Big ideas: Society

EAP APA Glossary Grammar Vocabulary Presentation skills

1. Confucian Ancestor Worship
The family is at the heart of Confucian philosophy. It is within the family that individuals learn how to live well and become good members of the wider community. Ethical living involves deep reverence for parents and worship of the spirits of ancestors.

big-ideas---society---Confucian Ancestor Worship


Source: BBC (2015); Open University (2015). History of Ideas.  Duration: 01:35


2. Plato’s Philosopher Kings
Plato took a dim view of democracy as a process for deciding what to. We need leaders that know what they are doing and voters can’t be trusted to choose the right person. Plato thought rulers should be specially-trained philosophers chosen because they were incorruptible and had a deeper knowledge of reality than other people… an idea that only a philosopher could have come up with.

big-ideas---society---Plato's Philosopher Kings


Source: BBC (2015); Open University (2015). History of Ideas.  Duration: 01:30


3. Does an invisible hand guide the economy?
Adam Smith used the metaphor of an ‘invisible hand’ to describe how individuals making self-interested decisions can collectively and unwittingly engineer an effective economic system that is in the public interest.

big-ideas---society---Does an invisible hand guide the economy


Source: BBC (2015); Open University (2015). History of Ideas.  Duration: 01:35


4. John Locke on Toleration
Is it possible to persuade people to change their beliefs by force? John Locke thought not. He believed that no threat can persuade anyone to believe something which they think is false. They might say they believe in your god to save themselves from torture or being burnt at the stake, but you won’t change their actual beliefs that way. We can’t just choose what we believe as a matter of convenience.

big-ideas---society---John Locke on Toleration


Source: BBC (2015); Open University (2015). History of Ideas.  Duration: 01:40




01. Beginnings
02. Who am I?
03. Being human
04. Knowledge
05. Beauty
06. Love
07. Freedom
08. Society
09. The good life
10. Right from wrong
11. Justice
12. Technology


01. Astronomy
02. Microgravity
03. Thoughts on theory
04. Theology explained
05. History of the English language
06. History of Money
07. Economics explained
08. The European Union explained