Liberty of conscience, freedom of speech

July 23, 2017

A lecture by Dr Teresa Bejan, associate professor of political theory at the University of Oxford, recorded at The Academy 2017.

Today, many take for granted that the familiar slate of individual rights and liberties—of religion, speech, and association—belonging to citizens of modern liberal democracies go hand-in-hand.  And indeed, since John Stuart Mill, many liberals have assumed that the freedom of speech, in particular, is logically and historically inseparable from the liberty of conscience, the so-called ‘first freedom’ of early modernity from which all other modern liberties developed.  In this lecture, Teresa Bejan challenges this assumption and shows that the connection between the liberty of conscience and freedom of speech is more tenuous, both historically and philosophically, then we might assume—or hope.


Podcast of Ideas - 7 July 2017

July 7, 2017

Rob Lyons is joined by Alastair Donald and Claire Fox to discuss the week's news, including the row over public-sector pay, the current state of play in British politics, Donald Trump vs CNN and the aloof behaviour of Emmanuel Macron.


Podcast of Ideas - 20 June 2017

June 20, 2017

Adam Rawcliffe is joined by Alastair Donald, Geoff Kidder and Pauline Hadaway to talk the events of the past week.

Is the public discussion to the Grenfell Tower fire helpful or will it divert attention from some important underlying issues? Why were ministers so quick to label the attack on Muslims in Finsbury Parks as 'terrorism'? What do the Brexit talks and the potential Conservative deal with the DUP mean for Northern Ireland?


Podcast of Ideas: further reflections on Election 2017

June 12, 2017

Adam Rawcliffe is joined by Dolan Cummings, Alastair Donald and Claire Fox to discuss the fallout from the General Election.

Can Theresa May survive without an overall majority? Is the strong reaction to a post-election deal with the DUP justified? Has class made a comeback at this election? And how should we view the apparent sharp rise in the youth vote?


Podcast of Ideas: the morning after Election 2017

June 9, 2017

Rob Lyons is joined by Alastair Donald, Claire Fox and Geoff Kidder to discuss the surprise result in the General Election.

Why did May’s gamble fail? What’s behind Labour’s relative success? What does the SNP’s decline mean for Scottish independence? What does it all mean for Brexit?


Podcast of Ideas: UK general election - episode 4

June 5, 2017

Adam Rawcliffe is joined by Rob Lyons, Jacob Reynolds and Izzy Lyons to discuss the ramifications of the London Bridge attack for the election, why the opinion polls are so inconsistent, the state of play in Scotland and what people should consider when deciding who to vote for.


The emergence of the individual

June 2, 2017

Podcast: lecture by Angus Kennedy recorded at The Academy 2016

The Reformation ushered in a shift in authority from clergy to scripture, from obedience to the Word towards interpretation and opinion. Authority became grounded in a reading, in individual perspective, and open to debate. Being true to one’s conscience was more important than obedience to an external ruler: the self, the autonomy of the inner person, grew in importance and led to a conceptual distinction between subject and object, between the internal and the external world - to the emergence of the individual.

For details of this year's event, visit The Academy 2017 page.



Podcast of Ideas: UK general election - episode 3

May 25, 2017

Adam Rawcliffe is joined by Claire Fox, Jacob Furedi and Jacob Reynolds to discuss the political response to the Manchester bombing, the pause in the election campaign, the Tories' u-turn on social-care policy and the need to bring the debate back to Brexit.



May 24, 2017

Plenary lecture delivered by Josie Appleton at the Academy 2016

This week's bombing at a pop concert in Manchester, which killed 22 people, has brought the question of Islamist terrorism back to the fore in public debate. Why are so many young people attracted to a nihilistic political ideology that promotes killing and the destruction of society? How does that trend fit with the broader Culture Wars?

In this lecture, delivered after major attacks in Paris and Brussels, Josie Appleton argues that ISIS is even more of an empty shell than Al-Qaeda, reduced to being little more than a label to attach to symbolic expressions of disgust with modern society. But she also notes how this symbolism is also apparent among the political establishment. For example, the wearing of burqas, once treated as an irrelevance by French politicians, has in recent years been treated as a threat to the Republic itself. Indeed, what is most striking about the current Culture Wars, argues Appleton, is that <i>both</i> sides are devoid of any great principle or purpose.


Podcast of Ideas: UK general election - episode 2

May 15, 2017

As the UK general election gets into full swing, Adam Rawcliffe is joined by Geoff Kidder, Izzy Lyons and Fraser Myers to talk about the latest developments.

Are the local election results any guide to how the country will vote on 8 June? Why are the Conservatives riding high in the polls? Can the Labour Party - or Jeremy Corbyn at least - survive a heavy defeat? And what should we make of the 'progressive alliance' of Labour, Lib Dems, Greens and Scottish Nationalists? Does it amount to anything and can it stop the Tories?