209 episodes

Very Bad Wizards is a podcast featuring a philosopher (Tamler Sommers) and a psychologist (David Pizarro), who share a love for ethics, pop culture, and cognitive science, and who have a marked inability to distinguish sacred from profane. Each podcast includes discussions of moral philosophy, recent work on moral psychology and neuroscience, and the overlap between the two.

Very Bad Wizard‪s‬ Tamler Sommers & David Pizarro

    • Philosophy
    • 4.9 • 328 Ratings

Very Bad Wizards is a podcast featuring a philosopher (Tamler Sommers) and a psychologist (David Pizarro), who share a love for ethics, pop culture, and cognitive science, and who have a marked inability to distinguish sacred from profane. Each podcast includes discussions of moral philosophy, recent work on moral psychology and neuroscience, and the overlap between the two.

    Sometimes a Paper Tray is Just a Paper Tray

    Sometimes a Paper Tray is Just a Paper Tray

    David and Tamler wander through the maze of Room 237, the great documentary by Rodney Ascher about five people and their views about what Stanley Kubrick’s "The Shining" is really about. When do interpretations become conspiracy theories? Why does Ascher never show us the faces of the interpreters? What is about Kubrick that invites obsessive and confident theorizing on the meaning of his movies? Sometimes a paper tray is just a paper tray. Or is it? Plus Tamler vents about the winter storm and mass power outages in Texas last week…
    Sponsored By:
    BetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad Wizards
    Links:
    Ex Colorado City mayor catching heat for comments about citizens affected by cold | KTAB - BigCountryHomepage.comRoom 237 - WikipediaThe Shining (film) - Wikipedia

    • 1 hr 28 min
    Angel Chasing (Ted Chiang's "Hell is the Absence of God")

    Angel Chasing (Ted Chiang's "Hell is the Absence of God")

    David and Tamler return to the TCU (Ted Chiang Universe) to talk about his short story “Hell is the Absence of God." How would we behave if we had unequivocal proof of God, heaven, hell, and angels? Would that answer our questions about meaning and purpose and justice? Or would those same questions reappear in a different guise? Plus, the hard problem of breakfast, Jewish Space Lasers, and more…
    Sponsored By:
    GiveWell: Givewell searches for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. Consider a donation this holiday season--your dollar goes a lot further than you might think! Promo Code: verybadwizardsBetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad Wizards
    Links:
    The Hard Problem of Breakfast - Issue 88: Love & Sex - NautilusHard problem of consciousness - WikipediaHell Is the Absence of God - WikipediaStories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang [amazon.com affiliate link]Hell is the Absence of God (pdf)

    • 1 hr 37 min
    Making Your Nervous System Your Ally (William James on "Habit")

    Making Your Nervous System Your Ally (William James on "Habit")

    Ever wonder why you’re still listening to VBW all of these years? Or why you check your phone 50 times a day? Or why you put on your pants the same way every morning? (If you still wear pants these days.) David and Tamler talk about William James’ essay on habits, why they’re so powerful, and how you can make your nervous system your ally instead of your enemy. Plus, a shocking new neuroscience study reveals that we remember and share funny stories more than boring ones.
    Sponsored By:
    Physical Attraction: Physical Attraction is a podcast about physics, but it is also more broadly about science, technology, climate change, and other scientific issues we face in modern society. Check out the over 200 episodes, which include stand-alone discussions as well as interviews with a series of great scientists, scholars, and authors reflecting on the history and future of science and technology.
    GiveWell: Givewell searches for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. Consider a donation this holiday season--your dollar goes a lot further than you might think! Promo Code: verybadwizardsBetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad Wizards
    Links:
    Scariest Movies of All Time - Based on Science! | The Science Of Scare | BroadbandchoicesNew Study Finds that Delivering the News with Humor Makes Young Adults More Likely to Remember and Share | Annenberg School for CommunicationPolitical Humor, Sharing, and Remembering: Insights from NeuroimagingWilliam James - WikipediaThe Principles of Psychology - WikipediaChapter 4 Habit by William James

    • 1 hr 32 min
    Happy Freedom Day! (with Lauren Anderson)

    Happy Freedom Day! (with Lauren Anderson)

    The legendary Houston Ballet dancer Lauren Anderson joins us to talk about the Atlanta Episode “Juneteenth” (Season 1, Episode 9), a hilarious exploration of race, class, identity, and carrying around your sister’s underwear. But first David and Tamler share some thoughts on the topic on everyone’s mind right now…Bean Dad. Oh yeah and the Capitol riot. Pour yourself a Hennessy or some Emancipation Eggnog and enjoy.
    Special Guest: Lauren Anderson.
    Sponsored By:
    GiveWell: Givewell searches for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. Consider a donation this holiday season--your dollar goes a lot further than you might think! Promo Code: verybadwizardsNordVPN: Keep your internet connection safe with NordVPN! NordVPN is the best VPN if you’re looking for peace of mind when you use public Wi-Fi, access personal and work accounts on the road, or want to keep your browsing history to yourself. Our listeners get a special Holiday deal: every purchase of a 2-year plan will get you FOUR additional months free. Go to nordvpn.com/vbw and use our coupon VBW at checkout. Promo Code: VBWBetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad Wizards
    Links:
    Who is 'Bean Dad'? Twitter users slam John Roderick for can opener stunt with his hungry daughter | Daily Mail OnlineAn Apology — John RoderickLauren Anderson (dancer) - Wikipedia"Atlanta" Juneteenth (TV Episode 2016) - IMDb

    • 1 hr 36 min
    Gorgias, Tell Me Something I Don't Know (with Agnes Callard)

    Gorgias, Tell Me Something I Don't Know (with Agnes Callard)

    Philosopher Agnes Callard joins us to talk about Plato and his dialogue the Gorgias. Why did Plato write dialogues – are they the best way of presenting arguments? Is Plato cheating when characters contradict themselves by making dumb concessions, or is this part of his method - inviting readers to participate in the debates? Why does the Gorgias end on such a sour note, with Socrates giving long speeches after saying that long speeches shouldn’t be allowed? Plus we talk about Agnes’ recent op-ed in the New York Times, and David and Tamler tackle a new construct: The Tendency for Interpersonal Victimhood.
    Sponsored By:
    GiveWell: Givewell searches for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. Consider a donation this holiday season--your dollar goes a lot further than you might think! Promo Code: verybadwizardsNordVPN: Keep your internet connection safe with NordVPN! NordVPN is the best VPN if you’re looking for peace of mind when you use public Wi-Fi, access personal and work accounts on the road, or want to keep your browsing history to yourself. Our listeners get a special Holiday deal: every purchase of a 2-year plan will get you FOUR additional months free. Go to nordvpn.com/vbw and use our coupon VBW at checkout. Promo Code: VBWBetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad Wizards
    Links:
    Opinion | I Don’t Want You to ‘Believe’ Me. I Want You to Listen. - The New York TimesWhat Is It Like to Be a Philosopher?Gorgias (dialogue) - Wikipedia

    • 1 hr 34 min
    Not as It Ought to Be (H.P. Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space")

    Not as It Ought to Be (H.P. Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space")

    A phosphorescence casts a pale sickly glow on David and Tamler as talk only in verbs and pronouns about H.P. Lovecraft’s 1927 story “The Colour Out of Space.” What is this creature or substance that has color only by analogy, that spreads through earth and water driving man, animal, and vegetation into a madness, not as they ought to be…? What gives the story its terrifying power and its avenues for endless interpretation? Plus, does meditation make you a spiritual narcissist? We talk about a new social psychology article that even David can’t defend.
    Sponsored By:
    NordVPN: Keep your internet connection safe with NordVPN! NordVPN is the best VPN if you’re looking for peace of mind when you use public Wi-Fi, access personal and work accounts on the road, or want to keep your browsing history to yourself. Our listeners get a special Holiday deal: every purchase of a 2-year plan will get you FOUR additional months free. Go to nordvpn.com/vbw and use our coupon VBW at checkout. Promo Code: VBWGiveWell: Givewell searches for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. Consider a donation this holiday season--your dollar goes a lot further than you might think! Promo Code: verybadwizardsBetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad Wizards
    Links:
    Study links some forms of spiritual training to narcissism and "spiritual superiority”H. P. Lovecraft - WikipediaThe Colour Out of Space - Wikipedia

    • 1 hr 31 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
328 Ratings

328 Ratings

GeorgeBrahm ,

Came for Tamler, Stayed for Dave

Actually, I started listening because of Tamler’s mom, Christina Hoff Sommers, so I can’t really give Tamler credit for that.

In all seriousness, this has been my favourite philosophy/psychology podcast for ages now, and that’s saying something because I rarely agree with the two of them on most issues, starting right from their metaethics. Keep it up. :)

notsawry ,

Miss this one

For two lads setting up to critique philosophy, the takes I encountered in the one episode I managed to sit through, were blandly facile lukewarm soy

His Shadow ,

A Great Podcast

VBW is a good podcast for anyone interested in the practical aspects of philosophy and psychology as it relates to the matters of the day. Aspects of social media outrage, the portrayal of science and mental health in the media, race relations, public intellectuals... many of the aspects of these topics are in some cases not as deep as they are portrayed, some of are deeper than most reside, and others are extensions of an understanding of human nature that’s been around in some form for literally centuries. Highly recommended.

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