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23 April 2012 @ 06:31 pm
Radio Programme #3: The Public Philosopher  
Programme: The Public Philosopher
Station: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: Tues 3rd, 10th & 17th April 2012, 9.00am
Available Until: Forever!
Website: The Public Philosopher, Podcast

Not just a programme this time, but a whole series of three programmes!

Last year I caught several philosophy television programmes by Harvard professor Michael Sandel and subsequently sought out his 2009 Reith lectures, all of which I really enjoyed, so when I heard this programme advertised I was pretty excited.  Here he takes three different questions ('Should universities give preference to applicants from poor backgrounds?' 'Should a banker be paid more than a nurse?' and 'Should we bribe people to be healthy?') that crop up a lot in current public debate and provoke strong opinions, and with an audience discusses them in a philosophical manner.

The programmes easily lived up to my expectations.  Though the short length of the programmes (30 min) meant that discussion was perhaps unable to go very deeply into these issues, I thought they really benefited from the kind of structured thought that the philosophical approach lent them.  Like Sandel says at some point, these problems are so frequently discussed that often we forget to look at the ideas and assumptions behind the various arguments.  As a result this was an incredibly interesting and thought provoking series.

If you listen to nothing else, listen to this.
shimotsuki: booksshimotsuki on April 25th, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC)
Your description has me totally intrigued -- I can't wait to have a chance to listen to these. I'd never really seen a practical application of philosophy providing a structure for an, as it were, modern argument, but of course it would.

Yet another reason to support the humanities in our modern world!
katyhasclogs: ipod Descarteskatyhasclogs on June 8th, 2012 04:04 pm (UTC)
(This comment sort of fell down my inbox - sorry!)

I love philosophy when it's focused on this sort of thing - it's such an interesting and, IMO, useful way of looking at the world. I'm less keen on the 'Is the world really there? Is this a chair or just a chair-like experience?' side of things though... ;)