
What is criminal responsibility? Is it a timeless concept, or does it have a historical aspect? addresses these questions in conversation with in this episode of the podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0
Jan 16, 2012 • 15 min
Some atheists despise religion and ridicule it as absurd. In this episode of the podcast , author of Religion for Atheists, takes a more pragmatic line, arguing that atheists can learn a great deal from religion. Philosophy Bites is made in…
Kit Fine on What is Metaphysics?http
Jan 1, 2012 • 14 min
Metaphysics is the philosophical study of reality. But what does that mean in pratice, and what are the limits of what it can reveal? addresses the question ‘What is Metaphysics?’ in discussion with in this episode of the podcast. Philosophy Bites…
Brian Leiter on the Analytic/Continental Distinction
Dec 18, 2011 • 17 min
Is there a useful distinction to be made between analytic and continental philosophy? thinks not. Listen to him in conversation with in this episode of the podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Melissa Lane on Plato and Sustainability
Dec 3, 2011 • 14 min
What can Plato teach us about sustainability? According to Princeton’s , author of Eco-Republic, quite a lot. Melissa discusses this topic with in this episode of the podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Tim Crane on Animal Minds
Nov 20, 2011 • 18 min
What sort of minds do other animals have? discusses this intriguing question with in this episode of the podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Sean Kelly on Homer and Philosophy
Nov 5, 2011 • 17 min
Homer is a great poet, but is he relevant to philosopy? Harvard University’s believes that he is and that we can glean important insights from studying Homer’s work, insights about what it is to be human that might otherwise be overlooked. is made…
Paul Boghossian on Moral Relativism
Oct 23, 2011 • 17 min
Are moral judgements simply relative to culture? Are moral relativists in the grip of a fundamental confusion, or is that just the view of a philosophical subculture? suggests that moral relativism is an untenable position in this episode of the …
Jonathan Glover on Systems of Belief
Oct 9, 2011 • 20 min
Beliefs are important. Wars are fought over conflicting belief systems. Philosophers ask ‘What is it reasonable to believe?’ Can philosophers, then, give us any insights into what is going on when belief systems clash? discusses this issue with in…
Dan Sperber on the Enigma of Reasonhthttp://www.dan.sperber.fr/
Sep 25, 2011 • 12 min
Our reasoning capacity sets us apart from other animals. But reason is frequently prone to error. Why then did we evolve with a capacity for reason at all? This is a question that has vexed - with he has been researching the topic….
Philip Pettit on Consequentialism
Sep 11, 2011 • 20 min
discusses some common criticisms of consequentialism and how they might be met in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Frank Jackson on What Mary Knew
Aug 26, 2011 • 15 min
is responsible for one of the most famous thought experiments in the philosophy of mind, one designed to show that physicalism is false. In this episode of the podcast he talks to about this thought experiment and how he has come to doubt the…
Nick Bostrom on the Simulation Argument
Aug 14, 2011 • 14 min
Could you be part of a computer simulation of reality? Sounds unlikely, doesn’t it. But might make you think again about this. In this episode of the podcast he discusses the Simulation Argument. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Luc Bovens on Catholicism and HIV
Jul 31, 2011 • 15 min
, a philosopher at the London School of Economics argues that Catholic sexual morality should, on grounds of consistency within its doctrine, permit condom use for HIV discordant couples (in which one member has HIV and the other doesn’t). is…
Peter Singer on Henry Sidgwick’s Ethics
Jul 17, 2011 • 12 min
Henry Sidgwick, who died in 1900, is something of a philosophers’ philosopher. In this episode of the podcast explains why he thinks this late Victorian Englishman is so important for the utilitarian tradition and why is ideas continue to have…
Victor Tadros on Punishment
Jul 3, 2011 • 19 min
How can state punishment of criminals be justified? Is it right that wrongdoers suffer? investigates these questions in conversation with for this episode of the podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Alison Gopnik on the Imagination
Jun 17, 2011 • 15 min
What role does imagination play in our lives? Why do we have an imagination at all? investigates these questions in conversation with in this episode of the podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
John Mikhail on Universal Moral Grammar
Jun 4, 2011 • 19 min
Do we have an innate predisposition to form certain sorts of moral judgements? thinks we do. In this episode of the podcast, in an interview with David Edmonds, he explains why.
David Eagleman on Morality and the Brain
May 22, 2011 • 12 min
Neuroscientist explores questions about responsibility and culpability in the light of recent brain research in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Simon May on Love
May 7, 2011 • 15 min
Can love be defined? In this episode of the podcast , author of a recent book on the topic, argues that there’s more in common between different kinds of love than many people realise. is made in association with the
Paul Russell on David Hume’s Treatise
Apr 25, 2011 • 13 min
The standard reading of David Hume’s Treatise is that it reveals him as a sceptic and also as an advocate of a science of man. These two aspects seem to be in tension. The sceptical Hume seems opposed to the more positive contribution he makes about…
Pascal Bruckner on the Pursuit of Happiness
Apr 22, 2011 • 18 min
Is the attempt to find happiness self-defeating? Have people always been so obsessed with the pursuit of happiness? Pascal Bruckner dis cusses these questions with Nigel Warburton in this episode of the podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in…
Noel Carroll on Humour
Apr 9, 2011 • 15 min
What is humour? Why do we have a sense of humour? Philosophers have been asking this sort of question for a while. gives some answers, and tells some jokes, in this episode of the podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the.
Catharine MacKinnon on Gender Crime
Mar 26, 2011 • 17 min
In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast talks to Nigel Warburton about the concept of Gender Crime. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Sarah Bakewell on Montaigne
Mar 12, 2011
Michel de Montaigne is an unusual and likeable figure. His essays are quirky, honest, and strangely modern. , author of a recent prize-winning book about Montaigne, How to Live, discusses Montaigne’s life and work for this episode of the …
Hugh Mellor on Frank Ramsey on Truth
Feb 26, 2011 • 14 min
Frank Ramsey was a remarkable philosopher and mathematician who made substantial original contributions to philosophy, economics and mathematics despite dying before he was 30 years old. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast discusses…
Jonathan Glover on Personality Disorder and Morality
Feb 14, 2011 • 13 min
The moral philosopher Jonathan Glover discusses questions about personality disorder, conscience, and responsibility in this episode of the podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the
Cécile Fabre on Cosmopolitanism and War
Jan 31, 2011 • 14 min
There is a long tradition of just war theory, but how does it square with moral cosmopolitanism, the idea that individuals, not nations, should be our prime concern? discusses this question with in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Michael Sandel on Justice
Jan 14, 2011 • 21 min
Harvard philosopher discusses 3 different theories of Justice in this episode of the podcast: Bentham’s, Kant’s and Aristotle’s. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Paul Russell on Fate
Dec 30, 2010 • 17 min
Must it be? Do I really have a choice about what I do? I seem to be able to reason about what I will do, but do I have a choice about how I weight the different choices available? And where does luck come in? discusses the thorny question of…
Martha Nussbaum on the Value of the Humanities
Dec 24, 2010 • 13 min
Why bother studying the Humanities? Surely when resources are limited we should be concentrating on subjects that have clear economic benefits, shouldn’t we? Not necessarily. , author of Not For Profit, argues for the continuing importance of…
Philip Pettit on Group Agency
Dec 18, 2010 • 20 min
When a group of people acts together we can hold that group morally and legally responsible. But how does the group decide to act? Is a decision of the group simply the majoritarian sum of individual group members’ views? Princeton philosopher , who…
Helen Beebee on Laws of Nature
Dec 5, 2010 • 16 min
What is a law of nature? Is it merely a generalisation about how things behave? Or does it have a different status? investigates these questions in conversation with for this episode of the podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Nick Phillipson on Adam Smith on What Human Beings Are Like
Nov 20, 2010 • 16 min
Adam Smith, the great thinker of the Scottish Enlightenment, is best known as an economist. But much of his work was philosophical, and even his economic thinking is probably best understood as part of a larger project of attempting a science of…
What is Philosophy?
Nov 14, 2010 • 26 min
What is Philosophy? We asked some of our contributors this question for this bonus episode of the podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Gideon Rosen on Moral Responsibility
Nov 7, 2010 • 18 min
What is moral responsibility? Are there ever grounds for saying that we have diminished responsibility? Gideon Rosen addresses these questions in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the
Alex Voorhoeve on Inequality
Oct 25, 2010 • 17 min
Does inequality really matter? Or should we be more concerned with raising the standards of the least well off than any disparity between those who have and those who have not? of the London School of Economics discusses these questions with David…
Michael Dummett on Frege
Oct 7, 2010 • 13 min
Gottlob Frege was one of the founders of the movement known as analytic philosophy. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Michael Dummett explains why his ideas about how language relates to the world have been so important. Philosophy Bites…
Daniel Everett on the Nature of Languag
Sep 25, 2010 • 13 min
Since John Locke declared the child’s mind a blank slate, philosophers have long debated the degree to which language-learning is innate. Are there are universal grammatical features that all languages share? Daniel Everett, who has spent many years…
Cynthia Freeland on Portraits
Sep 11, 2010 • 13 min
What is a portrait? What can it reveal? Cynthia Freeland explores the nature of portraits in this interview with Nigel Warburton for the Philosophy Bites podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the Institute of Philosophy. A book,…
Joshua Knobe on Experimental Philosophy
Aug 28, 2010 • 16 min
Many people think that the idea of experiments in philosophy is a contradiction. Joshua Knobe disagrees. He is at the forefront of a new movement known as Experimental Philosophy. David Edmonds interviews him in this episode of the Philosophy Bites…
Peter Singer on the Life You Can Save
Aug 15, 2010 • 15 min
If you saw a child drowning in a shallow pond would you save that child? If you would, why don’t you give the small amount of money necessary to save a child from starvation or disease in parts of Africa? Peter Singer argues that the differences…
Hillel Steiner on Exploitation
Aug 8, 2010 • 16 min
What is exploitation? Hillel Steiner discusses this question with Nigel Warburton in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with The Institute of Philosophy www.philosophy.sas.ac.uk
Stephen Neale on Meaning and Interpretation
Jul 18, 2010 • 16 min
We interpret each others’ words all the time. How do we do this? What part do intentions play? Does this have any implications for interpreting laws? Stephen Neale discusses these issues in conversation with Nigel Warburton in this episode of the…
Susan Wolf on Meaning in Life
Jul 4, 2010 • 14 min
What gives meaning to a life? discusses this question with in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the .
Pat Churchland on Eliminative Materialism
Jun 19, 2010 • 19 min
Pat Churchland argues that we may need to modify our concepts in the light of recent brain research in this episode of the podcast Philosophy Bites. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the Institute of Philosophy (www.sas.philosophy.ac.uk).
Jeff McMahan on Vegetarianism
Jun 4, 2010 • 16 min
Why shouldn’t you eat meat? Jeff McMahan argues that there are no good reasons not to be a vegetarianism (and many good reasons for being one) in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
David Chalmers on the Singularity
May 22, 2010 • 16 min
In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast David Chalmers discusses the philosophical implications of the artificial intelligence of the future - an imaginable time when machines are more intelligent and more powerful than humans.
Raymond Geuss on Realism in Political Philosophy
May 8, 2010 • 16 min
Is it possible to be both utopian and realistic in political philosophy? In his second interview for the Philosophy Bites podcast Raymond Geuss argues that utopianism and realism need not be incompatible.
Robert Stern on Hegel on Dialectic
Apr 25, 2010
Hegel’s philosophy is notoriously difficult to grasp. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Robert Stern gives a lucid account of Hegel’s notion of dialectic, the fundamental methodology in his philosophy. Philosophy Bites is made in…
Ned Block on Consciousness
Apr 10, 2010 • 14 min
Ned Block talks to Nigel Warburton about some phenomena of consciousness in the latest episode of the podcast Philosophy Bites. Philosophy Bites is made in association with the Institute of Philosophy (www.philosophy.sas.ac.uk).
Susan Neiman on Morality in the 21st Century
Mar 27, 2010 • 18 min
How should we live now? This is the basic question that Susan Neiman addresses in conversation with Nigel Warburton for this episode of the podcast Philosophy Bites. Her answer draws on Enlightenment thinking. If you enjoy Philosophy Bites, you might…
Galen Strawson on the Sense of Self
Mar 13, 2010
Does everyone have a sense of self? What is it? Galen Strawson grapples with these questions in conversation with Nigel Warburton in the latest episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Jonathan Wolff on John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice
Feb 28, 2010
John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice is probably the most important work of political philosophy of the 20th Century. In this Philosophy Bites podcast Jonathan Wolff outlines the key features of that book and explores some of its limitations.
Jerrold Levinson on Music and Eros
Feb 14, 2010
Jerrold Levinson examines analogies between music an eros in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Robert B. Talisse on Pragmatism
Feb 7, 2010
In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Robert B. Talisse in discussion with Nigel Warburton explains what the philosphical movement of Pragmatism was, and some of the differences between the ideas of its founders Pierce, Dewey and James.
Thomas Pogge on Global Justice and Health
Jan 23, 2010
In this interview for the Philosophy Bites podcast Thomas Pogge, Professor of Philosophy at Yale University, explores the difficult issue of how we can achieve greater justice in the distribution of pharmaceutical products to countries which can’t…
Tzvetan Todorov on the Englightenment Today
Jan 10, 2010
Tzvetan Todorov defends Englightenment values as important for us today in this episode of the philosophy podcast Philosophy Bites.
Don Cupitt on Jesus as Philosopher
Dec 24, 2009
Don Cupitt, controversial theologian and philosopher, argues that Jesus is best seen as a moralist and a radical secular humanist in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. The podcast is introduced by David Edmonds. Nigel Warburton is the…
A.C. Grayling on Bertrand Russell on Descriptions
Dec 20, 2009
How our words relate to objects is a thorny philosophical conundrum. In this episode of the philosophy podcast Philosophy Bites A.C. Grayling explains Bertrand Russell’s Theory of Descriptions, an attempt to elucidate that relationship.
Catalin Avramescu on the Idea of Cannibalism
Dec 6, 2009 • 12 min
Catalin Avramescu discusses the fascinating topic of the part played by the idea of cannibalism in the history of philosophy in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Jeff McMahan on Killing in War
Nov 21, 2009 • 18 min
Jeff McMahan of Rutgers University discusses the morality of killing in war with Nigel Warburton in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Richard Bradley on Understanding Decisions
Nov 8, 2009 • 13 min
What is involved in understanding a decision? Richard Bradley of the LSE addresses this question in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. As a decision theorist, he views decisions as gambles involving weightings of beliefs and desires.
Tony Coady on Dirty Hands in Politics
Oct 25, 2009 • 16 min
This episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast focuses on the question of whether politicians need ever act immorally. Tony Coady (aka C.A.J. Coady), author of Messy Morality is in conversation with Nigel Warburton.
John Campbell on Berkeley’s Puzzle
Oct 11, 2009 • 14 min
John Campbell explores Bishop Berkeley’s puzzle about what our experience is of in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Brian Leiter on Nietzsche Myths
Sep 25, 2009 • 16 min
Friedrich Nietzsche has been seen as the philosopher of the Overman, an anti-semite, and a precursor of postmodernist views about truth. But was he any of these? Brian Leiter explores these questions in conversation with Nigel Warburton in this…
John Armstrong on What You Can Do With Philosophy
Sep 13, 2009 • 12 min
What can you do with Philosophy? Not very much, according to some people. John Armstrong disagrees. Find out why in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong on Morality Without God
Aug 28, 2009 • 13 min
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong argues that God isn’t necessary for morality in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Sabine Doring on Emotion
Aug 14, 2009
What is an emotion? How do emotions differ from moods? What part should the emotions play in our lives and in our understanding of what it is to be human? Sabine Döring addresses these questions in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Ben Rogers on Pascal’s Pensées
Jul 29, 2009 • 16 min
Blaise Pascal’s Pensées is the subject of this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. Few philosophers know the Pensées well, apart from the passage in which Pascal set forth his famous ‘wager’ - the idea that agnostics should gamble on God…
Marilyn McCord Adams on Evil
Jul 12, 2009 • 14 min
The Problem of Evil is usually presented as a problem for believers. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Marilyn McCord Adams suggests that it is a problem for optimistic non-believers.
Luciano Floridi on the Fourth Revolution
Jun 28, 2009 • 13 min
New technology is changing our relationship to reality and in the process what we are, argues Luciano Floridi, in this episode of the philosophy podcast Philosophy Bites. This is the fourth revolution.
Paul Snowdon on Persons and Animals
Jun 14, 2009 • 20 min
What is a person and what makes me the same person over time despite change? John Locke emphasized that continuity of memory makes us the same person over time. In contrast Paul Snowdon argues that we should see persons as animals.
Michael Sandel on What Shouldn’t Be Sold
May 28, 2009 • 18 min
Follow discussion on www.twitter.com/philosophybites
Allen Buchanan on Enhancement
May 16, 2009 • 19 min
Philosophy Bites looks at ethical questions raised by enhancement. Technological developments have opened up many new opportunities for intervening in biological processes to improve ourselves. Allen Buchanan of Duke University discusses some of these…
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong on Moral Psychology
May 2, 2009 • 14 min
Moral psychology is the empirical study of how people make moral judgements. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Walter Sinnott-Armstrong discusses the relevance of psychological research to moral philosophy.
Thomas Hurka on Pleasure
Apr 18, 2009 • 17 min
Pleasure is something we all want. But is it, and should it be the only thing that we want? Is pleasure all the same kind of thing? Philosopher Thomas Hurka explores the concept of pleasure in conversation with Nigel Warburton in this episode of…
Terence Irwin on Aristotle’s Ethics
Apr 4, 2009 • 17 min
This episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast focuses on Aristotle’s Ethics. In conversation with Nigel Warburton, Terence Irwin of Oxford University explains the key features of this influential work.
Raymond Tallis on Assisted Dying
Mar 21, 2009
Assisted dying, providing a patient with the means to kill themselves, is a highly controversial issue. For this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Raymond Tallis, who is both an eminent gerontologist and philosopher, discusses this topic and…
Julian Savulescu on the ‘Yuk’ Factor
Mar 8, 2009 • 13 min
Should we base our morality on our emotional reactions of disgust? We all have a sense of ‘yuk’ at some activities or situations. Julian Savulescu of Oxford University discusses the relevance of revulsion to our moral judgements in this episode of the…
Sebastian Gardner on Sartre on Bad Faith
Feb 20, 2009 • 15 min
Jean-Paul Sartre’s notion of Bad Faith lies at the core of his existentialist classic Being and Nothingness. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Sebastian Gardner explains what Sartre meant by Bad Faith.
Keith Ward on Idealism in Eastern and Western Philosophy
Feb 6, 2009 • 16 min
Questions about the nature of reality are at the heart of all philosophy in both Western and Eastern traditions. Keith Ward gives an overview of the idealist tradition in some Indian philosophy and draws parallels between this tradition and some…
David Papineau on Scientific Realism
Jan 22, 2009 • 18 min
Scientists talk about sub-atomic particles which are invisible to the eye. Do such particles really exist? Or are they simply convenient fictions that, for the moment at least, explain the observable phenomena? David Papineau discusses and defends…
Kate Soper on Alternative Hedonism
Jan 11, 2009 • 15 min
Kate Soper believes that we need to rethink how we live in the light of impending environmental catastrophe. She maintains that alternative ways of living can be more enjoyable than consumerism.
Chandran Kukathas on Genocide
Dec 29, 2008 • 15 min
Genocide is, at first glance, a straightforward term. We understand what it is and why it is such an evil. But, as Chandran Kukathas of the London School of Economics argues in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast, perhaps the received…
M.M. McCabe on the Paradox of Inquiry
Dec 14, 2008 • 16 min
How do we learn anything? This isn’t a puzzle until you start thinking hard about it. In his dialogue The Meno, Plato presented an apparent paradox about inquiry. M.M. McCabe discusses this paradox and its continuing relevance.
Raymond Tallis on Parmenides
Dec 7, 2008 • 15 min
Parmenides was one of the most important pre-Socratic philosophers. Raymond Tallis discusses his ideas and influence in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Don Cupitt on Non-Realism about God
Nov 30, 2008 • 15 min
Don Cupitt, a controversial theologian and philosopher, whose BBC television series and book The Sea of Faith was extremely influential, giving birth to a theological movement, believes that most religion is too anthropomorphic. In this interview for…
Wendy Brown on Tolerance
Nov 23, 2008 • 14 min
Tolerance is usually thought of as the great virtue of democratic societies. Wendy Brown of UC Berkeley asks some sceptical questions about the concept of tolerance and how it can be used to express power relationships in this interview for Philosophy…
Anne Phillips on Political Representation
Nov 16, 2008 • 18 min
Political representation in a democracy doesn’t necessarily reflect the variety of people within a society. Most noticeably, there is a much lower percentage of women acting as representatives than there is in the wider population. Does this matter?…
Anthony Grayling on Bombing Civilians in Wartime
Nov 9, 2008 • 12 min
Anthony Grayling argues that bombing civilians in Dresden and other German cities in the Second World War was morally wrong.
Christopher Shields on Personal Identity
Nov 3, 2008 • 21 min
What makes anyone the same person over time? In this interview for Philosophy Bites Christopher Shields addresses this question of personal identity, one which, as he points out, has perplexed philosophers since antiquity.
Alexander Nehamas on Friendship
Oct 26, 2008 • 12 min
Alexander Nehamas explores the value of friendship in this interview with Nigel Warburton for the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Raymond Geuss on Real Politics
Oct 19, 2008 • 19 min
Raymond Geuss wants political philosophers to focus on real politics rather than abstract notions. In this interview with Nigel Warburton for Philosophy Bites he explains why he believes philosophers such as Robert Nozick and John Rawls were…
Roger Crisp on Virtue
Oct 12, 2008 • 14 min
Roger Crisp discusses the nature of virtue in this interview with Nigel Warburton for the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Anthony Appiah on Experiments in Ethics
Oct 5, 2008 • 15 min
Anthony Appiah makes the case for the relevance of psychological experiments to our ethical reasoning in this interview for the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Christopher Janaway on Nietzsche on Morality
Sep 28, 2008 • 14 min
Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Genealogy of Morality provides a radical view of the origins of our values. Nigel Warburton interviews Christopher Janaway about this important book in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Peter Cave on Paradoxes
Sep 21, 2008 • 15 min
Philosophers have been fascinated by paradoxes since ancient times. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Nigel Warburton interviews Peter Cave about paradoxes and their relevance to philosophy.
Adrian Moore on Kant’s Metaphysics
Sep 14, 2008 • 20 min
Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason is a notoriously difficult work. In this interview for Philosophy Bites A.W. Moore of Oxford University gives a succinct account of this complex and influential attempt to clarify the limits of human understanding.
Barry C. Smith on Neuroscience
Sep 7, 2008 • 13 min
Philosophers of mind have traditionally introspected sitting alone in their rooms. Now new developments in neuroscience are producing surprising results, some of which are relevant to philosophy. Phenomena such as blind sight and mirror neurones…
Ray Monk on Philosophy and Biography
Aug 31, 2008 • 13 min
Ray Monk discusses the relationship between philosophy and biography in this interview with Nigel Warburton for the Philosophy Bites podcast. Can an understanding the life of a philosopher help us understand that philosopher’s work? Is there anything…
M.M. McCabe on Socratic Method
Aug 24, 2008 • 13 min
Philosophy began in earnest with Socrates. He asked impertinent questions. In this interview with M.M. McCabe, Philosophy Bites explores the nature of Socratic Method and Socrates’ claim that the unexamined life is not worth living.
Aaron Ridley on Nietzsche on Art and Truth
Aug 16, 2008 • 15 min
Friedrich Nietzsche’s ideas about art and truth run through much of his philosophical writing, but are most apparent in his first book, The Birth of Tragedy. In this episode of Philosophy Bites Nigel Warburton interviews Aaron Ridley about this topic.
Clare Carlisle on Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling
Aug 10, 2008 • 13 min
Soren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling retells and interprets the story of Abraham and Isaac. In Kierkegaard’s hands the story becomes a model for the human predicament. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Clare Carlisle provides an…
Alex Neill - the Paradox of Tragedy
Aug 3, 2008 • 16 min
How can we enjoy watching tragedy when it is a genre that deals with suffering and pain? In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Alex Neill explains what the paradox of tragedy is, and shows how he thinks it can be dissolved. He also…
Quentin Skinner on Machiavelli’s The Prince
Jul 27, 2008 • 25 min
Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince is one of the most notorious works of political philosophy ever written. Quentin Skinner sets it in its historical context and explains its key themes in this episode of Philosophy Bites.
Peter Adamson on Plotinus on Evil
Jul 20, 2008 • 14 min
Plotinus, who lived in the 3rd Century A.D., was the founder of neo-platonism. In this episode of Philosophy Bites Peter Adamson explains what Plotinus had to say about evil.
Matthew Kramer on Legal Rights
Jul 13, 2008 • 15 min
What precisely is a legal right? Matthew Kramer discusses this question with Nigel Warburton in this episode of Philosophy Bites.
Melissa Lane on Rousseau on Modern Society
Jul 6, 2008 • 16 min
Modern society is for most people synonymous with progress. Not for the eighteenth century thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau believed that civilization corrupts us in certain ways. Melissa Lane explains Rousseau’s views on progress in this…
John Broome on Weighing Lives
Jun 29, 2008 • 14 min
How do we weigh lives one against another? Governments frequently have to make life and death decisions that take in to account such issues as the quality of life compared to the length of a life. In this episode of Philosophy Bites John Broome…
Robert Rowland Smith on Derrida on Forgiveness
Jun 22, 2008 • 12 min
Jacques Derrida, father of deconstructionism, divided philosophers. For some he was a genius; for others a charlatan. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites Robert Rowland Smith defends Derrida’s views about the concept of forgiveness.
John Dunn on Locke on Toleration
Jun 15, 2008 • 13 min
John Locke, writing in the Seventeenth Century, argued for religious toleration, though stopped short of toleration of atheists. In this episode of the podcast Philosophy Bites, Nigel Warburton interviews Locke expert John Dunn on this topic.
Will Kymlicka on Minority Rights
Jun 8, 2008 • 16 min
Should minority groups such as recent immigrants or those who have suffered historic injustice be given rights that other citizens don’t have? Will Kymlicka believes they should. Listen to his arguments in defence of this position in this episode of…
Jennifer Hornsby on Human Agency
Jun 1, 2008 • 10 min
What goes on when someone does something deliberately? Jennifer Hornsby discusses this difficult philosophical question with Nigel Warburton in this episode of Philosophy Bites.
Tim Scanlon on Free Speech
May 30, 2008 • 17 min
In this bonus episode produced in association with the Open University, Tim Scanlon discusses the limits of free speech with Nigel Warburton. A transcript of this episode is available from
Donna Dickenson on Body Shopping
May 25, 2008 • 14 min
Do you own your body? If not, who does? These are important questions in an age in which there is extensive trade in body parts. Donna Dickenson, author of Body Shopping, discusses this issue with Nigel Warburton in this episode of Philosophy Bites.
Mary Warnock on the Right to Have a Baby
May 22, 2008
In this bonus episode produced in association with The Open University, Mary Warnock, a philosopher who also sits in the House of Lords, addresses the question ‘Do we have a right to have babies?’ A transcript of this episode is available at…
Anthony Kenny on Aquinas’ Ethics
May 18, 2008 • 14 min
Thomas Aquinas, the thirteenth century Dominican is the subject of this episode of Philosophy Bites. Anthony Kenny explains the key features of Aquinas’ ethics in conversation with Nigel Warburton.
Michael Sandel on Genetic Enhancement in Sport
May 14, 2008 • 16 min
In this bonus episode of Philosophy Bites made in association with the Open University, Michael Sandel addresses the question of whether we should allow genetic enhancement of athletes. Drawing on themes from his recent book, The Case Against…
Jonathan Wolff on Marx on Alienation
May 11, 2008 • 15 min
Karl Marx’s theory of alienated labour is the topic of this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. Jonathan Wolff, author of Why Read Marx Today? explains what Marx meant by alienation. He also sheds light on Marx’s controversial description of what…
Peter Singer on Human Use of Animals
May 8, 2008 • 16 min
In this bonus episode produced in association with the Open University as part of the Ethics Bites series, Peter Singer, perhaps the world’s best known living philosopher, discusses how we treat animals. A transcript of this episode is available from…
Chandran Kukathas on Hayek’s Liberalism
May 4, 2008 • 12 min
Friedrich Hayek was a major figure in Twentieth Century economics and political philosophy, but his ideas are sometimes caricatured, not least because Margaret Thatcher approved of his work. Chandran Kukathas explains the key features of his…
Richard Reeves on Mill’s On Liberty
Apr 27, 2008 • 13 min
In this episode of Philosophy Bites Richard Reeves, author of a recent biography of John Stuart Mill sheds light on Mill’s classic defence of individual freedom, On Liberty.
David Miller on National Responsibility
Apr 20, 2008 • 13 min
Can a nation be collectively responsible for actions? And how should apologies and reparations be handled when the perpetrators of injustice may be dead? David Miller, author of a recent book on this topic, explores the kinds of responsibility that…
Peter Millican on Hume’s Significance
Apr 13, 2008 • 14 min
David Hume is probably the greatest English-speaking philosopher to date. In this interview for Philosophy Bites. Peter Millican, a Hume specialist, explains why his philosophy was so important.
Janet Radcliffe Richards on Men and Women’s Natures
Apr 6, 2008 • 19 min
Are men and women different by nature? And if so, what follows? Janet Radcliffe Richards, author of The Sceptical Feminist and Human Nature After Darwin, examines questions about human nature, focusing on John Stuart Mill’s important book The…
Raimond Gaita on Torture
Mar 30, 2008 • 13 min
Is it immoral even to consider the use of torture in some circumstances? If the State is threatened, should we be prepared to shelve human rights for an end we consider worthwhile? Raimond Gaita discusses a range of arguments about torture in this…
Derek Matravers on the Definition of Art
Mar 22, 2008 • 12 min
What is art? Can anything be a work of art? Derek Matravers, author of Art and Emotion, explores these questions in conversation with Nigel Warburton in this episode of Philosophy Bites ().
Melissa Lane on Plato and Totalitarianism
Mar 16, 2008 • 18 min
Was Plato’s ideal state a totalitarian one? Karl Popper, thought so, and made his case in The Open Society and Its Enemies. Melissa Lane, author of Plato’s Progeny, reassesses Popper’s critique of Plato in this episode of Philosophy Bites.
Thomas Pink on Free Will
Mar 9, 2008 • 18 min
We often blame people for what they do or fail to do. But that implies that they were free to choose whether or not to act in the way they did. At the same time science seems to reveal prior causes of all our actions. There seems little or no room for…
Anthony Appiah on Cosmopolitanism
Mar 2, 2008 • 15 min
Is it possible to be a citizen of the world while maintaining your own distinctive identity? Anthony Appiah defends the ethical position he dubs cosmopolitanism (which for him is universalism combined with a recognition and celebration of diversity)…
A.C. Grayling on Descartes’ Cogito
Feb 23, 2008 • 12 min
A.C. Grayling, author of a recent biography of René Descartes, explores Descartes’ Cogito argument, the pivotal argument of the Meditations, in conversation with Nigel Warburton in this episode of Philosophy Bites.
Hugh Mellor on Time
Feb 15, 2008 • 11 min
Events happen in time. And time is essentially tensed: there is past, present, future. D.H. Mellor, author of Real Time (and Real Time 2) suggests otherwise. In this podcast for Philosophy Bites he explains why time isn’t tensed.
Richard Tuck on Free Riding
Feb 10, 2008 • 18 min
If what I do has only a negligible impact on events, why should I bother doing it at all? Why not ‘free ride’ on other people’s contributions? Richard Tuck explores these questions in this episode of Philosophy Bites.
Stephen Mulhall on Film as Philosophy
Feb 3, 2008 • 18 min
Most philosophers who consider the movies focus on the nature of the cinematic medium. Stephen Mulhall argues for a different approach. He thinks that a film such as Bladerunner can actually be philosophy.
Richard Norman on Humanism
Jan 27, 2008 • 10 min
How can non-believers make sense of the world? How can there be morality without God? In this episode of Philosophy Bites philosopher Richard Norman explains how it is possible to lead a good life without religion.
Richard Bourke on Edmund Burke on Politics
Jan 20, 2008 • 14 min
The eighteenth century thinker and politician Edmund Burke was one of the founders of modern conservativism. In his Reflections on the Revolution in France he attacked the revolution. For this episode of Philosophy Bites Richard Bourke of Queen Mary,…
Angie Hobbs on Plato on War
Jan 13, 2008 • 10 min
What causes human agression? For Plato’s Socrates it comes from innate tendencies nurtured in the wrong way. And that’s where war comes from. Angie Hobbs gives a fascinating introduction to this aspect of Plato’s Republic in this episode of Philosophy…
Barry Smith on Wittgenstein’s Conception of Philosophy
Jan 6, 2008 • 22 min
made in association with the Institute of Philosophy
Mark Vernon on Friendship
Dec 30, 2007 • 11 min
What is friendship? Is it a suitable subject for Philosophy? Mark Vernon, author of The Philosophy of Friendship, explores these questions in conversation with Nigel Warburton in this episode of Philosophy Bites.
G.A. Cohen on Inequality of Wealth
Dec 23, 2007 • 10 min
Can differences in income be morally justified? Should we expect rich people to give their money to the poor? G.A. Cohen, author of a book with the provocative title If You’re An Egalitarian, How Come You’re So Rich? addresses these questions in this…
Barry Stroud on Scepticism
Dec 16, 2007 • 12 min
Can I trust my senses? Can I tell that I’m not now dreaming? Some philosophical sceptics have maintained that we can’t know anything for certain. discusses the challenge posed by such sceptics in this episode of Philosophy Bites.
Julian Baggini on Thought Experiments
Dec 9, 2007 • 12 min
Philosophers often use elaborate thought experiments in their writing. Are these anything more than rhetorical flourishes? Or do they reveal important aspects of the questions under discussion. Julian Baggini, editor of The Philosophers’ Magazine and…
Susan James on Spinoza on the Passions
Dec 2, 2007 • 17 min
What are the passions and what role do they play in human life? These fundamental questions fascinated Baruch de Spinoza who in his book Ethics gave a highly original account of what it is to be human. In this episode of Philosophy Bites, Susan James…
Henry Hardy on Isaiah Berlin’s Pluralism
Nov 25, 2007 • 12 min
Is there a common currency in which we can compare the various ways in which people choose to live? Isaiah Berlin thought not. He argued that fundamental values may be incommensurable. In this episode of Philosophy Bites Henry Hardy in conversation…
Myles Burnyeat on Aristotle on Happiness
Nov 18, 2007 • 12 min
What is happiness? Is it a matter of blissful mental states subjectively experienced, or is it, as Aristotle believed, more about a successful life? In this episode of Philosophy Bites Myles Burnyeat in conversation with Nigel Warburton gives a lucid…
Alain de Botton on Philosophy Within and Outside the Academy
Nov 11, 2007 • 13 min
What is philosophy? Does academic philosophy squeeze the life out of some of the most important questions we can ask? Alain de Botton, author of the bestseller The Consolations of Philosophy, discusses his conception of philosophy and the importance…
Angie Hobbs on Plato on Erotic Love
Nov 4, 2007 • 15 min
Plato’s Symposium is the most famous philosophical discussion of love, its joys, risks and pleasures. In this episode of Philosophy Bites Angie Hobbs gives a lively account of what Plato thought about erotic love.
Stewart Sutherland on Hume on Design
Oct 28, 2007 • 11 min
Is there evidence of intelligent design in the Universe? In the Eighteenth Century David Hume presented a series of powerful arguments against the Argument from Design. In this interview for Philosophy Bites Stewart Sutherland outlines these arguments…
Onora O’Neill on Medical Consent
Oct 21, 2007 • 13 min
What do we mean by ‘consent’ in a medical context? Is it reasonable to ask for informed consent before performing medical procedures? Is consent even the most important issue. Onora O’Neill challenges some widely-held assumptions in this area in this…
Quentin Skinner on Hobbes on the State
Oct 15, 2007 • 17 min
What is the state? How do individuals combine to lend legitimate authority to those who act on the state’s behalf? These are fundamental questions in political philosophy that Thomas Hobbes addressed in the seventeenth century. In this interview…
Anthony Kenny on his New History of Philosophy
Oct 8, 2007 • 12 min
Anthony Kenny has recently published a major new four-volume history of philosophy. Nigel Warburton interviews him about this project for this episode of Philosophy Bites.
Tim Crane on Mind and Body
Sep 30, 2007 • 10 min
What is the mind and how does it relate to our bodies? How can something physical think? These are fundamental questions in the philosophy of mind. Tim Crane addresses these difficult issues in this interview for Philosophy Bites.
Jonathan Ree on Philosophy as an Art
Sep 23, 2007 • 14 min
Some people see Philosophy as close to science. In this episode of the podcast Philosophy Bites Jonathan Rée explores the idea that Philosophy is an art.
Mary Warnock on Sartre’s Existentialism
Sep 17, 2007 • 11 min
What is existentialism? Is it still relevant to us? Sartre believed that we are free to choose what we make of our lives. Was he right? In this interview for Philosophy Bites Mary Warnock gives her views on Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialism.
Peter Adamson on Avicenna
Sep 10, 2007 • 13 min
In this week’s episode of Philosophy Bites Nigel Warburton interviews Peter Adamson about Avicenna (born in 973) whom he describes as the greatest philosopher in the history of Islamic thought. The discussion focusses on Avicenna’s argument for God’s…
Brad Hooker on Consequentialism
Sep 3, 2007 • 13 min
What makes an action a good one? According to consequentialists this question is decided by the action’s actual or likely consequences. In this episode of Philosophy Bites the moral philosopher Brad Hooker explains what consequentialism is and defends…
Simon Blackburn on Moral Relativism
Aug 27, 2007 • 14 min
Are moral choices simply relative, a matter of culture or taste? Are genuine moral disagreements possible? Should we just tolerate different ways that people choose to live? Nigel Warburton interviews Simon Blackburn on these important…
Jonathan Wolff on Disadvantage
Aug 19, 2007 • 12 min
What is disadvantage? How can we identify the most disadvantaged in society and what should we or governments do about it? Jonathan Wolff, co-author of a new book on the topic, outlines his answers to these questions in this interview for Philosophy…
Timothy Williamson on Vagueness
Aug 13, 2007 • 14 min
Philosopher Timothy Williamson explains how we can make sense of such vague concepts as ‘heap’ or ‘red’ or ‘bald’ in the process outlining his own solution to what are usually known as Sorites Paradoxes. Williamson gives a precise account of what…
David Papineau on Physicalism
Aug 7, 2007 • 15 min
Are all our thoughts simply physical events in our bodies? Can we give a purely physical account of the conscious human mind? David Papineau believes that we can. In this interview for Philosophy Bites he explains what physicalism is, why he…
Anthony Grayling on Atheism
Jul 30, 2007 • 12 min
Is belief in the existence of a God or gods the equivalent of believing that there are fairies at the bottom of the garden? Or can it be defended on the basis of reason or evidence? In this interview for Philosophy Bites Anthony Grayling gives a…
Adrian Moore on Infinity
Jul 24, 2007 • 14 min
Infinity is a difficult concept to grasp and one that introduces several paradoxes. In this interview for Philosophy Bites, Adrian Moore, author of an important book on the subject, gives a clear and stimulating introduction to the philosophy of infinity.
Roger Crisp on Utilitarianism
Jul 16, 2007 • 13 min
How should we live? John Stuart Mill, one of the great thinkers of the nineteenth century thought that we should maximise happiness. Here Roger Crisp, author of an acclaimed book on Mill, explains Mill’s utilitarian ethical theory.
Edward Craig - What is Philosophy?
Jul 10, 2007 • 12 min
Edward Craig, editor of the Routledge Encylopedia of Philosophy and author of Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction gives an interesting angle on the nature of philosophy, how it relates to other kinds of thinking, and what makes good philosophy good.
Anne Phillips on Multiculturalism
Jul 3, 2007 • 15 min
Should members of a minority group be left to lead their lives as they see fit, even where their values differ from those of the majority? Anne Phillips, author of a recent book on multiculturalism, addresses the difficult question of how people from…
Alain de Botton on The Aesthetics of Architecture
Jun 27, 2007 • 14 min
How important is beauty in architecture? Is a concern with beauty mere asetheticism? Alain de Botton, author of The Architecture of Happiness, discusses the nature and value of architectural beauty in this episode of Philosophy Bites.
Barry Smith on Wine
Jun 21, 2007 • 15 min
Is wine tasting a purely subjective matter? Why should we value the experience of drinking wine? Philosopher Barry Smith, editor of a new book on the philosophy of wine, Questions of Taste, explores these and related issues in this interview.
Miranda Fricker on Epistemic Injustice
Jun 16, 2007 • 13 min
Testimonial injustice occurs when others fail to treat you seriously as a source of knowledge. In this interview Miranda Fricker, author of a recent book on the topic, explains this concept which lies at the intersection between epistemology and…
John Cottingham on The Meaning of Life
Jun 12, 2007 • 14 min
What is the meaning of life? This is a basic question for all of us. There is also the possibility that life has no meaning whatsoever. In this interview John Cottingham explains his vision of the kinds of meaning that we can find in our lives.
Stephen Law on The Problem of Evil
Jun 9, 2007 • 14 min
What is evil? Is it consistent with the existence of a benevolent God? In this interview Stephen Law gives an original take on this traditional philosophical problem.
Mary Warnock on Philosophy in Public Life
Jun 2, 2007 • 13 min
What can philosophers contribute to public life? Mary Warnock who sits in the House of Lords and has chaired two important commissions discusses how her training in philosophy prepared her for these roles.
Simon Blackburn on Plato’s Cave
Jun 2, 2007 • 13 min
What is the nature of reality? Is the world as it appears, or is there something timeless behind the world of appearances? Simon Blackburn discusses one of the most famous images in Philosophy: Plato’s cave.