The Voltaire Lecture 2016, with Bettany Hughes | Socrates, Confucius, and the Buddha

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Socrates, Confucius, and Gautama Buddha are all considered giants of philosophy. They lived in the fifth and sixth centuries BCE, long before Jesus of Nazareth, whom Christians revere as a god, and in their lives they radically changed the way humanity thought about itself. Rather than look to the heavens and supernatural entities to explain the world around us, these three figures made attempts to use reason and an understanding of the sensory world to come to conclusions about history, nature, and the human condition. Dr Bettany Hughes is an award-winning historian, author, and TV presenter, who has devoted the last 25 years to the vibrant communication of the past. She has written and presented over 40 TV and radio documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, National Geographic, and many others, and her programmes have been seen by more than a quarter of a billion people worldwide. Bettany’s 2016 lecture follows a proud tradition of Voltaire Lectures held in London each year. The Voltaire Lecture explores philosophical thought or human activity as affected by or with particular references to Humanism. It is always chaired by the British Humanist Association president. Previous Voltaire Lecturers include comedian Robin Ince, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, Bangladeshi blogger Bonya Ahmed, and BHA President Jim Al-Khalili.

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