CBC Podcasts & Radio On-Demand

IDEAS is a deep-dive into contemporary thought and intellectual history. No topic is off-limits. In the age of clickbait and superficial headlines, it's for people who like to think.

IDEAS is a deep-dive into contemporary thought and intellectual history. No topic is off-limits. In the age of clickbait and superficial headlines, it's for people who like to think.


Canada, ON


IDEAS is a deep-dive into contemporary thought and intellectual history. No topic is off-limits. In the age of clickbait and superficial headlines, it's for people who like to think.






Ideas CBC Radio P.O. Box 500 Station A Toronto, ON Canada, M5W 1E6 (416) 205-3700


No Feeling Is Final: The Wisdom of Rainer Maria Rilke

In his letters and poetry, Austrian writer Rainer Maria Rilke urged readers to “love the questions” instead of searching for answers, and to “sing out” with pain solitude causes them. His writing seems tailor-made for our own era — a dark interval of uncertainty, solitude, and grief.


Around the World in 80 Plays: The Seagull

The playwright Anton Chekhov wrote to a friend that he was writing a play with "a great deal of conversation about literature, little actions, tons of love." The Seagull is not unlike our own lives, where there isn't a ready-made plot with a neat ending. This episode is the fourth collaboration between IDEAS and Soulpepper Theatre Company's audio drama series Around the World in 80 Plays.


Inside the Teenage Brain

Teenagers can be erratic and emotional. But recent science may just have the answer to why teenagers are the way they are — and it's not just about hormones. This new understanding is changing the way some societies see teens and it may just lead to changing the boundary between teenager and adult. *Originally broadcast on January 28, 2020.


Unsound: The Legacy of Alexander Graham Bell

You hear the name ‘Alexander Graham Bell,’ and you think ‘inventor of the telephone.’ But he devoted much of his life to the ‘education’ of deaf people. Bell’s fraught legacy with the deaf community is explored in Veronica Simmonds' documentary, Unsound: The Legacy of Alexander Graham Bell.


Feline Philosophy

Unlike humans, cats aren't burdened with questions of love, death and the meaning of life. They have no need for philosophy at all. English philosopher John Gray explores this "unexamined" way of being in his book, Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life.


Around the World in 80 Plays: Six Characters in Search of an Author

Six characters whose story was never written take matters into their own hands by gatecrashing a theatre rehearsal, turning reality on its head. From Soulpepper Theatre Company’s Around the World in 80 Plays, the metatheatrical masterpiece of Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author.


Forgetting and Remembering a Pandemic

How could these times ever be forgotten? Historian Esyllt Jones explains why we don’t know more stories from an even more devastating global health catastrophe — the Great Influenza of 1918 — but how its complex toll is captured in a moving short story by Alice Munro. This is the annual Avie Bennett Historica Canada Lecture, recorded at York University in March 2021.


“You Might Need Some Richard Rorty”

"He is a nemesis to many, and is claimed as a friend by only very few," wrote Eduardo Mendieta about Richard Rorty, the most quoted, most criticized, and most widely read of recent U.S. philosophers. Rorty died in 2007, but a passionate crew of 'Rortyans' now devote themselves to keeping his name alive, challenging what they see as the many misinterpretations of his work. *This episode originally aired on December 6, 2019.


Saving Liberal Democracy: How the humanities can help humanity

Liberal democracy is in trouble. But the liberal arts — the humanities — can help save it. That’s what novelist and essayist Charlie Foran argues: the humanities strengthen the defining dynamics of a vibrant democracy.


Around the World in 80 Plays: The Walls

* Warning: Explicit Language * In her 1963 play about truth, lies and state violence, Griselda Gambaro predicted the dark period Argentina was hurtling towards. As part of a collaboration with Soulpepper Theatre Company, we bring you inside a room where innocence doesn’t exist and even the walls themselves can’t be trusted.


Ideas from the Trenches: The Taboo Relic

It's a relic deemed so taboo, that the Vatican threatened excommunication to anyone who speaks of it or writes about it. But for nearly a thousand years the 'holy foreskin' of Jesus Christ was widely considered to be the holiest of relics. University of Alberta PhD student James White is researching the relic's history, with an eye to understanding Medieval logic and concepts of the body.


Zone of Absolute Exclusion: Chernobyl at 35

On the night of April 26, 1986, a routine test at the RBMK #4 reactor in Chernobyl, Ukraine, went badly wrong: in a fatal convergence of bad design and operator error, the reactor core overheated and exploded, scattering radioactive debris into the sky, from where it eventually spread over most of Europe. *This episode originally aired on April 26, 2006.


I Will Never See The World Again: Ahmet Altan

Celebrated Turkish writer Ahmet Altan was freed on April 14, after international pressure helped secure his release. He’d spent four years and seven months in prison. This episode by IDEAS producer Mary Lynk recently won an Amnesty International Canada Media Award for outstanding human rights reporting. It first aired in June 2020.


Time Does Not Exist: Carlo Rovelli

In Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli's world, time does not exist. Nor, he argues, does it in our own world. We human beings, he suggests, may be the universe's only real time machine. Rovelli has spent years writing and lecturing about time, and a whole host of complex scientific conundrums — all in an effort to share the beauty he sees in uncertainty.


Around the World in 80 Plays: Moonlodge

IDEAS begins our series “Around the World in 80 Plays.” While international travel is on hold, Soulpepper Theatre Company is taking audiences across the globe with eight international audio plays. And IDEAS will be your travelling companion. Moonlodge is the first play of the series.


Frank Lloyd Wright, the New York Years

Renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright decried New York as a carcass, parasite and "incongruous mantrap of monstrous dimensions." Yet the city offered him refuge as his personal life was in shambles. Architect Anthony Alofsin and others guide us through Wright's New York years and the important role the city played in his legacy.


Common Good | Declaration for the Independence of the Mind

In 1919, Romain Rolland wrote the Declaration of the Independence of the Mind as a call to intellectuals to rise above division, censorship and nationalism of their day. Nahlah Ayed speaks to Canadian and international thinkers to consider the role of the intellectual today, and to rewrite the declaration for our own post-truth moment. *This episode is part of our series, The Common Good.


The Dandy Rebel

Over the last two centuries, the figure of the Dandy has been a provocateur, someone who pushes against the boundaries of culture, masculinity and politics. From Beau Brummell to Oscar Wilde to contemporary Black activists, IDEAS contributor Pedro Mendes tracks the subversive role the Dandy plays in challenging the status quo.


Love on Drugs

As the science of love comes into greater focus, researchers are beginning to explore potential drug treatments for everything from heartbreak to PTSD in relationships. But for traditionalists, romantic love is ineffable, even spiritual — and certainly not to be tampered with by doctors. IDEAS teases out the complicated relationship between chemicals and romance — and ask how drugs could reshape the future of love.


Common Good | The World Turned Upside Down, Part Two

Perhaps no question is more important than this one: what is the common good? What can we agree on that benefits us all? IDEAS looks to the English Civil Wars from the 17th century when great questions of the common good were rediscovered, argued, and fought over changing England — and the world — forever. *This episode is part of our series, The Common Good.