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Podcast by Philosophy Talk

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Episodes

478: Authority and Resistance

4/22/2019
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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 revolt against it. But where exactly does authority come from, and when, if ever, ought we defer to it? How do we challenge authority? What makes...

Duration:00:10:40

477: Hacking the Brain – Beyond the Five Senses

4/15/2019
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More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/hacking-brain. Humans evolved to have a variety of senses—smell, sight, touch, etc.—that provide information about the world around us. Our brains use this sensory information to construct a particular picture of reality. But what if it were technologically possible to hack our brains and create new senses for humans, such as echolocation or magnetoception? How would our brains integrate this new kind of information? What would it be like to...

Duration:00:10:18

412: More Than Pun and Games

4/8/2019
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More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/more-pun-and-games. Puns have been called both the highest and lowest form of humor. There is something about them that is at once painful and pleasurable, capable of causing either a cringe or a chuckle. But what exactly is it about word play that we find humorous? Is there something in particular about puns that makes them especially cringe-worthy? How does the humor of a pun compare to other types of jokes? We may know why the chicken crossed...

Duration:00:11:05

409: Radical Democracy

4/1/2019
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More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/radical-democracy. Liberal democracy has its problems, including the fact that in trying to build consensus, it often ends up oppressing minorities or those who dissent. Radical democracy, on the other hand, tries to build consensus around difference, and challenge oppressive power relationships. But what are the risks of radical democracy? Is it really possible to have a democratic nation state without social conformity? How do we ensure both...

Duration:00:11:12

411: The Mystery of Music

3/25/2019
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More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/mystery-music-0.

Duration:00:11:08

407: Philosophy of Sleep

3/18/2019
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More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/philosophy-sleep. "Blessed are the sleepy ones," writes Nietzsche, "for they shall soon drop off." Sleep is an extraordinarily, albeit profoundly odd, phenomenon, yet we seem to accept prolonged nightly blackouts without question. Still, sleep has played a major role in philosophical thought, with the likes of Aristotle, Locke, and Leibniz putting forth theories about just what exactly sleep and dreams are. So what is the purpose of sleeping and...

Duration:00:10:08

476: Immigration and Multiculturalism

3/11/2019
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More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/immigration-and-multiculturalism. Whether for economic reasons or to flee violence and persecution, immigration rates continue to climb globally. At the same time, opposition to immigration and intolerance of multiculturalism is also growing. Should cultural or ethnic identity ever be a factor in immigration policy? Do immigrants have an obligation to assimilate to the dominant culture? Or should we make cultural accommodations for immigrants who...

Duration:00:11:22

406: Altered States

3/4/2019
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More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/altered-states. Aldous Huxley explains his conception of the brain as a "reducing valve" of consciousness in his provocative book, The Doors of Perception. His famous experiment with the psychedelic substance mescaline was an attempt to open this valve and expand his capacity for knowledge. However, many drugs and psychedelics today are seen as simply tools for pleasure or the source of bad habits. Do drugs possess the capability to expand our...

Duration:00:10:46

408: The Philanthropy Trap

2/25/2019
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More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/philanthropy-trap. Many of us generally admire people who donate large sums of money to charity. Yet people donate for all sorts of reasons – some selfless, some not so much. Should we consider philanthropy as mere ego expression for the wealthy, or is it genuinely altruistic behavior? If philanthropists are so concerned with having an impact on society, how should we think about "measuring" this impact? Are there better ways than philanthropy to...

Duration:00:10:24

475: The 2019 Dionysus Awards

2/18/2019
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More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/2019-dionysus-awards. What movies of the past year challenged our assumptions and made us think about things in new ways? Josh and Ken talk to philosophers, film critics, and listeners as they present their sixth (mostly) annual Dionysus Awards for the most thoughtful films of the past year, including: • Least Superficial Superhero Movie • Best Thought Experiment in the Possibility of Racial Justice • Most Profound Existentialist Cowboy Movie

Duration:00:07:24

474: What Do We Owe Future Generations?

2/11/2019
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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 not exist be said to have rights that we should respect? And if they do, what do we do if our rights and theirs conflict? Josh and Ken are obliged...

Duration:00:11:58

410: Identity Politics

2/4/2019
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More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/identity-politics-0. The notion of identity has become so hugely important in contemporary political discourse that no conversation on social issues would be complete without it. Identity politics typically focuses on how to empower individuals from marginalized groups so that they can achieve greater equality and representation. But why should anyone mobilize behind a banner of identity rather than ideology? Why is it important have a diversity...

Duration:00:12:04

473: Envy – Vice or Virtue?

1/28/2019
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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 in unhealthy comparison with others, or does it come from our own vision of excellence? Could envy even be used to improve ourselves? Josh and Ken...

Duration:00:10:59

405: Affirmative Action – Too Little or Too Much?

1/20/2019
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More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/affirmative-action-too-little-or-too-much. Addressing our nation’s history of racial injustice can be a truly backbreaking endeavor. Race-based affirmative action is usually thought of as one such effort, and colleges and universities often use it in their admissions process. However, affirmative action does seem to lower standards for certain under-represented minorities like Blacks and Hispanics. Should we think of affirmative action as...

Duration:00:10:38

404: One Child Too Many

1/14/2019
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More at www.philosophytalk.org/shows/one-child-too-many. The United Nations predicts human population growth will surpass 9 billion around 2050. We know the consequences of overpopulation have the potential to be catastrophic in terms of our continued existence on the planet, with negative environmental effects already visible. Limiting the number of children we have seems like one obvious way to tackle the problem. But is there a moral imperative to limit reproduction? Is having multiple...

Duration:00:11:05

403: Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?

1/7/2019
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More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/why-something. The old metaphysical question – why anything exists at all – has perplexed and intrigued humankind for ages. It has long been a question reserved for philosophers, but now some physicists claim to have answered it. Yet these attempts have raised questions of their own: is this even a meaningful question in the first place? Can it be answered by science alone, or is philosophy necessary? And what will answering the question mean for...

Duration:00:10:54

472: The Examined Year – 2018

12/31/2018
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More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/examined-year-2018. A new year offers an opportunity to reflect on the significant events of the previous year. So what happened over the past twelve months that challenged our assumptions and made us think about things in new ways? Join the Philosophers as they celebrate the examined year with a philosophical look back at the year that was 2018. • The Year in Climate Consciousness with Greg Dalton, Founder and Host of Climate One at the...

Duration:00:15:14

399: The AncientCosmos – When the Earth Stood Still

12/24/2018
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More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/ancient-cosmos. Even in ancient Greek society, philosopher-scientists engaged in heated debate about the origin, composition, and structure of our universe. Tracking our understanding of cosmology from then until now shows monumental shifts in thinking. So what did the Ancients think was the fundamental nature of the cosmos, and what kind of evidence did they use to support their theories? How did Copernicus provoke such a radical shift in...

Duration:00:11:27

471: Foreign Aid – or Injury?

12/17/2018
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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-sufficient rather than dependent on foreign aid? Is there a way to help those in the developing world without inadvertently giving more power to...

Duration:00:11:05

402: Extreme Altruism

12/10/2018
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More at https://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/extreme-altruism. We can all agree that helping others is great, a deed worth doing. But devoting too much to helping others – too much time, too many resources – may get you labelled an oddity, a freak. How much can morality demand of us? Is it good to live as moral a life as possible, or do we lose something – devotion to one’s family, for example – by adhering to extreme moral principles? Can somebody be both fully rational and also a saintly...

Duration:00:11:16