Missives from a fly bottle
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Last revised 31 August 2017
Philosophy videos – A random collection of philosophy and related videos from around the web. Mostly youtube videos.

110. To be (1990) 10 min
A delightful, ten-minute cartoon illustrating some of the philosophical issues that arise from the use of a Star-Trek-style teletransporter. A film by John Weldon.
109. Freeman Dyson meets Wittgenstein (c. 1997) 4 min
“Next door to me there was Wittgenstein, who lived on the same staircase, and he always cooked for himself too, and so I used to cook my supper with the smell of fish from Wittgenstein’s room next door.” Sam Schweber talks to Freeman Dyson about his life. A four-minute clip from a Web of Stories video. The bit about Wittgenstein starts at 1:20.
108. Can physics end time? (2015) 59 min
Yuval Dolev of Bar-Ilan University explains why he thinks physics does not have the last word on time. A talk from Space-Time Theories: Historical and Philosophical Contexts, a four-day inter-disciplinary conference in Jerusalem celebrating the centenary of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. (59 min)
107. Time: a conversation with Dr Simon Prosser (2012) 3 min
“I’ve reached a point in my research where I’m absolutely convinced of a thing called the B-theory of time, which is this view that time doesn’t really pass, that the world is a four-dimensional block.”
106. The surprising pattern behind color names around the world (2017) 7 min
In 1969, two Berkeley researchers, Paul Kay and Brent Berlin, published a book on a groundbreaking idea: that every culture in history, when they developed their languages, invented words for colors in exactly the same order.
105. Philosopher’s hut deep in the fjord: Wittgenstein in Norway (2015) 22 min
All that remains of his hut are its stone foundations and a faint trail up the mountain. Some Norwegians are trying to change this. Kirsten Dirksen captures some of their work on her own journey to this disappearing piece of history. (22 minutes)
104. Derek Parfit (1942-2017 RIP) 24 min
A great thinker teleports out. Garrett Cullity recalls his brilliant doctoral supervisor with Joe Gelonesi of ABC Radio Natural. (24 minutes)
103. Your favorite philosopher (2017) 9 min
Part of a series of language lessons through authentic street interviews. This is Easy German lesson 193, on “your favourite philosopher.” Only in Germany. (9 minutes)
102. Victim of the brain (1988) 90 min
A 1988 film by Piet Hoenderdos based on the ideas in Douglas R. Hofstadter’s 1981 book The Mind’s I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul. (90 minutes)
101. The new great time war – the reality of time (2013) 24 min
Joe Gelonesi of ABC Radio Natural chats with Kristie Miller, Roberto Unger, Craig Callender and Huw Price talk about the reality or otherwise of time. (24 minutes)
100. Philosophy publishing (2017) 40 min
Academic publishing as it currently stands “is not a secure long-term proposition.” In this Royal Institute of Philosophy broadcast, Liza Thompson (Bloomsbury) talks to Peter Momtchiloff (Oxford University Press) about the pleasures and tribulations of philosophy publishing. (40 minutes).
99. The man with the 7 second memory (2005) 48 min
The remarkable and poignant story of Clive Wearing, a man with one of the worst cases of amnesia in the world. Once a renowned conductor and musician, Clive was struck down in 1985 by a virus that caused massive damage to his brain. Against the odds, doctors managed to save his life but he was left with a memory that spans just seven seconds. (48 minutes).
98. David Chalmers: Virtual reality (2016) 5 min
The Australian philosopher and cognitive scientist David Chalmers considers how virtual reality is reframing and shedding new light on some of philosophy’s most enduring questions about the nature of reality. An instalment of Aeon In Sight. (5 minutes).
97. Graham Priest: The liar paradox (2016) 6 min
The U.S.-based British philosopher Graham Priest explains how the Liar Paradox – debated since antiquity – can upend the traditional Western view that all contradictions must be false. An instalment of Aeon In Sight. (6 minutes).
96. The mystery of time (2014) 6 min
Philosophers Michael Strevens and Tim Maudlin explain the philosophical conundrum of time. One in a weekly series of short videos that places scientists and filmmakers under the spotlight. This film by Léo Ghysels. (6 minutes).
95. Alain de Botton: Status anxiety (2004) 143 min
With the help of philosophers, artists and writers, Alain de Botton examines the origins of status anxiety—ranging from the consequences of the French Revolution to our secret dismay at the success of our friends—before revealing ingenious ways in which people have learnt to overcome their worries in their search for happiness (143 minutes).
94. Interview: Paul Snowdon (2016) 20 min
Adam Ferner interviews Paul Snowdon of University College London. They discuss his philosophical upbringing, the deification of Peter Strawson and the clear and pressing need for common sense in philosophical discourse—among other things.
93. Interview: Mary Midgley (2016) 40 min
Mary Midgley talks to Michael Bavidge about her time in Oxford and the importance of a holistic approach to philosophy.
92. What’s real about time? – Robin Le Poidevin – Closer to truth (2010) 10 min
Robin Le Poidevin talks about time, four-dimensionalism, the passage of time and related things. (10 min)
91. What Is consciousness? – Simon Blackburn – Closer to truth (2014) 9 min
Simon Blackburn on Wittgenstein, zombies, behaviourism and the hard problem of consciousness. (9 min)
90. Why does time pass? (2015) 10 min
Short 10-minute video on the scientific mystery of time from The Economist. Part of their “science brief” series. See this page at www.economist.com for the accompanying article.
89. Stephen Hawking: Master of the universe (2008) 48 min × 2
Twenty years after A Brief History of Time became an unlikely global bestseller, Professor Stephen Hawking takes viewers on a journey through the universe to explore the mysteries of physics. (Channel 4 2008, two episodes, 48 min. each.)
88. The magic of consciousness - Nicholas Humphrey (2014) 8 min
Evolutionary psychologist Nicholas Humphrey explains his take on the problem of consciousness in this short 8-minute video produced for the Royal Institution of Great Britain. Could consciousness be a mirage constructed in the theatre of our minds? Perhaps the questions we ask should not be centred on sensations themselves but on the appearance of those sensations.
87. Ludwig Boltzmann – The genius of disorder (2007) 57 min
The 19th-century physicist Ludwig Boltzmann stirred up controversy by proposing that scientists could make intelligent guesses about the behavior of atoms, which, though they moved randomly, could be described by certain probabilistic generalizations. His suggestion to explain thermodynamics by using statistical methods went against the long-standing trend of assuming absolute fixed laws. This film documents the engaging story and personal struggle of Boltzmann, set against the intellectual climate of nineteenth-century Vienna (57 minutes).
86. What is time? – Huw Price – Closer to truth (2013) 8 min
Robert Lawrence Kuhn asks Australian philosopher Huw Price to explain what time is. (8 min)
85. The strange life and death of Dr. Turing (1992) 48 min
The story of Alan Turing, regarded by many as the father of the modern digital computer. Highlights the importance of Turing’s early interest in logic and mathematics as well as his later work during the Second World War at Bletchley Park where he was involved in breaking the code used by the German Enigma encryption machines. Also covers Turing’s later interest in how the mind works, his homosexuality, his prosecution in 1952 for gross indecency and his ultimate suicide in 1954.
84. The hard problem of consciousness (2014) 11 min
A short 11-minute montage of various philosophers and scientists getting fired up over the hard problem of consciousness and whether there is a problem at all. Features Richard Dawkins, Deepak Chopra, Stuart Hameroff, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Daniel Dennett and others.
83. Wittgenstein: a wonderful life (1989) 50 min
A BBC Horizon film about the remarkable life of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. He was born in Vienna in 1889 and died in Cambridge in 1951, having turned philosophy upside down and inside out ... (50 minutes)
82. The genius of Srinivasa Ramanujan (2013) 60 min
Shot at various locations in Chennai, Namakkal, Kumbakonam, Erode and Cambridge, this documentary highlights the trajectory of Ramanujan’s seminal work and its relevance today. Features Bruce Berndit, George Andrews, Ken Ono and other renowned number theorists. (1 hour)
81. Interview with John M. Fischer (2014) 87 min
John M. Fischer shares his views on free will and moral responsibility with the Moscow Center for Consciousness Studies. Interview conducted on occasion of the Center’s 2014 summer school, “Free Will and Moral Responsibility,” which was led by Fischer. (87 minutes)
80. What is consciousness? (2015) 13 min
Short 13-minute video on the hard problem of consciousness from The Economist. Part of their “science brief” series. See this page at www.economist.com for the accompanying article.
79. Finkish dispositions – David Lewis (1997) 94 min
David Lewis presents his classic paper “Finkish Dispositions” at Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., on February 22, 1997. Part of a series of talks in honour of David Armstrong. (94 minutes)
78. Parallel worlds, parallel lives (2007) 60 min
For most of Mark Oliver Everett’s life, things didn’t add up. This film follows Mark, better known as E, the lead singer of the American rock band EELS, across the country as he attempts to understand the fantastic possibility of parallel universes and unravel the story of his troubled family and the father he never really knew – iconoclastic quantum physicist Hugh Everett III.
77. The thinking ape: the enigma of human consciousness (2012) 75 min
Daniel Kahneman, David Chalmers, Laurie Santos and Nicholas D. Schiff discuss the origin and nature of consciousness in both animals and humans, with a focus on the place and function of the mind within nature. Moderated by Steve Paulson. (75 minutes)
76. The philosophy bus (2015) 10 min
On World Philosophy Day 2015, The Philosophy Foundation worked with Transport for London and took passengers around the capital discussing philosophical problems. They were joined by young people from across the UK, with some A-level students coming down from Liverpool to join them for the day. (10 minutes)
75. The illusion of time (2011) 53 min
Part two of the four-hour Nova series The Fabric of the Cosmos, based on physicist Brian Greene’s book.
74. What is color? (2014) 70 min
Jay Neitz, Bevil Conway, David Eagleman and Kaitlyn Hova introduce the world of color to a young audience.
73. The whispering mind: the enduring conundrum of consciousness (2013) 86 min
Colin McGinn, Nicholas Schiff, Mélanie Boly and Christof Koch discuss whether emerging technologies of neuroscience are bringing scientists closer than ever to the neurobiological basis of consciousness.
72. Being in the world (2010) 80 min
Currently unavailable
71. Timecrimes (2007) 90 min
Spanish science-fiction film (Los Cronocrímenes) involving time travel and causal loops. A man stumbles into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences.
110. To be (1990)

A delightful, ten-minute cartoon illustrating some of the philosophical issues that arise from the use of a Star-Trek-style teletransporter. A film by John Weldon.

More info here: National Film Board of Canada.