352 episodes

America is more divided than ever—but it doesn’t have to be. Open to Debate offers an antidote to the chaos. We bring multiple perspectives together for real, nonpartisan debates. Debates that are structured, respectful, clever, provocative, and driven by the facts. Open to Debate is on a mission to restore balance to the public square through expert moderation, good-faith arguments, and reasoned analysis. We examine the issues of the day with the world’s most influential thinkers spanning science, technology, politics, culture, and global affairs. It’s time to build a stronger, more united democracy with the civil exchange of ideas. Be open-minded. Be curious. Be ready to listen. Join us in being Open to Debate. (Formerly Intelligence Squared U.S.)

Open to Debate Open to Debate

    • Education
    • 4.6 • 2.1K Ratings

America is more divided than ever—but it doesn’t have to be. Open to Debate offers an antidote to the chaos. We bring multiple perspectives together for real, nonpartisan debates. Debates that are structured, respectful, clever, provocative, and driven by the facts. Open to Debate is on a mission to restore balance to the public square through expert moderation, good-faith arguments, and reasoned analysis. We examine the issues of the day with the world’s most influential thinkers spanning science, technology, politics, culture, and global affairs. It’s time to build a stronger, more united democracy with the civil exchange of ideas. Be open-minded. Be curious. Be ready to listen. Join us in being Open to Debate. (Formerly Intelligence Squared U.S.)

    Young Voices Debate Tough Topics: DEI and Climate Change

    Young Voices Debate Tough Topics: DEI and Climate Change

    Two days. Four questions. Ten judges and high school students participating in the national championship run by Incubate Debate, the U.S.’s fastest-growing high school debate league. This is what civil debate in the public square looks like — and what it can be across the country. Join us as we follow eight students who debate the following questions: “Should College DEI Programs Be Abolished?” and “Is Climate Change An Emergency?” 
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    • 53 min
    The Pursuit of Happiness: Virtue or Pleasure?

    The Pursuit of Happiness: Virtue or Pleasure?

    Happiness is a complex emotion and mental state that can be achieved through virtue or pleasure. But should it be for the good of the individual or society? Those in favor of virtue point to the Stoics and the Founding Fathers, saying you should strive for a life of moral virtue and rationality. Those in favor of pleasure say everyone should be able to experience it and define their sources of happiness. Now we debate: The Pursuit of Happiness: Virtue or Pleasure? 

    Arguing Virtue: Jeffrey Rosen, CEO & President of the National Constitution Center; Author of “The Pursuit of Happiness: How Classical Writers on Virtue Inspired the Lives of the Founders and Defined America” 
        
    Arguing Pleasure: Roger Crisp, Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford; Uehiro Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at St. Anne's College, Oxford 
     
    Nayeema Raza, Journalist at New York Magazine and Vox, is the guest moderator. 
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    • 53 min
    MOCK TRIAL: Should the Courts Restrict Access to the Abortion Pill?

    MOCK TRIAL: Should the Courts Restrict Access to the Abortion Pill?

    The Supreme Court will soon decide on a case surrounding a medication used for abortion, mifepristone, and whether the drug should continue to be available based on claims of safety and ethical considerations. Those in favor of restrictions argue that the FDA fast-tracked its approval without considering health impacts. Those against restriction argue the FDA made its decisions based on safety and efficiency, and it’s being targeted to further infringe on women’s rights. Now we debate: Should the Courts Restrict Access to the Abortion Pill?  

    Petitioner: Julia Kaye, Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project  
    Respondent: Catherine Glenn Foster, Senior Fellow in Legal Policy at the Charlotte Lozier Institute  
    Judge's Chair: John Donvan, Moderator-in-Chief and Emmy award-winning journalist 
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    • 53 min
    Should Elite Universities Reinstate the SAT?

    Should Elite Universities Reinstate the SAT?

    Many colleges during the pandemic decided to make their applications test-optional, but new research has elite colleges rethinking that policy. Those in favor of reinstating say the SAT is the best way to bring talented students from all socioeconomic levels into the fold. Those against it say it favors the affluent and argue that admissions decisions should be based on a holistic, more inclusive review that considers a wide range of factors Now we debate: Should Elite Universities Reinstate the SAT?

    Arguing Yes: John Friedman, Professor and Chair of the Economics Department at Brown University  
    Arguing No: Ben Nelson, Founder of Minerva University 
    Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates 
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    • 53 min
    Is Free Speech Threatened on Campus?

    Is Free Speech Threatened on Campus?

    Tensions have been ramping up at universities across the country as students continue to protest the war in Gaza. Reports of antisemitism, islamophobia, and harassment have led to concerns that some students have crossed a line into hateful and threatening speech that requires intervention. Others contend that efforts to clamp down on protests in the name of campus safety suppresses free speech. Within that context, we revisit this debate on adjacent issues from a few years back to see what lessons that can be applied to the current situation: Is Free Speech Threatened on Campus? 

    Arguing Yes: John McWhorter, Linguist and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University; Wendy Kaminer, Writer and Lawyer   
    Arguing No: Shaun Harper, Founder and Executive Director of the USC Race and Equity Center; Jason Stanley, Professor of Philosophy at Yale University 
    Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates 
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    • 53 min
    Ban the Box: Should We Banish the Criminal History Check Box from Job Applications?

    Ban the Box: Should We Banish the Criminal History Check Box from Job Applications?

    Former criminal offenders in the United States face challenges reentering the job market after incarceration and so-called “Ban the Box” policies aim to fix this. This criminal justice initiative calls for removing questions about criminal history from job applications and delaying background checks. Those against "the box" argue former offenders shouldn’t continue to be punished and it prevents societal reintegration. Those in favor of early screening argue employers have a responsibility to ensure their business’s safety and make informed hiring decisions. Those who are against it argue former offenders shouldn’t continue to be punished and it prevents societal reintegration. Now we debate: Ban the Box: Should We Banish the Criminal History Check Box from Job Applications? 
     
    Arguing Yes: Beth Avery, Senior Staff Attorney at the National Employment Law Project 

    Arguing No: Jennifer Doleac, Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice at Arnold Ventures 
     
    Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates 
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    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
2.1K Ratings

2.1K Ratings

westatpod ,

A standard bearer of civil discourse

I do appreciate the purpose of this show. It models the seemingly lost art of disagreeing without demonizing or demeaning. I especially enjoyed listening to the debate about color blindness between Jamelle Bouie and Coleman Hughes. Thank you so much for this work.

Dannydanny8 ,

Going Downhill

I used to really like this pod. It brought different perspectives together and had a contested debate. Now its turned into another echo chamber without real debate. Really disappointing imo.

Fearsgirl ,

Everything has a season

This was at one time my favorite podcast. In the past two to three years the debates are more of the “everyone gets a trophy” talks. The topics are soft and a bit bubble gummy for lack of a better description. It would be wonderful to get back to the shows that were of substance.

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