Durham University philosopher recognised as BBC New Generation Thinker


Dr Jack Symes, a researcher in Durham University’s Philosophy Department, has recently been named a BBC 2024 New Generation Thinker and is one of only ten across the UK to be recognised with the award.

The award was announced on the BBC’s ‘Arts & Ideas’ podcast on 16th May 2024 in a ‘New Generation Thinkers’ special and was sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which supports funding for independent research into topics ranging from confronting modern slavery to the ethics of Artificial Intelligence.

Dr Symes has been recognised for his academic research investigating the intersection of religion and the multiverse, especially the secular and religious reasons for believing in a multiverse. Dr Symes told Palatinate that the focus of this work has been to investigate philosophical perspectives on “whether the world is a good place or not”.

Dr Symes has been recognised for his academic research investigating the intersection of religion and the multiverse

The award additionally recognises his production of engaging public content, such as ‘The Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast’ (one of the most popular Higher Education podcasts in the UK with over 65,000 listeners) and his editorship of the Talking about Philosophy book series. Dr Symes has also hosted live events at the Royal Institution Theatre and is a speaker for the Institute of Art and Ideas.

Dr Symes told Palatinate that, as part of the award, he will be working alongside BBC Radio 4 to produce engaging public content on his ideas that will be broadcast within the next twelve months. Moreover, Dr Symes emphasised that he sees this award as a recognition of the Philosophy Department’s continued role and culture of consistently engaging the broader public with philosophy.

The award also recognises his production of engaging public content

In a comment to Durham University, Dr Symes dedicated the award to the support of his colleagues, saying, “there are so many people who contribute to the projects that I work on, and I’m honoured to have them in my life. Without their support, this award wouldn’t have been possible”.

Dr Symes has a number of published books focusing on religious philosophy, most recently including Philosophers on God: Talking about Existence (2024) and Defeating the Evil-God Challenge: In Defence of God’s Goodness (2024). He is also working on a forthcoming book Philosophers on How to Live: Talking about Morality.

Image via Dr Jack Symes

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