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The Consolations of Philosophy

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 01 January 2009

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the consolation of Philosophy. In the 6th century AD, a successful and intelligent Roman politician called Boethius found himself unjustly accused of treason. Trapped in his prison cell, awaiting a brutal execution, he found solace in philosophical ideas - about the true nature of reality, about injustice and evil and the meaning of living a moral life. His thoughts did not save him from death, but his ideas lived on because he wrote them into a book. He called it The Consolation of Philosophy. The Consolation of Philosophy was read widely and a sense of consolation is woven into many philosophical ideas, but what for Boethius were the consolations of philosophy, what are they more generally and should philosophy lead us to consolation or lead us from it?With AC Grayling, Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London; Melissa Lane, Senior University Lecturer in History at the University of Cambridge and Roger Scruton, Research Professor at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences.

  • Further Reading

    A Short History of Modern Philosophy From Descartes to Wittgenstein by Roger Scruton (Routledge, 1995)

    German Philosophers: Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche by Roger Scruton, Peter Singer, Christopher Janaway and Michael Tanner (OUP, 2001)

    Gentle Regrets: Thoughts from a Life by Roger Scruton (Continuum, 2006)

    Boethius: The Consolations of Music, Logic, Theology, and Philosophy by Henry Chadwick (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1981)

    The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton (Penguin, 2001)

    Plato's Progeny: How Plato and Socrates Still Captivate the Modern Mind by Melissa Lane (Duckworth, 2001)

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