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!
Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

If statues could talk

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Stolen Mother

by Observer Staff

The daughter and adoptive mother of one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women share their story

Promotional Image

Society

July 2017

From far and wide

by Various Writers

Meet 11 immigrants who are putting down new roots

World

June 2017

A suitcase for Cuba

by Christopher Levan

You’ll find more than giveaway toiletries and hand-me-downs in the writer's luggage. Each carefully chosen gift offers a glimpse into the lives of Cubans today.

Justice

June 2017

Undocumented

by Kristy Woudstra

Up to half a million people are living in Canada without official status. The ‘sanctuary city’ movement is growing, but the fear of deportation persists.

World

June 2017

Resisting genocide

by Sally Armstrong

In August 2014, ISIS attacked Iraq’s Yazidis, slaughtering thousands and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Today, the survivors are fighting for their ancient way of life.

Society

April 2017

Dear Grandkids

by Various Writers

Six acclaimed Canadian authors write letters from the heart

Society

March 2017

Called to resist

by Paul Wilson

Liberal Christians in the United States test their faith against a demagogue

Promotional Image