A History of Ideas

A History of Ideas

Key philosophers and their theories


A major 60-part BBC radio series exploring the questions that have preoccupied philosophers through the ages, presented by Melvyn Bragg.

With his landmark series In Our Time, Melvyn Bragg introduced an audience of over 2 million to big ideas across the realms of science, religion, culture, history and philosophy. Now, in A History of Ideas, he looks at the fundamental concepts that underpin our world, and the great thinkers who explored them - from Plato, Aristotle and Seneca to Freud, Rousseau, David Hume and John Stuart Mill.

He is joined by experts from a wide range of fields to discuss the biggest questions we ask ourselves, such as 'What does it mean to be free?', 'How do I tell wrong from right?', 'What makes us human?' and 'How can I know anything at all?' Each of his guests attempts to answer these questions using their specialist expertise.

Between them, they lead us through some of the most significant themes in philosophy, including morality, beauty, justice, altruism and existentialism. We find out about the evolution of language and technology, are given insights into consciousness and memory, and discover the many aspects of love - as well as learning the Buddha's Four Noble Truths, hearing what put the bang in the Big Bang, and uncovering the link between Wittgenstein and Blade Runner...

Wide-ranging, entertaining and inspiring, this stunning series puts the big ideas in their historical context, showing us that they are not merely academic abstractions, but essential tools for living.

Copyright © 2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd. (P) 2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

About the author

Melvyn Bragg

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