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Conversations about philosophy, science, religion and spirituality

Conversations about philosophy, science, religion and spirituality
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Conversations about philosophy, science, religion and spirituality




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

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 ...


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

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? ...


Meditation Retreats (Robert Wright & Josh Summers)

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 ...


Universal Consciousness (John Horgan & Bernardo Kastrup)

Why Bernardo thinks the mind-body problem is not as hard as it seems ... Bernardo’s spiritual, intellectual, and psychedelic history ... God, metacognition, and the Universe ... The consolations of Bernardo’s philosophy ... Bernardo: The Universe has multiple personality disorder ... The narcissism of a human-centered Universe ... Why John thinks we’ll never solve the mind-body problem ...


Call It Grace (Robert Wright & Serene Jones)

Serene’s new book, Call It Grace: Finding Meaning in a Fractured World ... Serene’s theological upbringing and early encounters with Calvin’s writings ... What a romantic tragedy early in life taught Serene about God’s grace ... A revelatory brush with death in rural India ... Timothy McVeigh and the challenge of forgiveness ... How Serene’s father met an epic challenge to his faith and his charity ...


Gender Noncomformity and Feminism (Daniel Kaufman & Jane Jones)

Where have all the feminists gone? ... The feminist tradition in philosophy ... How does second-wave feminism distinguish sex from gender? ... Jane: Patriarchy hurts men, too ... On the present controversy around gender non-conformity and identity ... Was Prince genderqueer? ... Gender, feminism, and the classical liberal tradition ...


Defending Science from Denial, Fraud, and Pseudoscience (Robert Wright & Lee McIntyre)

Lee’s new book The Scientific Attitude: Defending Science from Denial, Fraud, and Pseudoscience ... Why scientific theories are never “proved” ... Karl Popper’s principle of falsification explained ... Why the philosophy of science hasn’t been useful to scientists ... Why philosophers of science need a new way to talk about evidence ... Can philosophy of science help refute science deniers? ... Flat Earthers, science denial, and the scientific attitude ... Cognitive bias, ideology, and the...


Should the Humanities Strike? (Daniel Kaufman & Nathan Eckstrand)

Nathan’s recent essay, "Is it Time for the Humanities to Strike?" ... The attack on the humanities goes international ... Are non-college graduates deficient voters? ... Why the educated elite aren’t the most ethical people ... Could a strike re-engage the public with the humanities? ... How to win over those who most thoroughly reject the humanities ...


Jazz and Consciousness (Josh Summers & Aaron Goldberg)

Aaron’s latest album, At the Edge of the World ... How Aaron attempts to strip away complexity in his music ... What makes a jazz musician “post-bop”? ... Drummer Leon Parker and the Yes! Trio’s origins ... Aaron’s double life in jazz and academic philosophy ... What’s wrong with “Analytic Swing”? ...


Epiphanies of Mind (John Horgan & Jeffrey Kripal)

Jeff’s new book, The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge ... How John and Jeff make sense of Freud ... Jeff redefines the “paranormal” ... What belief in levitation or clairvoyance reveals about human nature ... Are hardcore atheists/materialists doing religious fundamentalism a favor? ... The death and rebirth of good old human narcissism ... Jeff on humanity’s future and the nature of optimism ...


Free Will, Determinism, and Compatibilism (Robert Wright & Gideon Rosen)

A brief primer on the free will vs. determinism debate ... Are moral responsibility and determinism compatible? ... Is punishment a tragic necessity or a moral good? ... Gideon tries to convince Bob that compatibilism is coherent ... Gideon's distinctive take on compatibilism ... A thought experiment about the moral culpability of an ancient slaveholder ... Free will and the mind-body problem ... Buddhist ideas about punishment ...


Death and Mourning Online (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Rachel Vorona-Cote)

Rachel's essay on her mother's death, "The Fraught Culture of Online Mourning" ... Aryeh recalls mourning his father in the pre–social media era ... A moment when language fails ... Is it possible to talk about death with sincerity on Twitter? ... The many (often gendered) Victorian rituals of mourning ... Rachel's forthcoming book, Too Much: How Victorian Constraints Still Bind Women Today ... Do you want to be memorialized for eternity on Facebook? ...


Morality's Limit (Daniel Kaufman & Robert Gressis)

Is the “Morality Everywhere Problem” really a problem? ... Why Robert finds the moral question difficult to dispel ... Peter Singer’s “drowning child” thought experiment ... Is weakness of will keeping Robert from volunteering at the soup kitchen? ... Dan: “Embrace the normal” ... What do those living in dire poverty want first-worlders to do? ... Why Rob is repulsed by utilitarianism ... Dan: The end goal of charity is human flourishing ... Were people less sensitive in the past? ...


Abuse in the Yoga Community (Josh Summers & Matthew Remski)

Matthew’s new book, Practice and All Is Coming ... Justifications for sexual abuse in the early Ashtanga yoga community ... Matthew: “Sacred” leaders like Pattabhi Jois have been absolved of personal responsibility ... Just how ancient are modern yoga practices? ... Matthew responds to accusations from the Ashtanga community ... How much agency do victims of sexual abuse really have? ... Reforming yoga communities with histories of abuse ...


Satanic Ritual Abuse Panic (and Disney) (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Sarah Marshall)

Remembering the Satanic ritual abuse panic of the 1980s ... How the McMartin case launched the panic ... Sarah: Recovered memory therapy created the idea of Satanic ritual abuse ... Why hasn't there been a large-scale reckoning with the panic? ... Contemporary resonances: witch hunts and moral panics ... Sarah visits Disney World and thinks about desire ... Why are there so many absent mothers in the Disney canon? ...


Is Philosophy OK? (Daniel Kaufman & Robert Gressis)

Robert: Is it permissible to remain a philosophy professor? ... Why Dan opposes the “morality everywhere” approach to life ... Can professors really leave a lasting impact on students? ... “First world problems” and moral obligation in the classroom ... What is the “White Paper” of philosophy, and does it have any authority? ... Rethinking the role of the academy in society ... Dan: Philosophy as a life guide is, well, misguided ...


Completing the Darwinian Revolution (Robert Wright & David Sloan Wilson)

David's new book, This View of Life ... In what sense, if any, could evolution be conscious? ... The need to complete the Darwinian revolution ... An evolutionary psychology discussion makes Bob tape his mouth shut ... How successful groups avert the tragedy of the commons ... Convergent cultural evolution ... David: Evolution shows that neither laissez faire nor centralized planning works ... A preview of the coming Bob vs. David showdown over group selection ...


Don't Be Yourself (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & Leah Finnegan)

How Leah realized that she should not "be herself" ... The mental health benefits of getting a dog ... Leah: We must bring back Kierkegaardian irony ... Leah on the scourge of "urgent earnestness" ... Is it ethical to not read the news? ... Leah's reflections on being "a year Twitter sober" ... Lessons from the great "horseface" controversy of 2018 ...


Realism, Anti-Realism and "Rabbity Moments" (Daniel Kaufman & Crispin Sartwell)

Realism vs. anti-realism ... Is reality the sum of human senses? ... Why Crispin is allergic to idealism ... “Rabbity moments” and Quine’s radical translation scenario ... What does it mean to say someone lives “in another world”? ... Davidson’s closet analogy for conceptual schemes ... What makes a given statement true? ...


The Social Leap (Robert Wright & William von Hippel)

Bill's new book, The Social Leap ... Why happiness is fleeting ... Junk food and happy marriages ... How to escape the anxiety of status competition ... Psychological downsides of being a hunter-gatherer ... Why America is more politically tribalized than Australia ... The benefits of self-deception ...