Episode 37, Religious Language (Part IV – Further Analysis and Discussion)

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Welcome to Episode 37 (Part IV of IV), where we'll be engaging in some further analysis and discussion.

Broadly speaking, the term 'religious language' refers to statements or claims made about God or gods. Many problems arise in the field of religious language, but our principal focus in this episode will be the problems that arise within the Abrahamic religions (that is, Judaism, Christianity and Islam). Simply put, it is unclear how one could use human-made language, to talk meaningfully about something infinitely powerful, infinitely knowledgeable and infinitely loving. This problem is worrisome to believers as it has the potential to undermine their traditions; if we cannot speak meaningfully about God, then the texts and teachings of Abrahamic faiths can only be deemed unintelligible (i.e. impossible to understand). 

In his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, the 18th Century Scottish philosopher David Hume alluded to the problem as follows:

But when we look beyond human affairs… when we carry our speculations into the two eternities, before and after the present state of things; into the creations and formulation of the universe; the existence and properties of spirits; the powers and operations of one universal Spirit existing without beginning and without end; omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, infinite and incomprehensible: We must be far removed from the smallest tendency to scepticism not to be apprehensive, that we have here got quite the reach of our faculties.
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Part I. The Via Negativa
Part II. Saint Thomas Aquinas and Ludwig Wittgenstein
Part III. The Verification and Falsification Principles
Part IV. Further Analysis and Discussion

Episode 37, Religious Language (Part III - The Verification and Falsification Principles)

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Welcome to Episode 37 (Part III of IV), where we'll be discussing the verification and falsification principles.

Broadly speaking, the term 'religious language' refers to statements or claims made about God or gods. Many problems arise in the field of religious language, but our principal focus in this episode will be the problems that arise within the Abrahamic religions (that is, Judaism, Christianity and Islam). Simply put, it is unclear how one could use human-made language, to talk meaningfully about something infinitely powerful, infinitely knowledgeable and infinitely loving. This problem is worrisome to believers as it has the potential to undermine their traditions; if we cannot speak meaningfully about God, then the texts and teachings of Abrahamic faiths can only be deemed unintelligible (i.e. impossible to understand). 

In his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, the 18th Century Scottish philosopher David Hume alluded to the problem as follows:

But when we look beyond human affairs… when we carry our speculations into the two eternities, before and after the present state of things; into the creations and formulation of the universe; the existence and properties of spirits; the powers and operations of one universal Spirit existing without beginning and without end; omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, infinite and incomprehensible: We must be far removed from the smallest tendency to scepticism not to be apprehensive, that we have here got quite the reach of our faculties.
The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/commits itself to the flames

Part I. The Via Negativa
Part II. Saint Thomas Aquinas and Ludwig Wittgenstein
Part III. The Verification and Falsification Principles
Part IV. Further Analysis and Discussion

Episode 37, Religious Language (Part II – Thomas Aquinas and Ludwig Wittgenstein)

Classic Cast.jpg

Welcome to Episode 37 (Part II of IV), where we'll be discussing Saint Thomas Aquinas and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Broadly speaking, the term 'religious language' refers to statements or claims made about God or gods. Many problems arise in the field of religious language, but our principal focus in this episode will be the problems that arise within the Abrahamic religions (that is, Judaism, Christianity and Islam). Simply put, it is unclear how one could use human-made language, to talk meaningfully about something infinitely powerful, infinitely knowledgeable and infinitely loving. This problem is worrisome to believers as it has the potential to undermine their traditions; if we cannot speak meaningfully about God, then the texts and teachings of Abrahamic faiths can only be deemed unintelligible (i.e. impossible to understand). 

In his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, the 18th Century Scottish philosopher David Hume alluded to the problem as follows:

But when we look beyond human affairs… when we carry our speculations into the two eternities, before and after the present state of things; into the creations and formulation of the universe; the existence and properties of spirits; the powers and operations of one universal Spirit existing without beginning and without end; omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, infinite and incomprehensible: We must be far removed from the smallest tendency to scepticism not to be apprehensive, that we have here got quite the reach of our faculties.
The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/commits itself to the flames

Part I. The Via Negativa
Part II. Saint Thomas Aquinas and Ludwig Wittgenstein
Part III. The Verification and Falsification Principles
Part IV. Further Analysis and Discussion

Episode 37, Religious Language (Part I – The Via Negativa)

Classic Cast.jpg

Welcome to Episode 37 (Part I of IV), where we'll be discussing religious language and 'the via negativa', also known as 'the apophatic way'.

Broadly speaking, the term 'religious language' refers to statements or claims made about God or gods. Many problems arise in the field of religious language, but our principal focus in this episode will be the problems that arise within the Abrahamic religions (that is, Judaism, Christianity and Islam). Simply put, it is unclear how one could use human-made language, to talk meaningfully about something infinitely powerful, infinitely knowledgeable and infinitely loving. This problem is worrisome to believers as it has the potential to undermine their traditions; if we cannot speak meaningfully about God, then the texts and teachings of Abrahamic faiths can only be deemed unintelligible (i.e. impossible to understand). 

In his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, the 18th Century Scottish philosopher David Hume alluded to the problem as follows:

But when we look beyond human affairs… when we carry our speculations into the two eternities, before and after the present state of things; into the creations and formulation of the universe; the existence and properties of spirits; the powers and operations of one universal Spirit existing without beginning and without end; omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, infinite and incomprehensible: We must be far removed from the smallest tendency to scepticism not to be apprehensive, that we have here got quite the reach of our faculties.
The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/commits itself to the flames

Part I. The Via Negativa
Part II. Saint Thomas Aquinas and Ludwig Wittgenstein
Part III. The Verification and Falsification Principles
Part IV. Further Analysis and Discussion

Episode 36, The Daniel Dennett Interview (Part II - Philosophy of Mind)

Welcome to Episode 36 (Part II of II), where we'll be discussing philosophy of mind with Professor of philosophy, Daniel C. Dennett.

In the words of A. C. Grayling, Professor "Daniel C. Dennett is perhaps the most distinguished philosopher in the world".

In a 2013 study by Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute, alongside philosophers Slavoj Zizek and Peter Singer, Daniel Dennett was ranked amongst the top 5 global thought leaders.

Currently the co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies and the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University, Daniel is best known for his contributions to cognitive science, philosophy of mind and philosophy of religion. His works Consciousness Explained, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Breaking the Spell and his latest work, From Bacteria to Bach and Back have had an immense impact in the worlds of philosophy and science. 

For many, Daniel Dennett, known as ‘one of the four horsemen of new atheism’, is a household name, celebrated as a man who has explained away the hard problem of consciousness, religion, and fundamental questions surrounding free-will.

We’re going to be discussing Daniel Dennett’s approach to philosophy of religion in Part I, before we dive into philosophy of mind in Part II.

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Part I. Philosophy of Religion

Part II. Philosophy of Mind


Episode 36, The Daniel Dennett Interview (Part I - Philosophy of Religion)

Welcome to Episode 36 (Part I of II), where we'll be discussing philosophy of religion with Professor of philosophy, Daniel C. Dennett.

In the words of A. C. Grayling, Professor "Daniel C. Dennett is perhaps the most distinguished philosopher in the world".

In a 2013 study by Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute, alongside philosophers Slavoj Zizek and Peter Singer, Daniel Dennett was ranked amongst the top 5 global thought leaders.

Currently the co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies and the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University, Daniel is best known for his contributions to cognitive science, philosophy of mind and philosophy of religion. His works Consciousness Explained, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Breaking the Spell and his latest work, From Bacteria to Bach and Back have had an immense impact in the worlds of philosophy and science. 

For many, Daniel Dennett, known as ‘one of the four horsemen of new atheism’, is a household name, celebrated as a man who has explained away the hard problem of consciousness, religion, and fundamental questions surrounding free-will.

We’re going to be discussing Daniel Dennett’s approach to philosophy of religion in Part I, before we dive into philosophy of mind in Part II.

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Part I. Philosophy of Religion

Part II. Philosophy of Mind


Episode 35, Sexual Ethics (Part IV - Further Analysis and Discussion)

Welcome to Episode 35, where we'll be discussing sexual ethics.

Sexual ethics is the study of human sexuality and sexual behaviour. In a word, it seeks to understand and evaluate the moral conduct of relationships and sexual activities from a philosophical perspective.

Sex is hugely important to us all. Sex is an expression of love. It forms the foundation of our family lives, our social lives and even our self-identities. For many, we should celebrate sex, for we owe it our very existence! On the other hand, sex can be the cause of great pain and suffering. While sex brings life, no doubt, it ruins the lives of many. Cases of exploitation, harassment, assault and rape, show the darkest side of humanity. 

Sex can both make and corrupt humans. For Christians, different sexual acts and preferences can lead them closer to, and further away from God. For many moral philosophers, sexual acts can lead them closer to and further away from what is right.

Moral philosophers and theologians have long pondered questions surrounding this sensitive topic, and there is a lot more to be said that goes beyond the scope of this episode. In this episode, we will exclusively be tackling issues surrounding marriage and sexuality.

In Part I we’ll be discussing premarital sex, in Part II extramarital sex, in Part III homosexuality, and in Part IV we'll be engaging in some further analysis and discussion.

The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/debates the ethical questions surrounding sex


Part I. Premarital Sex

Part II. Extramarital Sex

Part III. Homosexuality

Part IV. Further Analysis and Discussion


Episode 35, Sexual Ethics (Part III - Homosexuality)

Welcome to Episode 35, where we'll be discussing sexual ethics.

Sexual ethics is the study of human sexuality and sexual behaviour. In a word, it seeks to understand and evaluate the moral conduct of relationships and sexual activities from a philosophical perspective.

Sex is hugely important to us all. Sex is an expression of love. It forms the foundation of our family lives, our social lives and even our self-identities. For many, we should celebrate sex, for we owe it our very existence! On the other hand, sex can be the cause of great pain and suffering. While sex brings life, no doubt, it ruins the lives of many. Cases of exploitation, harassment, assault and rape, show the darkest side of humanity. 

Sex can both make and corrupt humans. For Christians, different sexual acts and preferences can lead them closer to, and further away from God. For many moral philosophers, sexual acts can lead them closer to and further away from what is right.

Moral philosophers and theologians have long pondered questions surrounding this sensitive topic, and there is a lot more to be said that goes beyond the scope of this episode. In this episode, we will exclusively be tackling issues surrounding marriage and sexuality.

In Part I we’ll be discussing premarital sex, in Part II extramarital sex, in Part III homosexuality, and in Part IV we'll be engaging in some further analysis and discussion.

The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/debates the ethical questions surrounding sex


Part I. Premarital Sex

Part II. Extramarital Sex

Part III. Homosexuality

Part IV. Further Analysis and Discussion


Episode 35, Sexual Ethics (Part II - Extramarital Sex)

Welcome to Episode 35, where we'll be discussing sexual ethics.

Sexual ethics is the study of human sexuality and sexual behaviour. In a word, it seeks to understand and evaluate the moral conduct of relationships and sexual activities from a philosophical perspective.

Sex is hugely important to us all. Sex is an expression of love. It forms the foundation of our family lives, our social lives and even our self-identities. For many, we should celebrate sex, for we owe it our very existence! On the other hand, sex can be the cause of great pain and suffering. While sex brings life, no doubt, it ruins the lives of many. Cases of exploitation, harassment, assault and rape, show the darkest side of humanity. 

Sex can both make and corrupt humans. For Christians, different sexual acts and preferences can lead them closer to, and further away from God. For many moral philosophers, sexual acts can lead them closer to and further away from what is right.

Moral philosophers and theologians have long pondered questions surrounding this sensitive topic, and there is a lot more to be said that goes beyond the scope of this episode. In this episode, we will exclusively be tackling issues surrounding marriage and sexuality.

In Part I we’ll be discussing premarital sex, in Part II extramarital sex, in Part III homosexuality, and in Part IV we'll be engaging in some further analysis and discussion.

The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/debates the ethical questions surrounding sex


Part I. Premarital Sex

Part II. Extramarital Sex

Part III. Homosexuality

Part IV. Further Analysis and Discussion


Episode 35, Sexual Ethics (Part I - Premarital Sex)

Welcome to Episode 35, where we'll be discussing sexual ethics.

Sexual ethics is the study of human sexuality and sexual behaviour. In a word, it seeks to understand and evaluate the moral conduct of relationships and sexual activities from a philosophical perspective.

Sex is hugely important to us all. Sex is an expression of love. It forms the foundation of our family lives, our social lives and even our self-identities. For many, we should celebrate sex, for we owe it our very existence! On the other hand, sex can be the cause of great pain and suffering. While sex brings life, no doubt, it ruins the lives of many. Cases of exploitation, harassment, assault and rape, show the darkest side of humanity. 

Sex can both make and corrupt humans. For Christians, different sexual acts and preferences can lead them closer to, and further away from God. For many moral philosophers, sexual acts can lead them closer to and further away from what is right.

Moral philosophers and theologians have long pondered questions surrounding this sensitive topic, and there is a lot more to be said that goes beyond the scope of this episode. In this episode, we will exclusively be tackling issues surrounding marriage and sexuality.

In Part I we’ll be discussing premarital sex, in Part II extramarital sex, in Part III homosexuality, and in Part IV we'll be engaging in some further analysis and discussion.

The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/debates the ethical questions surrounding sex


Part I. Premarital Sex

Part II. Extramarital Sex

Part III. Homosexuality

Part IV. Further Analysis and Discussion


Episode 34, The Peter Singer Interview (Part II)

Welcome to Episode 34, where we'll be interviewing Peter Singer and discussing utilitarianism (Part II of II).

Peter Singer is often described as the world's most influential philosopher. Professor Singer is currently the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human values at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. His work has helped to launch the animal rights and effective altruism movements, as well as making significant contributions in bioethics. 

Peter Singer is most famous for his developments to the normative ethical theory utilitarianism. Loosely stated, utilitarianism is the view that we should maximise happiness and pleasure, and reduce pain, suffering and unhappiness, for the greatest number of humans and/or non-human animals. He is known in particular for his book Animal Liberation, in which he argues in favour of vegetarianism, and his essay Famine, Affluence, and Morality, in which he argues in favour of donating to help the global poor. 

Practical Ethics, The Life You Can Save, The Most Good You Can Do, One World: The Ethics of Globalisation, Ethics in the Real World - Peter Singer's list of bestselling publications is extensive - but his work goes beyond the written page. Peter Singer is also the founder of the charity The Life You Can Save and co-founder of Animals Australia.

In Part I, we'll be discussing Peter Singer's theory of utilitarianism, and in Part II, we'll be engaging in some further analysis and discussion.

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Part I. Utilitarianism.

Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion.


Episode 34, The Peter Singer Interview (Part I)

Welcome to Episode 34, where we'll be interviewing Peter Singer and discussing utilitarianism (Part I of II).

Peter Singer is often described as the world's most influential philosopher. Professor Singer is currently the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human values at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. His work has helped to launch the animal rights and effective altruism movements, as well as making significant contributions in bioethics. 

Peter Singer is most famous for his developments to the normative ethical theory utilitarianism. Loosely stated, utilitarianism is the view that we should maximise happiness and pleasure, and reduce pain, suffering and unhappiness, for the greatest number of humans and/or non-human animals. He is known in particular for his book Animal Liberation, in which he argues in favour of vegetarianism, and his essay Famine, Affluence, and Morality, in which he argues in favour of donating to help the global poor. 

Practical Ethics, The Life You Can Save, The Most Good You Can Do, One World: The Ethics of Globalisation, Ethics in the Real World - Peter Singer's list of bestselling publications is extensive - but his work goes beyond the written page. Peter Singer is also the founder of the charity The Life You Can Save and co-founder of Animals Australia.

In Part I, we'll be discussing Peter Singer's theory of utilitarianism, and in Part II, we'll be engaging in some further analysis and discussion.

The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/creates the greatest happiness for the greatest number


Part I. Utilitarianism.

Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion.


Episode 33, Yujin Nagasawa and 'The Problem of Evil for Atheists' (Part II)

Welcome to Episode 33 on 'The Problem of Evil for Atheists' (Part II of II).

Yujin Nagasawa is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham, as well as President of the British Society for the Philosophy of Religion and Co-Director of the John Hick Centre for Philosophy of Religion. Obtaining his PhD from the Australian National University in 2004, Nagasawa’s work in philosophy is extensive, focusing on a range of topics from the problems surrounding consciousness to the nature and existence of God. 

Our focus for Episode 33, is Nagasawa’s ‘The Problem of Evil for Atheists’. The argument can be stated as follows, atheists believe that the world is generally good and they are happy and grateful to exist i.e. they are existential optimists. However, our entire evolutionary biological system is based upon the painful, miserable suffering of the weak. So, why should we think that the world is overall good and that we should be grateful to exist, if our existence depends on a violent, cruel and unfair biological system which guarantees pain and suffering for unaccountably many sentient animals? Nagasawa argues that the theist is in a better position to answer this question than the atheist, suggesting that the problem of evil provides good reason to abandon atheism and adopt theism.

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Part I. 'The Problem of Evil for Atheists'.

Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion.