241 episodes

The simplest questions often have the most complex answers. The Philosopher's Zone is your guide through the strange thickets of logic, metaphysics and ethics.

Philosopher's Zone ABC Radio

    • Society & Culture

The simplest questions often have the most complex answers. The Philosopher's Zone is your guide through the strange thickets of logic, metaphysics and ethics.

    On being a minority in philosophy

    On being a minority in philosophy

    What challenges come with being a minority in philosophy? 

    • 30 min
    Skilled performance and cognition

    Skilled performance and cognition

    When a tennis pro lunges for a difficult drop volley, or a concert cellist rips through the difficult section of a Bach suite, are they thinking about what they're doing? Some would say that elite physical performance is essentially a mindless phenomenon, and that thinking is counterproductive to success. But the reality is more complex - and more interesting.

    • 30 min
    China, Confucius and the courtyard

    China, Confucius and the courtyard

    For more than three millennia, most buildings in China were configured around a central courtyard. This week's guest believes that the courtyard helps us to understand Chinese society and culture, as well as Confucian philosophy. Today, with increasing numbers of people living in urban apartment buildings, the courtyard has become something of a period piece. What does this tell us about Chinese thought and identity in the modern world?

    • 30 min
    Values and goals

    Values and goals

    The recipe for living well is simple: develop a morally sound set of values, formulate goals rooted in those values, and achieve those goals. But beneath this basic formula there lurks a number of tricky questions.

    • 30 min
    Pop, philosophy and politics

    Pop, philosophy and politics

    When philosophy turns its attention to music, it's traditionally an exercise in high culture. Questions about the nature and function of music are often explored with reference to an established canon of "serious" music – while pop finds itself relegated to the margins. This week we're getting serious about pop, and exploring the ways that the compositional and sonic structures of pop music reflect the social and political structures of the broader culture.

    • 30 min
    Conspiracy theories, anti-Semitism and fun

    Conspiracy theories, anti-Semitism and fun

    You don’t have to be stupid to be a conspiracy theorist. Many people who buy into paranoid fantasies about stolen Presidential elections and global Satanic cabals are perfectly sane, well-educated individuals. So why do they fall for these myths? This week we consider the possibility that the attraction is primarily aesthetic, and that the experience is fun. But why the perennial focus on Jews?

    • 30 min

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