‘Does student satisfaction make for happy pigs rather than potential Socrateses?’, ‘has the Arab spring made us more polarised’, and ‘Hashtag feminism: radical or banal?’

What to hear these questions debated? Want to join the debate?

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The Battle of Ideas returns to the Barbican in London for the tenth time. Over the coming weekend (17th– 18th October), 350 speakers will argue with each other at 80 debates, angling to answer these questions, and cover themes from Art and Culture to Technology and the City.

Just a stretch away from Southampton, down the ever-faster virgin rail link to the capital, it is a journey whose assault on your student loan will at least be compensated with half price student entry to the Battle of Ideas festival.

Fearing that the ideals of freedom and democracy have flown out the window, the Battle of Ideas is challenging itself and anyone who dares participate, to answer, or at least ask more questions about, the challenges that face us in 2014.

Acknowledging that “thinking itself is dangerous”, they advocate the virtue of philosophical thinking to seek deeper truths beyond political clichés or scientific evidence.

With one of the key themes for this year’s battle being the problem of today’s avoidance of making judgements, they want to hear every opinion; ignorant, wise, shallow and kneejerk: the pre-requisite is a free thinker.

They say that it is the potential for agreement that makes judgement powerful. The question is: can they convince you?

Speakers at the weekend will range from Ivan Krastev, Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, to UKIP’s Janice Atkinson.

Find out more, and indulge yourself in some interesting extra reading at their website http://www.battleofideas.org.uk/.

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