36 episodes

Leading philosophers bring to the surface the ideas hidden behind the biggest news stories.

The Philosopher & The News Alexis Papazoglou

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 36 Ratings

Leading philosophers bring to the surface the ideas hidden behind the biggest news stories.

    Elizabeth Harman & The Ethics of Abortion

    Elizabeth Harman & The Ethics of Abortion

    On May 2nd, Politico leaked a draft opinion of the US Supreme Court that suggested the court had voted to overrule Roe v Wade, the previous high court decision from 1973 that guaranteed the right to early term abortion in all of the US. This ruling by the Supreme Court seemingly passes the power to decide on the legality of abortion to individual States, though this essentially amounts to an immediate ban on abortions in several states. 
    So was the Supreme Court right in allowing individual States to decide on the legality of abortion, given the strong moral disagreement on the issue? Should the law on abortion reflect the morality of the matter? And what does the moral status of abortion depend on? 
    If so many parents direct love and care towards young foetuses, does that mean they matter morally, and therefore it would be wrong to kill them? Does the foetus have a moral status merely in virtue of it being a potential person? Or is the matter a lot more complicated than that? 

    Elizabeth Harman is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy at the Philosophy department and the University Center for Human Values, at the University of Princeton. One of her many longstanding research projects is about moral status, harm, and the ethics of procreation.

    Pease leave us a rating and a review on Apple Podcasts.

    This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal. Check out the spring issue of the philosopher, and its spring online lecture series: https://www.thephilosopher1923.org

    Artwork by Nick Halliday

    Music by Rowan Mcilvride

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Lori Gruen & Animal Ethics in War and Peace

    Lori Gruen & Animal Ethics in War and Peace

    We don’t often think of animals as war casualties, but animals die in large numbers in every war. Sometimes as specific targets, to deprive the enemy of a food source, sometimes trapped in zoos and shelters, and other times as wildlife. But their deaths are never officially counted, and the senseless killing animals, unlike the killing of innocent civilians, is not considered a war crime. 
    So do we have special moral duties towards animals in war, given that they have no conception of what war is, and it is something imposed on them by humans? 
     To what extent does our treatment of animals during war reflect our treatment of animals, particularly those raised for industrial farming, during peace time?  
    And why, despite the clarity of the moral arguments against the mistreatment of animals in industrial farming and the mass consumption of their meat, do so many of us keep eating animals?

    Lori Gruen is William Griffin Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan University, and a leading scholar in Animal studies and feminist philosophy. She is the author and editor of over a dozen books, including Ethics and Animals: An Introduction, Entangled Empathy (Lantern, 2015) and the forthcoming Animal Crisis (Polity, 2022) co-authored with the philosopher Alice Crary.

    Pease leave us a rating and a review on Apple Podcasts.

    This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal. Check out the spring issue of the philosopher, and its spring online lecture series: https://www.thephilosopher1923.org

    Artwork by Nick Halliday

    Music by Rowan Mcilvride

    • 1 hr 21 min
    Samuel Moyn & The Legal Constraints on War

    Samuel Moyn & The Legal Constraints on War

    On March 16th the UN’s International Court of Justice asked Russia to halt its invasion of Ukraine. It had found no evidence to support Russia’s claim that Ukraine was conducting genocide against Russia Speakers in the East of the country, which has been Russia’s justification for the war. A day later Russia rejected the ruling. 
    So, is international law completely impotent in preventing countries from going to war?  And why has the law been more effective in constraining the way that countries fight even illegal wars? 
    Has the way that the US and other great powers defied international law undermined its effectiveness, and allowed countries like Russia to ignore it? And was Leo Tolstoy right in thinking that making war less brutal, and more humane, would in fact end up in causing more suffering and destruction, by perpetuating war into the future?

    Samuel Moyn is the Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence at the Yale Law School and a Professor of History at Yale University. He has written several books on European intellectual history and human rights history, including Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World (2018). His latest book is Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War.

    Pease leave us a rating and a review on Apple Podcasts.

    This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal. Check out the spring issue of the philosopher, and its spring online lecture series: https://www.thephilosopher1923.org

    Artwork by Nick Halliday

    Music by Rowan Mcilvride

    • 53 min
    Stathis Kalyvas & Making Sense of Putin

    Stathis Kalyvas & Making Sense of Putin

    On February 24th, Russia invaded the country of Ukraine, in an unexpected escalation of a conflict that began in 2014. It is the largest conventional military attack in Europe since World War II.
    According to an influential analysis of Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine, this is all down to NATO’s overreach in the region, and Russia is simply defending itself from being encircled by Western power. But, pay closer attention to what Putin is actually saying, and a very different explanation emerges. Putin believes it’s his destiny to restore Russia to its former glory. 
    So how should we interpret the actions of states like Russia? Are they merely driver by power and security concerns, like the realist school of thought claims? Or are the beliefs and worldviews of political leaders, like Putin, as well as the national identities of people like those of Ukraine, the real driving force of events? 
    Is necessity and structural issues the motor of history, or is it contingency and uncertainty at the steering wheel? 
    Stathis Kalyvas  is the Gladstone Professor of Government at the University of Oxford, and a fellow of All Souls College. He is a political scientist who’s written extensively on civil wars, ethnicity, and political violence. and is the author of, among other books,  The Logic of Violence in Civil War. 
    Our conversation was based on an article Kalyvas wrote for the Institute of Art and Ideas, entitled “How we got Putin so wrong”. 
    Pease leave us a rating and a review on Apple Podcasts.

    This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal. Check out the spring issue of the philosopher, and order a copy: https://www.thephilosopher1923.org

    Artwork by Nick Halliday

    Music by Rowan Mcilvride

    • 48 min
    Stephen John & Vaccine Mandates

    Stephen John & Vaccine Mandates

    On February 1st a national vaccine mandate took effect in Austria. Those over the age of 18 who haven’t been vaccinated could face fines of over €3,000. Several other countries have introduced similar mandates for the elderly, medical staff and care home workers. Those resisting vaccination say it should be their choice whether to get the jab, not the state’s. Others argue that in liberal societies, it’s the state’s a right to limit the freedom of individuals when their behaviour harms others.
    So are those resisting vaccination right in saying it’s a matter of their personal freedom? Or does the harm they might be causing others justify state intervention? Would mandating vaccines an act of paternalism by the state? And could ending the pandemic be a good enough reason for overriding other ethical concerns?

    Stephen John is the Hatton Trust lecturer in philosophy of public health at the University of Cambridge, and works on the intersection of philosophy of science, applied ethics, and political philosophy. He is author of the book Objectivity in Science, and is a regular contributor  to publications like The Conversation, and the online magazine of The Institute of Art and Ideas. Our conversation is based on an article Stephen wrote for the latter, asking “Are mandatory vaccines justified?”.

    Pease leave us a review on Apple Podcasts.

    This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal. Check out the spring issue of the philosopher, and order a copy: https://www.thephilosopher1923.org

    Artwork by Nick Halliday

    Music by Rowan Mcilvride

    • 56 min
    Robert Talisse & America's Real Polarization Problem

    Robert Talisse & America's Real Polarization Problem

    It’s been a year since the end Trump’s presidency, and the beginning of Biden’s. And while Biden pleaded for unity, and the healing of bitter political divisions in his inaugural speech, the country remains as divided as ever. 40% of Americans say in polls that they don’t believe Joe Biden is the legitimate president, and the International IDEA’s Global State of Democracy Report now classifies the United States a “backsliding democracy” sighting “runaway polarization” as one of the key threats. 
    So is there still hope for American democracy to recover? How exactly should we understand polarization? Is it possible to overcome it by engaging more with the opposite side? And how might reading old philosophy books, about different political realities help?
     
    Robert Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vandrbilt University, and author of a number of books on the nature of democracy, liberalism and the American pragmatist tradition. His most recent book is called Sustaining Democracy: What we Owe to the Other Side, by Oxford University Press.

    Talisse is also himself the host of two podcasts: New Books in Philosophy podcast as well as the Why We Argue podcast.

    The Institute of Art and Ideas article discussed in the episode can be found here: Democracy and the Polarization Trap.

    This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal.

    Music by Pataphysical: https://soundcloud.com/pataphysicaltransmission

    Artwork by Nick Halliday: https://www.hallidaybooks.com/design

    • 1 hr 19 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
36 Ratings

36 Ratings

Harlesden boy ,

Philosophy at it’s best.

An excellent, engaging philosophy podcast, certainly the best I’ve found.
The variety of topics discussed is varied so there’s something for everyone.

westpe123 ,

Really engaging

I think this podcast makes an excellent case for the relevance of philosophy in contemporary public discourse.

Dan Read - Man Marking Podcast ,

Excellent podcast!

The host and the guests are extremely balanced when discussing difficult and complex issues. Very enjoyable podcast this, and one I wished I'd bloody thought of. Keep up the good work!

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