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Conversations about philosophy, science, religion and spirituality

Conversations about philosophy, science, religion and spirituality
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Location:

United States

Description:

Conversations about philosophy, science, religion and spirituality

Language:

English


Episodes

Automating the News (Robert Wright & Nicholas Diakopoulos)

10/21/2019
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Nick's new book, Automating the News ... Why Nick is not an alarmist about the automation of journalism ... The types of journalism jobs that algorithms can't replace ... Successful collaborations between human journalists and machines ... The perils of algorithmic fact-checking ... Nick's current research ... Bob hopes for a bot that can assign blame for international law violations ... Can the power of Twitter bots be used for good? ...

Duration:00:59:22

Science and Scientism (Robert Wright & John Horgan)

10/18/2019
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What is scientism, and who is doing it? ... Postmodernism and whether science just tells "stories" ... John criticizes the "ideological fervor" of evolutionary psychology ... The hubris of scientists in the '80s and '90s ... Has science reached its fundamental limits in trying to explain consciousness? ... John wins his Nobel Prize "long bet" on string theory ... The various corrupting influences on scientists ... A brief debate on higher purpose ...

Duration:01:11:39

This Podcast Is Self Care (Aryeh Cohen-Wade, Drew Spears, and Cait Raft)

10/15/2019
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Cait and Drew's podcast, This Podcast Is Self Care ... Emotional labor vs. self care ... Unpacking the idea that self care is just for women ... Crystals, sage, and "fake magic is real" ... Why are Millennials so attracted to self care and the supernatural? ... Astrology as anti-capitalism ... The hot new trend of "self-grandparenting" ... Why Aryeh loves the podcast ...

Duration:01:08:21

Buddhist Ethics (Robert Wright & Bhikkhu Bodhi)

10/4/2019
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What is the foundation of Buddhist ethics? ... Experiencing not-self ... Buddhism is a synthesis of consequentialism and virtue ethics ... The origins of Buddhism's concern for animal welfare ... Does the Buddha want you to be vegetarian? ... Why isn’t there more anti-militarist activism among Buddhists? ... Trying to comply with the Buddhist ideal of "right speech" ... Mental defilements and their eradication ... Does Buddhism’s emphasis on equanimity discourage activism? ...

Duration:01:20:10

Natural Kinds (Daniel Kaufman & Massimo Pigliucci)

10/1/2019
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What are “natural kinds”? ... What the former planet Pluto can teach us about natural kinds ... Massimo’s changing views on theoretical entities ... Is there a paradigm shift on the horizon in evolutionary biology? ... Is skepticism toward natural kinds the same as skepticism toward essential properties? ... Why Massimo is skeptical of the concept of "laws of nature" ... Describing “ultimate reality” ... Can we distinguish between sex and gender without natural kinds? ... Can we have a...

Duration:01:37:58

The Ethics of Boycotts (David Ottlinger & Carson Young)

9/24/2019
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Our era of boycotts, from Jimmy Johns to Uber to Nike ... The ethics and political philosophy of boycotts ... "Society is not a person" ... Waheed Hussein's concept of social change economic consumerism ... Group power and coercion ... Why boycotts usually fail ... How can we judge the worthiness of a boycott's goals? ...

Duration:01:29:58

The Philosophy of Aspiration (Robert Wright & Agnes Callard)

9/20/2019
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Why Agnes once lay down on the yellow line in the middle of the road ... What explains "akrasia," or weakness of will? ... Agnes's book, Aspiration: The Agency of Becoming ... How Agnes views free will and self-creation ... How do you become the "you" that you want to be? ... Aspiration and the divine ... Agnes's forthcoming book on how Socrates changed the rules ...

Duration:01:10:24

Mysteries of Childhood, Psychedelics, Dreams, Depression, and Russia (Nikita Petrov & David Poleski)

9/18/2019
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Nikita’s Soviet experience ... The individual in Russian and English languages ... Toska, the noble Russian sadness ... Nikita's American friend, the murderer ... David’s Negative Mystical Experience and brush with Sai Baba ... What Nikita learned from DMT trips ... Creativity and depression ...

Duration:02:35:41

Activism and Philosophy (Daniel Kaufman & David Ottlinger)

9/16/2019
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The fight, and meta-fight, in philosophy over trans issues ... David's essay on philosophy and activism ... The admonition to "go read the literature" ... Dan: The profession needs to push back against the mob ... Should philosophers avoid signing petitions? ... David regrets the "neglect of the ordinary virtues" in this battle ... How professors should teach controversial subjects ...

Duration:01:38:01

Death and the Self (Robert Wright & Nina Strohminger)

9/11/2019
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Nina's research on how we understand the self ... The traits that make your self yourself ... Buddhism and the continuity of self through time ... The link between egocentrism and an equanimous attitude toward death ... Bob: Not-self is hard to experience and very hard to understand ... Asian Buddhists vs. "white boy Buddhists" ... Does a happy life require virtuous behavior? ...

Duration:01:02:20

Postmodernism in Life and Literature (Daniel Kaufman & E. John Winner)

9/3/2019
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A brief history of 20th-century literary criticism ... John's battles against radical feminists as a grad student at SUNY Albany ... Post-structuralism and "how modernity failed itself" ... English department politics ... John: "Postmodernity is all around us" ... Postmodernity in the world vs. in the academy ... Post-postmodernism and cultural stagnancy ...

Duration:01:35:16

Quantum Physics and Social Science (Robert Wright & Alexander Wendt)

9/1/2019
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Why Alex shifted from international relations to quantum physics ... Alex: "We are walking wave functions" ... Do the origins of consciousness and free will lie in the wave collapse? ... Quantum decision theory and human irrationality ... The advantage of viewing humanity as quantum rather than classical ... How a nation-state is like a quantum state ... Alex: Language is best understood quantumly ... The possibility of collective consciousness ...

Duration:01:12:32

Against Freud (John Horgan & Frederick Crews)

8/26/2019
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How Frederick became a Freudian and then an anti-Freudian ... Frederick: Psychoanalysis is the Metamucil of the intellectuals ... The politics of anti-Freudianism ... Why has Freud persisted in the public imagination? ... Frederick psychoanalyzes John ... Repressed memories as a Freudian legacy ... Frederick's new book, Freud: The Making of an Illusion ...

Duration:01:07:42

Western Philosophy as White Supremacism (Daniel Kaufman & Crispin Sartwell)

8/8/2019
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Crispin's recent essay, "Western Philosophy as White Supremacism" ... Dan accuses Crispin of ahistorical revisionism ... Descartes as a product of his age ... Privileging the intellectual over the physical ... Is "the conquest of nature" a good or bad thing? ... Crispin: Metaphysics and racism feed each other ... Is self-mastery a key to freedom, or antithetical to it? ... The worst political philosophy, except for all the others? ...

Duration:01:27:00

McMindfulness (Robert Wright & Ronald Purser)

8/7/2019
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Ron's new book, McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality ... A brief history of mindfulness in America ... Ron's critique of the corporate teaching of mindfulness ... A tool vs. a path ... Ron: The mindfulness industry individualizes social problems ... A call for civic mindfulness ... Can capitalism and spirituality be reconciled? ...

Duration:01:01:58

The Great Disintegration (Daniel Kaufman & Oliver Burkeman)

7/25/2019
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Journalism, from information scarcity to attention scarcity ... Is it harder to find “good” information these days? ... Oliver: Reliance on social media creates false controversies ... Has the mainstream media really drifted towards partisanship? ... How to dismantle the partisan divide ... Dan: Americans were more divided in 1968 than now ... Social injustice: Perception, reality, and urgency ...

Duration:01:26:43

How to Do Nothing (Josh Summers & Jenny Odell)

7/23/2019
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Jenny’s new book, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy ... Learning from "Bartleby, the Scrivener" (part 1) ... Cultivating attention through art and mindfulness ... Josh’s critique of contemporary mindfulness ... How social media destroys context ... Jenny: “Aliveness is change” ... Learning from “Bartleby, the Scrivener" (part 2) ...

Duration:01:12:21

"Stranger Things" and Generation X (Daniel Kaufman & Milton Lawson)

7/17/2019
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Why Dan and Milton love Stranger Things ... How does the new season measure up? ... Is "the Upside Down" a coherent idea? ... Is Generation X about to have its moment in pop culture? ... Dan fears wokeness is ruining pop culture ... The risks of a fourth Stranger Things season ... Pop culture in an era of massive corporate control ... Speculating on HBO's mysterious Watchmen adaptation ...

Duration:01:25:40

ASMR and JAPs (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Jamie Lauren Keiles)

7/16/2019
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Jamie's NYT Magazine piece, "How ASMR Became a Sensation" ... Searching for the science behind ASMR ... Why are ASMR creators disproprotionately female? ... The strange life of Gibi, one of the top "ASMRtists" ... A temporary salve for Internet-era loneliness ... Will ASMR go corporate? ... Jamie researches the history of the Jewish American Princess ... Daddy's money, girl power, and Juicy Couture ... Are there Jewish American Princes? ...

Duration:00:57:42

Meditation Retreats (Robert Wright & Josh Summers)

7/15/2019
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Common misconceptions about meditation retreats ... Hitting the bliss button ... Scheduled vs. unscheduled retreats ... How austere does it have to be to be effective? ... Process vs. outcomes ... Bob's mini-epiphany about his dripping sink ... Is meditation "for" something? ... Pitfalls after leaving a retreat ... Tips for first-timers ...

Duration:01:47:36