UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
Courtesy of Philosophy Bites/Stuart Franklin

Philosophy Bites Podcast

Top philosophers offer a surprising amount of insight in very little time

By Chantal Braganza

What is assisted dying? Should everyone have the right to have a baby? What’s the difference between the pleasure one gets from eating chocolate and the pleasure taken in looking back on a life well lived?

Philosophy Bites tries to answer these questions in about 15 minutes or less — a lofty goal for such lofty topics. But the way co-creators David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton go about this is useful to those at any point on the philosophy spectrum, from seasoned savant to someone who mistakes the name Foucault for a 1980s fashion designer.  

A topic is chosen, a question asked, and top philosophers from around the world offer a surprising amount of insight in very little time. Take, for example, Warburton’s recent interview with controversial bioethicist Julian Savulescu. With a simple question — should people base their morals on reactions of disgust? — and a few minutes of spare time, the listener gets involved in a balanced discussion of human evolution, genetics, cannibalism and cloning, followed by a chance to consider his or her own answer.

Edmonds’s day job as a documentary producer for BBC Radio and Warburton’s position as an Open University philosophy lecturer ensure the programs are professionally produced, relevant and smart. Warburton counters guests’ arguments with pointed questions and thoughtful insights. These encounters are more like conversations than interviews. And, thankfully, they avoid the rhetorical jargon that peppers philosophy textbooks.

Play an episode to your high school-aged children or grandchildren; they’ll probably get more out of it than their teacher’s intro to Socrates. Chances are, you will too.

Author's photo
Chantal Braganza is a writer and editor in Toronto. Her blog posts will appear every second Friday of the month.
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Announcement

New Observer editor and CEO, Jocelyn Bell. Photo by Lindsay Palmer

New editor named

by Observer Staff

Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

A perfect send-off

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: My Year of Living Spiritually

by Observer Staff

Anne Bokma left the Dutch Reformed Church as a young adult and eventually became a member of the United Church and then the Unitarian Universalists. Having long explored the "spiritual but not religious" demographic as a writer, she decided to immerse herself in practices — like hiring a soul coach, secular choir-singing and forest bathing — for 12 months to find both enlightenment and entertainment.

Promotional Image

Society

November 2017

Trump country

by David Macfarlane

A northern Alabama county voted almost unanimously for Donald Trump in 2016. One year later, the writer, together with photographer Nigel Dickson, travels there to try to understand why.

Faith

November 2017

Involuntary pilgrim

by David Giuliano

The return of a tumour sets David Giuliano on a path he calls his ‘Camino de Cancer’

Faith

October 2017

A tale of two cancers

by Catherine Gordon

One year after the writer discovered she had breast cancer, her sister in California received the same diagnosis. They both recovered, but their experiences were worlds apart.

Society

November 2017

Trump country

by David Macfarlane

A northern Alabama county voted almost unanimously for Donald Trump in 2016. One year later, the writer, together with photographer Nigel Dickson, travels there to try to understand why.

Faith

November 2017

Involuntary pilgrim

by David Giuliano

The return of a tumour sets David Giuliano on a path he calls his ‘Camino de Cancer’

Faith

November 2017

Grey matter

by Trisha Elliott

Is consciousness just a function of the brain — or something more?

Promotional Image