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  1. Abstract: Cosmic inflation – the universe expanding rapidly – is necessary to defend the Big Bang Theory. Currently the cosmic inflation hypothesis is unfalsifiable. In this article Avi Loeb explore a recent proposed test suggested by Loeb and Sunny Vagnozzi – developing detectors that search for the thermal gravitational wave background created the smallest possible fraction of time after the Big Bang. Detection would mean the cosmic inflation hypothesis has been falsified and pose a challenge to the Big Bang Theory of the origin of the universe.

  2. Abstract: Is the mind just a part of the world? Or is the world all in the mind? Neither, argues philosopher, physcian and poet Raymond Tallis as he puts forward his take onhow we make sense of experience. When neuroscience and Darwinism trespass into the humanities, they become, he says, "neuromania" and"Darwinitis" – unhealthy, mad and malign.

  3. Abstract: Humankind’s approach to space exploration musttake account of many voices, and be sensitive to a myriad of culturally distinct cosmologies. We must consider not only the priorities of the most dominant nations, and we must take into account how decisions made today will shape the lives of future generations.

  4. In this talk philosopher Massimo Pigliucci argues twobranches of scepticism that have split in recent history – ethical scepticism and scientific scepticism – should be reunited in an attempt to define a good way of living.

  5. Submission Statement: "Failure of will has signalled the end of almost all military conflict in world history." How do countries win wars? Better strategy, superior firearms, and leadership are all key. However, one crucial aspect often overlooked is morale. Seemingly intangible, it's the principle driving force not only behind Ukraine's success in repelling Russia's advances, but in modern warfare more broadly, argues Jacob Ware, Research Fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations.

  6. In this debate, Cambridge philosopher Arif Ahmed,theoretical physicist Peter Woit and award-winning string theorist MarikaTaylor discuss whether maths can offer a full and ultimate description of theuniverse, or should instead by understood as one among many tools we mustdeploy in trying to understand the world around us.

  7. Many people have had spiritual experiences where they felt in touch with or protected by a greater force or consciousness. From unintended near-death or outer-body experiences, to meditation, practising gratitude, music festivals and sports, we are perpetually on a quest to reach beyond the immediately perceptible reality. In this talk, preeminent biologist and author Rupert Sheldrake explores the new paths for finding transcendence in a secular world. By analysing the proven mental and physical benefits of spiritual practices, Sheldrake provides a compelling account for our incessant pursuit of a sense of belonging and being connected to a higher entity or community. Bringing insight from his books Science and Spiritual Practices and Ways to Go Beyond and Why They Work, he explores the strange and unexpected spiritual activities that have replaced the religious practices we have been accustomed to for centuries.

  8. The standard view of evolution is that it’s a process guided by randomness, and hence its results, as amazing as they are, are meaningless. But if we think of our genes as a kind of text, then we can understand evolution as a process of interpretation, and reinterpretation. And interpretation implies meaning. Organisms andt heir development are guided not by chance, nor by a deterministic genetic code, but by the trickling down of experiences and memories and goals. This view allows us not only to find meaning in an otherwise meaningless universe but opens up the space for freedom and moral responsibility as the interpretation of the genetic text we’ve been given, argues David Haig. "

  9. Abstract: When it comes to exploration, robots can outperform astronauts at a

  10. Synopsis: Co-founder and editor of The Philosophers' Magazine, JulianBaggini, explores Islamic, Chinese and Japanese philosophicaltraditions, and how they are expressed in a place's infrastructure, fromsignificant buildings to street signs. Baggini focuses on the theme ofharmony as an example of a common thread in these philosophies, which weshould recognise, but should not essentialise, exoticize ordomesticate.

  11. This debate focuses on a discussion over whether technologicalprogress is a means to a better world, or if we should give up on the idea thatwe need technology to improve our lives. Nolan Gertz argues that technologymediates our existence itself, thereby shaping our very conception of progress.This makes it challenging to judge technology without taking for granted therole it plays in our lives. Caitjan Gainty adds that our conception of progressand technology were fundamentally shaped by the rise of industrialisation andconsumerism in the 20th century, which often clouds judgements ofthe value of technology. But Gainty maintains that by separating technologyfrom ideas of efficiency and productivity, we can conceive it instead as a wayof making meaning in the world. By rethinking how we see the world in theseways, argues Kenneth Cukier, we reveal that the debate itself is laden with fallaciousassumptions. Moving past this can help us gain a clearer understanding howtechnology might facilitate the betterment of humanity in a deeper sense.

  12. In this talk, philosopher Barry C. Smith reframes the Apollo 11 moon landing as a shared human achievement, which we must hold on to in an age of increasing distrust and support for conspiracy theories, such as the flat earth theory.

  13. Metaphysical relativist Maria Baghramian and post-postmodern philosopher Hilary Lawson debate with cognitive psychologist Donald Hoffman on whether reality is a creative construct. Hoffman proposes a theory of reality based on evolution and the evidence that there is zero probability that we were shaped to see the truth. Hoffman argues that what we call 'reality' is a user interface not unlike our computer desktop; the documents and folders there are not true; they are a comprehensible facade that enables us to work with something we don't understand. Hoffman argues that we create 'objects' when our gaze turns upon them, and destroy them when we look away. Baghramian challenges this perspective with what she calls 'common sense' or 'naive' realism, that there is a reality and the objects that we see and interact with are real. Lawson's sympathies lie more with Hoffman, but Lawson challenges the starting point of evolution as the best foundation for approaching this subject.

  14. Abstract: From the 10 commandments to the Buddhist eight-fold path,traditionally we looked to religion to provide moral rules and values to liveby. Today many would turn instead to self-help books, like Jordan Peterson's 'The 12 Rules for Life', but our need for and attachment to formalised rulebooks for life endures. Yet critics argue all such codes are mistaken attempts to reduce life to a set of ideals, and are doomed to failure.

  15. Janne teller argues that disinterested pursuit is acontradiction in terms – you wouldn’t pursue anything if you didn’t have a motivation. Philosophy, she argues, is the interested pursuit of truth. All humans pursue truth, but they come from particular social perspectives which affects what they are looking for. Barry Smith concurs that the reason why anindividual is doing philosophy cannot, by nature, be disinterested; you have tobe motivated to ask philosophical questions. But he argues that once you get possibleexplanations up and running, then you have to be disinterested and not allow yourown desires to prejudice what answers you arrive at. Silvia Jonas adds thatwhile philosophy strives to arrive at unbiased conclusions, philosophers must acknowledgethat philosophical theories are always established from a particular socialcontext and likely don’t reflect ‘The Truth’. The value of philosophy, Jonasargues, is that it allows us to establish various theories and then adopt acritical stance towards them, allowing us to identify outside motivations wherein other disciplines these biases go unnoticed.

  16. Synopsis: In this video debate, KCL philosopher Tony Milligan debates with Astronomer Royal Martin Rees and Airbus' Senior Strategist Elizabeth Seward on the future of space exploration. The panel consider the ethics of space exploration and colonisation, whether the desire to go to the stars is inbuilt in human nature, and whether as the dominant life form we have a duty to extend life beyond our planet.

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