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The Philosopher's Arms

Matthew Sweet examines philosophical problems with a live audience in a pub

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Weakness of Will

The Philosopher's Arms asks how we can, at the same time, both want and not want a cream cake. In the pub we have a philosopher, neuroscientists and champion dieter. And a lot of sugar.

27mins

8 Dec 2015

Rank #1

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Lying and Misleading

The Philosopher's Arms, presented by Matthew Sweet, asks whether there's a moral difference between lying and misleading. In the pub, to help us reach an answer, we have a philosopher, psychologist and political spin-doctor.

27mins

30 Nov 2015

Rank #2

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Sex Equality

Pints and philosophical problems with Matthew Sweet. Each week the programme examines a knotty philosophical issue: this week, sex equality and pay. Should we expect women to make up 50% of senior positions and, if they do not, is that evidence of discrimination? In the pub for this episode is the philosopher Janet Radcliffe Richards. Producer: David Edmonds.

27mins

6 Oct 2014

Rank #3

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Moral Disgust

Welcome to the Philosopher's Arms. A place where moral dilemmas, philosophical ideas and the real world meet for a chat and a drink. Matthew Sweet presents with a live audience.

28mins

16 Aug 2013

Rank #4

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Trolleyology

Pints and Philosophical Problems with Matthew Sweet. This week, trolleyology: how should you decide between two morally troubling courses of action? This is a question which affects both soldiers in the heat of action and decision-makers in the NHS. Matthew is joined in the snug by philosopher David Edmonds. Producer: Luke Mulhall.

27mins

15 Sep 2014

Rank #5

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The Experience Machine

Welcome to the Philosopher's Arms - a very special pub where moral dilemmas, philosophical ideas and the real world meet for a chat and a drink. Each week Matthew Sweet takes a dilemma with real philosophical pedigree and sees how it matters in the everyday world. This week he's been offered an Experience Machine. It's a device that guarantees the sensation of a happy and fulfilled life. But it's not real. Should Matthew plug in? David Willets, Jo Wolf and David Geaney join him for a drink to explain the big thinkers behind this idea and debate the nature of happiness, drugs, reality and the role of government. Each week in the Philosphers Arms Matthew is joined by a cast of philosophers and attendant experts to show how the dilemmas we face in real life connect us to some of the trickiest philosophical problems ever thought up. En route we'll learn about the thinking of such luminaries as Kant, Hume, Aristotle and Wittgenstein. All recorded in a pub in front of a live audience ready to tap their glasses and demand clarity and ask - what's this all got to do with me? So questions such as should the government put prozac in the water supply? And my daughter is a robot, how should I treat her? Lead us into dilemmas, problems and issues from the treatment of mental illness to the structure of financial markets, from animal rights to homosexuality. And they will challenge a few of the assumptions and intuitions about life that we carry round with us. Producer David Edmonds.

27mins

16 Aug 2013

Rank #6

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Induction

Pints and Philosophical Problems with Matthew Sweet. This week, the problem of induction: are we justified in predicting the future on the basis of what's happened in the past? How do we know that the sun will rise tomorrow? In the snug with Matthew is philosopher Helen Beebee, discussing a conundrum which faces all of us in our daily life - and which raises profound questions about the nature of science. Producer: Luke Mulhall.

27mins

22 Sep 2014

Rank #7

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The Ultimatum Game

Where do we get our sense of justice and fairness from? Is it hardwired in us? Are we nakedly self-interested creatures, or are we, at least partially, altruistic? These are questions philosophers - from Plato to Hobbes, from Rousseau to David Hume - have pondered for hundreds of years. And a famous game invented by economists- called The Ultimatum Game - may help provide some of the answers. All this is up for discussion and debate this week in The Philosopher's Arms. Welcome to the Philosopher's Arms - a place where philosophical ideas, logical dilemmas and the real world meet for a chat and a drink. Each week Matthew Sweet takes a thought experiment with philosophical pedigree and asks why it matters in the everyday world. En route we'll learn about the thinking of such luminaries as Aristotle, Hume, Kant and John Stuart Mill. And all recorded in a pub in front of a live audience, ready to tap their glasses and demand clarity. Questions we might confront along the way include: should the government put Prozac in the water supply? How should I treat my daughter if it turns out she's a robot? And is there anything morally wrong with having sex with a supermarket chicken? These will lead us into discussions about the treatment of mental illness, the structure of financial markets, and subjects as varied as happiness, infidelity and homosexuality. Our assumptions and intuitions will be challenged and, perhaps, undermined. Producer: David Edmonds.

27mins

16 Aug 2013

Rank #8

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Enhancement

Pints and Philosophical Problems with Matthew Sweet. In this series, Matthew asks whether the sun will rise tomorrow, whether one person should be poisoned to save five others and whether a female tennis champion deserves the same prize money as her male counterpart. This week, should we take a pill that would make us less racist and less aggressive? In the snug with Matthew is philosopher Julian Savulescu.

27mins

8 Sep 2014

Rank #9

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A Robot Daughter

Welcome to the Philosopher's Arms - a place where moral dilemmas, philosophical ideas and the real world meet for a chat and a drink. Each week Matthew Sweet takes a dilemma with real philosophical pedigree and sees how it matters in the everyday world. This week Matthew discovers that his adopted daughter is a robot. Should he treat her any differently from before? She's indistinguishable from a human so should she have the same status as a human? Philosopher Barry Smith, Autism mentor Robyn Steward; Artificial Intelligence creator Murray Shanahan and all join Matthew for a drink and a bit of advice. Each week in the Philosphers Arms Matthew is joined joined by a cast of philosophers and attendant experts to show how the dilemma's we face in real life connect us to some of the trickiest philosophical problems ever thought up. En route we'll learn about the thinking of such luminaries as Kant, Hume, Aristotle and Wittgenstein. All recorded in a pub in front of a live audience ready to tap their glasses and demand clarity and ask - what's this all got to do with me? So questions such as should the government put prozac in the water supply? And my daughter is a robot, how should I treat her? Lead us into dilemmas, problems and issues from the treatment of mental illness to the structure of financial markets, from animal rights to homosexuality. And they will challenge a few of the assumptions and intuitions about life that we carry round with us. Producer James Cook.

27mins

16 Aug 2013

Rank #10