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Reading Our Times
36 minutes | 5 months ago
Can liberalism ever ‘get’ religion?
In the final episode of the series, Nick Spencer speaks to Cécile Laborde, author of the award-winning book 'Liberalism’s Religion'. Liberalism and religion have had an intimate and sometimes tempestuous relationship over the years. In recent decades, a number of people have claimed that liberal political theory doesn’t really understand religion, and that religion in liberal societies suffers as a consequence. 'Liberalism’s Religion', an award-winning book by Cécile Laborde, Nuffield Chair of Political Theory at the University of Oxford, explores the way in which liberalism conceives of and deals with religion, and argues that the dominant ‘liberal–egalitarian’ approach toward religion is misguided and in need of revision. Learn more about the people and ideas behind the episode Liberalism’s Religion — Cécile Laborde | Harvard University Press Cécile Laborde – Nuffield College Oxford University
34 minutes | 5 months ago
Is the law damaging our politics?
Nick Spencer speaks to former BBC Reith lecturer and the Supreme Court Justice Jonathan Sumption We live in an age of ever expanding law and of rampant political cynicism. Perhaps the two are connected? Nick Spencer talks to former BBC Reith lecturer and the Supreme Court Justice Jonathan Sumption about his book 'Trials of the State: Law and the Decline of Politics' which argues that our growing inclination to turn to the law to resolve our problems may, in fact, be making our public life worse. Unfortunately we were hampered by the tech in this episode, and despite the sterling work of our expert producer Phil in post–production, Jonathan’s voice remains accompanied by tiny electronic crickets. If you are finding it difficult to listen, you can read the transcript of the conversation here: https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/comment/2020/12/01/is-the-law-damaging-our-politics Learn more about the people and ideas behind the episode Trials of the State: Law and the Decline of Politics (bookshop.org) BBC Radio 4 – The Reith Lectures, 2019: Jonathan Sumption, 1/5. Law’s Expanding Empire
33 minutes | 6 months ago
How has the divided brain shaped the modern world?
Nick Spencer speaks to Iain McGilchrist about brains, minds, cultures, and God. Humans see and understand the world in different ways, ways that appear to map onto the brain’s function and in particular its hemispheric nature. But how has that ‘attention’ shaped the world we live in today? Nick Spencer talks to the former Consultant Psychiatrist and author of 'The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World' about brains, minds, cultures, and God. Learn more about the people and ideas behind the episode The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World Channel McGilchrist Murdering to dissect: The Master and his Emissary The Divided Brain Iain McGilchrist
33 minutes | 6 months ago
What's wrong with rights?
Nick Spencer speaks to Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology Nigel Biggar about his new book on rights The concept of ‘rights’ tends to provoke a strong response from people today: some hold them in quasi–religious esteem, while others consider them responsible for selfish individualism and social fragmentation. Nick Spencer talks to Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at the University of Oxford, about his new book 'What’s wrong with rights?', which takes a critical look at the language, logic and implementation of rights today. Learn more about the people and ideas behind the episode Nigel Biggar What’s wrong with rights? by Nigel Biggar
39 minutes | 6 months ago
Why is the West becoming so unequal and what can we do about it?
Nick Spencer speaks to economist Thomas Piketty about inequality. Levels of inequality, particularly in the West, have been growing steadily over the last 50 years, and they seem likely to accelerate in the wake of Covid–19. Why is this? Why was the 20th century so good as equalising wealth and income, why is the 21st century different, and what should we do about it? Nick Spencer talks to the economist, Thomas Piketty – whose books Capital in the 21st century and Capital and Ideology have changed the debate on the subject – about inequality, solidarity, and the dangers of treating property as if it were sacred. Learn more about the people and ideas behind the episode “Use worldly wealth to gain friends”: Thomas Piketty’s Capital and Ideology Paris School of Economics – Thomas Piketty Capital in the Twenty–First Century Capital and Ideology
36 minutes | 6 months ago
What can dementia teach us about being human?
Nick Spencer speaks to novelist and journalist Nicci Gerard about her experience of her father’s dementia and the moving and poignant book she wrote about it, 'What Dementia Teaches Us About Love'. Approximately 850,000 people in the UK today are living with dementia – and that number is just set to grow. But what actually is dementia? What does it do to us? And what does it say about us, and in particular about our humanity? Nick Spencer talks to novelist and journalist Nicci Gerrard about her experience of her father’s dementia and the moving and poignant book she wrote about it, What Dementia Teaches Us about Love. Learn more about the people and ideas behind the episode William Utermohlen’s art John’s Campaign What dementia teaches us about love
34 minutes | 6 months ago
What does it mean to live in a secular age?
Nick Spencer speaks to Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor about his famous book 'A Secular Age' We live in “a secular age”, but what does that actually mean? How does secularism relate to religion? And how should it? Nick Spencer talks to the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, about his famous book 'A Secular Age', which has done more to bring sophistication and nuance to the debates about secularism than any other published in a generation. Learn more about the people and ideas behind the episode A Secular Age by Charles Taylor The Immanent Frame
43 minutes | 8 months ago
What’s wrong with meritocracy?
Nick Spencer talks to philosopher Michael Sandel Presidents, prime ministers, and pundits all love to praise meritocracy, the dream of a society in which we can go as far as our talents and hard work take us. But what if that dream is actually a nightmare? Nick Spencer talks to leading political philosopher Michael Sandel about the pitfalls of meritocracy, and traces the roots of these tensions all the way back to a fifth–century theological debate. Please rate and review the episode. Visit https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/ to subscribe to our newsletter or get in touch. Follow us on Twitter @theosthinktank and @theosnick. Our next episode will be out in October. Learn more about the people and ideas behind the episode The Tyranny of Merit by Michael Sandel Merit, justice and liberalism: getting to the heart of Michael Sandel Theos Annual Lecture 2020 with Michael Sandel The dignity of work: making it a reality
2 minutes | 8 months ago
Introducing Reading Our Times
New podcast exploring the books and the ideas that are shaping us today Too often, our big debates lack depth and generosity. We talk past – or worse – we shout at one another, with sound–bytes, tweets, and memes. This podcast, hosted by Theos Senior Fellow Nick Spencer, gives us the chance to dive deeper. Nick will be talking to some of the leading thinkers and writers of our time, and looking at the books that are behind our public conversations. We’ll be talking about meritocracy, justice, populism, human rights, and religion. This is not simply a political or a current affairs podcast, however. We’re going to trace intellectual roots and the human implications of these issues. We’ll look at what they have to say about who we are and how we should live together. We’ll ask what dementia might have to teach us about being human? How has the divided brain shaped history? What does it mean to live in a liberal society? We won’t always end up with answers, and certainly not simple ones. But we can promise you a probing and fascinating conversation. Listen to us, and we’ll introduce you to books and ideas that illuminate the way we see – and live in – today’s world. Our first episode, out on 15th September, will be looking at what’s wrong with meritocracy in conversation with leading philosopher Michael Sandel. You can find Reading Our Times on major streaming sites including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher. Follow us on Twitter @theosthinktank and @theosnick. For more information about the people and ideas behind the podcast, visit https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/about/who-we-are
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