22 episodes

A weekly show about philosophy, science and the history of ideas from the Allen Brothers and Mark Sanders (best known to listeners as “America’s Sweetheart”). If you can imagine what would happen if Plato and Carl Sagan were guests on The Daily Show, then you have a pretty good idea of what’s going on here. Each week the trio provides an overview of a philosophical topic, a history of the problem and insights into contemporary thinking. They also take a behind-the-scenes look at the philosophers who came up with these ideas: usually they are kind of nuts (the guy who pioneered Utilitarian ethics had his body mummified and put on display at his college). If you wish your Philosophy 101 course had been more informative, less boring and taught by a professor who drank during class, then this podcast is for you.

You've Got It All Wrong Thought Experiment Media

    • Philosophy

A weekly show about philosophy, science and the history of ideas from the Allen Brothers and Mark Sanders (best known to listeners as “America’s Sweetheart”). If you can imagine what would happen if Plato and Carl Sagan were guests on The Daily Show, then you have a pretty good idea of what’s going on here. Each week the trio provides an overview of a philosophical topic, a history of the problem and insights into contemporary thinking. They also take a behind-the-scenes look at the philosophers who came up with these ideas: usually they are kind of nuts (the guy who pioneered Utilitarian ethics had his body mummified and put on display at his college). If you wish your Philosophy 101 course had been more informative, less boring and taught by a professor who drank during class, then this podcast is for you.

    Ep 22: Paradoxes Part II - Buford, Beethoven and Brothers

    Ep 22: Paradoxes Part II - Buford, Beethoven and Brothers

    All handsome people enjoy a good paradox, so we decided to open up our paradox box again and pick out a few new ones for this episode. A lot of paradoxes have to do with the way language works, and how it fails us when we try to describe certain aspects of our experience. Often a series of statements seems to make sense when we analyze them in a vacuum, only to find that they don’t square with our everyday experience of the world around us. This is true in the Unexpected Hanging Paradox, which shows us that there is something wrong with the way we use simple words like “surprise.” In the Paradox of Analysis, we find that statements can be true or informative, but not both. And in the Bootstrap Paradox, we learn that the way we talk about causality can lead us in circles. Along the way we discover Delaware has some dark secrets, that Beethoven might never have existed and that our podcasting studio is now protected by armed guards and is only accessible by footbridge.

    • 54 min
    Ep 21: Halloween Spooktacular—From Aardvark to Zombies!

    Ep 21: Halloween Spooktacular—From Aardvark to Zombies!

    Are zombies real? Could we all be zombies? On this special Halloween episode, we raise topics from the dead—specifically we’re reanimating our discussion of philosophical zombies from Episode 2. This time we take a closer look at qualia, a technical term for the experiences that are unique to us as individuals, such as “what it’s like for Mark to be scared by Gremlins.” Can qualia be explained in physical terms? Do they even exist? We dig up the work of philosophers such as Daniel Dennett, David Chalmers and G.F. Stout, and continue to ponder why so many philosophers shun their first names. Hit play … if you dare!

     

    • 43 min
    Ep 20: Listener Mail - Sam Harris and the Ethics of Jabba's Droid Dungeon

    Ep 20: Listener Mail - Sam Harris and the Ethics of Jabba's Droid Dungeon

    In this episode we sort through some listener mail and attempt to answer your most pressing questions. A number of fans wanted to know why we didn’t mention Sam Harris’s book, “The Moral Landscape,” in our episode about moral realism. In order to answer that question, we had to watch his TED talk and then wing it. We also revisit some questions about the ethics of robot torture, and take a closer look at what’s happening in Jabba the Hutt’s droid dungeon. And last but not least, we wrestle with one listener’s emphatic need to know if America's Sweetheart is actually Australian.

    • 43 min
    Ep 19: Ontological Argument for the Existence of God - The Everything Bagel

    Ep 19: Ontological Argument for the Existence of God - The Everything Bagel

    In this episode we jump around in time. From a conversation last year at a bagel shop, to  Paco’s college years and all the way back to the middle ages. What do an everything bagel and the ontological argument for the existence of God have to do with each other? We discuss Saint Anselm’s extremely analytical argument for God and how his contemporary, Gaunilo of Marmoutiers, challenged it directly with an equally objective critique. We follow this argument all the way up modern day with the work of Alvin Plantinga.  And it wouldn’t be one of our shows without a fascinating Bertrand Russell anecdote. Also find out about the latest exciting developments in the world of Michigan-based philosophy. A jam-packed episode.

    • 53 min
    Ep 18: Moral Realism - Vampire Socrates

    Ep 18: Moral Realism - Vampire Socrates

    Are moral statements objectively true? When we say “stealing for fun is wrong,” are we making a factual claim about the world, or are we just voicing an opinion? Many philosophers, known as moral realists, have attempted to show that “stealing for fun is wrong” is true in exactly the same way that “two plus two equals four” is true. In this episode we examine two different types of moral realism, and take a look at the arguments for and against. Along the way try to figure out why so many philosophers hate their first names and who wins the prize for nicest philosopher ever. We also answer some reader mail about robot torture and give Anne Rice some free ideas for philosopher/vampire plotlines.

    • 45 min
    Ep 17: Rationalism vs. Empiricism - Kevin Spacey Eyes

    Ep 17: Rationalism vs. Empiricism - Kevin Spacey Eyes

    Do we learn everything we know from the world around us, or are there some things we learn independently of our sensory experiences? Rationalists argue that some of our knowledge, like concepts in algebra and trigonometry, is innate or intuitive. We know that two plus two equals four independently of our specific observations of the world around us. Empiricists argue that all knowledge comes from experience, and that even basic principles of mathematics would be unknowable to us if it weren’t for our interactions with the external world. In this episode we provide an overview of both positions and talk about philosophers who have lined up on both sides of the debate. We also provide a complete guide to casting an action adventure movie about British Empiricism and Continental Rationalism (spoiler alert: John Locke is portrayed by Adrien Brody). We answer some listener mail about fax machines and personal identity, and unlock the secret of Mark’s favorite doughnut (spoiler alert: it’s the Bear Claw).

    • 56 min

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