481 episodes

Vox Conversations brings you discussions between the brightest minds and the deepest thinkers; conversations that will cause you to question old assumptions and think about the world and our role in it in a new light. Join Sean Illing, Jamil Smith, and their colleagues across the Vox newsroom for new episodes every Monday and Thursday.

Vox Conversations Vox

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.5 • 9.5K Ratings

Vox Conversations brings you discussions between the brightest minds and the deepest thinkers; conversations that will cause you to question old assumptions and think about the world and our role in it in a new light. Join Sean Illing, Jamil Smith, and their colleagues across the Vox newsroom for new episodes every Monday and Thursday.

    A scientist's case for "woo-woo"

    A scientist's case for "woo-woo"

    Sean Illing talks with David Hamilton, a scientist and former research chemist turned author, about his new book Why Woo-Woo Works, in which he offers a scientifically-grounded defense of alternative practices like meditation, crystals, and the law of attraction. They discuss the placebo effect and its far-reaching consequences for our understanding of the mind-body connection, the therapeutic potential of positive thinking, and why so much of what is called "woo-woo" still lies mostly outside the bounds of conventional Western medicine.
    Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox
    Guest: Dr. David R. Hamilton (@DrDRHamilton), author
    References: 


    Why Woo-Woo Works: The Surprising Science Behind Meditation, Reiki, Crystals, and Other Alternative Practices by David R. Hamilton, PhD (Hay House; 2021)


    The Magic Power of Your Mind by Walter M. Germain (1940)


    "The mechanism of placebo analgesia" by J.D. Levine, N.C. Gordon, H.L. Fields (Lancet; Sept. 1978)


    How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body by David R. Hamilton, PhD (Hay House; 2018)

    The British Society of Lifestyle Medicine


    "Effects of Colorants and Flavorants on Identification, Perceived Flavor Intensity, and Hedonic Quality of Fruit-Flavored Beverages and Cake" by C.N. DuBose, A.V. Cardello, O. Maller (Journal of Food Science 45; 1980)


    "Writing About Emotional Experiences as a Therapeutic Process" by James W. Pennebaker (Psychological Science; 1997)


    "Psychology's Replication Crisis Is Running Out of Excuses" by Ed Yong (Atlantic; Nov. 19, 2018)


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    This episode was made by: 


    Producer: Erikk Geannikis


    Editor: Amy Drozdowska


    Engineer: Paul Robert Mounsey


    Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: Amber Hall


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    • 1 hr
    Imagine a future with no police

    Imagine a future with no police

    Vox's Fabiola Cineas talks with author, lawyer, and organizer Derecka Purnell about her recent book Becoming Abolitionists. They discuss Derecka's journey to defending the idea of police abolition, and what that position really entails. They explore questions about the historical and social role of policing in society, how to imagine a future where we radically rethink our system of criminal justice, and how we can acknowledge and incorporate current data about crime—while still rethinking our inherited assumptions about police.
    Host: Fabiola Cineas (@FabiolaCineas), reporter, Vox
    Guests: Derecka Purnell (@dereckapurnell), author
    References: 


    Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom by Derecka Purnell (Astra House; 2021)


    The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution by C.L.R. James (Vintage; 1989)


    Black Reconstruction in America 1860–1880 by W.E.B. Du Bois (1935)


    "One American city's model of policing reform means building 'social currency'" by Nathan Layne (June 12, 2020; Reuters)


    "The Camden Police Department is Not a Model for Policing in the Post-George Floyd Era" by Brendan McQuade (June 12, 2020; The Appeal)


    "Murder Rose by Almost 30% in 2020. It's Rising at a Slower Rate in 2021" by Jeff Asher (Sept. 22, 2021; New York Times)


    Enjoyed this episode? Rate Vox Conversations ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts.
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    Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts
    This episode was made by: 


    Producer: Erikk Geannikis


    Editor: Amy Drozdowska


    Engineer: Paul Robert Mounsey


    Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: Amber Hall


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    • 1 hr 5 min
    Novelist Lauren Groff on the other Matrix

    Novelist Lauren Groff on the other Matrix

    Vox's Constance Grady talks with novelist Lauren Groff about her latest book, the National Book Award finalist Matrix, before a virtual audience for the Vox Book Club. They discuss the enigmatic historical figure at the center of the novel, the politics of women-led power structures, and the pros and cons of writing a good sex scene.
    Host: Constance Grady (@constancegrady), staff writer, Vox
    Guests: Lauren Groff (@legroff), author
    References: 


    Matrix by Lauren Groff (2021; Riverhead)


    "In Lauren Groff's Matrix, medieval nuns build a feminist utopia" by Constance Grady (Oct. 15, 2021; Vox)


    Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (2016; Riverhead)


    The Lays of Marie de France (tr. Eugene Mason)


    Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments by Saidiya Hartman (2019; Norton)


    Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore (2014; Vintage)


    Arcadia by Lauren Groff (2012; Voice)


    Enjoyed this episode? Rate Vox Conversations ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts.
    Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of Vox Conversations by subscribing in your favorite podcast app.
    Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts
    This episode was made by: 


    Producer: Erikk Geannikis


    Editor: Amy Drozdowska


    Engineer: Paul Robert Mounsey


    Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: Amber Hall


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    • 47 min
    Are we living in a simulation?

    Are we living in a simulation?

    Sean Illing talks with philosopher David Chalmers about virtual worlds and the nature of reality, and other topics that stem from Chalmers's new book Reality+. In this far-reaching discussion, Sean and Prof. Chalmers get into the makeup of human consciousness, the question of whether we're living in a computer simulation, and — of course — The Matrix. Are digital worlds genuine realities, or will their proliferation lead to a troublesome turning away from the physical world?
    Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox
    Guest: David Chalmers, University Professor of Philosophy and Neural Science, NYU; co-director, Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness
    References: 


    Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy by David J. Chalmers (Norton; 2022)


    Meditations on First Philosophy by René Descartes (1641)


    "Are You Living In a Computer Simulation?" by Nick Bostrom (Philosophical Quarterly vol. 53 (211); 2003)


    The Matrix (1999), dir. by The Wachowskis; The Matrix Resurrections (2021), dir. by Lana Wachowski


    Free Guy (2021), dir. by Shawn Levy


    Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (1992)


    Anarchy, State, and Utopia by Robert Nozick (1974)


    Enjoyed this episode? Rate Vox Conversations ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts.
    Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of Vox Conversations by subscribing in your favorite podcast app.
    Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts
    This episode was made by: 


    Producer: Erikk Geannikis


    Editor: Amy Drozdowska


    Engineer: Paul Robert Mounsey


    Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: Amber Hall


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    • 1 hr 8 min
    Rep. Jamie Raskin on living through the unthinkable, twice

    Rep. Jamie Raskin on living through the unthinkable, twice

    Vox's Dylan Matthews talks with Congressman Jamie Raskin about the tragic loss of his son Tommy, who was twenty-five years old when he died at the end of 2020. Rep. Raskin also speaks about the insurrection on January 6th, 2021, and his role as floor manager for Trump's second impeachment trial. They discuss the passions that Tommy cultivated and shared with the world, the experience of being in the Capitol as it was stormed by rioters, and the ongoing work of the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.
    Host: Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt), Senior Correspondent, Vox
    Guest: Jamie Raskin (@RepRaskin), U.S. Representative (D-MD, 8th District); author
    References: 


    Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy by Jamie Raskin (Harper; 2022)

    “Politics as a Vocation,” Max Weber (1919)


    Enjoyed this episode? Rate Vox Conversations ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts.
    Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of Vox Conversations by subscribing in your favorite podcast app.
    Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts
    This episode was made by: 


    Producer: Erikk Geannikis


    Editor: Amy Drozdowska


    Engineer: Paul Robert Mounsey


    Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: Amber Hall


    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 57 min
    Best of: Why fascism in America isn't going away

    Best of: Why fascism in America isn't going away

    Vox's Sean Illing talks to Yale professor and author Jason Stanley about why American democracy provides such fertile soil for fascism, how Donald Trump demonstrated how easy it was for our country to flirt with a fascist future and what we can do about it.
    Correction (2/1/21): Professor Stanley suggested in this conversation that West Virginia declined to expand the Medicaid option in 2013. In fact, the state did expand the program and has gradually added enrollment since 2013.
    Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox
    Guest: Jason Stanley (@jasonintrator), Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy, Yale University; author
    References: 


    How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them by Jason Stanley (Random House; 2018)


    How Propaganda Works by Jason Stanley (Princeton; 2015)


    Enjoyed this episode? Rate Vox Conversations ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts.
    Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of Vox Conversations by subscribing in your favorite podcast app.
    Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts
    This episode was made by: 


    Producer: Erikk Geannikis


    Editor: Amy Drozdowska


    Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: Amber Hall


    Vox Audio Fellow: Victoria Dominguez


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    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
9.5K Ratings

9.5K Ratings

Grape today, grape tomorrow ,

Honestly has only gotten better with two new hosts

Stay fantastic y’all

noslovd ,

Challenge the guests

Even if you lean left of center, a lot of these guests are out of touch with reality. Points easily challenged with evidence rarely, if ever, are. It seems the hosts are so entrenched in their own beats that they lack perspective. It would be nice to have interviewers that can speak to a range of topics like on The Weeds and challenge the guests with their own knowledge on the topics.

lprevost ,

Disappointed - too much assumed anti-semitism

I lean right so I wanted to get a left of center view of George Soros so I can understand him and his intentions.

The podcast “who is George Soros?“ started out strong as Zack and Emily were both well read and informed. In the first third, I learned a lot about Soros as a teenager in Hungary avoiding Nazi oppression and later as a young finance genius.

But after the first break, Zack and Emily’s worldviews and opinions took over. I was hoping to learn why Soros backs urban DAs who seem to want to destroy society.

But unfortunately Zack and Emily spent the middle third making unprovable accusations by discrediting his enemies as “obviously antisemitic.” Their rant was based on their incredible ability to see into others hearts and understand their intent. They rolled out all the liberal tropes including bigotry, dog whistlery, and other unprovable views. It became opinion without fact and they lost me.

This is unfortunate because I’m not Jewish and I can’t possibly understand the world that very well may be anti-Semitic. Similar to the left’s default label of racism, they lost me while trying to understand because they resorted to calling their enemies names without educating me. Their world view may even be correct but their approach was ineffective.

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