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More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/what-do-we-owe-future-generations.We talk about owing future generations a better world. We might also think that we should do things for future generations even if our actions might not benefit present-day people. But is it possible to have obligations to people who are not yet born? Can people who do n…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/authority-and-resistance.Authority can refer to people or institutions that have the political power to make decisions, give orders, and enforce rules. It can also refer to a certain kind of expertise or knowledge that we might defer to. Sometimes we respect authority, and sometimes we resist it or even …
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/summer-reading-list-2021.As some parts of our lives return to some kind of normal, Josh and Ray ask authors and philosophers about what's been on their summer reading lists. • Cory Doctorow on "Making Hay," his short story in "Make Shift: Dispatches from the Post-Pandemic Future"• Helen De Cruz from Sain…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/ethics-awesomeness.The word “awesome” once meant inspiring extreme fear or dread. Nowadays it’s mostly used as a general purpose exclamation of approval. So when we describe a person as awesome, are we saying that they exemplify some general form of excellence? Or are awesome people those who break speci…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/envy-vice-or-virtue.Bertrand Russell said that envy was one of the most potent causes of unhappiness, and it's well known as one of the seven deadly sins. But is envy always a bad thing? Is it simply a petty emotion we should try to avoid, or could envy help us understand ourselves more? Is envy rooted i…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/microaggressions.Microaggressions are small comments or questions that may be insulting or hurtful to another person because of their race, gender, sexuality, and so on. Some people consider microaggressions to be a phantom symptom of political correctness and a further sign that society has become “soft…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/creative-life.Parents and students alike often think that a college major defines possible career options. Yet what distinguishes today's work world from bygone times is that it's quite common for adults to have a variety of different careers in a single lifetime. So what can students do now to ensure ha…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/2021-dionysus-awards.After a year in which "entertainment" took on a whole new meaning, what were the movies that challenged our assumptions and made us think about things in new ways? Josh and guest co-host Jeremy Sabol talk to philosophers and listeners as they present our eighth annual Dionysus Awards…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/referring-world.On December 2, 2019, Ken Taylor announced that he finally had “an almost complete draft” of a book he had been writing for years. “I think I'll pour a glass of wine to mark the occasion, before plunging back into the work that is still to be done,” he wrote. Tragically and unexpectedly, h…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/foreign-aid-or-injury.Many of us might think that developed nations should lead the effort to end global poverty. But decades of foreign aid—from governments and non-governmental organizations—has failed to produce sustainable growth in the developing world. How can we empower local actors to become self…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/your-brain-literature.Cognitive science has revolutionized our understanding of the brain and how it functions. Researchers have even used fMRI to detect differences in the way people engage with literature. But can contemporary science really teach us anything about how novels, poems, and movies work? D…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/foucault-and-power.Michel Foucault was a 20th century philosopher known for his work concerning power and knowledge. Foucault is often cited for his theory of knowledge and power, which are inextricably linked. But what exactly is Foucault's philosophy of power? Is it a universal theory intended to be ap…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/does-reputation-matter.We think about about our own reputation all the time, and we constantly reference the reputations of the people we meet and interact with. But why do we care so much about reputation? Is it rational for us to rely on reputation so heavily in our day-to-day lives? Are judgments abou…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/can-reason-save-us.To an optimist, things are constantly getting better: disease and extreme poverty are down; life expectancy, literacy, and equality are up; and it’s all thanks to the glory of human reason. But a pessimist would point to the continuing presence of injustice, oppression, and war, and th…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/nonduality-and-oneness-being.Some branches of Hindu philosophy propose that reality is nondual in nature. Such schools of thought—called advaita schools, from a Sanskrit word meaning “not two”—see the material world either as an aspect of ultimate reality (“Brahman”) or as a mere illusion. So how do we m…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/psychology-cruelty.Throughout history, people have committed all kinds of cruel, degrading, and evil acts toward other people. Many believe that for evil acts like genocide to be even possible, the victims must first be dehumanized by the perpetrators, starting with dehumanizing language or propaganda. B…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/vienna-circle.The Vienna Circle was a group of early twentieth-century philosophers, mathematicians, logicians, and scientists, best known for developing the theory of scientific knowledge called logical positivism. Although positivism as a project has been largely abandoned, the group's ideas continue t…
 
More as https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/athlete-philosopher.For the ancient Greeks, sport was an integral part of education. Athletic programs remain in schools today, but there is a growing gap between the modern sports experience and enduring educational values such as self-discovery, responsibility, respect, and citizenship. Is there a way …
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/disinformation-and-future-democracy.The 2020 election and startling events that followed show that the US is as polarized as ever. Not only is there fundamental disagreement over values and goals, but people can’t seem to agree on the most basic, easily verifiable facts, like who actually won. With so ma…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/radical-markets.Many people think that growing inequality, the rise of populism and nativism, and the decay of democratic institutions all have the same cause—the overreach of markets. The solution, they believe, is to limit the market through regulation. But what if rather than shrinking the market, the…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/montaigne-and-art-essay.French thinker Michel de Montaigne invented a whole new genre in which to do philosophy: the essay. But in his use of that form, Montaigne repeatedly digresses and contradicts himself. So why did he think the essay was a good medium for philosophy? What impact did Montaigne’s inve…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/morality-algorithms.Recent years have seen the rise of machine learning algorithms surrounding us in our homes and back pockets. They're increasingly used in everything from recommending movies to guiding sentencing in criminal courts, thanks to their being perceived as unbiased and fair. But can algorit…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/does-science-over-reach.We've all heard the phrase, "You can't argue with science." Appealing to scientific fact as a way to settle a question makes sense given the amazing advancements science has brought us in understanding how the world works. But should we take the accomplishments of science as evide…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/repugnant-markets.We might ban buying or selling horse meat in the US not for the protection of horses, but because we find it morally repugnant. Yet this moral repugnance is clearly not universal, and on some level may even be arbitrary, given France's attitude toward horse meat. What role, if any, shou…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/what-masculinity.Strong, in control, and stoic—these are traits of the ideal masculine man. Men who fail to conform to this ideal are often penalized, particularly if they are men of color, queer men, working-class men, or men with disabilities. So how do we create different visions of masculinity that m…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/misogyny.With the recent #MeToo viral campaign, along with the wave of prominent male figures toppled for being serial sexual harassers or worse, the topic of misogyny has come into sharp focus. But what exactly is misogyny? And how does it differ from sexism? What set of beliefs or attitudes makes someo…
 
More at www.philosophytalk.org/shows/value-care.We sometimes think of the domains of ethics and morality as divorced from feeling and emotion. You keep your promises because it maximizes good. But what if care were thought of as the bedrock of morality? While we know that more care work is performed by women, would a care-based approach to ethics b…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/what-has-replaced-freud.Although the concept that we can have thoughts and desires hidden from consciousness can be traced back to antiquity, it was Freud who truly popularized it in the twentieth century. Now Freud’s theory of the unconscious mind has mostly been abandoned for being unscientific and lac…
 
More at http://philosophytalk.org/shows/john-rawls.John Rawls was one of the most influential political philosophers of the twentieth century. In his book "A Theory of Justice" he articulated a concept of justice as fairness, which won many fans among liberals, and provoked important responses from thoughtful libertarians such as Robert Nozick. Ken…
 
More at http://philosophytalk.org/shows/what-love.It may seem doubtful that philosophers have much to tell us about love (beyond their love of wisdom). Surely it is the poets who have the market cornered when it comes to deep reflection on the nature of love. John and Ken question the notion that love cannot be captured by the light of reason by tu…
 
More at http://philosophytalk.org/shows/web-du-bois.Sociologist, historian, philosopher, editor, writer, and activist, W.E.B. DuBois was one of the most influential intellectuals of the twentieth century. The first African-American Ph.D. from Harvard University, DuBois died in Ghana after having renounced his American citizenship. In between he co-…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/rhetoric-big-tech.Big Tech is known for its "disruption" of established industries and changing fundamental aspects of our lives from shopping and delivery to communication and transit. While many welcome these changes, there are also worries about privacy, fairness, and deregulation. So how do tech comp…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/trolling-bullying-and-flame-wars.Open up any online comments section and you’ll find them: internet trolls, from the mildly inflammatory to the viciously bullying. It seems that the ease of posting online leads many to abandon any semblance of intellectual humility. So can we have intellectual humility o…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/democracy-numbers.The United States prides itself on being “the world’s greatest democracy,” which adheres to the principle, “one person, one vote.” Despite this, its elections are often highly contentious—presidents can be elected after losing the popular vote, there is widespread gerrymandering and vot…
 
More at www.philosophytalk.org/shows/comforting-conversations-pt2.In troubling, uncertain times, the arts and humanities are more important than ever. Engaging with works of literature can provide both much needed insight into our current struggles and a sense of perspective in a crisis. In what ways do novels or plays help us come to terms with hu…
 
More at www.philosophytalk.org/shows/comforting-conversations-pt1.In troubling, uncertain times, the arts and humanities are more important than ever. Engaging with works of literature can provide both much needed insight into our current struggles and a sense of perspective in a crisis. In what ways do novels or plays help us come to terms with hu…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/faith-and-humility.Some would argue that faith requires that one blindly—rather than rationally— believe. Faith in one ‘true’ religion often entails rejection of all others. Given this, can there ever be humility when it comes to religious faith? How unwavering should the faithful be when it comes to the…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/minds-and-matter.Everything that seems to have a mind also has a body made of flesh and blood. But if we look at the diversity of animals found in the world, we find a huge variety of species that perceive and interact with the world in very different ways. Is there something all these species have in co…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/are-we-alone.News that life might exist or have existed on Mars or somewhere else in our universe excites many. But should we really be happy to hear that news? What are the philosophical implications of the possibility of extraterrestrial life? If life can blossom in our own cosmic backyard, then that m…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/arts-all.When we think of “real” art, we often think of expensive, highbrow pieces that are displayed in museums and galleries, and critiqued by the elite. In fact, people commonly lament that they don’t know enough about art to truly understand or appreciate the works that they encounter. So should art …
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/spinoza.Baruch Spinoza was a 17th century Dutch philosopher who laid the foundations for the Enlightenment. He made the controversial claim that there is only one substance in the universe, which led him to the pantheistic belief in an abstract, impersonal God. What effect did Spinoza have on Enlightenme…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/are-we-all-blame.It’s easy to identify the pressing issues facing our world today, but it’s much more difficult to assign responsibility for them. Often the blame is placed on collectives — on entire governments, nations, and societies. But does the responsibility truly all fall to them? How can we ident…
 
More at http://philosophytalk.org/shows/camus-and-absurd.Albert Camus is most famous for his existential works of fiction including The Stranger as well as his philosophical essay The Myth of Sisyphus. He led the French resistance press during Nazi Occupation and became one of the youngest Nobel laureates in literature. His contemporary, Hannah Are…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/monstrous-technologies.Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein raises powerful questions about the responsibilities of scientists to consider the impact of their inventions on the world. Are these questions as relevant now as they were 200 years ago? What insights, if any, should today’s technologists and disrupters…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/whats-game.Games have been an integral part of human society since the earliest civilizations. They are played around the world by people at every rank and station, at every stage of life, from childhood to old age. Why do we love games so much? Are they just a pleasant way of whiling away some empty hou…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/why-we-hate.The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that the number of hate groups operating in the U.S. has risen to a record high. There has also been a corresponding increase in hate crime violence. So where does all this hate come from? Do we hate others because we feel a deeper sense of alienation o…
 
More at http://philosophytalk.org/shows/hannah-arendt.Hannah Arendt was one of the most original and influential philosophers of the 20th century. Her work considered historical and contemporary political events, such as the rise and fall of Nazism, and drew conclusions about the relation between the individual and society. John and Ken tackle Aren…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/science-and-skepticism.In recent decades, we’ve witnessed intense cultural wars waged on scientifically established phenomena, such as climate change and the benefit of vaccines. Of course, we might agree that some degree of skepticism about the world around us is good—it would be impractical and even da…
 
More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/how-humbly-disagree.People like to argue, especially Philosophy Talk listeners! But no matter how hard we try to resolve disputes through rational discourse, sometimes we may still disagree about important issues. One response to this predicament is simply to agree to disagree. But should the mere fact o…
 
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