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Intelligence Squared

Updated 8 days ago

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Intelligence Squared is the world’s leading forum for debate and intelligent discussion. Live and online we take you to the heart of the issues that matter, in the company of some of the world’s sharpest minds and most exciting orators. Join the debate at www.intelligencesquared.com and download our weekly podcasts every Tuesday and Friday.

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Intelligence Squared is the world’s leading forum for debate and intelligent discussion. Live and online we take you to the heart of the issues that matter, in the company of some of the world’s sharpest minds and most exciting orators. Join the debate at www.intelligencesquared.com and download our weekly podcasts every Tuesday and Friday.

iTunes Ratings

434 Ratings
Average Ratings
313
62
28
16
15

Very good

By Food guy22 - Jan 25 2020
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I enjoy the podcast thoroughly

No podcast I would recommend more

By a non y-mous - Jan 12 2019
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Especially in the day and age. The moderator is sharp and always on point

iTunes Ratings

434 Ratings
Average Ratings
313
62
28
16
15

Very good

By Food guy22 - Jan 25 2020
Read more
I enjoy the podcast thoroughly

No podcast I would recommend more

By a non y-mous - Jan 12 2019
Read more
Especially in the day and age. The moderator is sharp and always on point
Cover image of Intelligence Squared

Intelligence Squared

Latest release on Feb 18, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 8 days ago

Rank #1: An Evening With Slavoj Zizek

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Radical philosopher, polymath, film star, cult icon, and author of over 30 books, Slavoj Žižek is one of the most controversial and leading contemporary public intellectuals, simultaneously acclaimed as the ‘Elvis of cultural theory’ and denounced as ‘the most dangerous philosopher in the West’.

In this special lecture for Intelligence Squared from July 2011, Žižek argues that global capitalism is fast approaching its terminal crisis and that our collective responses to economic Armageddon correspond to the five stages of grief – ideological denial, explosions of anger, attempts at bargaining, followed by depression and finally acceptance of change. Referencing everything from Kafka, the "Hollywood Marxism" of Avatar, the Arab Spring and WikiLeaks, he presents a roadmap for finding a way beyond the madness. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jan 24 2014

1hr 30mins

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Rank #2: Steven Pinker on Good Writing with Ian McEwan

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Steven Pinker is one of the world’s leading authorities on language, mind and human nature. A professor of psychology at Harvard, he is the bestselling author of eight books and regularly appears in lists of the world’s top 100 thinkers.

On September 25th he returned to the Intelligence Squared stage to discuss his latest publication 'The Sense of Style', a short and entertaining writing guide for the 21st century. Pinker argued that bad writing can’t be blamed on the internet, or on “the kids today”. Good writing has always been hard: a performance requiring pretence, empathy, and a drive for coherence. He answered questions such as: how can we overcome the “curse of knowledge”, the difficulty in imagining what it’s like not to know something we do? And how can we distinguish the myths and superstitions about language from helpful rules that enhance clarity and grace? Pinker showed how everyone can improve their mastery of writing and their appreciation of the art.

Professor Pinker was joined by Ian... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Sep 30 2014

1hr 18mins

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Rank #3: The Catholic Church is a Force For Good in The World

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Can anything good really be said of an institution that has such a warped attitude to sex that it tries to stop the world from wearing a condom, is bitterly opposed to gays leading a fulfilled life and regards women as unworthy of officiating in its rituals? But who you gonna call when it comes to finding a good school for your children, when it comes to standing up for the oppressed, when it comes to giving material and spiritual succour to the wretched of the earth?

In 2009 Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens locked horns with Anne Widdecombe and John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, over whether or not the Catholic Church was a force for good. Today the debate has been watched more times online than any other Intelligence Squared event. We're thrilled to make the audio available to all as part of our Advent podcast. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Dec 13 2013

46mins

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Rank #4: Robert Macfarlane on Landscape and the Human Heart

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How do the landscapes we love shape the people we are? Why do we walk? For several years and more than a thousand miles, celebrated travel writer Robert Macfarlane has been following the vast network of old paths and routes that criss-cross Britain and its waters, and connect them to countries and continents beyond.

Listen to his enthralling account from June 2012 of the ghosts and voices that haunt old tracks, of songlines and their singers, of the stories our tracks keep and tell, and of rights of way and rites of way. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Dec 04 2013

1hr 15mins

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Rank #5: David Brooks on the Road to Character

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On May 26th 2015, New York Times columnist David Brooks came to the Intelligence Squared stage to share the insights of his latest book, 'The Road to Character'. Brooks argued that today’s ‘Big Me’ culture is making us increasingly self-preoccupied: we live in a world where we’re taught to be assertive, to master skills, to broadcast our brand, to get likes, to get followers. But amidst all the noise of self-promotion, Brooks claimed that we’ve lost sight of an important and counterintuitive truth: that in order to fulfil ourselves we need to learn how to forget ourselves.

Brooks was joined on stage by writer and lecturer on psychology, politics, and the arts Andrew Solomon. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jun 04 2015

59mins

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Rank #6: BJ Fogg on Redesigning Habits and Human Behaviour

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BJ Fogg is a pioneering research psychologist and founder of the iconic Behavior Design Lab at Stanford which has taught everyone from the founders of Instagram to the leading technology ethicist Tristan Harris. In this episode Fogg speaks to Carl Miller about his new book Tiny Habits, how he cracked the code of habit formation and the potential dangers of unleashing behaviour design on the world. 


See more about the book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Best-Sellers-Books/zgbs/books

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jan 24 2020

48mins

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Rank #7: The Right To Bear Arms Is A Freedom Too Far

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Filmed at the Sadler's Wells Lilian Baylis Studio on 27th March 2013.

Arguing in favour of the motion was journalist, novelist and broadcaster Will Self. Arguing against the motion was author and Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens.

Joining us via Google+ Hangouts were celebrated sociologist and Professor of International Affairs at The George Washington University, Amitai Etzioni and Attorney at Law and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Stephen Halbrook.

The debate was chaired by Editor-in-chief of The Week magazine and co-founder of Intelligence Squared, Jeremy O'Grady. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Dec 10 2015

50mins

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Rank #8: Psychiatrists & the pharma industry are to blame for the current ‘epidemic’ of mental disorders

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Drug pushers. We tend to associate them with the bleak underworld of criminality. But some would argue that there’s another class of drug pushers, just as unscrupulous, who work in the highly respectable fields of psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. And they deserve the same moral scrutiny that we apply to the drug pedlar on the street corner. Within the medical profession labels are increasingly being attached to everyday conditions previously thought to be beyond the remit of medical help. So sadness is rebranded as depression, shyness as social phobia, childhood naughtiness as hyperactivity or ADHD. And Big Pharma is only too happy to come up with profitable new drugs to treat these ‘disorders’, drugs which the psychiatrists and GPs then willingly prescribe, richly rewarded by the pharma companies for doing so.


That’s the view of those who object to the widespread use of the ‘chemical cosh’ to treat people with mental difficulties. But many psychiatrists, while acknowledging that overprescribing is a problem, would argue that the blame lies not with themselves. For example, parents and teachers often ramp up the pressure to have a medical label attached to a child’s problematic behaviour because that way there’s less stigma attached and allowances are made. And psychiatrists and the pharma companies also take issue with those who argue that the ‘chemical imbalance’ theory of mental disorder is a myth. ADHD is a real condition, they say, for which drugs work. Research shows that antidepressants really are more effective than just a placebo, especially in cases of severe depression.


Defending the motion in this Intelligence Squared debate at London's Emmanuel Centre in November 2014 were author and journalist Will Self and psychoanalyst and author Darian Leader.


Opposing the motion were former Head of Worldwide Development at Pfizer Inc. Dr Declan Doogan and President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Professor Sir Simon Wessely.


The debate was chaired by Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Apr 12 2018

1hr

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Rank #9: The Best Chance For Peace In Israel And Palestine Is For Uncle Sam To Butt Out

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Is it surprising that the Israelis and Palestinians are still unable to come to some sort of agreement? After all if the adjudicator in a mediation is firmly on your side why bother to concede anything to the enemy? Conversely, why accept anything proposed by the adjudicator if you know his affections are biased towards the other side? We know America’s neutrality is hopelessly compromised on this issue and it doesn’t pretend otherwise. Say something against Israel in the run-up to the US presidential elections and you won’t become president. And since that’s not going to change, the best thing one can hope is for America to simply withdraw from the peace process.

Or is it? Some have faith that Washington can be persuaded to adopt a more flexible and even-handed stance – that it can free itself from the influence of the hard-liners and be responsive to more liberal voices. For if America were not involved – if the most important global playmaker were excluded or pulled out of the negotiating process –... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Mar 27 2014

1hr 48mins

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Rank #10: Effective Altruism: A Better Way to Lead an Ethical Life

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Almost all of us want to make a difference in our lives. So we give to charity, recycle, volunteer, or cut down our carbon emissions. But are we getting it right? In a world where ever more data is available, shouldn’t we be paying closer attention to the measurable effects of our altruistic actions? Why, for example do we spend so much time and effort researching hotels and restaurants online while we rarely bother to investigate the effectiveness of the charities we donate to? Are we more concerned with feeling good about ourselves than actually doing good?

Enter William MacAskill, rising star philosopher at Oxford University and co-founder of the Effective Altruism movement. MacAskill’s new book 'Doing Good Better' has won acclaim from the likes of Peter Singer and Steven Pinker. Bill Gates, perhaps the world’s greatest philanthropist, has even described him as ‘a data nerd after my own heart.’ By crunching the numbers, MacAskill has shown that the standard ways of doing good often turn out to be less... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Dec 04 2015

1hr

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Rank #11: Blockchain: Quantum leap forward or digital snake oil?

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Blockchain, the technology on which Bitcoin is based, has gone mainstream. Evangelists describe it as a thrilling and versatile foundation that will revolutionise everything from finance to governance. But is it really the radical new paradigm its adherents claim?


We were joined on stage by Jamie Bartlett, one of the UK’s leading thinkers on the politics and social influence of the internet; Primavera De Filippi, expert on the legal challenges and opportunities of blockchain technologies and author of Blockchain and The Law; David Gerard, author of the news blog and book Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain: Bitcoin, Blockchain, Ethereum & Smart Contracts; and Vít Jedlička, founder and first elected president of the Free Republic of Liberland, which aims to be the first country to base its government structure on blockchain technology.


The event was chaired by BBC Economics Editor Kamal Ahmed.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jul 27 2018

59mins

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Rank #12: Jordan Peterson on Gender, Patriarchy and the Slide Towards Tyranny

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In May 2018, we recorded a special episode of the Intelligence Squared podcast in London. Jordan Peterson, author of 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, was joined by Anne McElvoy, Senior Editor at The Economist and head of Economist Radio, to discuss identity politics, liberalism and #MeToo.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

May 23 2018

57mins

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Rank #13: The World Needs Religion Even if it Doesn't Need God

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God is dead and man has no need of the myths and false consolation that religion offers. That’s the battle-cry of Richard Dawkins and other tough-minded critics of religion. And yet millions cling to their faith, finding value and meaning in the concepts and rituals they adhere to. But is this dichotomy all we have to choose from – prostration or denigration?

Some would argue that there’s another way, that it’s possible to remain an atheist and still make use of certain ideas and practices of religion that secular society has failed to engender – the promotion of morality and a spirit of community, for example, and the ability to cope with loss, failure and our own mortality. But is this “religion for atheists” something that would ever catch on? Without belief in the numinous and some form of authority wouldn’t it all fall apart? And do atheists really need sermons and reminders to be good?

Arguing against this motion in this debate from January 2012 were philosopher and author Alain de Botton and... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Apr 29 2015

1hr 2mins

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Rank #14: Sam Harris on the Science of Good and Evil

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Where do our ideas about morality and meaning come from? Most people - from religious extremists to secular scientists - would agree on one point: that science has nothing to say on the subject of human values. Indeed, science's failure to explain meaning and morality has become the primary justification for religious faith and the reason why even many non-believers feel obliged to accord respect to the beliefs of the devout. In this podcast, recorded at our event in April 2011, Sam Harris, the American philosopher and neuroscientist, argues that these views are mistaken - that amidst all the competing arguments about how we should lead our lives, science can show us that there are right and wrong answers. This means that moral relativism is mistaken and that there can be neither a Christian nor a Muslim morality - and that ultimately science can and should determine how best to live our lives. After an opening speech, Revd Dr Giles Fraser, former-canon chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, joins Harris in conversation. The event was chaired by Jeremy O'Grady, Editor-in-chief of The Week magazine and co-founder of Intelligence Squared.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Sep 07 2017

59mins

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Rank #15: Stephen Fry and Friends on the Life, Loves and Hates of Christopher Hitchens

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In this historic event, Stephen Fry and other friends of Christopher Hitchens came together to celebrate the life and work of this great writer, polemicist and orator.

Fry was joined on stage in London by Richard Dawkins where the two discussed Hitchens' unflinching commitment to the truth. Hollywood actor Sean Penn was beamed in from LA via Google+ Hangouts and, between cigarette puffs, read from Hitchens' acclaimed work, 'The Trial of Henry Kissinger'. And friends of Hitchens, including Martin Amis, James Fenton and Salman Rushdie, spoke of their deep affection for him via satellite in New York.

Hitchens himself watched the event live online from his bedside in Texas. Novelist Ian McEwan who was at his side sent Fry a text which read “The Rolls Royce mind is still purring".

The event took place on 11th November 2011, shortly before Hitchens died on 15th December.

We are proud to make this special discussion available for all to listen to on our podcast. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Apr 11 2014

46mins

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Rank #16: University is an unwise investment

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For many Western teenagers university has long been considered a passport to the good life: a rite of passage consisting of mind-expanding reading and writing or the acquisition of a professional qualification, and meeting like-minded people often over a drink or three – all ending up in a well paid, interesting job and a network of useful contacts.

But in these straitened times is the traditional university education really worth the time and money – and the hangovers? More and more young people are attending university in Britain and the US, and ever fewer graduates are finding jobs. Costs are soaring too: fees at American universities have increased by over 1000% in the last 30 years and British institutions have nearly tripled their annual fees to £9000 in the last year. The result? A new type of high-school leaver is emerging who combines formal learning with on-the-job experience. Businesses are increasingly interested in employing young people with a sense of determination, grit and a strong work... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Aug 14 2014

1hr 2mins

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Rank #17: Yuval Noah Harari on the Myths we Need to Survive

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Myths. We tend to think they’re a thing of the past, fabrications that early humans needed to believe in because their understanding of the world was so meagre. But what if modern civilisation were itself based on a set of myths? This is the big question posed by Professor Yuval Noah Harari, author of 'Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind', which has become one of the most talked about bestsellers of recent years.

In this exclusive appearance for Intelligence Squared, Harari argued that all political orders are based on useful fictions which have allowed groups of humans, from ancient Mesopotamia through to the Roman empire and modern capitalist societies, to cooperate in numbers far beyond the scope of any other species. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Sep 19 2016

1hr 1min

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Rank #18: Terry Eagleton in conversation with Roger Scruton

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What really divides the left and the right? To answer this question, Intelligence Squared brought together two giants of British intellectual culture for an ideological reckoning: Terry Eagleton, literary critic and long-time hero of the radical left, and Roger Scruton, right-wing philosopher who has written on everything from economic theory to literature, and architecture to wine.

What we heard was two two irreducibly different views of the world, where each tries hard to understand the other’s view. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Dec 06 2013

1hr 27mins

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Rank #19: Michael Lewis On How Behavioural Economics Changed The World

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Michael Lewis is one of the most successful non-fiction authors alive. He has been acclaimed as a genius by Malcolm Gladwell and as the best current writer in America by Tom Wolfe. In a series of titles that have sold 9 million copies worldwide, he has lifted the lid on the biggest stories of our times, enthralling readers with his knack for humanising complex subjects and giving them the page-turning urgency of the best thrillers. Liar's Poker is the cult classic that defined Wall Street during the 1980s; Moneyball was made into a film with Brad Pitt; Boomerang was a breakneck tour of Europe’s post-crunch economy; and The Big Short was made into a major Oscar-winning film starring Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell.


In November 2017 Lewis came to the Intelligence Squared stage, where he was joined by Stephanie Flanders, former economics editor at the BBC. Discussing the themes of his latest book, The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed the World, they explored the extraordinary story of the relationship between Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky – a collaboration which created the field of behavioural economics. This is the theory which shows that human beings are not the rational creatures we imagined ourselves to be, and has revolutionised everything from big data to medicine, from how we are governed to how we spend, from high finance to football. It won Kahneman the Nobel Prize in economics in 2002 – the first time the award had gone to a psychologist.

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Nov 24 2017

1hr

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Rank #20: A Journey Into Outer Space, With Brian Cox

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Are they out there? Intelligent beings from another world. Will we ever make contact with them? Is it even sensible to make guesses about whether life exists in other galaxies billions of light years from our own? How much do we know about outer space? What are black holes, dark matter and strange attractors? Is our universe just one amongst an infinity of multiverses? Can we dispense with the idea of a creator God?

On 16th March 2011 some of the greatest names in space exploration and the mysteries of the cosmos guided us to outer realms and argued about some of the most fascinating questions we’ve ever asked ourselves. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jun 19 2014

1hr 54mins

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