Recent Shows

  • Week of: 
    May 15, 2016
    First Aired: 
    October 20, 2013
    What is it: 

    A trolley is approaching a track junction, and you happen to be standing by the switch. If you do nothing, the trolley will kill a number of innocent children playing on the tracks.  If you throw the switch, it will kill only one fat man, who is sleeping on the tracks. The so-called Trolley Problem sheds light on many claims in moral philosophy: utilitarian positions (doing what's best for the greatest number), the difference between doing and letting happen (being more obliged to not cause harm than to prevent harm), and issues of "collateral damage" (killing one person to save others). John and Ken climb aboard with Thomas Cathcart, author of The Trolley Problem, or Would You Throw the Fat Guy Off the Bridge: A Philosophical Conundrum.

    Author Thomas Cathcart

  • Week of: 
    May 8, 2016
    What is it: 

    Addressing our nation’s history of racial injustice can be a truly backbreaking endeavor. Race-based affirmative action is usually thought of as one such effort, and colleges and universities often use it in their admissions process. However, affirmative action does seem to lower standards for certain under-represented minorities like Blacks and Hispanics. Should we think of affirmative action as patronizing those minorities, or rectifying the injustices they face? Is affirmative action enough to redress racial injustice, or is it simply the best we can do for the time being? John and Ken welcome Glenn Loury from Brown University, author of The Anatomy of Racial Inequality.

    Glenn Loury, Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics, Brown University

  • Week of: 
    May 1, 2016
    What is it: 

    The United Nations predicts human population growth will surpass 9 billion around 2050. We know the consequences of overpopulation have the potential to be catastrophic in terms of our continued existence on the planet, with negative environmental effects already visible. Limiting the number of children we have seems like one obvious way to tackle the problem. But is there a moral imperative to limit reproduction? Is having multiple children a right, and if so is it one we should give up for the greater good? What can we do ethically about controlling population? John and Ken have more than a word with Sarah Conly from Bowdoin College, author of One Child: Do We Have a Right to More?

    Sarah Conly, Professor of Philosophy, Bowdoin College

John Perry and Ken Taylor

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