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Episode 118: Tyler Cowen discusses stubborn attachments

This month, we’re joined by Tyler Cowen (Professor of Economics at George Mason University), to talk about utilitarianism, economic growth, and the future. Click here to listen to our conversation.

Utilitarianism is the name we give a family of normative ethical theories, most of which are variations on the idea that doing the right thing involves imparting the greatest amount of benefit to the greatest number of people. How do I tell whether policy XYZ is the right policy to adopt? Simple! Numerically measure the amount of happiness that policy is going to cause, add all of it up, numerically measure the amount of suffering that policy is going to cause, add all of that up, subtract the suffering from the happiness, and go with the policy that yields the greatest amount of happiness. We find this idea intuitive, because we like to be generous and help other people. If there are surpluses of happiness anywhere in the world, we often feel it would be great if those surpluses could be transferred, somehow, to the less fortunate.

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Posted in Podcast.


Further Reading on plagiarism

So first, Brian L. Frye’s own work on plagiarism is super interesting and I highly recommend it:

Plagiarism Is Not A Crime,” Brian L. Frye

Next, Professor Frye recommends the following recent pieces of writing on the topic:

The Case for Plagiarism,” Andrew Carter
Against Academic Rentiership,” Steve Fuller
Neurologist Oliver Sacks on Memory, Plagiarism, and the Necessary Forgettings of Creativity,” Maria Popova
Media Pranks,” Kembrew McLeod

We’ll post a link to Brian L. Frye’s new paper, “Plagiarize This Paper,” when it comes out!

Matt Teichman

Posted in Further Reading.


Episode 117: Brian L. Frye says to plagiarize this podcast

This month, we talk to Brian L. Frye (University of Kentucky College of Law) about how we deal with and react to plagiarism. Click here to listen to our conversation.

Plagiarism is obviously terrible, and plagiarizers should be punished to the full extent of the law. Or should they? Our guest this month thinks there are a number of issues with that position. For one thing, plagiarism isn’t illegal–it’s a social rule that’s unofficially enforced–so it isn’t even clear that the law has much of an ‘extent’ in this case. That is, plagiarists don’t go to jail; they’re just subject to other kinds of punishments, like expulsion from school or social ostracism. In the educational context, Brian L. Frye argues that punishing students for plagiarizing doesn’t contribute to the main purpose of education, which is to make as many students as possible learn as much as possible. If a student cheats on an assignment by copying an article written by someone else, the real problem is that they aren’t learning anything, because they aren’t doing the work they’re supposed to be doing. He thinks that what an instructor should do in that situation is tell the student they’re slacking off and that they need to do the work if they want to learn–rather than go ballistic and do what they can to ensure the student will never work in this town again.

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Posted in Podcast.


Further Reading on black male studies

Tommy Curry has very generously provided an ample list of reading recommendations, for those of you who are interested in following up on our previous episode.

Chetty, Hendren, Jones, and Porter, ‘Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective

Veenstra, ‘The Gendered Nature of Discriminatory Experiences by Race, Class, and Sexuality

Purdie-Vaughs and Eibach, ‘Intersectional Invisibility

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Posted in Further Reading.


Episode 116: Tommy Curry discusses black male studies

This month, we sit down with Tommy Curry (University of Edinburgh currently; Texas A&M at the time of the recording) to discuss a new area of academic research called black male studies. You can see his full bio at the end of this entry, and you can click here to listen to our conversation.

When we think about examples of people being oppressed on the basis of their gender, the go-to case is women. Which makes a lot of sense–women have of course been the target of oppression on the basis of their gender across many different cultures and across a long historical timespan. But what about other demographic groups? Can other people also be targeted for oppression on the basis of their gender? If we scratch our heads a little further, the example of gender non-binary or genderqueer people might also come to mind, and it can be interesting to compare and contrast their lived experiences with those of women. But is there anyone else? Our guest this month says yes! Black men. Black men in the US have historically been the victims of oppression on the basis of their gender, and this has manifested itself in the ways they are depicted in the media, the social opportunities they are given, the tracks they are placed onto in our legal and economic system, and so much more.

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Further Reading: Social Groups

If you want to explore our guest’s view on social groups in more detail, you can check out the following two papers:

Social Structures and the Ontology of Social Groups, Katherine Ritchie
The Metaphysics of Social Groups, Katherine Ritchie

Happy reading!
Matt Teichman

Posted in Further Reading.


Episode 115: Katherine Ritchie discusses social groups

This month, I sit down with Katherine Ritchie (CUNY Graduate Center, City College) to talk about what a social group is. Click here to listen to our conversation.

What is there to being a group of people? Does being in a group basically just mean you’re on the list of people who are in the group, or is there more to it? Our guest this month argues that a group of people isn’t just a selection of people taken at random; rather, it’s a collection of people who stand in different relations to each other. So for example, on a baseball team there’s a pitcher and a catcher, and the pitcher stands in the “I throw the ball at” relation to the catcher. Or in a small company, the CEO stands in the “I am your boss” relation to their employees. What makes a group a group isn’t just who’s in it, but what role each person takes on relative to each other person.

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Posted in Podcast.


Further reading on ideology

For those of you who are curious to sink your teeth into Sally Haslanger’s incredible body of work, we recommend you visit her website, which features many of her writings:

https://sallyhaslanger.weebly.com/

Posted in Further Reading.


Episode 114: Sally Haslanger discusses ideology

This month, Emily Dupree and I talk to Sally Haslanger (MIT) about ideology. Click here to listen to our conversation.

We throw the word ‘ideology’ around a lot, but what does it actually mean? Well, unfortunately, different people mean different things by it at different times. One thing we often mean by it is ‘a person’s political outlook or worldview.’ So suppose that’s what it means. What constitutes a person’s political outlook? Is it just a list of all the things they believe?

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Posted in Podcast.


Further Reading: Quantum Mechanics

For people who are interested in delving into the philosophical literature on quantum mechanics and its interpretations, Tom Pashby recommends the Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy entry as a starting point.

Happy reading!
-Matt

Posted in Further Reading.