October 2017

Philosophy and Shelley's Frankenstein

With its 200th anniversary fast approaching, it might be time to revisit Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Check out this audio clip from the Philosopher's Zone, in which the hosts discuss major themes and the predominant philosophies of the novel's day.

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Race Matters

Do black lives really matter in America? Indeed, have they ever mattered, in our sordid racial history? And what, if anything, can we do to make sure that black lives matter today? These are just some of the questions we address on this week’s episode that we are calling “Race Matters.”

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To Retract or Not to Retract

Third World Quarterly, a journal that boasts Noam Chomsky on its editorial board, recently published, then withdrew, “The Case for Colonialism,” by Bruce Gilley when death threats were made against the journal's editors. But was the journal right to retract the piece?

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Chomsky vs Foucault [VIDEO]

Watch this classic, must-see debate between two of the most prominent intellectuals of the 20th century: Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault. The hour-long debate traverses a broad intellectual course—from human nature and objective truth to Marxism and the value of justice.

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A Moral Case for Meat

From Peter Singer's Animal Liberation to arguments offered by the ancient Greeks and Hindus, many philosophers and environmentalists have made convincing cases against the practice of eating meat. But could there be a moral case in favor of it?

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#FrancisOnFilm: Battle of the Sexes

From the ancient Greeks, philosophical writing about sport has been rooted in theories of virtue and the good. Discussions in this genre regard sport as a form of human excellence. On versions of this view, excluding or marginalizing women in sports is shutting them out from opportunities for excellence.

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Decolonizing Philosophy

It's clear that many of the prevailing intellectual traditions throughout the world are disproportionately influenced by Western (European, Christian, white) ideas. So how can we take up the project of decolonizing philosophy?

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The Internet of Things

What will life be like when every road you travel, every device you own, every building you enter is connected to the internet? Will these developments transform our world in ways that enrich our lives? Or will they just create more opportunities for hackers, corporations, and governments to pry into every aspect of our lives?

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Harmful Jobs, Net Impact

Scott Pruit offers you a job at the EPA. His agenda is to roll back regulations that help protect the environment. So what should you do? Take the job and try to change the EPA from the inside? Or would it be more productive to work for an environmental agency whose efforts you support?

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Frege: The Invisible Anti-Semite

It is a little known fact that the German philosopher was a hard-core right-wing, anti-democrat, anti-liberal, racist, nationalist anti-Semite. While he died before the rise of Hitler, one can only speculate how he would've responded.

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Your Comment: A World Without Work

We're continuing to get some great responses to our recent show, A World Without Work, including this email from Paul R. If you have questions or comments on a show, feel free to send us an email and we might just feature it here on the blog.

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How does Consciousness Happen?

How exactly does consciousness occur? Neuroscientist Anil Seth argues that it is a controlled hallucination. Having less to do with intelligence than we often think, consciousness depends on how the brain predicts its world to operate.

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On Our Cosmic Insignificance

Does learning about the inconceivably large universe mean that we must doubt the significance of human life on this planet? Is there a way to account for the intuition that we are just a microscopic blip in the universe and avoid nihilism?

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Getting Rid of "Racism"

Why on earth would anybody want to get rid of the word “racism”? It seems like a perfectly fine word. In fact, it seems like a morally valuable word. If racism is a morally bad thing, then having the language to address it—to track it, analyze it, condemn it, and call it out—must be a good thing, right?

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Your Question: A World Without Work

We had a great response from listeners to our recent show, A World Without Work. Katherine B had a number of fantastic questions, so I asked our guest, Juliana Bidadanure, as well as our hosts, Debra and Ken, to respond to their favorite one.

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