9pm - 10pm
Philosophy Talk is radio that celebrates the value of the examined life. Week after week, our two philosopher-hosts invite listeners to join them in conversations about a wide variety of issues-- ranging from popular culture to our most deeply held beliefs about science, morality, and the human condition. Philosophy Talk challenges listeners to identify and question their assumptions and to think about things in new ways. We are dedicated to reasoned conversation driven by human curiousity. Philosophy Talks is broadly accessible, intellectually stimulating and, most of all, fun!
Philosophy talk is hosted by Ken Taylor, Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, and John Perry, Professor of Philosophy at the University of California at Riverside and Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Stanford University.
March 5, 2014
Science and Gender
What does gender have to do with science? The obvious answer is ‘nothing.’ Science is the epitome of an objective, rational, and disinterested enterprise. But given the history of systemic under-representation of women in science, what does it mean that science answers almost exclusively to the methodologies of men? Has male domination contributed certain unfounded assumptions or cognitive biases to the ‘objectivity’ of scientific inquiry? Is there any possibility of achieving a gender-neutral science, and if so, what would that look like? John and Ken make room at the table for Stanford historian Londa Schiebinger, author of Nature's Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science.
March 12, 2014
Simone de Beauvoir
Simone de Beauvoir is often cast as only a novelist or a mere echo of Jean-Paul Sartre. But she authored many philosophical texts beyond The Second Sex, and the letters between her and Sartre reveal that both were equally concerned with existentialist questions of radical ontological freedom, the issue of self-deception, and the dynamics of desire. This episode explores the evolution of de Beauvoir's existential-ethical thinking. In what sense did she find that we are all radically free? Are we always to blame for our self-deception or can social institutions be at fault? John and Ken sit down at the café with Shannon Mussett from Utah Valley University, co-editor of Beauvoir and Western Thought from Plato to Butler.
March 19, 2014
Many goals are too complex for one person to accomplish alone. Every day, we pool together our planning abilities with those around us to get things done. It’s clear that without shared agency, none of our familiar social institutions could exist. However, philosophers are in disagreement about what shared agency actually entails. What is it about collective action that's unique, and why does it come about? How is acting together sometimes greater than the sum of its parts? John and Ken join forces with Margaret Gilbert from UC Irvine, author of Living Together: Rationality, Sociality, and Obligation.
March 26, 2014
Is Nothing Sacred Anymore?
Tribal societies lived in a world of the sacred and profane, ritual and taboo. Is there anything left of this structure in the modern world? Is anything really taboo, or are things just inadvisable, problematic, unhealthy, unwise, and less than optimal under the circumstances? John and Ken consider what, if anything, is still sacred with Cora Diamond from the University of Virginia, author of The Realistic Spirit: Wittgenstein, Philosophy, and the Mind. This program was recorded live at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.
April 2, 2014
Weapons of Mass Destruction
The United States recently threatened military action against Syria in response to the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons. Similar threats have been made against states suspected of trying to develop nuclear arsenals such as North Korea and Iran. Yet the U.S., the U.K., France, Russia, and China have thousands of active nuclear weapons of their own. Is there a morally significant difference between nuclear or chemical weapons and conventional weapons? Should we work toward total disarmament, or do we need these weapons as a deterrent to rogue states? What steps must we take to secure peace in a world rife with weapons of mass destruction? John and Ken go nuclear with Stanford political scientist Scott Sagan, co-author of The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: An Enduring Debate, for a program recorded live at the Marsh Theater in Berkeley.