206 episodes

Very Bad Wizards is a podcast featuring a philosopher (Tamler Sommers) and a psychologist (David Pizarro), who share a love for ethics, pop culture, and cognitive science, and who have a marked inability to distinguish sacred from profane. Each podcast includes discussions of moral philosophy, recent work on moral psychology and neuroscience, and the overlap between the two.

Very Bad Wizards Tamler Sommers & David Pizarro

    • Philosophy
    • 4.8 • 2.1K Ratings

Very Bad Wizards is a podcast featuring a philosopher (Tamler Sommers) and a psychologist (David Pizarro), who share a love for ethics, pop culture, and cognitive science, and who have a marked inability to distinguish sacred from profane. Each podcast includes discussions of moral philosophy, recent work on moral psychology and neuroscience, and the overlap between the two.

    Happy Freedom Day! (with Lauren Anderson)

    Happy Freedom Day! (with Lauren Anderson)

    The legendary Houston Ballet dancer Lauren Anderson joins us to talk about the Atlanta Episode “Juneteenth” (Season 1, Episode 9), a hilarious exploration of race, class, identity, and carrying around your sister’s underwear. But first David and Tamler share some thoughts on the topic on everyone’s mind right now…Bean Dad. Oh yeah and the Capitol riot. Pour yourself a Hennessy or some Emancipation Eggnog and enjoy.
    Special Guest: Lauren Anderson.
    Sponsored By:
    GiveWell: Givewell searches for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. Consider a donation this holiday season--your dollar goes a lot further than you might think! Promo Code: verybadwizardsNordVPN: Keep your internet connection safe with NordVPN! NordVPN is the best VPN if you’re looking for peace of mind when you use public Wi-Fi, access personal and work accounts on the road, or want to keep your browsing history to yourself. Our listeners get a special Holiday deal: every purchase of a 2-year plan will get you FOUR additional months free. Go to nordvpn.com/vbw and use our coupon VBW at checkout. Promo Code: VBWBetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online
    environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad Wizards
    Links:
    Who is 'Bean Dad'? Twitter users slam John Roderick for can opener stunt with his hungry daughter | Daily Mail OnlineAn Apology — John RoderickLauren Anderson (dancer) - Wikipedia"Atlanta" Juneteenth (TV Episode 2016) - IMDb

    • 1 hr 36 min
    Gorgias, Tell Me Something I Don't Know (with Agnes Callard)

    Gorgias, Tell Me Something I Don't Know (with Agnes Callard)

    Philosopher Agnes Callard joins us to talk about Plato and his dialogue the Gorgias. Why did Plato write dialogues – are they the best way of presenting arguments? Is Plato cheating when characters contradict themselves by making dumb concessions, or is this part of his method - inviting readers to participate in the debates? Why does the Gorgias end on such a sour note, with Socrates giving long speeches after saying that long speeches shouldn’t be allowed? Plus we talk about Agnes’ recent op-ed in the New York Times, and David and Tamler tackle a new construct: The Tendency for Interpersonal Victimhood.
    Sponsored By:
    GiveWell: Givewell searches for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. Consider a donation this holiday season--your dollar goes a lot further than you might think! Promo Code: verybadwizardsNordVPN: Keep your internet connection safe with NordVPN! NordVPN is the best VPN if you’re looking for peace of mind when you use public Wi-Fi, access personal and work accounts on the road, or want to keep your browsing history to yourself. Our listeners get a special Holiday deal: every purchase of a 2-year plan will get you FOUR additional months free. Go to nordvpn.com/vbw and use our coupon VBW at checkout. Promo Code: VBWBetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online
    environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad Wizards
    Links:
    Opinion | I Don’t Want You to ‘Believe’ Me. I Want You to Listen. - The New York TimesWhat Is It Like to Be a Philosopher?Gorgias (dialogue) - Wikipedia

    • 1 hr 34 min
    Not as It Ought to Be (H.P. Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space")

    Not as It Ought to Be (H.P. Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space")

    A phosphorescence casts a pale sickly glow on David and Tamler as talk only in verbs and pronouns about H.P. Lovecraft’s 1927 story “The Colour Out of Space.” What is this creature or substance that has color only by analogy, that spreads through earth and water driving man, animal, and vegetation into a madness, not as they ought to be…? What gives the story its terrifying power and its avenues for endless interpretation? Plus, does meditation make you a spiritual narcissist? We talk about a new social psychology article that even David can’t defend.
    Sponsored By:
    NordVPN: Keep your internet connection safe with NordVPN! NordVPN is the best VPN if you’re looking for peace of mind when you use public Wi-Fi, access personal and work accounts on the road, or want to keep your browsing history to yourself. Our listeners get a special Holiday deal: every purchase of a 2-year plan will get you FOUR additional months free. Go to nordvpn.com/vbw and use our coupon VBW at checkout. Promo Code: VBWGiveWell: Givewell searches for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. Consider a donation this holiday season--your dollar goes a lot further than you might think! Promo Code: verybadwizardsBetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online
    environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad Wizards
    Links:
    Study links some forms of spiritual training to narcissism and "spiritual superiority”H. P. Lovecraft - WikipediaThe Colour Out of Space - Wikipedia

    • 1 hr 31 min
    Very Bad Lizard People

    Very Bad Lizard People

    David and Tamler dive deep into the psychology and epistemology of conspiracy theories. What makes people so prone to believe in complex malevolent plots that require meticulous organization and utter secrecy at the highest levels of power? Are some conspiracies like [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] more plausible than [REDACTED] give [REDACTED] for? And what about [REDACTED]? Do [REDACTED] mislead [REDACTED] by making us think [REDACTED]? How are we supposed to [REDACTED]? Plus, we do some navel gazing, reflecting on what we love and have struggled with over 200+ hundred episodes of [REDACTED].
    Sponsored By:
    The Great Courses Plus: Never stop learning. Pursue your passion. Quench your curiosity. Embark on an educational endeavor. Watch thousands of streaming videos on hundreds of subjects. Promo Code: wizardsGiveWell: Givewell searches for the charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. Consider a donation this holiday season--your dollar goes a lot further than you might think! Promo Code: verybadwizardsBetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online
    environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad Wizards
    Links:
    Conspiracy theory - WikipediaConspiracy Theories: Evolved Functions and Psychological Mechanisms - Jan-Willem van Prooijen, Mark van Vugt, 2018The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories - Karen M. Douglas, Robbie M. Sutton, Aleksandra Cichocka, 2017Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional WisdomRex 84 - WikipediaThe Great 5G Conspiracy - The Atlantic

    • 1 hr 56 min
    Our 200th Episode Spectactular

    Our 200th Episode Spectactular

    David and Tamler celebrate their 200th episode with bourbon and a return to their potty humor roots. First we talk about holes, zoom dicks, and the election. Then we relitigate our bitter debate (from episode 45) over gender, toys, and balanced play diets. Have we matured over all these years? Well it’s not for us to say…
    Sponsored By:
    BetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online
    environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad Wizards
    Links:
    Hole -- from Wolfram MathWorldGiovanni Kuan (@giovannikuan) • Instagram photos and videosVery Bad Wizards Episode 45: Rounded Brains and Balanced "Play Diets"Davis, J.T.M., Hines, M. How Large Are Gender Differences in Toy Preferences? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Toy Preference Research. Arch Sex Behav 49, 373–394 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-01624-7Fine, C., & Rush, E. (2018). “Why does all the girls have to buy pink stuff?” The ethics and science of the gendered toy marketing debate. Journal of Business Ethics, 149(4), 769-784.Stove, D. (1990). The intellectual capacity of women.Help train your child's brain according to gender | Express.co.uk[OC] I asked 1.6k people how many holes certain objects have. : dataisbeautiful

    • 1 hr 44 min
    When Philosophy Goes Sideways

    When Philosophy Goes Sideways

    David and Tamler check out some recent work in metaphysics and applied ethics. Does playing a Nina Simone song sideways show that Einstein was wrong about spacetime? Does a Dali painting nailed to the wall backwards have intrinsic value (see figure 1)? Is childhood bad for children? Do you have to be a child before you're an adult? Are we kidding? Is this a joke? We don't know but don't play this podcast sideways or it may lose its aesthetic value.
    Sponsored By:
    The Great Courses Plus: Never stop learning. Pursue your passion. Quench your curiosity. Embark on an educational endeavor. Watch thousands of streaming videos on hundreds of subjects. Promo Code: wizardsBetterHelp: You deserve to be happy. BetterHelp online counseling is there for you. Connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online
    environment. Promo Code: VBWSupport Very Bad Wizards
    Links:
    Ferguson, Z. (2020). A song turned sideways would sound as sweet. Analysis.Markosian, N. (2020). Sideways music. Analysis, 80(1), 51-59.Hannan, S. (2018). Why childhood is bad for children. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 35, 11-28.

    • 1 hr 39 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
2.1K Ratings

2.1K Ratings

dbayne2 ,

best podcast. not repugnant.

Wanted to update my review. As a former philosophy major who sadly went into law instead of philosophy, I've always regretted my choice and now just read philosphy as a hobby. A lonely hobby. This might surprise you, but nobody wants to hear about Parfit's Reasons and Persons over beer. But then I stumbled on Dave and Tamler. It isn't an exageration that a great joy in my life the past several years has been reading or watching whatever they're talking about in a new episode, thinking about it and what I got from it for a while, and finally listening to the show. It's like the best philosophy classes at my small college and, most importantly, helps me enjoy my hobby with other people who dig this nonsense as much as I do. Very thankful.

AtlasEquivocated ,

Life’s too short. Have an affair with a abhorrent philosophy podcast

Ive been listening to this podcast for 7 years and am just getting around to leaving a review because im a bad person.
There is so much to appreciate about this podcast. Over the years the content has changed significantly. It started very narrowly focused on philosophy and psychology topics that one might encounter in an undergraduate seminar, but with the depth, humor, and alacrity only possible by actual experts in their fields. As the podcast has aged, it has matured, and moved out of the neatly defined constraints of its conception to analyze interesting philosophical and psychological components of literature, movies, and other media.
Opening segments have always been light and fun, music by Peezus during the break segments still impresses me. In fact, Peez, i’ve been really impressed with your improved composition. I liked your beats before but felt they needed improved progression. I didnt want to call it out because I know it is a hobby and probably wouldnt be well received, but im genuinely delighted to hear your break’s progression and can tell you’ve continued to strive to improve as a producer. The final segments have maintained a quality, meaty, and substantive format. The presentation may vary with some segments being interviews, some literary analysis, and some begrudged, yet excellent, conceptual analysis.
I think it is fair to say that grappling with topics in the way the wizards do makes you a better person. I say this because they dont simply engage in a detached intellectual way, but try to bring the weight of their entire experience and expertise to bear on the topic of discussion from Straw Dogs and Mr. Robot, to the Gorgias with Agnes Collard, to empathy shaming with Paul Bloom. Their media recommendations HAVE NEVER FAILED ME. Every book, movie, or graphic novel discussed has opened a new world for me - Daytripper, The Lobster, In Bruges, Roshuman, Le Guin’s Omelas, Ted Chiange, Borges, etc. They are so consistent that when my wife and I dont know what to watch on multiple occasions she has asked if there was a Very Bad Wizards recommended movie we could watch.
I feel close to these guys. I have watched them grow and grown with them. They talked me out of Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson fandom - thats something. And I think that is largely due to their ability to subtly mock without being dismissive or blatantly disrespectful, and of course, by making short work of bad arguments. Despite the lip service they pay to misanthropy, they are positive individuals whose care and affection seep into everything they touch. Im still excited every time a new episode drops 7 years later.

I love you guys,

John

C.M. Talbert ,

I listen to you because you’re critical of the IDW, but don’t ton crazy about it

Social isolation is a very difficult thing. I struggle with it because I’m a mixed bag of political views. I either bite my tongue or nod politely and agree in most company in the last few years when politics comes up. I rarely feel accepted or psychologically safe in those circumstances.

With some of the “IDW” I’ve found like-minded people (in the sense of willing to tolerate a mixed of political views in a person). That’s not true across the board—some fans of various IDW figures are the opposite (e.g. those whose initials are DR, JBP and even MP).

But I need to be balanced and I need to hear how this looks to people from the outside. So your perspective on the IDW is meaningful to me because you’re critical of them and your criticism is very relevant. It gives me a perspective I wouldn’t have otherwise.

That being said, blaming them across the board for Jan 6th is irresponsible. If you listen to SH’s last two solo podcasts, for example, he pulls no punches in his criticism of Trump and those who literally treat Trump as a messianic figure.

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