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The Philosopher’s Zone

And now for something different again, Bruce: Chris Gill listens to philosophy radio broadcast from the Outback.

The Philosopher’s Zone is a weekly twenty-five minute program produced by Australia’s ABC Radio National. Philosophers from around the globe engage in a dialogue with host Alan Saunders, or give a public lecture chaired by him, on a highly eclectic selection of themes. This geographically distant but excellent radio program is made easily accessible by ABC’s website (abc.net.au/rn), from which one can obtain audio, podcasts, or texts of the programs broadcast to date – more than 240 since the launch in January 2006.

Saunders, a PhD in philosophy, hosts the programs with exceptional clarity and ease. In an understated yet deliberative manner, he draws his guests out, often bringing historical or biographical contexts into play, and always probing how philosophical analysis can assist us in thinking about technology, our relationship to nature, relations between cultures, the values of tolerance, justice, and openness in modern society, and other contemporary concerns. The program might be an analysis of Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj, the epistemology of blogging, the value of biographical detail on great philosophers, a visit to the Pre-Socratics, a tribute to Isaiah Berlin, or P.J. O’Rourke on Adam Smith and the great economic mess, for examples.

Who is listening? Well, the sort of person who reads Philosophy Now, I assume. Using the term broadly, the program appeals to the ‘student of philosophy’, young or old – the thinking citizen, or the individual who is given to philosophical thinking and perspectives without sitting in an academic chair. It helps one keep a philosophic grip.

© Chris Gill 2009

Chris Gill is a retired individual, cartoonist. Visit cgillcartoons.ca to see some of his work.

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