The Value of Metaphor in a Pandemic

Metaphors are some of the greatest tools of human expression. They can have great emotional power and can unite us in how we conceptualize the world. But we don’t yet have the rich and transformative ways of thinking about the global pandemic that a good metaphor could provide.

#FrancisOnFilm: Dionysus for Docs

A documentary film has never won the Philosophy Talk Dionysus Award for Most Philosophical Film of the Year. But documentaries often raise complex philosophical issues and get us to question our assumptions. This year’s Oscar nominees for Best Documentary are no exception.

Why Should We Give Foreign Aid?

Do we have a duty to help developing nations escape poverty? Or does foreign aid do more harm than good? What is the best way to end global poverty? These are some of the questions we’ll be in asking in this week’s show on foreign aid.

The Art of Non-Violence

This week we're asking about the Art of Non-violence. And it is an art -- the trick is knowing when and where it will actually work. After all, it looks like it’s worked just about everywhere it’s been seriously tried: non-violence brought down apartheid in South Africa, Jim Crow in America, and British Colonialism in India. But of course it took violence to defeat the Nazis, to end slavery and to free the colonies from British tyranny. Does that mean non-violence has its limits? Not if you believe that violence just begets more violence. Only non-violence can break the cycle.

#FrancisOnFilm: Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk portrays ordinary people acting under tremendous fear. Some are glorious, some are mean-spirited, some are anxious, and many are patient. But the lesson to be drawn from this movie is that it is not particular individuals alone but practical solidarity that matters “to outlive the menace of tyranny,” in Winston Churchill’s words.