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The Public Philosopher


Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel examines the thinking behind a current controversy.

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Will AI make thinking obsolete?

Aug 26 • 41:31
Would you choose an algorithm rather than a human to mark your exam papers? Would you welcome a translation app that replaced foreign language learning? Would you trust a marriage prediction app to choose your life partner? Professor Michael Sandel of Harvard University - Radio 4's 'Public Philosopher' - puts these and other questions to an audience of students at the Lond...

Public Philosopher - Citizens of Nowhere?

Oct 29 • 41:34
Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel comes to St Paul's Cathedral to take on some of the hardest questions raised by the public discontent that characterises much of global politics today. With the help of a live audience, he asks whether globalisation and deepening inequality have eroded the bonds that hold communities together. He enquires if the continuing debate over Bre...

Global Philosopher: Should there be any limits to free speech?

Feb 6 • 41:41
Sixty people from around the world join Professor Michael Sandel in a digital studio at Harvard to discuss free speech. Free speech is a cornerstone of democracy and freedom of expression is regarded as a fundamental human right. But even in democracies there are disputes about the limits to free speech. And most countries have laws restricting free speech, such as libel l...

Would life be better if robots did all the work?

Mar 8 • 41:39
Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel asks if life would be better if robots did all the work. Professor Sandel skilfully and entertainingly uses live audiences to help address important ethical and philosophical questions. He has travelled across the world and brought together global audiences for his method of Socratic dialogue.

Michael gathers an audience in a secondary sc...

The Global Philosopher: Should the Rich World Pay for Climate Change?

Jul 28 • 41:46
Sixty people from thirty countries join Michael Sandel in a digital studio at Harvard to discuss the philosophical issues underlying the world's response to climate change.

The developed world has caused climate change, belting out greenhouse gases as it became rich (at least, most people think so). But the developing world – huge and growing economies like India and China ...

The Global Philosopher: Should Borders Matter?

Mar 29 • 41:31
Michael Sandel explores the philosophical justifications made for national borders. Using a pioneering state-of-the-art studio at the Harvard Business School, Professor Sandel is joined by 60 participants from over 30 countries in a truly global digital space.

Is there any moral distinction between a political refugee and an economic migrant? If people have the right to ex...

Why Democracy?

Jan 20 • 52:23
Harvard professor Michael Sandel is Radio 4's 'Public Philosopher', guiding audiences through complex moral philosophical dilemmas. For the BBC's Democracy Day, Professor Sandel recorded this special edition of The Public Philosopher inside the Palace of Westminster, challenging his audience of MPs, Peers and the public to think deeply about the true nature of democracy.


National Guilt

May 27 • 41:44

Why Vote?

May 20 • 41:48
Should it be compulsory to vote? Should we fine people who don't vote? Should we pay people to vote? This is the week that the UK goes to the polls - amid ongoing concerns about the level of democratic participation. In this edition of The Public Philosopher, Harvard professor Michael Sandel hosts a discussion about voting, with an audience at the London School of Economic...

Morality and the State

May 13 • 41:37
Should governments try to influence private morality? Michael Sandel, The Public Philosopher, is back with a new series. In this first programme he is at the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands, one of the world's most permissive countries. It has liberal laws on prostitution, cannabis and euthanasia. Professor Sandel leads a discussion about the role of the state in ...

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