25 May 2018 – 03 Jun 2018
Hay-on-wye, United Kingdom
There is little that we can be certain about, but we can be confident that a time will come when our current beliefs and assumptions are seen as mistaken, our heroes - like the imperial adventurers of the past - are regarded as villains, and our morality is viewed as bigoted prejudice.
So the IAI seeks to challenge the notion that our present accepted wisdom is the truth. It aims to uncover the flaws and limitations in our current thinking in search of alternative and better ways to hold the world.
The IAI was founded in 2008 with the aim of rescuing philosophy from technical debates about the meaning of words and returning it to big ideas and putting them at the centre of culture. Not in aid of a more refined cultural life, but as an urgent call to rethink where we are.
That rethinking is urgent and necessary because the world of ideas is in crisis. The traditional modernist notion that we are gradually uncovering the one true account of reality has been undermined by a growing awareness that ideas are limited by culture, history and language. Yet in a relative world the paradoxes of postmodern culture has left us lost and confused. We do not know what to believe, nor do we know how to find the answers.
The IAI was founded to help address this intellectual crisis. Our research and editorial teams have worked around the clock to face up to this challenge and unearth fresh ways of thinking that might guide us in an uncertain world.
2016 has brought new impetus and urgency to this pursuit. 'Post-truth' was named word of the year, and the chaos in the world of ideas was reflected in the media and in politics and society more generally. At first 'post-truth' was used by the mainstream media to criticize a politics of emotion and a casual attitude to objective facts. It was not long before the attack rebounded and those with radically different perspectives claimed the same lack of neutrality in their critics. Each side regarding the other as the provider of 'fake news'. Each supposing that their truth was the only one.
When, with the founding of the IAI, we declared that philosophy and big ideas should be at the heart of our culture, we did not do so out of reverence for ideas or an attachment to the academy and intellectual life. We did so because it is these core thoughts and ideas that determine the character of our world and our lives.
It is our vision that philosophy and big ideas are not a pleasant reflective addition to our everyday lives but an essential determinant of who and where we are and of what is possible. At the IAI we are committed to finding new and better ways to make sense of the world so that we can navigate a brighter future in an increasingly dangerous world.