A Point of View

A Point of View

Weekly reflections on topical issues from a range of contributors including historian Lisa Jardine, novelist Sarah Dunant and writer Alain de Botton.

  • Updated:
    Weekly
  • Episodes available:
    Indefinitely help

Subscribe for free

Subscribe to this podcast and automatically receive the latest episodes.

More help with subscribing

Recent episodes (10)

  • Will Self: What's Funny? 15 Nov 13

    Fri, 22 Aug 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Will Self reflects on comedy, asking why we laugh and whether there's too much of the wrong type of humour in our culture. Producer: Caroline Bayley.

    Download 5MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Will Self: The Affliction of Consumption 15 Aug 2014

    Fri, 15 Aug 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Will Self reflects on the power of modern day consumption and the effect it is having on us.

    Download 5MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Will Self: Believing in Beliefs : 08 Aug 14

    Fri, 8 Aug 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Will Self argues that our modern secular brand of beliefs can't deal with the "heavy stuff" in life. Producer: Adele Armstrong

    Download 5MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Will Self: The Changing Nature of Utopias: 01 Aug 14

    Fri, 1 Aug 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Will Self reflects on what the changing nature of utopias says about us, from Thomas More's sixteenth century Utopia to the recent TV series of the same name. Producer: Arlene Gregorius

    Download 5MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Is patriotism the last refuge of the scoundrel? 25 July 14

    Fri, 25 Jul 14

    Duration:
    11 mins

    Republican or royalist we all need something or someone in which to invest our loyalty. Will Self reflects on what really lies behind our sense of patriotism. Producer: Arlene Gregorius

    Download 5MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • John Gray: Believing in reason is childish: 18 July 14

    Fri, 18 Jul 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Some critics of religion see having faith as being childish. But John Gray argues that believing that human beings are rational is more childish than believing in religion. The belief in the power of reason to improve humankind rests on childishly simple ideas he says. One of the commonest is that history's crimes are mistakes that can be avoided as we gain greater knowledge. But if history teaches us anything, Grey asserts, it's that behaviours and attitudes like cruelty and hatred are permanent human flaws. To imagine that we can become more rational is an example of magical thinking and an expression of the belief in the omnipotence of the human will that psychoanalysts identify as the fundamental infantile fantasy. John Gray believes that we'd all be better off if we saw ourselves as we are: intermittently and only ever partly rational creatures, who never really grow up. Producer: Arlene Gregorius

    Download 5MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • John Gray: "Isis: a modern revolutionary force"? 11 July 14

    Fri, 11 Jul 14

    Duration:
    11 mins

    Philosopher and author John Gray argues that the Sunni extremist group Isis (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) is actually more of a modern revolutionary force than a reactionary one intent on a reversion to mediaeval values. Surprising as this may sound says Gray, Isis is thoroughly modern. It's organised itself into an efficient company, and has become the wealthiest jihadi organisation in the world. And while it invokes the early history of Islam, the society it envisions has no precedent in history. Some of the thinkers who developed radical Islamist ideas are known to have been influenced by European anarchism and communism, especially by the idea that society can be reshaped by a merciless revolutionary vanguard using systematic violence. Isis is part of the revolutionary turmoil of modern times warns Gray, and until the West grasps that uncomfortable fact, it won't be able to deal with the dangers Isis presents. Producer: Arlene Gregorius

    Download 5MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • AL Kennedy: To See Ourselves: 04 July 14

    Fri, 4 Jul 14

    Duration:
    11 mins

    AL Kennedy argues that the British have much to gain from - in the words of Robert Burns - "seeing ourselves as others see us". Referring to last week's row over the appointment of the new European Commission President, she writes: "the EU's view of Britain might be that we're always yelling in a corner about chips!" An entertaining exploration of the down-sides of personal and national introspection. Producer: Adele Armstrong

    Download 5MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • AL Kennedy: Battling the Botnets: 27 June 14

    Fri, 27 Jun 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    It's a tale of "shadowy white-hatted hackers, more shadowy black-hatted hackers and the possibility that the pricey electronic equipment lurking in our homes may not have our best interests at heart". AL Kennedy reflects on the current spate of high-profile viruses that are threatening our computers ... invasive software that may be sending our bank details to criminals every time we connect to the internet. She says as more sophisticated computers become part of more appliances, the potential for virus infection increases. So is it time, she asks, for us to rethink our devotion to these machines? Producer: Adele Armstrong

    Download 5MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • AL Kennedy: If You Haven't Got Anything Nice to Say ... :20 June 14

    Fri, 20 Jun 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    AL Kennedy argues that our obsession with gossip is affecting our public discourse, and corrupting its content. She traces the history of gossip, explores how gossip is edging out real news and how it's taken over our political lives. "Gossip obscures truth" she writes, "sours our outlooks on each other and can trivialise any debate". She concludes that "we really could do with a lot less of it". Producer: Adele Armstrong

    Download 5MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

Terms of Use

The BBC Podcasts are for your personal non-commercial use only.

All title, ownership rights and intellectual property rights in and to the BBC Podcasts shall remain the property of the BBC or third parties. You may not edit, alter, adapt or add to the BBC Podcast in any way. The BBC Podcasts are made available by the BBC on an "as is" and "as available" basis and the BBC gives no warranty of any kind in relation to the BBC Podcast. To the maximum extent permitted by law the BBC will not be liable for any loss or damage which you may suffer as a result of, or connected to, the download or use of the BBC Podcasts.

 

See the full Standard Licence Terms here.

Play recent episodes

You may also like

The Report

  • News
  • Factual > Politics

Uncovering the real stories behind the news. Simon Cox and fellow reporters delve beneath the headlines. The Report airs every Thursday evening at 8pm on Radio 4 for 38 weeks a year. The programme

Thu, 21 Aug 14

28 minutes

Outlook

  • News
  • Factual
  • Factual > Life Stories

True life stories. Join Matthew Bannister, Monday to Thursday. Includes our daily history programme Witness. Or join us for the best of Outlook on Saturdays.

13 hours ago

47 minutes

Genres

  • No matches found