Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bryan Magee: Philosophy on Youtube

I was over at my mother's house on the other side of Market Harborough at the weekend. The warehouse across the road is in the process of being demolished.

Seeing this reminded me of my posting about Karl Popper and Market Harborough. In it I recorded that the great populariser of Popper's thought in Britain, Bryan Magee, mentions this warehouse in his memoirs Growing Up in a War. He was evacuated to Harborough during the war and lived literally around the corner from where I lived as a teenager. I did not learn this until I had contributed the entry on Popper to the Dictionary of Liberal Thought.

All this is by way of a prelude to saying that if you search Youtube for "Bryan Magee" you will come across Magee's two television series on philosophy: Men of Ideas and The Great Philosophers. These both took the form of Magee interviewing a contemporary philosopher about the work of one of the greats. Many of the interviewees have since died, making this an invaluable archive.

These two series belong unashamedly to the era of talking heads television and are all the better for it. These days people think you have to offer ceaseless visual stimulation or the audience will turn over. But what could be more riveting than one great thinker talking about another?

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