135 episodes

Tyler Cowen engages today’s deepest thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between. New conversations every other Wednesday. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Conversations with Tyler Mercatus Center at George Mason University

    • Education
    • 4.8 • 1.6K Ratings

Tyler Cowen engages today’s deepest thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between. New conversations every other Wednesday. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

    Elijah Millgram on the Philosophical Life

    Elijah Millgram on the Philosophical Life

    What can studying the lives of philosophers tell us about how to organize and interpret our own lives? Elijah Millgram is a professor of philosophy at the University of Utah whose research focuses on the theory of rationality. His latest book, John Stuart Mill and The Meaning of Life, analyzes the relationship between the ideas of the famous theorist and their impacts on Mill’s life. His forthcoming book examines the life and work of Frederich Nietzsche through a similar lens, combining philosophical analysis and biography.
    Elijah joined Tyler to discuss Newcomb’s paradox, the reason he doesn’t have an opinion about everything, the philosophy of Dave Barry, style and simulation theory, why philosophers aren’t often consulted about current events, his best stories from TA-ing for Robert Nozick, the sociological correlates of knowing formal logic, the question of whether people are more interested in truth or being interesting, philosophical cycles, what makes Nietzsche important today, the role that meaning can play in a person’s personality and life, Mill on Bentham, the idea of true philosophy as dialogue, the extent to which modern philosophers are truly philosophical, why he views aesthetics as critical to philosophy, and more.
    Follow us on Twitter and IG: @cowenconvos
    Email: cowenconvos@mercatus.gmu.edu
    Follow Tyler on Twitter
    Facebook
    Newsletter

    • 1 hr 8 min
    David Deutsch on Multiple Worlds and Our Place in Them

    David Deutsch on Multiple Worlds and Our Place in Them

    Tyler describes Oxford professor and theoretical physicist David Deutsch as a “maximum philosopher of freedom” with no rival. A pioneer in the field of quantum computing, Deutsch subscribes to the multiple-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. He is also adamant that the universe (or multiverse) is not incomprehensible – believing that the multiverse and human beings within it have maximum freedom. He joined Tyler to discuss the importance of these principles for understanding the nature of reality and our place in it.
    They discuss the metaphysics of Star Trek transporters, how we can know the laws of physics for the multiverse, what geological strata can illustrate to us about the nature of “splitting” universes, why the “Everett universe” is a misnomer, the factors that differentiate humans from all other species, why he believes the universe is comprehensible – but can never be understood fully, the paradoxes of self-reference, the importance of interference experiments, the sociological reasons more physicists don’t believe in the Everett interpretation, the effects of the influences of positivism and instrumentalism on generations of physicists, the strengths and weaknesses of Karl Popper, his answer to whether we’re living in a simulation, what William Godwin got right about institutions, the potential of an AI slave rebellion, what libertarians largely get wrong about their political project, what alien observers might notice as being special about our planet, the major defect of his preferred electoral system, why what Western science needs most is diversity, and more.
    Follow us on Twitter and IG: @cowenconvos
    Email: cowenconvos@mercatus.gmu.edu
    Follow David on Twitter
    Follow Tyler on Twitter
    Facebook
    Newsletter

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Mark Carney on Central Banking and Shared Values

    Mark Carney on Central Banking and Shared Values

    As a Canadian economist who once served as the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney has had many occasions to reflect on the importance of values. Whether it’s ingratiating himself as a public servant in a foreign country, managing a central bank, or addressing climate change, he’s seen the power of shared objectives and the importance of value alignment in addressing critical and complex problems. As the global economy attempts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Carney has published these lessons in a new book, Values: Building a Better World for All.
    In this special bonus episode, Mark joined Tyler to discuss why he went into economics instead of marine biology, the temperamental differences between ice hockey goalies and central bankers, why it’s important that central bankers plan for failure, what he learned from his father’s work with indigenous Canadians, how growing up near Alberta’s tar sands made him understand the power of the market, the biggest misconception people have about Goldman Sachs, how he established trust as a public servant in a foreign country, his advice for public speaking, why he prefers to speak early during large meetings, the validity of liquidity trap theories, the changes he’d make to the federal reserve governance structure, the greatest challenge of running a central bank, potential regulatory strategies for central bank digital currencies, how decentralized finance (DeFi) should be regulated, how central banks should address potential risks caused by climate change, what went wrong with Canada’s response to COVID-19, why there seems to be little populism in Canada, the future of the Toronto Raptors, where to find the best food in Canada, the best Clash album, the causes of the UK productivity slowdown, the most surprising thing he learned while writing his new book, his predictions for the future global economy post- COVID, and more.
    Follow us on Twitter and IG: @cowenconvos
    Email: cowenconvos@mercatus.gmu.edu
    Follow Mark on Twitter
    Follow Tyler on Twitter
    Facebook
    Newsletter
    Photo credit: Toby Madden

    • 54 min
    Pierpaolo Barbieri on Latin American FinTech

    Pierpaolo Barbieri on Latin American FinTech

    Gifted young Argentines tend to leave home to “make it in America” and never look back, but after earning a degree from Harvard, writing a book about the Spanish Civil War, and living in the United States for 12 years, Pierpaolo Barbieri has returned to Argentina. And he’s bringing foreign capital and talented expats with him. Pierpaolo’s FinTech startup Ualá works to bring universal banking to a Latin American market in which huge swaths of the population are still stuck using cash for everything. By giving the working classes power over their own money, he hopes to produce greater prosperity and social mobility in his home country and beyond.
    Pierpaolo joined Tyler to discuss why the Mexican banking system only serves 30 percent of Mexicans, which country will be the first to go cashless, the implications of a digital yuan, whether Miami will overtake São Paolo as the tech center of Latin America, how he hopes to make Ualá the Facebook of FinTech, Argentina’s bipolar fiscal policy, his transition from historian to startup founder, the novels of Michel Houellebecq, Nazi economic policy, why you can find amazing and cheap pasta in Argentina, why Jorge Luis Borges might be his favorite philosopher, the advice he’d give to his 18-year-old self, his friendship with Niall Ferguson, the political legacy of the Spanish Civil War, why he stopped sending emails from bed, and more.
    Follow us on Twitter and IG: @cowenconvos 
    Email: cowenconvos@mercatus.gmu.edu
    Follow Pierpaolo on Twitter
    Follow Tyler on Twitter
    Facebook
    Newsletter

    • 56 min
    Daniel Carpenter on Smart Regulation

    Daniel Carpenter on Smart Regulation

    Daniel Carpenter is one of the world’s leading experts on regulation and the foremost expert on the US Food and Drug Administration. A professor of Government at Harvard University, he’s conducted extensive research on regulation and government organizations, as well as on the development of political institutions in the United States. His latest book Democracy by Petition: Popular Politics in Transformation, details the crucial role petitions played in expanding the franchise and shaping modern America.
    Daniel joined Tyler to discuss how to reform the hiring and firing practices for public employees, what the history of the postal service can teach us about internet regulation, the problem with the term “institutional capture”, what the FDA got right and wrong regarding COVID-19 vaccines, how nationalism is affecting vaccine rollout, why vaccinating the young is crucial for herd immunity, the drawbacks of a “Good Housekeeping” model of the FDA, how black box drug labels sometimes change behavior for the worse, the institutional variables of foreign drug trials and manufacturing, the pivotal role petitions played during the 19th century women’s rights movement, the French Canadian petition that changed history, why political scientists should study Native Americans, the benefits of fly fishing, and more.
    Follow us on Twitter and IG: @cowenconvos 
    Email: cowenconvos@mercatus.gmu.edu
    Follow Tyler on Twitter
    Facebook
    Newsletter

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Shadi Bartsch on the Classics and China

    Shadi Bartsch on the Classics and China

    A self-professed nerd, the young Shadi Bartsch could be found awake late at night, reading Latin under the covers of her bed by flashlight. Now a professor of Classics at the University of Chicago, Dr. Bartsch is one of the best-known classicists in America and recently published her own translation of Virgil’s Aeneid. Widely regarded for her writing on Seneca, Lucan, and Persius, her next book focuses on Chinese interpretations of classic literature and their influence on political thought in China.
    Shadi joined Tyler to discuss reading the classics as someone who is half-Persian, the difference between Homer and Virgil’s underworlds, the reasons so many women are redefining Virgil’s Aeneid, the best way to learn Latin, why you must be in a room with a native speaker to learn Mandarin, the question of Seneca’s hypocrisy, what it means to “wave the wand of Hermes”, why Lucan begins his epic The Civil War with “fake news”, the line from Henry Purcell’s aria that moves her to tears, her biggest takeaway from being the daughter of an accomplished UN economist, the ancient text she’s most hopeful that new technology will help us discover, the appeal of Strauss to some contemporary Chinese intellectuals, the reasons some consider the history of Athens a better allegory for America than that of Rome, the Thucydides Trap, the magical “presentness” of ancient history she’s found in Italy and Jerusalem, her forthcoming book Plato Goes to China, and more.
    Follow us on Twitter and IG: @cowenconvos 
    Email: cowenconvos@mercatus.gmu.edu
    Follow Shadi on Twitter
    Follow Tyler on Twitter
    Facebook
    Newsletter

    • 1 hr

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
1.6K Ratings

1.6K Ratings

Jamie Hilldebrand ,

Best podcast in the world

Probably pound for pound minute for minute the most interesting podcast in the world, or at least that I’ve encountered.

Gus McCrae ,

Learning about humans

Update: Lowered my review to 1 star. Tyler is arrogant and unlistenable. Avoid this like the plague.

Old review: These interviews sound like they’re by a robot who is trying to learn how to be a human.

Tyler is clearly intelligent and well read, but his questions are often dry and wooden. A lot of the talks feel self-aggrandizing and naval-gazey. He’s often talking with academics, who are convinced of their own genius and importance. I’m sure they are geniuses, and that they’ve been told that they are for their entire lives. Which explains why they often sound so insufferable.

But I still recommend the podcast. If you want to learn new and interesting things, you often have to tolerate arrogant intellectuals. You could do worse than Tyler and his conversation partners.

pancesco ,

Dd

David Deutsch: talk about closed-minded!

Top Podcasts In Education

Listeners Also Subscribed To