June 2020

Celebrating Our 500th Episode

Philosophy Talk just celebrated our 500th episode. Quite an accomplishment from the point of view of the 1st episode. Let me reminisce for a bit, going back in time to when I first had the idea for the program, getting Ken Taylor on board, creating a pilot episode, and finally getting broadcast in 2004.

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The Ethics of Pet Keeping

Do we really have the right to own our fellow creatures? Are there some animals that should never be kept as pets? Is it okay to declaw a cat, clip a bird’s wings, or dock a dog's tail? These are some of the questions we're asking on this week's show.

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Demonizing Black Men

Many of us watched in horror as a Minnesota policeman casually kneeled on George Floyd’s neck until he lay limp and lifeless on the pavement. This is a manifestation of what I call demonizing dehumanization. Almost always, it is men from racially oppressed groups who are dehumanized in this way.

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Your Racist Mental Habits

A flurry of studies have shown that even self-avowed non-racists can still be implicitly biased against black people. There is not much agreement about how to think about the nature of this ‘implicit’ phenomenon, but one possibility is that our racist biases are best understood as a perceptual habit.

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Covid and the Veil of Ignorance

As I’ve struggled to find a film to write about, I thought I’d write about a feature of Covid that is particularly philosophically relevant: you can be infected but be asymptomatic. So you must make decisions under uncertainty, not knowing whether you are sick or contagious—victim or vector.

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Naïve Racism

Social psychology has shown that people tend to generalize on incidents of good behavior for their in-group, but generalize on bad behavior for members of out-groups. This tendency leads to a form of racism I call "naïve" because the racist person has no idea that their minds are operating this way.

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