Episode 54, Why Buddhism is True with Robert Wright (Part II)

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Welcome to 'Episode 54 (Part II)', where we'll be engaging in some further analysis and discussion.

Currently Visiting Professor of Science and Religion at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, Robert Wright’s work in journalism, psychology and philosophy has been deeply influential. Robert is the author of many best-selling books including ‘The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology, ‘Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, ‘The Evolution of God, and most recently, ‘Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment’.

Our focus for this episode is Robert Wright’s latest book, Why Buddhism is True. In a word, Wright defends the Buddhist view that ‘the reason we suffer is because we don’t see the world clearly’. The reason we don’t see the world clearly, says Buddhism, is because our perception of our own minds and ‘the outside world’ is impaired by illusions. Viewing Buddhism through the lens of evolutionary psychology, Wright argues that we have good reason to think that this Buddhist claim (that suffering is caused by illusion) is true, and that Buddhism also holds the answer to how we can alleviate ourselves from illusion and suffering.

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Contents

Part I. Why Buddhism is True.

Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion.


Episode 54, Why Buddhism is True with Robert Wright (Part I)

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Welcome to 'Episode 54 (Part I)', where we'll be discussing why Robert Wright thinks Buddhism is true.

Currently Visiting Professor of Science and Religion at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, Robert Wright’s work in journalism, psychology and philosophy has been deeply influential. Robert is the author of many best-selling books including ‘The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology, ‘Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, ‘The Evolution of God, and most recently, ‘Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment’.

Our focus for this episode is Robert Wright’s latest book, Why Buddhism is True. In a word, Wright defends the Buddhist view that ‘the reason we suffer is because we don’t see the world clearly’. The reason we don’t see the world clearly, says Buddhism, is because our perception of our own minds and ‘the outside world’ is impaired by illusions. Viewing Buddhism through the lens of evolutionary psychology, Wright argues that we have good reason to think that this Buddhist claim (that suffering is caused by illusion) is true, and that Buddhism also holds the answer to how we can alleviate ourselves from illusion and suffering.

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

Contents

Part I. Why Buddhism is True.

Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion.


Episode 52, Existentialism and Romantic Love with Skye Cleary (Part II)

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Welcome to 'Episode 52 (Part II)', where we'll be engaging in some further analysis and discussion.

Dr Skye Cleary is a philosopher and author, best known for her work in the field of existentialism. As well as teaching at Columbia, Barnard College and the City College of New York, Skye is also the associate director of the Center for New Narratives in Philosophy at Columbia University.

Skye’s contribution to the world of public philosophy has been extensive, writing for a wealth of publications, including The Paris Review, TED-Ed, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Aeon, Business Insider, The Independent and New Philosopher magazine. Skye is also the editor of the American Philosophical Association blog and the author of our focus for this episode, her 2015 book, Existentialism and Romantic Love.

We’re going to be discussing with Skye the idea of romantic love, and what we can learn about love from existentialist philosophers such as Max Stirner, Soren Kierkegaard, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Friedrich Nietzsche. In a world of romantic cinema, novels, love songs, dating apps, and self-help books, the dream of romantic love has been sold to many of us, but Skye Cleary thinks we need to take a step back. The worry, is that we might blindly sacrifice our freedom, offload our happiness onto another person, or use them as a means to our own ends. Existentialism teaches us that we should aim to live authentically and embrace our freedom. Our question for this episode, is whether or not our current understanding of romantic love is compatible with such a view. Can Jack meet Jill fall in love, and not fall down the hill? Should we, can we, and why, should we love?

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Contents

Part I. Existentialism and Romantic Love.

Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion.


Episode 52, Existentialism and Romantic Love with Skye Cleary (Part I)

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Welcome to 'Episode 52 (Part I)', where we'll be discussing Skye Clearly’s 2015 book, Existentialism and Romantic Love.

Dr Skye Cleary is a philosopher and author, best known for her work in the field of existentialism. As well as teaching at Columbia, Barnard College and the City College of New York, Skye is also the associate director of the Center for New Narratives in Philosophy at Columbia University.

Skye’s contribution to the world of public philosophy has been extensive, writing for a wealth of publications, including The Paris Review, TED-Ed, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Aeon, Business Insider, The Independent and New Philosopher magazine. Skye is also the editor of the American Philosophical Association blog and the author of our focus for this episode, her 2015 book, Existentialism and Romantic Love.

We’re going to be discussing with Skye the idea of romantic love, and what we can learn about love from existentialist philosophers such as Max Stirner, Soren Kierkegaard, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Friedrich Nietzsche. In a world of romantic cinema, novels, love songs, dating apps, and self-help books, the dream of romantic love has been sold to many of us, but Skye Cleary thinks we need to take a step back. The worry, is that we might blindly sacrifice our freedom, offload our happiness onto another person, or use them as a means to our own ends. Existentialism teaches us that we should aim to live authentically and embrace our freedom. Our question for this episode, is whether or not our current understanding of romantic love is compatible with such a view. Can Jack meet Jill fall in love, and not fall down the hill? Should we, can we, and why, should we love?

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Contents

Part I. Existentialism and Romantic Love.

Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion.


Episode 50, ‘The Golden Age of Female Philosophy’ with Rachael Wiseman (Part II)

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Welcome to 'Episode 50 (Part II)', where we'll be asking some listener questions, and engaging in some further analysis and discussion, with Dr Rachael Wiseman.

Rachael Wiseman is a lecturer of philosophy at the University of Liverpool and previously an Addison Wheeler Research Fellow at Durham University. She, and her colleague Dr Clare MacCumhaill, are co-leaders on the British Academy funded project, In Parenthesis, which explores the work and friendship of the philosophical wartime quartet: Mary Midgley, Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, and Iris Murdoch. Dr Wiseman, along with her colleague Professor Amber Carpenter, are also co-leaders of the Integrity Project, which looks at the meaning, relevance, and importance of ‘integrity’ across many spheres: moral, political, and even integrity in public philosophy. Dr Wiseman publishes research at the intersection of philosophy of mind, action and ethics, and has written on Elizabeth Anscombe’s approach to the hard problem of consciousness, the nature of the self and action, and a monograph on Elizabeth Anscombe’s own monograph, Intention.

In this episode, we will be talking to Dr Wiseman about her In Parenthesis project and the four female philosophers that she argues constitute a school of philosophy, one which is regularly omitted from the orthodox canon of ‘great thinkers’ or ‘schools of thought’. In the words of Rachael and here colleague Clare MacCumhaill:

The history of Analytic Philosophy we are familiar with is a story about men… [and] The male dominance is not just in the names of the ‘star’ players. Michael Beaney’s 2013 Oxford Handbook of the History of Analytic Philosophy begins by listing the 150 most important analytic philosophers. 146 of them are men. For women who wish to join in this conversation, the odds seem formidably against one.

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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. The Golden Age of Female Philosophers.

Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion.


Episode 50, ‘The Golden Age of Female Philosophy’ with Rachael Wiseman (Part I)

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Welcome to 'Episode 50 (Part I)', where we'll be discussing ‘The Golden Age of Female Philosophy’ with Rachael Wiseman.

Rachael Wiseman is a lecturer of philosophy at the University of Liverpool and previously an Addison Wheeler Research Fellow at Durham University. She, and her colleague Dr Clare MacCumhaill, are co-leaders on the British Academy funded project, In Parenthesis, which explores the work and friendship of the philosophical wartime quartet: Mary Midgley, Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, and Iris Murdoch. Dr Wiseman, along with her colleague Professor Amber Carpenter, are also co-leaders of the Integrity Project, which looks at the meaning, relevance, and importance of ‘integrity’ across many spheres: moral, political, and even integrity in public philosophy. Dr Wiseman publishes research at the intersection of philosophy of mind, action and ethics, and has written on Elizabeth Anscombe’s approach to the hard problem of consciousness, the nature of the self and action, and a monograph on Elizabeth Anscombe’s own monograph, Intention.

In this episode, we will be talking to Dr Wiseman about her In Parenthesis project and the four female philosophers that she argues constitute a school of philosophy, one which is regularly omitted from the orthodox canon of ‘great thinkers’ or ‘schools of thought’. In the words of Rachael and here colleague Clare MacCumhaill:

The history of Analytic Philosophy we are familiar with is a story about men… [and] The male dominance is not just in the names of the ‘star’ players. Michael Beaney’s 2013 Oxford Handbook of the History of Analytic Philosophy begins by listing the 150 most important analytic philosophers. 146 of them are men. For women who wish to join in this conversation, the odds seem formidably against one.

The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/translates the Philosophical Investigations amongst cigarette butts and nappies

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. The Golden Age of Female Philosophers.

Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion.


Episode 49, Corey Mohler: Behind Existential Comics (Part II)

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Welcome to 'Episode 49 (Part II)', where we'll be asking some of your listener questions, as well as engaging in some further analysis and discussion.

Corey Mohler is a software engineer from Portland, Oregon, USA. With no formal education in philosophy, it might come as a surprise that Corey is the author of the incredibly popular philosophy webcomic, Existential Comics. Founded in December 2013, Existential Comics describes itself as

“a philosophy webcomic about the inevitable anguish of living a brief life in an absurd world. Also jokes.”

The comic receives well over one million views per month, making it one of the most popular philosophy websites on the internet.

In Part I, we’re going to be discussing the ideas bubbling behind ‘Existential Comics’, and in Part II, we’ll be engaging in some further analysis and discussion, as well as asking some listener questions.

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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. Behind Existential Comics

Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion


Episode 49, Corey Mohler: Behind Existential Comics (Part I)

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Welcome to 'Episode 49 (Part I)', where we'll be talking to talking to Corey Mohler about his philosophy webcomic, Existential Comics.

Corey Mohler is a software engineer from Portland, Oregon, USA. With no formal education in philosophy, it might come as a surprise that Corey is the author of the incredibly popular philosophy webcomic, Existential Comics. Founded in December 2013, Existential Comics describes itself as

“a philosophy webcomic about the inevitable anguish of living a brief life in an absurd world. Also jokes.”

The comic receives well over one million views per month, making it one of the most popular philosophy websites on the internet.

In Part I, we’re going to be discussing the ideas bubbling behind ‘Existential Comics’, and in Part II, we’ll be engaging in some further analysis and discussion, as well as asking some listener questions.

The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/heckles Elon Musk

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. Behind Existential Comics

Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion


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.
The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/recognises it cannot be responsbile for the way that it is

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.