27 episodes

Medicine for intellectual boredom. Host Dr Mark Fabian of Cambridge University brings together an eclectic mix of creative young folk to discuss the most stimulating ideas at the knowledge frontier, from data governance to the metamodern cultural mode, and everything in between. The world's most thoughtful people, having a chat - and you're invited! So turn off your socials, throw away your popular science books, and get ready for some legit galaxy brain takes. Thanks to Keith Spangle for the spaceship cat avatar https://www.deviantart.com/keithspangle

ePODstemology Mark Fabian

    • Society & Culture

Medicine for intellectual boredom. Host Dr Mark Fabian of Cambridge University brings together an eclectic mix of creative young folk to discuss the most stimulating ideas at the knowledge frontier, from data governance to the metamodern cultural mode, and everything in between. The world's most thoughtful people, having a chat - and you're invited! So turn off your socials, throw away your popular science books, and get ready for some legit galaxy brain takes. Thanks to Keith Spangle for the spaceship cat avatar https://www.deviantart.com/keithspangle

    How to revive left behind places

    How to revive left behind places

    Recent political cycles across the OECD have seen the ‘revenge of places that don’t matter’. These ‘left behind places’, where economic prosperity has withered and culture decayed, have made their misery known electorally. The economic consequences, notably assaults on trade and globalism, and the human misery obvious in things like deaths of despair from suicide and opioid overdoses, have provoked a flurry of activity concerned with how to revive left behind places and dampen their rage. A large part of this agenda is localism: a combination of place-based policy, participatory governance, and community initiatives aimed at fostering not just economic, cultural, and political revival, but also social capital and ’pride in place’. How effective is this agenda likely to be, and how should we even conceptualise its effectiveness? Is economic growth the goal, or something more complex? To think through these issues, ePODstemology welcomes Jack Shaw, senior account manager for the London Progression Collaboration, affiliate researcher at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at Cambridge University, and local government member for Barking and Dagenham in London. Jack is in the thick of the localism debate in the UK, where the government has recently released a whitepaper on ‘levelling up’ that aims to redress left behind places, in large part through localism initiatives and the devolution of decision making powers from the centre to local governments. Will it work or is it all bluster? Tune in to find out.   
    Follow Jack on twitter! @JackShawLPC
    Levelling up whitepaper: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-9463/#:~:text=of%20his%20Government.-,Levelling%20up%20white%20paper,social%20disparities%20across%20the%20UK. 
    Bennett Institute materials on localism, place, levelling up, community infrastructure, etc.
    Rodriguez Pose on the revenge of places that don’t matter: https://eprints.lse.ac.uk/85888/1/Rodriguez-Pose_Revenge%20of%20Places.pdf 
    Torsten Bell on low growth and productivity in the UK: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jul/10/why-be-a-poor-version-of-germany-instead-of-doing-what-we-do-best 
    Bennett Institute outputs on productivity in the UK: https://www.bennettinstitute.cam.ac.uk/productivity/ 
    The Economist on the cultural transition from Billy Elliot to Everyone is talking about Jamie: https://www.economist.com/britain/2022/04/28/in-britain-internal-migration-is-out-of-favour 
    Ron Martin and Peter Tyler on how the levelling up agenda is underfunded (and other gems): https://www.bennettinstitute.cam.ac.uk/blog/levelling-up-left-behind-places/  
    Eric Kleinenberg on urban farms and other initiatives in Palaces for the People: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/557044/palaces-for-the-people-by-eric-klinenberg/ 
    Diane Bolet on the link between community pub closures an

    • 1 hr 1 min
    The future of the factory

    The future of the factory

    What is the future of the factory in economic development? That is the subject of a forthcoming book by this episode’s guest, Dr Jostein Hauge from the University of Cambridge. Numerous scholars, Harvard’s Dani Rodrik arguably most prominent among them, have noted that industrialisation among contemporary developing countries is more muted than it was for the Asian Tiger economies and other nations that rose in the second half of the 20th century. In place of industrialisation and associated expansions in manufacturing capacity, we see a relatively larger role played by the services sector, both in terms of relatively high-end services like software development, copy editing, and call centres, and smaller, often informal operations like kiosks, airtasker, and tourism. What are the implications of this for development policy and the potential of economic growth to reduce poverty? Service-sector tasks are typically more capital and less labour-intensive than manufacturing, which limits their ability to provide jobs and wages. But they are also higher value-added tasks, which allows them to contribute substantially to wealth generation. Some nations, notably India, are betting that they can largely skip industrialisation and jump straight to services. How might that play out? Tune in to find out. 
    Hauge, J. (2020). Industrial policy in an era of global value chains: Towards a developmentalist framework drawing on the industrialisation experiences of South Korea and Taiwan. The World Economy, vol. 43, pp. 2070–2092.  DOI: 10.1111/twec.12922 
    Rodrik, D. (2014). Are services the new manufactures? Project Syndicate: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/are-services-the-new-manufactures-by-dani-rodrik-2014-10 
    On reciprocal control mechanisms—Alice Amsden (2001). The Rise of “The Rest”: Challenges to the West from Late-Industrializing Economies. Oxford University Press. 
    Benjamin Selwyn (2018). Poverty chain and global capitalism. Competition and Change, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 71–97. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1024529418809067 
    Jason Hickel in The Guardian on the feasibility of a global minimum wage: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/may/13/global-minimum-wage-ask-an-expert 
    Norwegian show where fashion bloggers are sent to work in sweatshops: https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/fashion/norwegian-reality-show-sends-fashion-bloggers-to-work-in-cambodian-sweatshop-20150123-12whuz.html 
    Kevin Gallagher and Richard Kozul-Wright (2021). The Case for a New Bretton-Woods. Polity Press. https://www.wiley.com/en-au/The+Case+for+a+New+Bretton+Woods-p-9781509546541  

    • 1 hr 5 min
    What animals can teach us about consciousness

    What animals can teach us about consciousness

    Mark is joined by Heather Browning from the London School of Economics and Walter Veit from the University of Sydney who their ideas regarding the nature of consciousness, what we can learn about consciousness from animal studies, and the implications for animal welfare. Should we think of consciousness as some special property unique to human minds, or is it in fact merely a particular high degree of sentience? If it's the later, then cephalopods seem curious, honeybees are capable of solving complex optimisation problems, and fish have split brains similar to those of conscious humans whose left and right hemispheres have been split by accident. Should we then conclude that are animals are conscious, albeit not in the same way as humans? What are the implications of this for ethical practice with animals in research, pets, and zoos? Heather was a zookeeper before she was a philosopher and bring a practical perspective to these issues. Heather, Walter, and Mark share a wide-ranging conversation taking in bioethics, cognitive science, and what the philosophy of mind can learn from biology. Enjoy!

    Heather’s website: https://www.heatherbrowning.net/ 
    Walter’s website: https://walterveit.com/ 
    Heather’s PhD thesis: 41. Browning, H. (2020).  If I Could Talk to the Animals: Measuring Subjective Animal Welfare. PhD Thesis (Australian National University).
    https://doi.org/10.25911/5f1572fb1b5be [Download] 
    Walter’s forthcoming book: Veit, W. (Manuscript). A Philosophy for the Science of Animal Consciousness. Manuscript in preparation.
    Godfrey-Smith, P. (2016). Other minds: The octopus, the sea, and the deep origins of consciousness. William Collins.  
    The hard and soft problem of consciousness: http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Hard_problem_of_consciousness#:~:text=The%20hard%20problem%20of%20consciousness,with%20phenomenal%20qualities%20or%20qualia). 
    Philosophical zombies: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/zombies/ 
    Nagel, T. (1974). What is it like to be a bat? The Philosophical Review, vol. 83, no. 4, pp. 435–450. https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/iatl/study/ugmodules/humananimalstudies/lectures/32/nagel_bat.pdf  
    Dan Dennett against the hard problem as special: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSaEjLZIDqc 
    Patricia Churchland against the hard problem as special:  https://web.ics.purdue.edu/~drkelly/ChurchlandTheHornswoggleProblem1996.pdf 
    de Haan, E. et al. (2020). Split brain: What we know now and why this is important for understanding consciousness. Neuropsychology Review, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 224–233. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11065-020-09439-3 
    Hofstadter, D. and Dennett, D. (2001). The mind’s I: Fantasies and reflections on self and soul. Basic Books. 
    Robot wars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psY_3k0uiRI 
    Edelman, D. and Seth, A. (2009). Animal consciousness: A synthetic approach. Trends in Neuroscience, vol

    • 1 hr 4 min
    The peculiarities of public health in Africa

    The peculiarities of public health in Africa

    The advancement of health care is one of the hallmarks of development and a central objective of not for profit, public, and private organisations, especially in the developing countries of Africa. Wiktoria Tafesse is an early career researcher working on a range of topics at the University of York’s Centre for Health Economics. She joins ePODstemology’s regular host Dr Mark Fabian to discuss the role health plays in development, the idiosyncratic features of developing countries with respect to health care provision, how we can improve outcomes in the space, and what to expect from the 10 years of activity and research. 
     Show notes
    Wiktoria’s academic website: https://www.york.ac.uk/che/staff/research/wiktoria-tafesse/
    De Silva-Sanigorski, A. et al. (2010). Reducing obesity in early childhood: Results from Romp and Chomp, an Australia community-wide intervention program. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 91, no. 4, pp. 831–840

    Kasman, M. et al. (2019). Activating a community: An agent-based model of Romp and Chomp, a whole-of-community childhood obesity intervention. Obesity, vol. 27, no. 9, pp. 1494-1502. 
    Miguel, E. and Kremer, M. (2003). Networks, social learning, and technology adoption: The case of deworming drugs in Kenya. Working paper: https://eml.berkeley.edu/~webfac/bardhan/e271_f03/miguel.pdf  
    Tafesse, W. (2022). The effect of universal salt iodization on cognitive test scores in rural India. World Development, vol. 152, e105796

    Tafesse, W. et al. (2019) The effect of government contracting with faith-based health care providers in Malawi. CHE Research Paper; No. 167.
    Tafesse, W. and Chalkley, M. (2021). Faith-based provision of sexual and reproductive healthcare in Malawi. Social Science and Medicine, vol. 282, e113997 
    Kwan et al. (2019). Use of standardised patients for health care quality research in low and middle income countries. BMJ Global Health, vol. 4:e001669. https://gh.bmj.com/content/4/5/e001669.abstract 
    Fitzpatrick, A. (2022). The impact of public health sector stockouts on private sector prices and access to health care: Evidence from the anti-malarial drug market. Health Economics, vol. 81, no. 1, pp. 102544

    Banerjee, A. et al. (2020) The Market for Healthcare in Low Income Countries. Harvard Business School Working Paper, December 2020. 
    Fleming et al. (2016). Health-care availability, preference, and distance for women in urban Bo, Sierra Leone. International Journal of Public Health, vol. 61, pp. 1079–1088   

    • 57 min
    How we can boost sustainability, equality, and health by reducing food waste

    How we can boost sustainability, equality, and health by reducing food waste

    Through most of human history, we needed more food, cheaper food, and easier to access food, so we built economic systems that could deliver mountains of the stuff. Now that was a noble effort at the time, but we didn’t think much about waste, and so huge quantities of food today ends up in landfill where it turns to greenhouse gases, or rots on the vine, squandering the resources we used to produce it. Much of our food is also of dubious nutritional quality but can meet our demands for supposedly ‘fresh’ produce in all seasons by surviving long supply chains of freezer ships, freezer trucks, and freezer supermarkets. All that is carbon intensive. What if we could more efficiently utilise the food system we already have to produce higher quality food less wastefully? A win for our waistlines, a win for our wallets, and a win for the planet. To guide us through the latest research on food waste, ePODstemology’s guest this episode is Dr Christian Reynolds, Senior Lecturer in Food Policy at City University London. Dr Reynolds is an economist by training, but like many early career researchers is thoroughly interdisciplinary in his work, operating out of the school of health and psychological sciences. Christian’s work has appeared in numerous top journals including Food Policy, The Lancet, Ecological Economics, and Waste Management. He talks us through the research issues in food waste management, what food waste is, what drives it, and what we can do about it. We hope you enjoy the conversation. 
    Christian’s Academic page: https://www.city.ac.uk/about/people/academics/christian-reynolds 
    Gavin Stewart at University of Newcastle doing evidence synthesis: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/nes/people/profile/gavinstewart.html 
    University of Aberdeen Rowitt Institute for Nutrition Science: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/rowett/ 
    Wansink, B., & van Ittersum, K. (2013). Portion size me: Plate-size induced consumption norms and win-win solutions for reducing food intake and waste. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 19(4), 320–332. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0035053
    World Resources Institute on food loss and climate change: https://www.wri.org/insights/whats-food-loss-and-waste-got-do-climate-change-lot-actually 
    EAT Lancet report on a scientifically-informed healthy and sustainable diet: https://eatforum.org/eat-lancet-commission/ 
    Dr Megan Blake at University of Sheffield who works on food security and food justice: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/geography/people/academic-staff/megan-blake 
    FareShare: https://fareshare.org.uk/ 
    HelloFresh meal boxes: https://www.hellofresh.com.au/ 
    Riverford organic, sustainable, smallholder produce boxes: https://www.riverford.co.uk/ 
    Oddbox wonky fruit and veg: https://www.oddbox.co.uk/
    Blue Apron ready meals: https://www.blueapron.com/ 
    Chill the fridge out: https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/article/chill-fridge-out 
    Plastics Pact: https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/the-plastics-pact-network 

    • 57 min
    What even is empathy?

    What even is empathy?

    Regular ePODstemology host Dr Mark Fabian is joined by philosopher of science Dr Riana Betzler from Washington University in St Louis to discuss the nature and study of empathy. In popular culture, empathy is one of these haloed qualities that we generally perceive as good and desirable. Yet in recent years some psychologists, notably Paul Bloom at Yale, have argued that empathy is overrated, indeed, harmful, because it biases our moral judgements towards our in groups. Riana’s research is principally concerned with the scientific practices upon which these debates turn. Are scholars in favour of or against empathy using the same definition of the term? Are meta-analyses of empirical results reliably distilling the true effects of empathy, or are they in fact horribly undermined by differences in the way empathy is operationalised across studies? How do these questions play into broader trends in psychological science like the supposed theory crisis and recent critiques of factor analysis? Tune in to find out. 
    Paul Bloom’s book Against Empathy: https://www.amazon.com/Against-Empathy-Case-Rational-Compassion/dp/0062339338 
    Jessie Prinz Against Empathy: https://philpapers.org/rec/PRIAE-5 
    Anna Alexandrova on theory avoidance in psychology: https://oxford.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1093/oso/9780199300518.001.0001/oso-9780199300518-chapter-6 
    Discretionary time and wellbeing: https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/psp-pspp0000391.pdf 
    Chancellor and Lyubomirsky on humility: https://compass.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/spc3.12069 
    Dan Batson’s view of empathy: http://people.uncw.edu/hakanr/documents/batsononempathy.pdf 
    fMRI study of compassion: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763419306918 
    The psychologically-rich life questionnaire: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092656619300649 
    Settler mortality instrumental variables paper: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.91.5.1369 
    interpersonal reactivity index: https://fetzer.org/sites/default/files/images/stories/pdf/selfmeasures/EMPATHY-InterpersonalReactivityIndex.pdf 
    Anna Alexandrova and Daniel Haybron (2016). Is Construct Validation Valid? https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303753840_Is_Construct_Validation_Valid 

    • 1 hr 1 min

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