48 Animated Videos Explain the History of Ideas: From Aristotle to Sartre

This year we’ve been featuring short animated videos from BBC Radio 4, all covering the big questions: How did everything begin? What makes us human? What is love? How can I know anything at all? They’ve all come scripted by philosopher Nigel Warburton (he of Philosophy Bites podcast fame) and narrated by a host of notables from both sides of the pond like Stephen Fry, Gillian Anderson, Aidan Turner, and Harry Shearer. They’ve illustrated the philosophical concepts at hand not just with elaborate and joke-filled drawings that come to life before your eyes, but with direct reference to the ideas of history’s best-known thinkers: Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Wittgenstein, de BeauvoirSartre, Freud, Chomsky — the list goes on.

Now you can experience all of them in the one big playlist embedded just above, which provides a grand history of ideas with a succession of bite-size videos. The intellectual journey begins with Diotima’s concept of desire as a form of beauty and ends, 47 one- to two-minute celebrity-narrated and philosophically scintillating productions later, with Karl Popper’s concept of falsification, under which an idea only attains the designation scientific if it could, in principle, be proven false.

Once you’ve gone through all these videos, despite how much they themselves will have taught you, you’ll surely want to go even deeper into all these big ideas. In the service of that goal, why not have a look through some of the other philosophical resources we’ve featured, including our archive of Free Philosophy Courses, our collection of Free Philosophy eBooks, podcasts like Oxford’s philosophy lectures and The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, Bryan Magee’s television interviews with philosophers, and of course, philosophy explained with donuts.

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Related Content:

How Can I Know Anything at All? BBC Animations Feature the Philosophy of Wittgenstein, Hume, Popper & More

What is Love? BBC Philosophy Animations Feature Sartre, Freud, Aristophanes, Dawkins & More

What is the Self? Watch Philosophy Animations Narrated by Stephen Fry on Sartre, Descartes & More

How Did Everything Begin?: Animations on the Origins of the Universe Narrated by X-Files Star Gillian Anderson

What Makes Us Human?: Chomsky, Locke & Marx Introduced by New Animated Videos from the BBC

How to Live a Good Life? Watch Philosophy Animations Narrated by Stephen Fry on Aristotle, Ayn Rand, Max Weber & More

How Can I Know Right From Wrong? Watch Philosophy Animations on Ethics Narrated by Harry Shearer

Philosophy Bites: Podcasting Ideas From Plato to Singularity Since 2007

Colin Marshall writes elsewhere on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinemaand the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future? Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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