The simplest questions often have the most complex answers. The Philosopher's Zone is your guide through the strange thickets of logic, metaphysics and ethics.
Bad thinking and good people
The sheer persistence of conspiracy theory and other forms of irrational thinking gets more baffling with each passing day. How did we get to this point? And how can we turn things around? This week we’re considering the notion that conspiracy theorists are not evil or stupid, but have fallen prey to epistemic stubbornness – and we’re asking how philosophy can help.
The individual and the collective
Climate change has landed us in a collective action dilemma – a situation where cooperation would benefit us all, but conflicting individual interests keep getting in the way. How can we, as individuals, enlarge our sense of self to the point where the broader community – national and global – is more than just an abstraction? And is “we-mode” reasoning always morally preferable to “I-mode” reasoning?
Philosophy and psychedelic experience
In some ways, you could say psychedelics and philosophy share a similar set of purposes. But does that mean they're different expressions of the same impulse - to know, to understand, to become wise? And is it possible to set aside the 1960s countercultural baggage and attain psychedelic experience without the use of drugs?
Logic in the Western philosophical tradition is often viewed as something abstract and universal – a bit like mathematics, involving formulas and equations that hold true in every circumstance, regardless of historical or cultural context. The tradition of Buddhist logic takes a different turn, considering logic as something connected to knowledge rather than just the structure of arguments.
If there's one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined, it's the importance of looking out for each other. But these days the network of our relationships is so vast, so complex and so riddled with competing interests, that it can be hard to pin down exactly what "looking out for each other" requires. This week we met a philosopher who believes that an approach known as "care ethics" can guide all of us in our moral decision making, regardless of gender or class or the particularities of the dilemmas we face.
Philosophy and children
Children are sometimes perceived as "defective adults", empty epistemic vessels that need to be filled with the knowledge of their elders. In fact, children can teach adults a thing or two when it comes to the getting of wisdom. But does this mean that children are philosophers? And if the answer is Yes, then what kind of philosophers are they?
most engaging philosophy podcast
When I first stumbled upon Philosopher’s Zone, I’d had little exposure to philosophy. But the show was so interesting I kept coming back, and I’m so grateful. The conversations are topical, relatively accessible, and engaging. I’ve learned so much, challenged my own beliefs, and done further reading when I couldn’t get enough of a guest or topic. Thank you so much David!
Music is too loud
I don’t know if anybody else has this problem but I find the background music to be just too loud for me to hear the discussion. It is difficult to understand and it is frustrating. Please consider lowering the volume of the music whenever it is played in the background.
I owe such a debt to this podcast: I’ve cited it several times in undergrad philosophy assignments. Also, The Philosopher’s Zone (in its recent episodes about racism in the United States) all but hand-fed me one idea I used at one of my philosophy club’s events (an open lecture on the problem whiteness in academia, and especially in philosophy), with much success.