The Billington Tapes

Ray would talk for hours with fluency and humour, often without notes, occasionally picking up a book to read out verbatim what a particular philosopher had written, and this series of lectures along with his books and the passion for philosophy he left his students are his legacy. These lectures were originally recorded on Tape Cassettes but have now been converted to mp3 format in memory of Ray and, as he would have wished, as a means of enabling a knowledge of philosophy to enrich the lives of those who encounter the subject..


Introduction to Philosophy

Prof Billington asks: What is philosophy, its etymology, why study philosophy, its contribution to human well-being, the difference between factual and value statements,their relationship with the study of philosophyand an overview of the various branches of philosophy.

53 mins

What is Religion

The word religion doesn't lend itself to any kind of simplistic definition. It has many different meanings. The origin or the word, its etymology, the characteristics of a religion, what it means to be religious and the differences between those religions that embody a belief in one of more gods i.e. theistic religions e.g. Christianity and those that don't i.e. nontheistic religions e.g. Buddhism

42 mins

Does Morality Matter

We use the word "Moral" as though we understand it. This lecture suggests that there is more to being moral than is usually supposed

59 mins

Western Philosophy

Plato and Aristotle

Western philosophy has been described as a series of footnotes to Plato. This lecture examines the grounds for this claim and includes a summary of what Plato's Aristotle taught.

60 mins

Thomas  Hobbes

Thomas  Hobbes (1588 - 1679), was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy. Hobbes described life as "nasty, brutish and short" and argued that because of our natural selfishness we need a single ruler of keep us in order. This lecture examines his claim.

 60 mins


John Paul Sartre (1905 – 1980) was a French philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the key figures in the philosophy of existentialism and phenomenology

58 mins


Martin Heidegger (1889 – 1976) was a German philosopher and a seminal thinker in the Continental tradition, particularly within the fields of existential phenomenology and philosophical hermeneutics. From his beginnings as a Catholic academic, he developed a groundbreaking and widely influential philosophy.

Do the ends justify the means?

Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804) was a German philosopher who is widely considered to be a central figure of modern philosophy. He argued that fundamental concepts structure human experience, and that reason is the source of morality. His thought continues to have a major influence in contemporary thought, especially the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics

56 mins


John Stuart Mill (1806 –1873) was a British philosopher, political economist and civil servant. He was an influential contributor to social theory, political theory and political economy. He has been called "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century".

56 mins

The origins, etymology, key tenets and history of Christianity including the story of Jesus, his life and death

28 mins

Christian denominations

Why after 1000 years did so many Christian denominations emerge, what were the issues that caused the various groups to separate, why were they necessary and on what basis did the leaders of these breakaway groups think they had the authority to act as they did?

61 mins


The key festival of the Christian religion explained. How it came to be what it is and a discussion of some of its implications.

50 mins

Eastern Philosophy

Buddhism Part 1

Buddhism is a nontheistic religion that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha.

23 mins

Buddhism Part 2 The Mahayana-Zen Tradition

When Buddhism moved away from its Indian home,it adapted itself to numerous traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies . Mahayana, which includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Shingon and Tiantai (Tendai), is found throughout East Asia


 58 mins


Hinduism includes many religious beliefs and practices expressed in India. This lecture explores primarily the school known as Advaita Vendata or non-dualism, where enlightenment is understood as the realization of one's own divinity

67 mins


Jainism is famous for its absolute asceticism based on the concept of ahimsa, or non-violence. But if you refuse to kill a living species for food, how do you survive? This lecture explains why Jains view this as an important question.

57 mins


The Taoist classic, The Tao Te Ching, begins "The name that can be named is not the eternal name". So what is the Tao?, and how does it relate to the Yin and Yang? This lecture explains.

64 mins

Professor Ray Billington in his Lyceum in the Angiddy Valley in May 2004 Copyright David Hoyle

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