A History of Ideas animations

A History of Ideas animations

United Kingdom

Big questions and theories explained in under 2 minutes from A History of Ideas on BBC Radio 4. Animations voiced by Harry Shearer, Gillian Anderson, Stephen Fry and Aidan Turner. Scripted by Nigel Warburton. This project is made in collaboration with The Open University and the animations were created by Cognitive.


Wittgenstein's Beetle in a Box Analogy  

You can't know exactly what it is like to be another person or experience things from their perspective. Wittgenstein had an analogy for this. Narrated by Aidan Turner.

Esse est Percipi - ('To be is to be perceived')  

If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Narrated by Aidan Turner.

Karl Popper's Falsification  

Science is based on fact. Isn't it? Narrated by Aidan Turner.

Should You Believe in Miracles?  

Philosopher David Hume thought you should look at the evidence. We've employed a Time Lord to investigate. Narrated by Aidan Turner.

The Myth of the Missing Half  

In Plato’s dialogue The Symposium, Aristophanes presented a light-hearted creation myth that attempted to explain the human search for love. Narrated by Aidan Turner.

Is Selfless Love Possible?  

Why do people do good deeds? Are they being selfless or is there something else going on? Narrated by Aidan Turner.

Jean Paul Sartre on Love  

For Jean-Paul Sartre, freedom was everything. Real freedom means freedom to change your mind and freedom to fall out of love. Narrated by Aidan Turner.

The Oedipus Complex and the Westermarck Effect  

The Oedipus Complex explained in under 2 minutes. Narrated by Aidan Turner.

Confucian Ancestor Worship  

The family is at the heart of Confucian philosophy. Narrated by Aidan Turner.

Plato's Philosopher Kings  

Plato thought leaders should be specially trained philosophers chosen because they were incorruptible and had a deeper knowledge of reality. Narrated by Aidan Turner.

The Invisible Hand  

Does an invisible hand guide the economy? Narrated by Aidan Turner.

Rene Descartes - “I think, therefore I am”  

How did Descartes come to the conclusion of certainty when surrounded by uncertainty and doubt? Narrated by Stephen Fry.

Erving Goffman and The Performed Self  

Do we have a true self or are we endlessly performing? Narrated by Stephen Fry.

Jean-Paul Sartre and Existential Choice  

According to Jean-Paul Sartre, every choice reveals what we think a human being should be.

Know Thyself  

Is it possible to ever 'Know Thyself'? Narrated by Stephen Fry.

Habeas Corpus  

Habeas Corpus protects individual freedom and ensures that no one is held without charge.Narrated by Stephen Fry.

Civil Disobedience  

A just society has fair laws. But most societies aren’t like that. So what can you do? Narrated by Stephen Fry.

The Veil Of Ignorance  

John Rawls argued it might be more just to construct a blueprint for a just society from behind a 'veil of ignorance'. Narrated by Stephen Fry.

Lex Talionis and Retribution  

An eye for an eye might sound like brutal retribution but its roots were in encouraging a sense of proportion. Narrated by Stephen Fry.

Buddhism’s Four Noble Truths  

Does our inescapable suffering stem from our own greed and ignorance? Buddha thought so. Narrated by Stephen Fry.

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