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.
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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 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.

The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/explains away religion


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.

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.


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

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

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


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

Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion.


Episode 31, Ludwig Wittgenstein with Prof. Richard Gaskin (Part II - Philosophical Investigations)

Welcome to Episode 31 on Ludwig Wittgenstein (Part II of II) with Prof. Richard Gaskin.

Ludwig Wittgenstein was an Austrian-British philosopher whose work focused on the philosophy of mathematics, logic, the philosophy of mind, and most notably, the philosophy of language.

Wittgenstein’s influence on the world of philosophy has been phenomenal. The study of philosophy was immensely important to Wittgenstein, not only as an academic discipline but as a form of therapy. In Ludwig’s own words, he describes philosophy as, "the only work that gives me real satisfaction".

Wittgenstein’s work can be divided into an early period, exemplified by the Tractatus (our focus for Part I), and a later period, articulated in the Philosophical Investigations (which is our focus for Part II). Early Wittgenstein was concerned with the logical relationship between propositions and the world. He thought that by providing an account of this relationship, he had solved every philosophical problem. The later Wittgenstein rejected many of the assumptions of the Tractatus, arguing that the meaning of words is best understood as their use within a given language-game.

Wittgenstein’s life and work are astonishing. His mentor, Bertrand Russell, described him as "the most perfect example I have ever known of genius as traditionally conceived; passionate, profound, intense, and dominating".

This week in Part II, we'll be discussing Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations from 1953. 

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Part I. The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (08:00 in Part I)

Part II. The Philosophical Investigations (start of Part II)

Part III. Further Analysis and Discussion (45:45 in Part II)


Episodes 29-31 are proudly supported by New College of the Humanities. To find out more about the college and their philosophy programmes, please visit www.nchlondon.ac.uk/panpsycast


Episode 31, Ludwig Wittgenstein with Prof. Richard Gaskin (Part I - Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus)

Welcome to Episode 31 on Ludwig Wittgenstein (Part I of II) with Prof. Richard Gaskin.

Ludwig Wittgenstein was an Austrian-British philosopher whose work focused on the philosophy of mathematics, logic, the philosophy of mind, and most notably, the philosophy of language.

Wittgenstein’s influence on the world of philosophy has been phenomenal. The study of philosophy was immensely important to Wittgenstein, not only as an academic discipline but as a form of therapy. In Ludwig’s own words, he describes philosophy as, "the only work that gives me real satisfaction".

Wittgenstein’s work can be divided into an early period, exemplified by the Tractatus (our focus for Part I), and a later period, articulated in the Philosophical Investigations (which is our focus for Part II). Early Wittgenstein was concerned with the logical relationship between propositions and the world. He thought that by providing an account of this relationship, he had solved every philosophical problem. The later Wittgenstein rejected many of the assumptions of the Tractatus, arguing that the meaning of words is best understood as their use within a given language-game.

Wittgenstein’s life and work are astonishing. His mentor, Bertrand Russell, described him as "the most perfect example I have ever known of genius as traditionally conceived; passionate, profound, intense, and dominating".

This week in Part I, we'll be discussing Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus from 1921. 

The file size is large, please be patient whilst the podcast buffers/downloads/throws away the ladder after it has climbed it

Part I. The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (08:00 in Part I)

Part II. The Philosophical Investigations (start of Part II)

Part III. Further Analysis and Discussion (45:45 in Part II)


Episodes 29-31 are proudly supported by New College of the Humanities. To find out more about the college and their philosophy programmes, please visit www.nchlondon.ac.uk/panpsycast