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Episode #62 with Special Guest Elisha Shapiro

8/21/2017
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For episode 62 we chat to comedian, performance artist and self-styled Funniest Nihilist, Elisha Shapiro. Elisha joins us from LA to chat about a variety of topics, including telling us about the Nihilist Olympics and his unsuccessful presidential campaign. We debate the correct pronunciation of nihilist, and generally try to understand what that term means for Elisha. Elisha also runs a popular nihilism website, Nihilist’s Corner, and we chat about that too. You can learn more about Elisha...

Duration:00:44:38

Episode #61 with Special Guest Brock Bastian

8/7/2017
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For episode 61 we continue our travels into pain and the misery of existence. We are joined by special guest, psychologist Brock Bastian, who chats with us about how pain may be the forgotten secret to happiness, and how striving for endless pleasure can actually be self-defeating. We also chat about Brock’s other great interest, morality, and ponder vegetarianism: what’s so great about sausages and other deep moral questions. You can find out more about Brock at his website:...

Duration:00:45:12

Episode #60 with Special Guest Francis O'Gorman

7/24/2017
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Here we are at episode 60 and we are yet again joined by another special guest, this time academic and writer, Francis O’Gorman. Francis chats with us about his book, Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History. As well as discussing worrying in general, we get to bend Francis’ ear about why the word existential doesn’t appear in his book: is this an English vs continental difference? And we also try and establish what the use of worrying may be! You can purchase Francis’ book at Amazon (and...

Duration:00:37:46

Episode #59 with Special Guest Martin Seager

7/10/2017
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For episode 59 we are joined by another special guest, clinical psychologist Martin Seager. Martin chats with us about a recent article he has published in The Psychologist magazine, which covers a number of interesting and relevant topics including issues around mental health, the limitations of psychiatry when dealing with the human condition, gender issues for males and lastly we briefly chatted about the difficulty in treating psychology as a soft science. You can read Martin’s article...

Duration:00:42:41

Episode #58 with Special Guest Matt Colborn

7/3/2017
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Here we are at episode 58, and we’re joined by another special guest, cognitive scientist and freelance writer, Matt Colborn. Matt chats with us about a variety of topics including his PhD research into bees and the application to machine learning. We then move onto discussing consciousness a little. This is followed by a chat about the SETI project and the search for aliens, both out in the wider universe, but also we chat about experiences of the terrestrial kind. You can learn more...

Duration:00:54:51

Episode #57 with Special Guest Kate Sweeny

6/26/2017
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For episode 57 we are joined by psychologist Dr Kate Sweeny. We got Kate on the podcast to chat to us about a recent article she wrote on the downside to positive thinking and the upside to pessimism! As usual we cover a range of topics including the benefits of negativity and worry, happiness and the empathy blind spot, climate and its influence on happiness, nihilism, the effects of mindfulness and meditation, and extreme optimism and preparing for the worst. You can read the article that...

Duration:00:45:35

Episode #56 with Special Guest Krissy Wilson

6/19/2017
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For episode 56 we are joined by psychologist Dr Krissy Wilson. Krissy is interested in why people believe in the paranormal (amongst other things) and is generally a skeptic of extraordinary claims. A former member of the APRU at Goldsmiths University, Krissy chats with us about a variety of topics including academia, self-deception, the placebo effect, the evolutionary advantage of belief, critical thinking, psychics and more. You can find out more about Krissy at...

Duration:00:47:33

Episode #55 with Special Guest Andy Martin

6/12/2017
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For episode 55 we are joined by writer and academic Dr Andy Martin. Andy is a regular contributor to a variety of newspapers and has written a number of books, including an excellent account of the relationship between Camus and Sartre (The Boxer and the Beekeeper). His latest book is Reacher Said Nothing: Lee Child and the Making of Make Me, and is ostensibly about the creative process. A man with a wide range of interests and experience, we have an unusually informal chat about all manner...

Duration:00:41:47

Episode #54 with Special Guest Emmy van Deurzen

6/5/2017
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For this episode we are joined by philosopher and existential psychotherapist Emmy van Deurzen. Emmy has not only written a whole host of books, but is also Principal of the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling at the Existential Academy in London. A perfect guest for this podcast, Emmy chats with us about a whole range of topics, including helping us understand what existential therapy is, and how it can help people in their lives. We also talk about Thomas Szasz (who was the topic...

Duration:00:37:23

Episode #53 with Special Guest Jeff Schaler

5/29/2017
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Today we cover a controversial topic with special guest Jeff Schaler. Jeff is a psychology professor and existential analyst. Ostensibly we invited Jeff on to chat about Thomas Szasz, and his book “The Myth of Mental Illness”. Jeff was a close friend with Szasz for many years and helps us grapple with some of Szasz’s fundamental ideas: the metaphorical rather than literal nature of mental illness, the fact that mental illnesses are a response to existential problems, and that psychiatry...

Duration:00:45:36

Episode #52 with Special Guest Cal Cooper

5/22/2017
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In episode 52 we are joined by psychologist and parapsychologist Cal Cooper. Cal joins us to chat about, amongst other things, his PhD research looking at bereavement and ghosts, and the role of hope (crossing over into positive psychology). You can follow Cal on his official Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/CallumECooper

Duration:00:34:21

Episode #51 with Special Guest Graham Farmelo

5/15/2017
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For episode 51 we are joined by former academic, now science writer Graham Farmelo, to chat about his wonderful biography of physicist Paul Dirac. The nature of the universe is something we like to chat about here on The Existential Files, and Dirac essentially discovered half of it, when he posited the existence of antimatter! Dirac was a very interesting chap, and it was great to pick Graham’s brains about a host of physics questions, and about Dirac too. You can learn about Graham’s book...

Duration:00:43:37

Episode #50 with Special Guest Matthew Alper

5/8/2017
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Well here we are at episode 50! For this milestone we are joined by another special guest, author Matthew Alper. Matthew has written two fascinating books: The God Part of the Brain outlines his theory that religion is an evolved adaptation to help us deal with the pain of existence. His most recent book, Icarus of Brooklyn is an autobiography of the events that brought him to his theory on religion. Matthew joins us to chat about the ideas in both books and by the end of the episode there...

Duration:01:00:11

Episode #49 with Special Guest Hayley Stevens

5/5/2017
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For this episode we are joined again by sceptical blogger and fellow podcaster, Hayley Stevens. Hayley started out as a believer in the paranormal, but found her way to the dark side of disbelief and spends much of her time looking for the nonparanormal explanations for paranormal experiences. This time we cover cryptozoology and fake paranormal researchers. You can learn more about Hayley at her blog http://hayleyisaghost.co.uk

Duration:00:21:51

Episode #48 with Special Guest Hayley Stevens

5/5/2017
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After the head hurting topic of the last episode, it seems like a good idea to return to something a little less serious. For this episode we are joined by sceptical blogger and fellow podcaster, Hayley Stevens. Hayley started out as a believer in the paranormal, but found her way to the dark side of disbelief and spends much of her time looking for the nonparanormal explanations for paranormal experiences. We chat about ghosts and the paranormal, ghost hunters, and scepticism. You can...

Duration:00:28:52

Episode #47 with Special Guest Arthur Witherall

5/1/2017
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We are joined for this episode by a very special guest, philosopher Arthur Witherall. Arthur has published a book and a number of papers on the fundamental question of why the universe exists and he chats with us about some of the metaphysical and philosophical explanations for why there is something, rather than nothing (a most irksome question, we hope you agree?). This includes a brief discussion of David Pearce's 'Zero Ontology'. You can purchase Arthur’s book ‘The Problem of Existence’...

Duration:00:51:03

Episode #46 with Special Guest Ann Winsper

4/27/2017
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We are joined for this episode by PhD student Ann Winsper. Ann is an old buddy from the parapsychology days, and joins us to chat about a variety of topics including ghost hunting, parapsychology, paranormal experiences, and electronic voice phenomena. Although we are not a parapsychology podcast, we do sometimes like to chat about these things, and we debate some normal explanations for some of the strange experiences people report (e.g. apophenia). You can learn more about Ann at...

Duration:00:49:06

Episode #45

4/24/2017
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In this episode we chat about Terrence Malick’s movie The Tree of Life. The movie is ostensibly about existence, and we debate some of our interpretations about what the film is trying to convey to the audience.

Duration:00:35:50

Episode #44 with Special Guest John Marmysz

4/18/2017
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In this episode we are joined again by a very special guest, philosophy professor and self-confessed nihilist John Marmysz. In this episode we chat about John’s book, The Nihilist: A Philosophical Novel. And we also have an extensive discussion about his upcoming book, Cinematic Nihilism. John tells us about nihilism in cinema, and offers his opinion on some favourite examples of cinematic nihilism. You can learn more about John at his blog, The Nihilist Void @ https://marmysz.wordpress.com/

Duration:00:29:01

Episode #43 with Special Guest John Marmysz

4/18/2017
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In this episode we are joined by a very special guest, philosophy professor and self-confessed nihilist John Marmysz. John joins us to discuss amongst other things, what nihilism is, and his book Laughing at Nothing: Humour as a Response to Nihilism. We also chat a bit about existentialism. You can learn more about John at his blog, The Nihilist Void @ https://marmysz.wordpress.com/

Duration:00:36:18