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Further Reading on Anarchism

For those of you who would like to follow up on our previous episode, Mark Lance recommends the following website, which is quite a thorough resource!

http://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/index.html

Matt Teichman

Posted in Further Reading.


Problems with Comments

For some reason, WordPress stopped notifying me when people have been posting comments, and as a result some comments from January and February were substantially delayed.  Please accept my apologies for this.  I am now keeping my eyes open for new comments and will make sure they get posted quickly!

Matt Teichman

Posted in Announcements.


Episode 68: Mark Lance discusses anarchism

This month, we talk political philosophy with Mark Lance, Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Justice and Peace at Georgetown University. Click here to listen to our conversation.

Mark LanceAnarchy. Sounds like the wild west or something, doesn’t it? Lawlessness indeed sounds pretty terrifying. But our guest argues that anarchism isn’t at all about lawlessness; that anarchists are indeed very much in favor of society being governed. The difference is that the ideal is one of self-governance. Start with small groups of people coming to a reasonable arrangement on the basis of compromise and discussion, and only scale up whatever you have to in order to keep the bare minimum up and running. Many aspects of our modern life might even be preserved under anarchism: for example, there would still be law enforcement, and there would still be a body of representatives in charge of maintaining basic infrastructure. But what there wouldn’t be is a stable class of people in whom the power to rule is vested over the long term. Instead, different people would regularly rotate through the role of being political representatives, to ensure that when they act in their capacities as spokespeople, they truly are speaking on behalf of the groups they represent.

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Posted in Podcast.


Further reading on morality, evolution, and disasters

So a good starting point for those of you who are curious to read up on the topic of our last episode would be John Protevi’s own ‘Darwin, Disaster, and War.’

Our distinguished guest also recommends looking at the website for a course he recently taught on the topic:
http://www.protevi.com/john/Morality/index.html

Happy reading!
Matt Teichman

Posted in Further Reading.


Episode 67: John Protevi discusses Darwin, disaster, and prosociality

This month, we chat with John Protevi (Professor of Philosophy and Phyllis M. Taylor Professor of French Studies at Louisiana State University) about whether human beings may have evolved an altruism instinct. Click here to listen to our conversation.

Protevi2Thomas Hobbes famously argued that deep down, we’re all selfish creatures. Some philosophers think that disaster situations are test cases for this hypothesis, because it’s in the midst of a crisis that we shed all of our politeness and express our natural instinct for self-preservation. However, John Protevi argues that disasters really reveal more about our prejudices–that in spite of the fact that recent major disasters actually gave rise to cooperation, they were reported as having given rise to frantic competitiveness. He argues that in fact, most of the evidence in paleoanthropology, evolutionary psychology, and sociology seems to favor the hypothesis that we evolved to cooperate with one another.

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Posted in Podcast.


Episode 66: Haim Gaifman discusses mathematical reasoning

This month, we talk recreational mathematics with Haim Gaifman, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. Click here to listen to our conversation.

Haim GaifmanAre numbers mind-independent entites, or are they just social constructs? A mountain is definitely real–you can climb it, take pictures of it, fall off it, show it to your friends, and so on. It wasn’t brought into existence by people agreeing that anything about it was true. But not everything is like that. The law not to cross the street when the light is red, for instance, only is the way it is because we all agree that that should be the law. If we were to change our minds about it, the law would thereby change. This raises an interesting question: which of these two things are numbers more like? Are they the way they are independently of what human beings decide, or are facts about numbers constituted by the conventions we decide to adopt?

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Posted in Podcast.


Episode 65: Julian Savulescu discusses doping in sports

This month, we consider the role of enhancement in sports with Julian Savulescu, Uehiro Professor of Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford. Click here to listen to our conversation.

savulescuThese days, we take it for granted that taking drugs to enhance athletic performance is wrong. After all, it’s cheating: the rules of all professional sports place strict limits on which drugs their athletes are allowed to use, and for good reason. That way, the competitions associated with these sports can remain a test of the athlete’s hard work and natural ability, rather than a test of who took the most extreme (and potentially dangerous) chemical shortcut.

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Posted in Podcast.


Further reading on the analytic tradition

Those of you who would like to follow up on our latest episode, look no further! Here are the introduction and afterword to the volume we discussed.

Matt Teichman

Posted in Further Reading.


Episode 64: James Conant and Jay Elliott discuss the analytic tradition

James Conant Jay ElliottThis month, we talk analytic philosophy with James Conant (Chester D. Tripp Professor of Humanities and Philosophy at the University of Chicago) and Jay Elliott (Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Classical Studies at Bard College). Click here to listen our conversation.

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Posted in Podcast.


Further reading on reference

If you’d like to read up on some of the topics from our previous episode, Michael Devitt recommends the following book:

Language and Reality, Kim Sterelny & Michael Devitt

Alternatively, if you don’t have access to a library or a bookstore, you can look at the following survey article:

Reference,” Marga Reimer

Matt Teichman

Posted in Further Reading.