Thursday 21 August 2014, David Bowden

Celebrate 10 years of the Battle of Ideas with new podcast archive

We're making our archive of Battle of Ideas recordings available to download.

It isn’t just the Battle of Ideas turning 10 this year: 2014 also marks a decade since the podcast was born. With over a hundred thousand podcasts available, and well over a billion subscribers, the rise of the podcast is a vivid reminder of the enormous wealth of knowledge and thought made freely available. The sheer diversity of podcasts, on everything from the history of philosophy to the latest scientific theories, seems to point towards a contemporary thirst for understanding the world.

Yet while our access to information has exploded in recent years, a question mark hangs over how much we value it. Hardly a day seems to go by without a new neuroscientific explanation of how love is an evolutionary strategy, that a passion for art is simply a matter of firing the right neurons, and that humanity clings to free will as a comforting illusion just as previous generations looked to the gods. Meanwhile, the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom for its own sake has seemingly never been more scorned; even academic institutions are keen to stress the ‘relevance’ and ‘impact’ of their research findings, while political debate is conducted over competing interpretations of evidence rather than more abstract notions of conviction, principle or ideology.

The Battle of Ideas was launched in 2005 partly to challenge the narrow constraints of much of the contemporary intellectual sphere: to expand the boundaries of public debate, as our tagline proclaims. Every year since, we have gathered hundreds of high-level speakers from numerous fields with thousands of attendees to take part in rigorous discussions on the key ideas confronting society. We have never been overly concerned about demonstrating learning outcomes or developing policy solutions, only to offer a forum for serious thought which went beyond shallow headlines, snap judgements and easy answers. Serious thinking to go with serious times.

Now we’re delighted to announce that the IoI is publishing the best Battles from the past decade as podcasts on iTunes. Podcast subscribers will regularly receive recordings selected from our Battle archive on a wide range of issues like politics, philosophy, science, arts and culture. We are sure you will find them both stimulating and enjoyable to listen to - and hopefully they will whet your appetite to join us live for the real thing at the Barbican on 18-19 October.

Let Battle commence!

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CONTACT David Bowden





Battle of Ideas 2014

10:00am, Saturday 18 October 2014, The Barbican, London

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13 & 14 October 2018, The Barbican, London