September 2016

Trust and Mistrust

Trust is one pattern of reliance, where the trusting person, or trustor, can’t control what the trusted person, or trustee, does, and may not even know what the trustee does at the time he does it, but plans on the trustee doing one thing rather than another. This pattern of reliance is no doubt essential to social life. But is it rational? Does trust really amount to being stupid, or helpless, or both?

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Dewey's Democracy

Dewey was probably the most important American philosopher of the twentieth century. He died in 1952, in his nineties. He influenced not only abstract philosophical issues – he was a pragmatist – but psychology and education and political philosophy. He was a public intellectual, but also a practical intellectual, who worked tirelessly, especially to transform education.

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Magical Thinking

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Do Religions Deserve Special Status?

The First Amendment to the US Constitution protects our right to say and publish whatever we think, but doesn’t in general guarantee the right to do any more than that. I can believe that people shouldn’t wear fedoras, and I can publish my view. But I can’t go around knocking fedoras off the heads of those that wear them, and I may get in trouble if I fire employees for wearing fedoras. But it seems to go further with respect to religion. In addition to ruling out the establishment of a state religion, it also guarantees “the right to the free exercise of [religion].” You cannot only preach what you believe, you can practice what you preach. But just what does this mean? Do we really treat religion in a special way? Should we?

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Election Special 2016 – Uncut

Happy Labor Day from your friendly neighboorhood producer. This weekend we present our first Election Special, a pre-produced epsidoe taking a (mostly) Trump-free look at some of the deeper issues raised by this year's presidential campaign. Once again I thought I'd offer a behind-the-scenes look (and listen) into the show's production.

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