101 episodes

The best of all possible podcasts, Leibniz would say. Putting big ideas in dialogue with the everyday, Overthink offers accessible and fresh takes on philosophy from enthusiastic experts. Hosted by professors Ellie Anderson (Pomona College) and David M. Peña-Guzmán (San Francisco State University).

Overthink Ellie Anderson, Ph.D. and David Peña-Guzmán, Ph.D.

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9 • 294 Ratings

The best of all possible podcasts, Leibniz would say. Putting big ideas in dialogue with the everyday, Overthink offers accessible and fresh takes on philosophy from enthusiastic experts. Hosted by professors Ellie Anderson (Pomona College) and David M. Peña-Guzmán (San Francisco State University).

    AI Safety with Shazeda Ahmed

    AI Safety with Shazeda Ahmed

    Welcome your robot overlords! In episode 101 of Overthink, Ellie and David speak with Dr. Shazeda Ahmed, specialist in AI Safety, to dive into the philosophy guiding artificial intelligence. With the rise of LLMs like ChatGPT, the lofty utilitarian principles of Effective Altruism have taken the tech-world spotlight by storm. Many who work on AI safety and ethics worry about the dangers of AI, from how automation might put entire categories of workers out of a job to how future forms of AI might pose a catastrophic “existential risk” for humanity as a whole. And yet, optimistic CEOs portray AI as the beginning of an easy, technology-assisted utopia. Who is right about AI: the doomers or the utopians? And whose voices are part of the conversation in the first place? Is AI risk talk spearheaded by well-meaning experts or investor billionaires? And, can philosophy guide discussions about AI toward the right thing to do?

    Check out the episode's extended cut here!

    Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence
    Adrian Daub, What Tech Calls Thinking
    Virginia Eubanks, Automating Inequality
    Mollie Gleiberman, “Effective Altruism and the strategic ambiguity of ‘doing good’”
    Matthew Jones and Chris Wiggins, How Data Happened
    William MacAskill, What We Owe the Future
    Toby Ord, The Precipice
    Inioluwa Deborah Raji et al., “The Fallacy of AI Functionality”
    Inioluwa Deborah Raji and Roel Dobbe, “Concrete Problems in AI Safety, Revisted”
    Peter Singer, Animal Liberation
    Amia Srinivisan, “Stop The Robot Apocalypse”
     
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    • 57 min
    Overthinking

    Overthinking

    Overthink goes meta! In the 100th episode Ellie and David reflect on the podcast’s journey and the origins of its (flawless!) title. They take up the question, “What is overthinking?” Is it a kind of fixation on details or an unwanted split in the normal flow of ideas? Then, they turn to psychology to make sense of overthinking’s highs and lows, as the distracting voice inside your head and a welcome relief from traumatic memories. Through the philosophies of John Dewey and the Frankfurt School, they look at different ways to understand the role of overthinking in philosophy and the humanities. Is overthinking a damper on good decisions, or perhaps the path to preserving the possibility of social critique?
    Check out the episode's extended cut here!
     
    Works Discussed
    John Dewey, How We Think
    Max Horkheimer, “The Social Function of Philosophy”
    Herbert Marcuse, “Remarks on a Redefinition of Culture”
    Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, “Responses to depression and their effects on the duration of depressive episodes”
    Charles Orbendorf, “Co-Conscious Mentation”
    Suzanne Segerstrom et al., “A multidimensional structure for repetitive thought”
    Stephanie Wong et al., “Rumination as a Transdiagnostic Phenomenon in the 21st Century”
     
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    • 59 min
    Zombies

    Zombies

    Who’s afraid of zombification? Apparently not analytic philosophers. In episode 99 of Overthink, Ellie and David talk all about zombies and their unfortunate legacy in the thought experiments of academic philosophy. Their portrait as brain-eating and consciousness-lacking mobs is a far cry from their origins in the syncretic sorcery at the margins of Haitian Voodoo. This distance means that the uncanny zombie raises provocative questions about the problematic ways philosophy integrates and appropriates nonwestern culture into its canon. Your hosts probe beyond limits of the tradition when they explore zombification in animals, in reading, in Derrida, and beyond.
    Check out the episode's extended cut here!


    Works Discussed


    Ellie Anderson, “Derrida and the Zombie”
    David J. Chalmers, The Conscious Mind
    Wade Davis, The Serpent and the Rainbow
    Descartes, Meditations
    Leslie Desmangles, The Faces of the Gods
    Daniel C. Dennett, "The Unimagined Preposterousness of Zombies" & Consciousness Explained
    Zora Neale Hurston, Tell my Horse
    Edgar Allan Poe, “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar”
    Justin Smith-Ruiu, “The World as a Game” 
    The Last of Us (2023)
    Night of the Living Dead (1968)
    Get Out (2017)
    Overthink, Continental Philosophy: What is it, and why is it a thing?
     
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    • 59 min
    Reputation

    Reputation

    They say this one is the real deal. In Episode 98 of Overthink, Ellie and David untangle the philosophy behind the way we compare, judge, and defend our reputations. From Machiavelli’s advice to despots looking to stay popular, to disgruntled students venting on their professors online, reputation can glide you to victory or trigger your fall from grace. Exploring concepts like the Matthew effect, the homo comparativus, and informational asymmetry, your hosts ask: Why do both Joan Jett and Jean-Jacques Rousseau refuse reputation’s fickle pleasures? Does David actually have a good work-life balance, or is everyone else hoodwinked? And, what is the place of quantified reputation in an increasingly digital world?
    Check out the episode's extended cut here!

    Works Discussed
    Kwame Anthony Appiah, The Honor Code
    Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Bad Reputation
    Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
    Louise Matsakis, “How the West Got China’s Social Credit System Wrong,” Wired Magazine
    Gloria Origgi, Reputation: What It Is and Why It Matters
    Gloria Origgi, "Reputation in Moral Philosophy and Epistemology"
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Reveries of the Solitary Walker
    Jean-Paul Sartre, The Transcendence of the Ego
    Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments
    Jordi Xifra, “Recognition, symbolic capital and reputation in the seventeenth century”


    Overthink Episodes
    Ep 28, Cancel Culture
    Ep 19, Genius


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    Email |  Dearoverthink@gmail.com
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    • 59 min
    Cities

    Cities

    The village is aglow! In episode 97 of Overthink, Ellie and David guide you through the ideas that make a metropolis tick. From Plato’s spotless Republic to Saudi Arabia’s futuristic The Line, they talk the foul and the vibrant of what it means to live in a city. Why are there so few public plazas in Brasilia? Why did David lose his wallet in Mexico City? How do gridded street layouts reflect colonial fantasies? And how did a medieval woman writer, Christine de Pizan, beat Greta Gerwig to the punch in imagining a Barbie-like City of Ladies?

    Check out the episode's extended cut here!

    Works Discussed

    Marshall Berman, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air
    Don T. Deere, “Coloniality and Disciplinary Power: On Spatial Techniques of Ordering”
    Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
    Jane Jacobs, The Life and Death of Great American Cities
    Quill R. Kukla, City Living
    Christine de Pizan, City of Ladies
    Plato, Republic
    Angel Rama, The Lettered City
    Georg Simmel, “Metropolis and Mental Life”
    Iris Marion Young, "City Life and Difference"

    Blade Runner (1982)
    Parasite (2019)
    Barbie (2023)

    Overthink ep. 32, Astrology

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    Email |  Dearoverthink@gmail.com
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    Support the show

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Fatphobia with Kate Manne

    Fatphobia with Kate Manne

    “They find our bodies repulsive.” On episode 96 of Overthink, Ellie and David bring on Dr. Kate Manne, philosopher and author of Unshrinking: How to Face Fatphobia. She explains the moral failures and biomedical perils of our fatphobic culture and its misleading imperative to diet. This look at the politics of fat, fatness, and fatphobia in the philosophical canon and beyond to reveal rich links to questions of accessibility, justice, and intimacy. Should we trust the BMI (Body Mass Index) as a measure of health? Is the future in Ozempic? Why are we encouraged to see our body’s biological need for nutrition as “food noise”? And what might it take to hear the music of our human bodily diversity?

    Check out the episode's extended cut here!
    Works Discussed

    Paul Campos, The Obesity Myth
    Ancel Keys, et al., “Indices of relative weight and obesity”
    Adolphe Quetelet, On Man and the Development of His Faculties
    Sabrina Strings, Fearing the Black Body
    Audre Lorde, A Piece of Light
    Thomas Nagel, “Free Will”
    Kate Manne, Unshrinking: How to Face Fatphobia
    Overthink ep 27. From Body Positivity to Fat Feminism (feat. Amelia Hruby)
    Follow Dr. Kate Manne on Substack!


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    Website | overthinkpodcast.com
    Instagram & Twitter | @overthink_pod
    Email |  Dearoverthink@gmail.com
    YouTube | Overthink podcast


    Support the show

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
294 Ratings

294 Ratings

Julianne Marie B ,

A struggling grad student’s favorite pasttime

I listen to this podcast every week on my commute to school!! It’s one of the most entertaining and intellectually stimulating shows I’ve listened to. David and Ellie are so down to earth and funny and can turn the most basic facts of our world into an incredibly fascinating and enriching discussion. I have always had an interest in philosophy but have been unsure about how I should get into it. David and Ellie turn “scary” and “impenetrable” philosophical ideas into something relatable to our everyday lives, and I often find myself thinking either “Wow, I’ve never thought of it that way before” or “This is something I think about often but that I’ve never heard expressed or vocalized by somebody else.” 11/10 would recommend to anyone who is a chronic overthinker or who has even a baseline interest in philosophy or else curiosity (and maybe complaints lol) about the human condition and our world. Props to David and Ellie for being great hosts as well.

aleala206 ,

AI could never

Ellie y David son lo máximo!!! La filosofía es sin duda intimidante pero Overthink es un podcast que abarca demasiados tópicos de la actualidad. Están súper informados en los temas actuales que deciden hablar y siempre hallan una forma de hacerte pensar y filosofar sobre temas del día a día. Una vez que escuches un episodio no pararás de escuchar el podcast. Las transcripciones facilitan también a entender más fondo los temas de los que hablan y los trabajos de filósofos que suelen citar. Así que es informativo y entretenido a la vez :)

Paula S teacher ,

Older people exercising

I enjoy this show quite a bit, but every once in a while the hosts (and I guess this is unavoidable because they are both so young) slip into making generalizations about us older folks that strike me as naive and clueless (at best) Case in point on the exercise episode David comments on seeing older people in their sixties and seventies doing exercises that are intended to give a younger person a hotter body. He find this to be a kind of denial. While these hosts are excellent critical thinkers who are capable of identifying and laughing at their own assumptions, in the case of the old people assumptions I don’t see this awareness. I am 68. I go to the gym for all of the reasons talked about on the show. I look around the gym and see people my age and older taking care of themselves. Trying to stay strong so that they can stay as healthy and competent physically and mentally as possible. I realize this comment is kind of a buzz kill but I’m would encourage the hosts to take some
care when tossing off comments about us old folks. :)

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