Recent Shows

  • Week of: 
    August 14, 2016
    What is it: 

    The Big Bang theory is the prevailing theory about the “birth” of the universe. It posits a singularity, or super high density state from which the entire universe expanded and continues to expand. But what exactly is the Big Bang, and what’s the evidence that it took place? How do we account for the “Big Bang state”? Was there something before the Big Bang? What does the theory posit about the future of the universe? And what role does philosophy play in answering these mysteries? John and Ken have a singular conversation with Katherine Freese from the University of Michigan, author of The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter.

    Part of our series A Philosophical Guide to the Cosmos.

    Katherine Freese, Professor of Physics, University of Michigan

  • Week of: 
    August 7, 2016
    First Aired: 
    October 27, 2013
    What is it: 

    Science aims tell us something about nearly everything, from the atoms in our cells to the motions of the stars. It assumes that knowledge is good for its own sake, and therefore takes as its sole purpose the acquisition of knowledge. But shouldn’t knowledge serve practical and ethical concerns, like ending conflict and feeding the hungry? Could some knowledge be interesting, but ultimately irrelevant? And isn’t there some knowledge we might be better off without, such as how to build nuclear weapons? John and Ken test their claims with UC Berkeley anthropologist Paul Rabinow. This program was recorded live at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco.

    Paul Rabinow, Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley

  • Week of: 
    July 31, 2016
    What is it: 

    Puns have been called both the highest and lowest form of humor. There is something about them that is at once painful and pleasurable, capable of causing either a cringe or a chuckle. But what exactly is it about word play that we find humorous? Is there something in particular about puns that makes them especially cringe-worthy? How does the humor of a pun compare to other types of jokes? We may know why the chicken crossed the road – but can we eggsplain what’s funny about it? John and Ken get punny with John Pollack, author of The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics.

    Author and former speechwriter John Pollack

John Perry and Ken Taylor

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