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What Politics Can Learn From Philosophy

How the techniques, methods and principles that guide philosophy can be applied to our own lives

Feelings not facts. Outrage over rationality. Impulsivity over measured thought. The modern political landscape has become a maelstrom of heightened emotion. In June 2023 philosopher Julian Baggini came to Intelligence Squared to share the insights of his new book How to Think Like a Philosopher: Essential Principles for Clearer Thinking. In conversation with government minister Jesse Norman, who was himself once an academic philosopher, Baggini set out the techniques, methods and principles that guide philosophy, and show how they can be applied to our own lives – and our politics. Using precepts such as: pay attention, question everything, follow the facts, and think for yourself but not by yourself, Baggini showed how clearer thinking can help us meet the challenges of our troubled times. 

Praise for Julian Baggini’s How to Think Like a Philosopher: Essential Principles for Clearer Thinking

A complete treat: a big breath of fresh air and a bracing detox for our beleaguered, battered brains’ – Derren Brown

An urgently needed guide to clear thinking, brought to life by a cast of our finest philosophers and illuminated by his gentle, humane, and accessible writing. Essential reading, both for making sense of a confusing world, and for living your everyday life. I’ll be returning to this brilliant book again and again’ – Anil Seth




Julian Baggini

Philosopher whose latest book is How to Think Like a Philosopher: Essential Principles for Clearer Thinking

Author, co-author or editor of over 20 books including The Great Guide: What David Hume Can Teach Us about Being Human and Living Well; The Godless Gospel; How The World Thinks; The Virtues of the Table; The Ego Trick; and The Edge of Reason. He was the founding editor of The Philosophers’ Magazine and has written for numerous newspapers and magazines, as well as for the think tanks The Institute of Public Policy Research, Demos and Counterpoint. He is Academic Director of the Royal institute of Philosophy and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Kent.   

Jesse Norman

Politician and author

Jesse Norman is Conservative MP for Hereford. He is the author of numerous books, most recently a biography of Edmund Burke, and has written for The Times, Sunday Times, Financial Times, Guardian and Spectator. His book Compassionate Conservatism has been called the “intellectual guidebook to Cameronism” by the Sunday Times, while the follow-up Compassionate Economics was described as “the most intelligent political tract of 2009, and the best analysis of the credit crunch”. He has been described in the Sunday Telegraph as “As talented as any Tory backbencher is ever likely to be.”