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Interview with Philosophers about their New Books

Interview with Philosophers about their New Books
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United States

Description:

Interview with Philosophers about their New Books

Language:

English


Episodes

Justin Garson, "What Biological Functions are and Why They Matter" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

10/10/2019
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Why do zebras have stripes? One way to answer that question is ask what function stripes play in the lives of zebras – for example, to deter disease-carrying flies from biting them. This notion of a function plays a central role in biology: biologists frequently refer to the functions of many traits of evolved organisms. But not everything a trait causes is its function – the stripes might disorient some harmless birds, but that isn’t their function. So what determines the function of a...

Duration:01:07:48

Axel Seemann, "The Shared World: Perceptual Knowledge, Demonstrative Communication, and Social Space" (MIT Press, 2019)

10/1/2019
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Much of what we are able to accomplish in our day-to-day lives depends on the ability to act and think in concert with others. Often this involves not only the capacity to perceive together the surrounding world—we must also know that we perceive together. In other words, there must be perceptual common knowledge. Philosophical questions mount quickly: How is this kind of knowledge possible? How does it arise? What does its possibility show us about our sociality? What does it suggest about...

Duration:01:02:35

Malcolm Keating, "Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy" (Bloomsbury, 2019)

9/20/2019
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Philosophy of Language was a central concern in classical Indian Philosophy. Philosophers in the tradition discussed testimony, pragmatics, and the religious implications of language, among other topics. In his new book, Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy: An Introduction to Mukula's 'Fundamentals of the Communicative Function'(Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), Malcolm Keating looks at the views of the philosopher Mukula Bhatta, whose innovative position on meaning aimed to capture...

Duration:01:07:58

Chiara Russo Krauss, "Wundt, Avenarius and Scientific Psychology: A Debate at the Turn of the Twentieth Century" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2019)

9/10/2019
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At the start of the 19th century, the field we now call psychology was still the branch of philosophy that studied the soul. How did psychology come to define itself as a separate area of inquiry, and how did it come to be a science? In Wundt, Avenarius and Scientific Psychology: A Debate at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (Palgrave MacMillan 2019), Chiara Russo Krauss considers the conceptual foundations of psychology as a science in the conflicting views of Wilhelm Wundt and Richard...

Duration:01:05:11

Amy Olberding, "The Wrong of Rudeness: Learning Modern Civility from Ancient Chinese Philosophy" (Oxford UP, 2019)

9/3/2019
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Amy Olberding’s The Wrong of Rudeness: Learning Modern Civility from Ancient Chinese Philosophy (Oxford UP, 2019) is a joy to read, both entertaining and rich in ideas. The Wrong of Rudeness asks a key question for our times how do we interact with each other, especially in politically contentious situations? Olberding addresses this and related issues by bringing our moderns challenges into dialogue with thinkers from early China. Weaving together modern cultural references with innovative...

Duration:00:54:26

Patricia Marino, "Philosophy of Sex and Love" (Routledge, 2019)

9/2/2019
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For those who think that philosophy must speak to everyday experience and ordinary life, it would seem that philosophical questions occasioned by love and sex should take center stage. Moral, epistemic, metaphysical, and political issues surrounding sex and love pervade our culture. Where would pop music, television, and fine art be without the dilemmas at the intersection of love and sex? And yet there are some less familiar philosophical issues lurking as well. In Philosophy of Sex and...

Duration:01:01:17

John T. Lysaker, "Philosophy, Writing, and the Character of Thought" (U Chicago Press, 2018)

8/20/2019
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What is the relationship between the form of writing and what can be thought? How is a writer’s thinking shaped by form? How is a reader’s? Does this matter for philosophy? In Philosophy, Writing, and the Character of Thought (University of Chicago Press, 2018), John T. Lysaker explores the importance of the praxis of writing for philosophy. Essaying a variety of forms, the book invites the reader to investigate the volume in their hands as a performance. It engages with, among others, the...

Duration:01:12:28

Samir Okasha, "Agents and Goals in Evolution" (Oxford UP, 2018)

8/9/2019
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Evolutionary biologists standardly treat organisms as agents: they have goals and purposes and preferences, and their behaviors and adaptive traits contribute to the achievement of their goals. This explanatory practice brings evolutionary biology into conceptual contact with rational choice theory, which provides models of how people make decisions and act on them. In Agents and Goals in Evolution (Oxford University Press, 2018), Samir Okasha explores the fascinating and complex links...

Duration:00:58:39

Quassim Cassam, "Vices of the Mind: From the Intellectual to the Political" (Oxford UP, 2019)

8/1/2019
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Sometimes people are blameworthy or otherwise not admirable because of what they believe. And sometimes they are blameworthy or otherwise not admirable because of how they believe – broadly, their ways of thinking, inquiring, handling evidence, and managing information. We sometimes criticize others for being careless, dogmatic, gullible, and so on. These evaluations often have the form of appraisals of the persons to whom they are applied. So, just as we might speak of intellectual virtues,...

Duration:01:09:34

Susanna Schellenberg, "The Unity of Perception: Content, Consciousness, and Evidence" (Oxford UP, 2018)

7/10/2019
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How does perception result in thoughts about items in the world (such as dogs or flowers) and in conscious states of many kinds (such as experiences of seeing red)? How does perception provide evidence for our beliefs (such as the belief that there is a red rose in front of you)? In The Unity of Perception: Content, Consciousness, and Evidence (Oxford University Press, 2018), Susanna Schellenberg considers these questions about the role of perception in mind and knowledge. Schellenberg, who...

Duration:01:06:12

Christian List, "Why Free Will is Real" (Harvard UP, 2019)

7/1/2019
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Given our modern scientific view of the world, how is freedom of the will possible? That is the classical problem of free will. Strategies for addressing this problem include the flat denial of free will, as well as various attempts to render free will consistent with a physically deterministic world. Among these latter, there’s a tendency to redefine free will in a way that dissolves the apparent tension between freedom and determinism. In his new book, Why Free Will is Real (Harvard...

Duration:01:04:28

Camisha Russell, "The Assisted Reproduction of Race" (Indiana UP, 2018)

6/20/2019
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Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) such as in vitro fertilization and surrogacy have been critically examined within philosophy, particularly by feminists and bioethicists, but the role of race—both in how the technologies are used and in the effects that they are having—has received less attention. In The Assisted Reproduction of Race (Indiana University Press, 2018), Camisha Russell undertakes this critical analysis. While there is a robust scientific consensus that there is no...

Duration:01:16:45

Nicholas Shea, "Representation in Cognitive Science" (Oxford UP, 2018)

6/10/2019
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In order to explain thought in natural physical systems, mainstream cognitive science posits representations, or internal states that carry information about the world and that are used by the system to guide its behavior. Naturalistic theories of representation provide explanations of what information, or content, these internal states carry, and how they come to have the contents that they do. In Representation in Cognitive Science (Oxford University Press, 2018), Nicholas Shea approaches...

Duration:00:58:56

Mary Kate McGowan, "Just Words: On Speech and Hidden Harm" (Oxford UP, 2019)

5/31/2019
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We’re all familiar with the ways in which speech can cause harm. For example, speech can incite wrongful acts. And I suppose we’re also familiar with contexts in which a person who occupies a position of authority can harm others simply by speaking – as when a boss announced and thereby institutes a discriminatory office policy. In such cases, the announcement is itself a harm in addition to the harm of the instituted policy – the boss’s announcement constitutes a harm and does not only...

Duration:01:02:33

James Doyle, "No Morality, No Self: Anscombe's Radical Skepticism" (Harvard UP, 2018)

5/10/2019
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This is the centennial year of the birth of G.E.M. Anscombe, one of the major philosophical figures of the 20th century within the analytic tradition. A close associate of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Anscombe contributed fundamental insights in philosophy of mind, action theory, and ethics. In his new book No Morality, No Self: Anscombe's Radical Skepticism (Harvard University Press, 2018), James Doyle considers two of her major papers: in "Modern Moral Philosophy", she denies that the term "moral"...

Duration:01:01:46

Mollie Gerver, "The Ethics and Practice of Refugee Repatriation" (U Edinburgh Press, 2018)

5/1/2019
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Moral and political theorists have paid a healthy amount of attention to states’ rights to determine who may reside within their territory. Accordingly, there’s a large literature on immigration, borders, asylum, and refugees. However, relatively little work has been done on questions concerning how refugees are treated once they have gained access to a new country; and from these questions emerge additional issues concerning the repatriation of refugees. As it turns out, there are several...

Duration:00:59:28

Jill Stauffer, "Ethical Loneliness: The Injustice of Not Being Heard" (Columbia UP, 2015)

4/19/2019
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In Ethical Loneliness: The Injustice of Not Being Heard (Columbia University Press 2015, paperback 2018), Jill Stauffer argues that survivors of unjust treatment and dehumanization can experience further harm when individuals and institutions will not or cannot hear the survivors’ claims about what they suffered and what they are owed for having suffered. She calls this further harm “ethical loneliness.” With Stauffer’s analysis, the harm of ethical loneliness can lead us to rethink how we...

Duration:00:59:19

Jill Stauffer, "Ethical Loneliness: The Injustice of Not Being Heard (Columbia UP, 2015)

4/19/2019
More
In Ethical Loneliness: The Injustice of Not Being Heard (Columbia University Press 2015, paperback 2018), Jill Stauffer argues that survivors of unjust treatment and dehumanization can experience further harm when individuals and institutions will not or cannot hear the survivors’ claims about what they suffered and what they are owed for having suffered. She calls this further harm “ethical loneliness.” With Stauffer’s analysis, the harm of ethical loneliness can lead us to rethink how we...

Duration:00:59:28

T. J. Kasperbauer, "Subhuman: The Moral Psychology of Human Attitudes Towards Animals" (Oxford UP, 2018)

4/10/2019
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Non-human animals are companions, research subjects, creatures we fear, creatures we eat. Why do we put other animals in the various categories we do, and treat them in the various good and bad ways that we do? These are questions about human attitudes towards other animals, and the moral implications of those attitudes. In Subhuman: The Moral Psychology of Human Attitudes Towards Animals (Oxford University Press, 2018), T. J. Kasperbauer examines this relatively underexplored area of moral...

Duration:01:00:33

Michael Hannon, "What is the Point of Knowledge? A Function-First Epistemology" (Oxford UP, 2019)

4/1/2019
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Epistemologists working traditional modes have sought to discover the necessary and sufficient conditions under which one has knowledge. This has led to several tricky philosophical problems. Perhaps most notorious of these are the problems concerning skepticism. It seems that any analysis of knowledge admits of cases where the analysis is satisfied and yet knowledge has not been secured. This has led some philosophers to seek some other starting point for epistemology. Perhaps one should...

Duration:00:58:46