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A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Question: Whose work are you watching?

Michael Sandel: I suppose the political philosopher – the contemporary political philosopher – whose work I most admire is someone who was a teacher of mine, and who I admire most, and that’s Charles Taylor, who held a professorship in political theory at Oxford during the days that I was there as a graduate student. And he was also very actively involved in Canadian politics … time. And he … he’s nominally in retirement, but he’s still active in producing important work. But from Charles Taylor, I learned about Aristotle, and about Hagel, and about the tension between the enlightenment project – which gives rise to universal notions from modern liberalism – and other traditions … the republican tradition, the romantic tradition, and also religious traditions that are intentioned with modern understandings of the self. So I would say Charles Kaylor is really, among contemporary philosophers, my hero.

Recorded on: 6/12/07



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