Philosopher's Zone
Philosopher's Zone
ABC Radio
The simplest questions often have the most complex answers. The Philosopher's Zone is your guide through the strange thickets of logic, metaphysics and ethics.
Anti-social media
What can social media platforms deliver in the way of genuine personal connection and moral truth? And how good - or bad - are Facebook and Twitter for the philosophy community?
Nov 28
28 min
Science, misinformation and dissent
Science welcomes dissent. Scientific progress depends on challenging and dismantling theories as well as verifying them. But how should we deal with misinformation about science, and the ways it can erode such liberal democratic values as personal autonomy?
Nov 21
28 min
Refugees and moral obligation
Refugees have been with us for millennia, but the modern refugee exists under a distinctively modern set of circumstances. Moral philosophers addressing the refugee issue often fail to take these circumstances into account, and to acknowledge the ways in which the West can be responsible for refugee crises.
Nov 14
28 min
Philosophy in a nutshell pt 6: Becoming a woman
Simone de Beauvoir wrote that “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”. It’s a much-quoted phrase that appears to speak presciently to modern concerns around sex and gender. But how well is Beauvoir understood by contemporary feminists?
Nov 7
28 min
Philosophy in a nutshell pt 5: Ubuntu
Ubuntu is an African tradition of thought whose ethical orientation is captured in the well-known aphorism “I am, because we are”. But what gets lost when Ubuntu is framed as a philosophical discourse in the Western intellectual tradition? And where do we see its successes and failures in the reconstruction of post-colonial Africa?
Oct 31
28 min
Philosophy in a nutshell pt 4: Nietzsche and nihilism
"God is dead, and we have killed him" — a statement that's fuelled the popular misapprehension of Nietzsche as a crusading atheist, or militant nihilist. In fact, he was neither of those things, and "God is dead" is a much more interesting proposition than is often thought.
Oct 24
28 min
Philosophy in a nutshell pt 3: Derrida and the text
In 1967, French philosopher Jacques Derrida wrote "There is nothing outside the text". Or did he? It's a bad translation that's launched a thousand bad interpretations - but it's gone on to become a key element of Derrida's work.
Oct 17
28 min
Philosophy in a nutshell pt 2: Confucius, wealth and politics
In the Analects, Confucius is recorded as saying "When a country is well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. When a country is badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of". It's an interesting aphorism to consider in the light of China today, as the government seeks to promote Confucian ethics, while at the same time running an economy that's delivered vast wealth to a small political elite.
Oct 10
28 min
Philosophy in a nutshell pt 1: The aphorism
First program in a series exploring famous philosophical fragments. Philosophy is often thought of as proceeding via elaborate conceptual systems. But sometimes, a choice phrase is all you need to get you thinking.
Oct 3
28 min
Politics at the extremes
Politics has never been a gentle pursuit, but these days the gloves are well and truly off. How did we get here? What are the implications for political philosophy, and for politics in general? As for where we might be headed, there are fascinating – if rather terrifying – clues in the work of French thinker René Girard.
Sep 27
28 min
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