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Fiction and Philosophy, with Jonny Thomson • Episode #150

Is there any point in doing a nice thing if you can’t flaunt it on social media? Can we ever know what it’s like to be a bat? If we know Cinderella isn’t real, why do we care about whether or not she marries the prince? In this episode Kate is joined by Jonny Thomson, the man behind the popular Instagram account @philosophyminis, and a bestselling book of the same name. With a new title out, Mini Big Ideas, it seemed the perfect time to catch up with him and consider the philosophical ideas that lie behind three works of fiction: The Death of Yvan Illyich by Leo Tolstoy, Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Just what connects these three titles? Listen in to find out, plus a few more book recommendations. All that, plus discover ‘the gap’, and how knowing about it might change your life, and the benefits of scepticism.

Listen via the media player above, or your preferred podcast player with this podfollow link.

Book list

On Fairy Stories by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Death of Ivan Illyich by Leo Tolstoy (and in particular the Peter Carson translation)

Death and the Penguin by Andrei Kurkov

Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne by Katherine Rundell

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Leonard & Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession

Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma by Claire Dederer

Metaphysical Animals by Rachel Wiseman and Claire MacCumhaill

Philosopher Queens by Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting

Mini Philosophy and Mini Big Ideas by Jonny Thomson


Find Jonny on Instagram @philosophyminis


[coming soon]


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