Episode 48, Rebecca Goldstein: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away (Part II)

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Welcome to 'Episode 48 (Part II)', where we'll be talking to Rebecca Newberger Goldstein about her own philosophical positions.

Professor Rebecca Newberger Goldstein is one of the most influential thinkers in the world of public philosophy. Amongst many other philosophical texts, Goldstein is the author of The Mind-Body Problem, Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction and Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away. For many, Goldstein’s talent for bringing philosophy to life through her wit and beautiful storytelling is unapparelled. In the words of A. C. Grayling,

“Like Plato… Goldstein has both literary and philosophical gifts of the highest order: the combination is superb.”

The list of Goldstein’s accomplishments is exhaustingly extensive; let us mention just five of many. Professor Goldstein was named a MacArthur Fellow (popularly known as the “genius award”) in 1996 and elected to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005. In 2011, she was designated Free-thought Heroine by the Freedom from Religion Foundation and Humanist of the Year by The American Humanist Association, and in September of 2015, awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in a ceremony at the White House. The reason cited?

"For bringing philosophy into conversation with culture. In scholarship, Dr Goldstein has elucidated the ideas of Spinoza and Gödel, while in fiction, she deploys wit and drama to help us understand the great human conflict between thought and feeling."

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Episodes 47-50 are proudly supported by New College of the Humanities. To find out more about the college and their philosophy programmes, please click here


Contents

Part I. ‘Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away’.

Part II. Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: ‘The Philosopher’.


Episode 48, Rebecca Goldstein: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away (Part I)

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Welcome to 'Episode 48 (Part I)', where we'll be talking to Rebecca Newberger Goldstein about the nature and purpose of philosophy.

Professor Rebecca Newberger Goldstein is one of the most influential thinkers in the world of public philosophy. Amongst many other philosophical texts, Goldstein is the author of The Mind-Body Problem, Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction and Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away. For many, Goldstein’s talent for bringing philosophy to life through her wit and beautiful storytelling is unapparelled. In the words of A. C. Grayling,

“Like Plato… Goldstein has both literary and philosophical gifts of the highest order: the combination is superb.”

The list of Goldstein’s accomplishments is exhaustingly extensive; let us mention just five of many. Professor Goldstein was named a MacArthur Fellow (popularly known as the “genius award”) in 1996 and elected to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005. In 2011, she was designated Free-thought Heroine by the Freedom from Religion Foundation and Humanist of the Year by The American Humanist Association, and in September of 2015, awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in a ceremony at the White House. The reason cited?

"For bringing philosophy into conversation with culture. In scholarship, Dr Goldstein has elucidated the ideas of Spinoza and Gödel, while in fiction, she deploys wit and drama to help us understand the great human conflict between thought and feeling."

The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/jeers philosophy

Episodes 47-50 are proudly supported by New College of the Humanities. To find out more about the college and their philosophy programmes, please click here


Contents

Part I. ‘Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away’.

Part II. Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: ‘The Philosopher’.


Episode 47, Hedda Hassel Mørch: Consciousness and Integrated Information Theory (Part II)

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Welcome to 'Episode 47, Hedda Hassel Mørch: Consciousness and Integrated Information Theory (Part II)', where we'll be asking some listener questions, and engaging in some further analysis and discussion.

Hedda Hassel Mørch is a philosopher and post-doc at the University of Oslo, previously at The Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness at New York University. Dr Mørch’s research focuses on panpsychism, neutral monism and liberal conceptions of physicalism. More specifically, how such views can respond to problems in philosophy of mind and metaphysics, such as the hard problem of consciousness (namely, how does soggy grey matter give rise to technicolour experience), the problem of mental causation (how can the mind interact the world), and the metaphysics of causation (what does it really mean for one event to ‘cause’ another).

In this episode, we’re going to be discussing these topics with Hedda, but focus more specifically, on her views on consciousness and Integrated Information Theory. In Hedda’s own words:

"The nature of consciousness seems to be unique among scientific puzzles. Not only do neuroscientists have no fundamental explanation for how it arises from physical states of the brain, we are not even sure whether we ever will."

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Episodes 47-50 are proudly supported by New College of the Humanities. To find out more about the college and their philosophy programmes, please click here


Contents

Part I. Integrated Information Theory.

Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion.


Episode 47, Hedda Hassel Mørch: Consciousness and Integrated Information Theory (Part I)

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Welcome to 'Episode 47, Hedda Hassel Mørch: Consciousness and Integrated Information Theory (Part I)', where we'll be discussing Information Integration Theory and the hard problem of consciousness.

Hedda Hassel Mørch is a philosopher and post-doc at the University of Oslo, previously at The Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness at New York University. Dr Mørch’s research focuses on panpsychism, neutral monism and liberal conceptions of physicalism. More specifically, how such views can respond to problems in philosophy of mind and metaphysics, such as the hard problem of consciousness (namely, how does soggy grey matter give rise to technicolour experience), the problem of mental causation (how can the mind interact the world), and the metaphysics of causation (what does it really mean for one event to ‘cause’ another).

In this episode, we’re going to be discussing these topics with Hedda, but focus more specifically, on her views on consciousness and Integrated Information Theory. In Hedda’s own words:

"The nature of consciousness seems to be unique among scientific puzzles. Not only do neuroscientists have no fundamental explanation for how it arises from physical states of the brain, we are not even sure whether we ever will."

The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/integrates

Episodes 47-50 are proudly supported by New College of the Humanities. To find out more about the college and their philosophy programmes, please click here


Contents

Part I. Integrated Information Theory.

Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion.


Episode 46, Peter Adamson and the History of Women in Philosophy (Part II)

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Welcome to 'Episode 46, Peter Adamson and the History of Women in Philosophy (Part II)', where we'll be engaging in some further analysis, discussion and getting at 'the man behind the podcast'.

Peter Adamson is Professor of Late Ancient and Arabic philosophy at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and the host of the History of Philosophy without any gaps podcast. Peter’s main publications focus on Classical Philosophy, Philosophy in the Hellenistic and Roman Worlds, and Philosophy in the Islamic World, but the range of Peter’s expertise is phenomenal. The depth and breadth of his podcast History of Philosophy without any gaps is simply unrivalled, and the success of Peter’s projects has led him to publish a range of books in the aforementioned areas.

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Contents

Part I. The History of Women in Philosophy.

Part II. Further Analysis, Discussion and 'The Man Behind the Podcast'.


Episode 46, Peter Adamson and the History of Women in Philosophy (Part I)

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Welcome to 'Episode 46, Peter Adamson and the History of Women in Philosophy (Part I)', where we'll be talking to Peter Adamson about 'philosophy', his podcast The History of Philosophy without any gaps and the history of women in philosophy.

Peter Adamson is Professor of Late Ancient and Arabic philosophy at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and the host of the History of Philosophy without any gaps podcast. Peter’s main publications focus on Classical Philosophy, Philosophy in the Hellenistic and Roman Worlds, and Philosophy in the Islamic World, but the range of Peter’s expertise is phenomenal. The depth and breadth of his podcast History of Philosophy without any gaps is simply unrivalled, and the success of Peter’s projects has led him to publish a range of books in the aforementioned areas.

So, in Part I, we’ll be speaking to Peter Adamson about the history of women in philosophy, and in Part II, we’ll be engaging in some further analysis and discussion, asking some listener questions, and getting at ‘the man behind the podcast’.

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Contents

Part I. The History of Women in Philosophy.

Part II. Further Analysis, Discussion and 'The Man Behind the Podcast'.


Episode 44, The Steven Pinker Interview

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Welcome to Episode 44, where we'll be talking to Steven Pinker about his latest book Enlightenment Now

As Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, Steven Pinker’s list of accomplishments is incredible; he has been named Humanist of the Year, a top “100 Global Thinker” by Foreign Policy and included in Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.”

Steven has also been awarded eight honorary doctorates and his research on language, vision and social relations has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science.

Needless to say, that Steven’s work has been deeply influential. Amongst his most well-read works, Steven in the author of, The Language Instinct, How The Mind Works, Words and Rules, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, Better Angels of Our Natureand most recently, Enlightenment Now.

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Part I. Enlightenment Now!
Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion.

Episode 43, The Galen Strawson Interview (Part II)

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Welcome to Episode 43 (Part II of II), where we'll be talking philosophy of religion, as well as engaging in some further analysis and discussion, with Professor Galen Strawson. 

Galen Strawson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. Amongst countless papers in metaphysics and philosophy of mind, Galen is the author of Freedom and Belief, The Subject of Experience, Consciousness and Its Place in Nature and most recently, Things That Bother Me: Death, Freedom, the Self, Etc. 

The widespread impact of these works cannot be understated. In the words of Stephen Fry:

Galen Strawson has a marvellous gift for untangling even the most complex lines in philosophical thinking and laying them straight. He writes with humour, clarity and always from a recognizably human place. Even the most complex and controversial areas in modern philosophy come into the light when you are in his benign company…. He opens windows and finds light-switches like no other philosopher writing today.
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Part I. Death, Freedom, the Self and Consciousness
Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion

Episode 43, The Galen Strawson Interview (Part I)

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Welcome to Episode 43 (Part I of II), where we'll be discussing death, freedom, the self and consciousness with Professor Galen Strawson. 

Galen Strawson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. Amongst countless papers in metaphysics and philosophy of mind, Galen is the author of Freedom and Belief, The Subject of Experience, Consciousness and Its Place in Nature and most recently, Things That Bother Me: Death, Freedom, the Self, Etc. 

The widespread impact of these works cannot be understated. In the words of Stephen Fry:

Galen Strawson has a marvellous gift for untangling even the most complex lines in philosophical thinking and laying them straight. He writes with humour, clarity and always from a recognizably human place. Even the most complex and controversial areas in modern philosophy come into the light when you are in his benign company…. He opens windows and finds light-switches like no other philosopher writing today.
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Part I. Death, Freedom, the Self and Consciousness
Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion

Episode 41, Christian B. Miller and 'The Character Gap' (Part II)

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Welcome to Episode 41 (Part II of II), where we'll be engaging in some further analysis and discussion. 

Bringing together contemporary psychology and moral philosophy, the work of Christian B. Miller in character education has been tremendously influential. Christian Miller is the A.C. Reid Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University and the Director of the Character Project funded by the John Templeton Foundation and the Templeton World Charity Foundation. As well as publishing over 75 papers, Professor Miller is the author of Moral Character: An Empirical Theory, Character and Moral Psychology, and The Character Gap: How Good Are We? In today’s interview, we’ll be talking to Professor Miller about his latest book, The Character Gap. In his own words:

Here is the predicament that most of us seem to be in. We are not virtuous people. We simply do not have characters that are good enough to qualify as honest, compassionate, wise, courageous and the like. We are not vicious people either – dishonest, callous, foolish cowardly, and so forth. Rather, we have a mixed character with some good sides and some bad sides. This, I have claimed, is the most plausible interpretation of what psychology tells us. It is also true to our lived experience in the world. Those are the facts as I see them. Now comes the value judgement – this is a real shame. . . Excellence of character, or being virtuous, is what we should all strive for.
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Part I. The Character Gap
Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion

Reading and References

Christian B. Miller's Website

Moral Character: An Empirical Theory - Christian B. Miller

Character and Moral Psychology - Christian B. Miller

The Character Gap: How Good Are We? - Christian B. Miller

Episode 41, Christian B. Miller and 'The Character Gap' (Part I)

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Welcome to Episode 41 (Part I of II), where we will be discussing Christian B. Miller's latest book, The Character Gap

Bringing together contemporary psychology and moral philosophy, the work of Christian B. Miller in character education has been tremendously influential. Christian Miller is the A.C. Reid Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University and the Director of the Character Project funded by the John Templeton Foundation and the Templeton World Charity Foundation. As well as publishing over 75 papers, Professor Miller is the author of Moral Character: An Empirical Theory, Character and Moral Psychology, and The Character Gap: How Good Are We? In today’s interview, we’ll be talking to Professor Miller about his latest book, The Character Gap. In his own words:

Here is the predicament that most of us seem to be in. We are not virtuous people. We simply do not have characters that are good enough to qualify as honest, compassionate, wise, courageous and the like. We are not vicious people either – dishonest, callous, foolish cowardly, and so forth. Rather, we have a mixed character with some good sides and some bad sides. This, I have claimed, is the most plausible interpretation of what psychology tells us. It is also true to our lived experience in the world. Those are the facts as I see them. Now comes the value judgement – this is a real shame. . . Excellence of character, or being virtuous, is what we should all strive for.
The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/allows you to cultivate the virtue of patience

Part I. The Character Gap
Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion

Reading and References

Christian B. Miller's Website

Moral Character: An Empirical Theory - Christian B. Miller

Character and Moral Psychology - Christian B. Miller

The Character Gap: How Good Are We? - Christian B. Miller

Episode 40, 'Offensive Language' with Rebecca Roache

Language Warning

This episode contains strong language.

If you are below the age of 15, please do not proceed past this point. 


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Welcome to Episode 40, where we'll be speaking to Rebecca Roache about offensive language.

Rebecca Roache is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London. Dr Roache specialises in practical ethics, logic, philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychiatry and early modern philosophy, but in this episode, we’ll be speaking to Rebecca specifically about the philosophy of language and swearing. 

In the words of Rebecca Roache:

"With a little imagination, we can find limitless and powerful ways to offend people if that’s what we want to do. We don’t need to give a f*ck about whether our favourite swear words are declining in their capacity to shock." (Ethics Centre, 2015  - click for full article)

This interview is produced ‘in association with The Institute of Art and Ideas and the Philosophy for Our Times podcast’. A very special thank you to everybody at the Institute of Art and Ideas for making this interview possible.

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*We apologise for the audio quality of this episode. We recorded the interview at How the Light Gets In Festival, and although the rain had stopped for us momentarily, you’ll be able to hear festival-goers celebrating the outbreak of sunshine in the background. We’ll be back in the studio after this episode. Thank you, we hope you enjoy the show!


Part I. Offensive Language.
Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion.

Episode 39, 'The Philosophy of Perception' with Bence Nanay

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Welcome to Episode 39, where we'll be speaking to Bence Nanay about 'the philosophy of perception'.

Bence Nanay is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Antwerp and Research Associate in philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Nanay is also the principal investigator of the European Research Council project, Seeing Things You Don’t See: Unifying the Philosophy, Psychology and Neuroscience of Multimodal Mental Imagery

As well as publishing more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, Nanay is the author of Between Perception and Action (2013) and Aesthetics as Philosophy of Perception (2016).

It will, therefore, come as no surprise that our focus today will be Nanay’s work in the field of ‘philosophy of perception’. In a rare intersection between psychology, neuroscience and philosophy, ‘the philosophy of perception’ is concerned with the status of perceptual data, the nature of perceptual experience, and how this data and these experiences relate to beliefs about, or knowledge of, the world.

This interview is produced ‘in association with The Institute of Art and Ideas and the Philosophy for Our Times podcast’. A very special thank you to everybody at the Institute of Art and Ideas for making this interview possible.

To celebrate the release of this interview, we’re giving away three signed copies of Nanay’s Between Perception and Action – to be in with a chance of winning, just head over to our Twitter page.

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*We apologise for the length and audio quality of this episode. We recorded the interview in-between Bence’s talks at How the Light Gets In Festival, where it was tipping it down with rain.


Part I. Bence Nanay: The Philosophy of Perception and Action.
Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion.

Episode 38, ‘Philosophy in Everyday Life’ with Philosophy Now's Rick Lewis (Part II)

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Welcome to Episode 38 (Part II of II), where Rick will be giving his thoughts on some contemporary issues, before we engage in some further analysis and discussion.

Rick Lewis took his first degree in physics and philosophy of science at the University of Manchester, and later an MA in philosophy at the University of York. 

Making philosophy accessible and encouraging the person on the street to engage in philosophy in their everyday life was, and is, hugely important to Rick. That’s why in 1991 Rick founded the magazine Philosophy Now, of which, he has been the editor ever since. Soon after launching the magazine, Philosophy Now became the first philosophy title to appear on UK news-stands. 

This episode Jack, Andy, Olly and Rick will be discussing ‘the role of philosophy in everyday life’. For many, philosophy is something which can not only enrich our own lives but the lives of our fellow humans. For many others, philosophy is a waste of a life, something that diminishes, something which fails to enrich...

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Part I. Philosophy in Everyday Life.
Part II. Philosophy Now, Further Analysis and Discussion.

Episode 38, ‘Philosophy in Everyday Life’ with Philosophy Now's Rick Lewis (Part I)

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Welcome to Episode 38 (Part I of II), where we'll be discussing the importance of philosophy in everyday life with Rick Lewis.

Rick Lewis took his first degree in physics and philosophy of science at the University of Manchester, and later an MA in philosophy at the University of York. 

Making philosophy accessible and encouraging the person on the street to engage in philosophy in their everyday life was, and is, hugely important to Rick. That’s why in 1991 Rick founded the magazine Philosophy Now, of which, he has been the editor ever since. Soon after launching the magazine, Philosophy Now became the first philosophy title to appear on UK news-stands. 

This episode Jack, Andy, Olly and Rick will be discussing ‘the role of philosophy in everyday life’. For many, philosophy is something which can not only enrich our own lives but the lives of our fellow humans. For many others, philosophy is a waste of a life, something that diminishes, something which fails to enrich...

The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/lives an examined life

Part I. Philosophy in Everyday Life.
Part II. Philosophy Now, 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 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.

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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.