"What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism." - G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Not sure whether non-UKers can access this, but BBC Radio 4's 'In Our Time' series covered materialism earlier and it's a pretty interesting listen, covering both the history and implications of the position.

"If we go back to the beginning we shall find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit adorned or disfigured them; that weakness worships them; that credulity preserves them, and that custom, respect and tyranny support them."

It’s provocative stuff even today and certainly was in 1770 when published by Baron D’Holbach in his book The System of Nature. The baron’s boldness was underpinned by Materialism, a philosophical idea so dangerous that every copy of the book was condemned to be burnt. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, materialism dominates much of our understanding of the world today.

But what does materialism really mean, how has it developed over time and can we still have free will if we are living in a materialist world?


Anthony Grayling, Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London

Caroline Warman, Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford

Anthony O’Hear, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Buckingham


Anonymous m said...

Non-UKers and vagrants can access it, thanks for the link. Shame they didn't have more time.

11:29 PM

Blogger Matt M said...


The Beeb sometimes puts restrictions on its content, so I wasn't sure whether it'd play overseas.

The series covers some fascinating topics, although the 40 minute timeslot just isn't enough for some of them. It's well worth looking through the archives.

6:54 AM

Blogger Alex said...

Just now got around to having a listen. Very germane. Your posting of this was rather timely in light of my current reading. A lot of what was said interwove quite nicely with Copleson's 'History of Philosophy," as well as some of the points that Polkinghorne brings up in "Faith Science & Understanding." Thanks for posting!

9:00 AM

Blogger Matt M said...

Glad to have been of help.

Again, I'd recommend the archives of the show.

9:54 AM


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