Host Alex J O'Connor (from the YouTube channel 'CosmicSkeptic') discusses and debates deep and important issues with experts from a variety of philosophical, scientific and theological disciplines. Departing from Alex's snappier style on YouTube, this podcast presents more thorough analyses of the topics at hand, with help from a wide range of well-known professionals.
#16 — Alex Hershaft |Surviving the Holocaust
Dr. Alex Hershaft is a Holocaust survivor, animal rights activist, and co-founder and president of the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM). He has previously had a 30-year career in materials science, and holds a PHD in inorganic chemistry.
Dr. Hershaft speaks to Alex about his experiences in the Holocaust, and how they inspired the work he does today.
#15 — Michael Sandel | The Tyranny of Merit
Michael J. Sandel is an American political philosopher, and Professor of Government Theory at Harvard University Law School.
Dr. Sandel talks to Alex about his new book, The Tyranny of Merit, discussing not just whether meritocracy is achievable in practice, but also whether it is even something we should aim for at all, highlighting the wealth of potential damage that meritocracy can affect on a society which embraces it.
#14 — William Lane Craig | The Kalam Cosmological Argument
William Lane Craig is an American philosopher and Christian theologian. He holds two PHDs in philosophy and theology, and is a professor of philosophy at Houston Baptist and Biola Universities.
Dr. Craig is arguably the world's most famous Christian apologist, and often cited as its most effective public defender. He is the man who gave the kalam cosmological argument its name, and he speaks to Alex in this episode about that argument, and answers a number of objections to it.
#13 — Joey Carbstrong | Why Won't Vegans Just Shut Up?
Joey Carbstrong is an Australian animal rights activist and vegan. Formerly a criminal, Joey turned his life around and now campaigns for animals, his views having been widely syndicated across various platforms including national television, radio, and his own highly popular YouTube channel.
Joey speaks to Alex about how to advocate for veganism, and whether the forthright methods employed by many activists does more harm than good. Should vegans calm down?
#12 — David Benatar | Is It Immoral To Have Children?
Professor David Benatar is a South African philosopher, academic and author, and head of the philosophy department at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He is best known for his defence of antinatalism, the view that it is immoral to have children (though more specifically, to bring new sentient beings into existence).
Professor Benatar speaks to Alex about the asymmetry of pleasure and pain, and the two debate whether being anti-birth commits one to being pro-death.
#11 — Douglas Murray | Gender and Activism
Douglas Murray is a British conservative author and journalist, and associate editor of The Spectator. In 2017 Murray wrote The Strange Death of Europe, and now returns with The Madness of Crowds, a book about identitarianism in four areas: 'gay', 'women', 'race' and 'trans'.
Douglas speaks to Alex about the logic of reparations and a retributive approach to historical injustice, as well as the nature of gender, and the advocacy tactics of the LGBT community.
Alex never ceases to amaze me in his development as an interviewer, speaker, and thinker. Like all of us, he has a ways to go, but he has already show remarkable progress and continues to be one of the individuals whose content I most look forward to listening to.
Would love to see him explore Effective Altruism a bit more, with perhaps Will MacAskill or Toby Ord (or any other major proponents of EA) on to discuss longtermism and other such notions that underpin their ethics.
Great podcast! Very informative and easy to follow for the most part.
Take my 5 stars ;)
Accessible and intelligent ethical conversations
Love listening to your conversations — great guests and very interesting topics. I appreciate that Alex often brings up veganism since it is such a pressing ethical question and seems to be the next frontier for progress-minded people. Keep doing good work!