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Tuesday 9 September 2014, David Bowden

Last chance for Early Bird Battle of Ideas tickets

You only have until the end of Tuesday to buy specially discounted early bird tickets for this year’s Battle of Ideas on 18-19 October at the Barbican.

Even as we approach its tenth year, never before has the festival seemed so urgent: from the heated debate over Scottish independence to the increasingly volatile geopolitics in the Middle East and Ukraine, 2014 has been full of reminders that we live in unpredictable, serious times – and that genuine analysis and reflection has never felt harder to come by.

Rather than retreat from the difficult questions posed by these events, however, the Battle is proud to have the intellectual confidence to confront them head on. This year’s programme includes exciting keynote debates such as: Should we fear democracy?; Why are we afraid to judge?; Hashtag feminism: radical or banal?; Big Data: big danger? and After Gaza: the return of anti-Semitism? as well as strands including: Legal Challenges; Defending everyday liberties; Interrogating Megatrends; School Fights; Austerity dilemmas; Creative conundrums, Eye on the world and many more.

To find out more and buy your tickets, visit the Battle of Ideas website.

The value of making space for serious critical reflection on the big intellectual challenges of our time is one of the recurring themes of the Battle. We examined the question most explicitly back in 2012 in the keynote panel Building an intellectual legacy – the battle for which ideas? In the debate, a panel of Andrew Keen (digital entrepreneur and commentator); Dr Ellie Lee (academic and parenting studies researcher); Rob Riemen (philosopher; director, Nexus Institute) and Dr Ivan Krastev (chairman, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia) explored the relationship between intellectual tradition and informing the present.

The session, chaired by Claire Fox, is now available as the latest addition to our new podcast archive, launched last month to celebrate the Battle’s tenth anniversary. You can subscribe via iTunes by clicking here or copy this link to any other podcast player: http://instituteofIdeas1.podbean.com/feed/.

We’re returning to the topic at the festival’s closing plenary this year. A panel of leading thinkers – including renowned US philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Cambridge’s Knightsbridge Professor of Philosophy Tim Crane and sociologist Frank Furedi – will discuss whether we need to work harder to interpret the world, in the hope of changing it.

Just a reminder that Battle starts this month, with a series of national and international satellite events taking place across London, the UK and the world until the end of November.

Whatever the issue, there will be ample opportunity to discuss and debate them further with similarly critically-minded and curious attendees. We look forward to seeing you in October. Free speech allowed!

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