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Start the Week
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21 April 2008
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image: andrew marr
This week Andrew Marr is joined by Raymond Tallis, Daniel Dennett, Gwen Griffith-Dickson and Carole Seymour-Jones.
For over thirty years RAYMOND TALLIS has been leading a double life. An eminent physician and professor of geriatric medicine, he has been waking at dawn every morning to write poetry, novels and philosophical ponderings on the nature of human consciousness. His latest book is an exploration of our nearest and dearest object: our head, which Tallis argues consists of so much more than our brain. The Kingdom of Infinite Space: A Fantastical Journey Around Your Head is published by Atlantic Books.

A man who has had to “forgive” his friends for praying for him during a life-threatening heart illness, philosopher DANIEL DENNETT is one of the world’s best known atheists. He argues that religion is the greatest threat to rationality and progress that we face today and that it is stopping us becoming “the best we could be”. Daniel Dennett will be speaking for the motion Religion is the greatest threat to scientific progress and rationality that we face today at the British Council on 22 April. The event is part of rethink, a season of events run by Agora (the Forum for Culture and Education) and The Guardian.

In the last week the Home Secretary has pledged an extra 300 police to help prevent terrorism by targeting radicalisation in communities. But PROFESSOR GWEN GRIFFITH-DICKSON argues that it’s not simply a policing issue. To tackle extremism, we must consider the non-religious factors in radicalisation, rethink the term ‘moderate Muslim’ and engage the right leaders in tackling emotionally manipulative recruitment techniques. Gwen is the director of the Lokahi Foundation and will be delivering a lecture titled Countering Extremism and the Politics of 'Engagement'  at the Allen & Overy offices in Docklands on 29 April.

The model couple of existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, attempted to stand ‘man alone, without excuses’ in a world without God. But as CAROLE SEYMOUR-JONES argues, the reality was much more complicated. Their iconic ‘open’ relationship involved de Beauvoir sacrificing the girls she seduced to keep Sartre’s love, while Sartre compromised first with the Nazis and later with the Communist regime after falling into a Soviet honey-trap. A Dangerous Liaison is published by Century.

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