Microphilosophy with Julian Baggini
Hope I Get Old before I Die
Season 4, Ep. 10
This edition was dropped the week that the legendary guitarist Wilko Johnson died, aged 75. Back in February 2014 I interviewed Wilko at the Giants of Rock Festival in Minehead. We talked about getting old but continuing to rock, a life-affirming choice Wilko and his mostly middle-aged audience both made with glee. The interview wasn’t recorded for broadcast so its backstage, rough-and-ready aesthetic is by accident not design. But I think the informality of the conversation makes a welcome change and gives a good sense of the man himself.Johnson rose to fame with the band Dr Feelgood in the 1970s. He continued to play with various bands after leaving the Feelgoods in 1977. In January 2013 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given less than a year to live. He threw himself into touring and a year later when we spoke he was still going strong. At the Giants of Rock Festival he was playing with his long-term sidekick, bass legend Norman Watt-Roy and drummer Dylan Howe. Listen to this and tell me Wilko’s not a philosopher.
The Art of the Moog
Season 4, Ep. 9
I talked to Will Gregory and Graham Fitkin when they visited St Georges in Bristol in 2018 to perform with Will Gregory’s Moog Ensemble, Will Gregory is best known as half of Goldfrapp and is also a composer and producer. Graham Fitkin a composer, pianist and conductor best known for his minimalist and postminimalist work. Our conversation contains gems for both synth geeks and those like me who don’t know much except what we like. And if you’re thinking what has this got to do with philosophy?, just take a listen and if you’re still asking by the end, I’d suggest your conception of philosophy might be too narrow.
Take your mind for a ride
Season 4, Ep. 8
Today’s episode features another Philosophy salon recorded live pre-Covid at St George’s in Bristol. This time, we’re talking about the perhaps unlikely and surprising connections between philosophy and … cycling. I was sceptical too but after talking with activist, writer and self-described “outdoor philosopher” Kate Rawles and writer and musician Jet MacDonald, I was converted, and I hope you will be too.
Season 4, Ep. 7
In our tumultuous times, is anarchism a fate to be dreaded or could it actually be part of the solution? In her definitive history of anarchism The Government of No One, Ruth Kinna argues that anarchism in various forms has made a series of challenging contributions to political thought rooted in a belief in freedom and working towards collective good without the interference of the state. She is in conversation with Julian Baggini and Nathan Eisenstadt (Bristol University).
The history of philosophy in English
Season 4, Ep. 6
Jonathan Rée rejects the ‘condescending smugness’ of traditional histories of philosophy. In his new history of philosophy in English Witcraft he abandons the standard, tired narratives and presents the history of philosophy as a haphazard series of unmapped forest paths, a mass of individual stories showing endurance, inventiveness, bewilderment, anxiety, impatience, and good humor. Expect the same from this conversation with Julian Baggini, Rée and Andrew Pyle.
Season 4, Ep. 5
This was recorded at one of my series of Philosophy Salons at St Georges, Bristol. My guests were Kate Kirkpatrick, the author of the biography Becoming Beauvoir: and Jonathan Webber, author of Rethinking Existentialism. We covered a lot of ground, including the nature and degree of human freedom, whether existentialism was capable of grounding a credible ethics and the revealing differences between Jean-Paul Sartre and Simon de Beavoir’s versions of existentialism.
Learning from Asian Philosophy
Season 4, Ep. 4
Bryan van Norden and Jin Y. Park are two of the world’s leading philosophers working at the intersection of east and west. Park’s book Buddhism and Postmodernity combines Zen and Huayan Buddhism with Continental philosophy, while van Norden’s book Taking Back Philosophy: A Multicultural Manifesto has challenged western philosophers to open their minds and doors to other traditions. In discussion with Julian Baggini they talk about what we can learn from Asian thought and the obstacles to genuine cross-cultural philosophising.
How can we talk about trans rights and women’s rights? Pt3
Season 4, Ep. 3
In 2021 I facilitated a lengthy discussion between two philosophers who take different views on the best way to advance trans rights about why the debate is such a fraught one, Catarina Dutilh Novaes and Mary Leng. This is the third and final part.