Converging Dialogues is a podcast that is designed to have honest and authentic conversations with a diversity of thoughts and opinions. Wide-ranging topics include philosophy, psychology, politics, and social commentary. A spirit of civility, respect, and open-mindedness is the guiding compass.
#72 - Let‘s Talk About Sex(ual Arousal, Desire, & Disgust): A Dialogue with Courtney Crosby
In this episode, Xavier Bonilla has a dialogue with Courtney Crosby about sexual arousal, desire, and disgust. Courtney provides some of her background and how she became interested in evolutionary psychology and studying sexual disgust. They define disgust, seeing it as its own emotional system and discuss how disgust fits with other emotions. They discuss the different elements of core disgust and some of the associations between disgust and norms, judgments, and attributions. They also discuss sexuality and discuss the distinctions between sexual desire and sexual arousal. They talk about sexual disgust, its various dimensions, cross-cultural findings, and some remarks on moral disgust.
Courtney Crosby is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Texas at Austin whose research is in evolutionary psychology and sexual disgust. She has published empirical research on sexual disgust and has written for Psychology Today. Find all of her scholarly research and popular pieces at her website. Twitter: @evocourtney
#71 - The Fiscal Legacy of Calvin Coolidge: A Dialogue with Amity Shlaes
In this episode, Xavier Bonilla has a dialogue with Amity Shlaes about the 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge. They discuss Coolidge’s background and environment raised to be frugal and fiscally conservative. They talk about his path to the presidency and his state vs national views on progressivism. They focus on how Coolidge’s emphasis as president was on a balanced budget and reducing the debt. They talk about his handling of the Mississippi floods and why he did not involve the national government for aid. They also discuss Coolidge’s weakness on foreign affairs and his overall legacy as president.
Amity Shlaes is the chairwoman of the board of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation. She has written four New York Times bestsellers, including Coolidge. She is the winner of the Hayek Prize and has served on the Council on Foreign Relations and the George W. Bush Presidential Center. She is the Presidential Scholar at King’s College and has previously taught at New York University’s Stern School of business. You can find all of her work at her website. Twitter: @Amityshlaes
#70 - A Conservative Case for Liberal Education: A Dialogue with Jonathan Marks
In this episode, Xavier Bonilla had a dialogue with Jonathan Marks about liberal education and how educational institutions need reform. They discuss his main thesis of the book and why he decided to write the book. They define and discuss the origins of liberal education. They define the terms “liberal” and “conservative” and why it’s important to defend a liberal arts education. They talk about rationality and why that’s important for educational institutions. They mention the impact that rationality has on the pragmatic aspects of life. They discuss the need for a robust and integrative curriculum for students and where the future of educational institutions are headed.
Jonathan Marks is chair and professor of politics at Ursinus College where he teaches political philosophy. He holds a Bachelors, Masters, and PhD from The University of Chicago. He has published articles in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of American Political Science. His articles for a wider audience can be found in Commentary Magazine and the Chronicle of Higher Education. His new book, Let’s be Reasonable: A Conservative Case for Liberal Education can be found here. Twitter: @marksjo1
#69 - Jungles: Our Fading Home: A Dialogue with Patrick Roberts
In this episode, Xavier Bonilla has a dialogue with Patrick Roberts about tropical forests and their impact on the planet and for humans. They begin with a historical overview of the earth’s periods and how tropical forests are seen in each period. They define tropical forests and describe their general composition. They talk about Pangaea and Gondwana and some of the angiosperm in the early periods that contributed to animals and life on earth. They discuss the importance of early mammals in the Jurassic period. They also talk about early Hominids in their environment and the early stages of agriculture. They talk about island forestation, human migration, and tropical forests with ancient civilizations. They discuss deforestation and reforestation and the human impact on climate change.
Patrick Roberts is the Research Group Leader and Director of the Stable Isotope Laboratory in the Department of Archaeology at Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. He has a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology, a MSc in Archaeological Science, and a DPhil in Archaeological Science from the University of Oxford. His main research interests are studying tropical forests and how they impact human adaptations. Aside from his Archaeological and paleoenvironmental research, he has recently published his first book, Jungle: How Tropical Forests Shaped the World- and Us, which you can purchase here. You can find his research publications here. Twitter: @palaeotropics
#68 - Uncovering the Inner Experience of Body Dysmorphic Disorder: A Dialogue with Shioma-Lei Craythorne
In this episode, Xavier Bonilla has a dialogue with Shioma-Lei Craythorne about Body Dysmorphic Disorder and some of the research on this disorder. They provide a definition of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) along with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders– Fifth Edition (DSM-V) criteria and description. They talk about the differences between pathological and non-pathological features with one’s body and appearance. They explain some of the diagnostic differential with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Eating Disorders. They talk about the muscle dysmorphia specifier and explore some of the themes around masculinity currently. They also review some of the epidemiology and etiology of BDD and engage about the role of social media and plastic surgery on BDD.
A main focus of this dialogue was on Shioma-Lei’s dissertation research examining the hermeneutics and phenomenological data on BDD using art. She provides an overview of her research and how she used art to extrapolate the subjective experiences of her participants with BDD. They discuss some of the philosophical ideas that are implicated in her research and also discuss some of the treatment for BDD.
Shioma-Lei Craythorne has a PhD in Psychology from Aston University. Her research focuses on Body Dysmorphic disorder and looking at using art to explore the subjective experiences of those with BDD. She has created a website to have resources for individuals with Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Twitter: @shioma_lei
#67 - Zealous Search for Truth in Documentary Filmmaking: A Dialogue with Nadia Gill
In this episode, Xavier Bonilla has a dialogue with Nadia Gill concerning truth, persuasion, and culture in documentary filmmaking. They talk about her background and shift from law to documentary filmmaking. They discuss the importance of telling the truth in documentaries and whether persuasion or propaganda is implicating in some documentaries. They also talk about showing a perspective vs. describing objective truth about reality in documentaries. They ponder if the responsibility for truth lies with the filmmaker or with the viewer, who gets to tell what stories, and many other topics.
Nadia Gill is a former lawyer, producer and documentary filmmaker. Her and her husband, Dominic Gill, started Encompass Films as a way to tell stories about adventure and the outdoors from a wide range of people and cultures. They have recently branched out into conservation and some political polarization. They have done work for clients such as Red Bull, Microsoft, Hendrick's Gin, and many others. Twitter: @egypxican
thought-provoking & thoughtful
Xavier Bonilla is an excellent interviewer! He goes in depth with topics while keeping the conversations accessible and interesting to listeners. He’s knowledgeable, compassionate, and open to other viewpoints—highly recommend!
Xavier is a great, kind, and charitable host. Excellent show!
Great social science pod
Xavier is an unusually talented interviewer (& I speak from experience).