SHOUT OUT NOW!

Saturday, March 31, 2007 -- 5:00 PM
Philosophy Talk

Dear Philosophy Talkers:

I'm opening this blog entry for you to shout questions and comments for our SHOUT OUT show that will air later today. We'll monitor our e-mail as usual, but we'll also monitor this blog. You can shout to us, to each other, to the world. Tell us what's on your mind? What philosophical problems keep you awake at night? Where would you like to see Philosophy Talk go in the coming year?

We really are eager to hear from you.

Ken

Comments (16)


Guest's picture

Guest

Saturday, March 31, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

Foucault: A recommendation - Michel Foucault is r

Foucault:
A recommendation - Michel Foucault is regarded as a significant French philosopher, radical historian, political activist, and a gadfly to Noam Chomsky.
There is an instructor in the Bay Area who is an expert on the works of Foucault. His name is Josef Chytry and he teaches at UC Berkeley Extension and California College of the Arts in Oakland.
I've taken his classes on Foucault, Nietzsche, and Hegel. He is a profound spokesperson for these thinkers and his lectues have changed my perspective on how I view the world and the 'origins' of my thought.
He has also written an book entitled "The Aesthetic State- A Quest in Modern German Thought".
Here is his home page:
http://staff.haas.berkeley.edu/chytry/
He is a scholarly treasure for the Bay Area and deserves more recognition. I think your show would benefit from his appearance.
Anyway, please continue wth your program. Its the best!
Thomas Iwatsubo

Guest's picture

Guest

Monday, April 2, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

I'd really like to hear you guys talk about liar s

I'd really like to hear you guys talk about liar sentences and which response(s) you think are the most useful to the problem.
Michael Glawson

Guest's picture

Guest

Monday, April 2, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

Dear Ken and John, I?ve been listening to you

Dear Ken and John,
I?ve been listening to your shows quit some time now and every time I feel a little bit more enlightened.
I?ve got a pretty strange question for you, I?ve been asking this quite a lot to many different scientists, philosophers and even religious thinkers. But it seems not many people have thought about it? Maybe it?s a completely new way of thinking I?m proposing here, or maybe I?m completely wrong in my assumptions. I will leave that conclusion to you.
One of the main riddles in religious and philosophical though is the trinity. Somehow this magical trio of oneness can be found in our Abrahamic religions but also in the Dharmic religions. What caught my eye was the discussion in western philosophical thought that the trinity has to do with a certain force, especially when ik comes to the question of the so called Holy Ghost. I remember a philosopher, Michel Servet and others, claiming that they think it is a force.
In eastern thought there is plenty talk about the so called life forces. One that caught my eye was verse 42 from the Dao that states that from the Tao came the One, Two and the Three it continues to say that to balance the life forces we can create harmony.
My question:
When we define a force (in physics) it states that a force is something that makes an object move and/or accelerate, i.e. bring in motion. When I look up the definition of life I?m told that life has two distinct motions: one that makes life feed itself (described as having a metabolism) and one that makes life reproduce itself . A third force is often described by biological science as ?reacting to stimuli?. When I ask myself why I eat or why animals eat the answer is simple: when we do not eat we go hungry. The same can be sad for reproducing; I have sex because I?m sexually aroused, the same we can see in all animal life.
When we can assume that al animal life, including insects, fish, birds, us and other mammals are all being compelled to eat and to have sex by hunger and lust, can we not assume that all life forms have these impulses. Even though a tree doesn?t seem to be very hungry or excited, it does the same two things we and all other life forms do to keep evolution going. Another force that makes life move is fear.
Why is it that we do not identify Hunger, Lust & Fear as life forces? Hunger and Lust could, in my opinion, be easily seen as Yin/Yang, because hunger is pain and lust is pleasure, both are originally the result of either not eating or eating. Later on in life?s evolution the lust part has (in my view on purpose) spread to the sexual act, which is, again in my view, the original Will to Live.
If I?m right this means that life is an evolving consciousness with the inherent will to live, making us humans a reaction or strategy to survive something more catastrophic than minute environmental changes, like a meteor impact or the calamity of the end-perm extinction. The big turnaround or change we can see if we take hunger, lust and fear into account is the creation of the mammal, 210 million years ago (relatively recent in life?s history). The main difference between original life forms like fish, lizards etc and maamals is the curious fact that newly born mammals are not able to feed their hunger without ?the other? while all other life forms, even though there is some parenting involved, are at least able from the outset to physically move from A to B to feed themselves. Only mammals and birds cannot. When we take a look at what we call ?intelligent? animals it always are birds or mammals who are so called intelligent. The fact is that we humans only have mutual emotional relations with each other, other mammals and some birds. We somehow know instinctively that when we name our pet lizard it wont respond to our calling him. The only thing that connects mammals with birds is that they are in need of ?the other? to be fed from birth before we become independent.
Another, somewhat more humanistic argument for hunger, lust and fear as life forces, are our social, global problems; Hunger, war (fear), treatment of women (lust) and the environment (lust) Also, maybe a bit to soon, when we define Hunger, Lust and Fear as the life forces we define Good and Evil as in: what is suffering? Hunger and fear are inherent to suffering and if they are accepted as the life forces, thereby our original pain and pleasure, it?s easy to explain what evil is and what good is (the absence of evil?)
I can go on and on about this but maybe I?m going overboard? Could you answer the question of the life forces for me?
Sincerely,
Martijn van Galen Last

Guest's picture

Guest

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

How about Ex-Nihilo Creation AND THE VERY ACT OF P

How about Ex-Nihilo Creation AND THE VERY ACT OF PIONEERING as a form of Philosophy? Surely the need to PIONEER various things that become standard items is important for Philosophical research and discussion.
Amateur Philosopher in Supported Housing UK

Guest's picture

Guest

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

NB I love the Show wish I could download it to Jui

NB I love the Show wish I could download it to Juice where I just instantly click instead of aggro with ITunes.
Keep up the good work.Stanford doing this is a Service to Humanity.

Guest's picture

Guest

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

What happened to complexity theory?

What happened to complexity theory?

Guest's picture

Guest

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

How about a show about assumptions? If assumptio

How about a show about assumptions? If assumptions are
not explicitly expressed or are denied by the speaker
are we justified in presuming, even so, that
assumptions have been made? And if so, what is the
evidence?
Is our notion of assumption just based upon a presumption that thought has a logical form and that any statement is a kind of conclusion and so must have premises? Would we be justified in presuming a logical form for most thought?
It seems that we presume any speaker has a fund of
propositional beliefs that have some kind of
(?) relation to the content of their statement.
(you might bring in Searle's "backround" here) Could the relation be considered a sort of causal relation? If not, what kind of relation is it? If we were to describe the process of thought and speech in terms other than biological---neurons and so on--would it necessarily
include assumptions? What explanatory power does
the presumption of assumptions give us?
If we see assumptions in ourselves are we justified in seeing them in others? (ok, this strays into"how do we know there are other minds" territory--but any
positing of mind does so)
Is a conclusion just a sort of assumption---a leap of faith from premises? ; an assumption that premises do lead to the conclusion--? Can we say why a conclusion can be so compelling to us? Why should we necessarily assume that anything necessarily follows from anything else? Assumptions can be wrong---cannot then our assumptions about assumptions be wrong?
Finally, do we not all daily worship at the church of the presumptuous assumption?

Guest's picture

Guest

Thursday, April 12, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

I have come to the conclusion that philosophy is a

I have come to the conclusion that philosophy is a pursuit -- it is the pursuit of (and the love of) unanswerable questions.
Demonstrably answerable questions that have not yet been answered are of some interest, but once their answerabliliy is ascertained, they are, typically, left for others to pursue.
Demonstrably unanswerable questions are also of some interest, but not for long, after their unanswerability is demonstrated. They are typically said to lack something essential to the notion of a question, such as meaning.
It is those questions that resist answers, and that also resist a demonstration on their answerability, that are most fervently pursued, even loved. The wisdom of philosophy lies in this.

Guest's picture

Guest

Monday, April 16, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

I will second Thomas Iwatsubo's suggestion: a show

I will second Thomas Iwatsubo's suggestion: a show about Michel Foucault would be interesting. I don't know Josef Chytry (although he sounds like someone worth listening to on this topic), but another local Foucault expert is Patricia Parker of Stanford University's English Department. She taught courses on Foucault's work for years, and I always wondered why. That makes it sound as though I think she shouldn't have done so, but I don't mean it that way. And I could *guess* why, but I'd rather hear her explain it.
If you want a more general topic that includes both Foucault and Chomsky, it might be power, and in particular, whether it is more useful or truthful to think of power as something exercised by specially strong or privileged individuals and small communities of self-serving collaborators (as Chomsky seems to) or as a social and cultural force independent of (or formative of) of human "subjects," a force that incidentally works through actual persons, insofar as humans are social animals.
Should we think that powerful people *use* their power (and therefore *should* use it well and wisely) or does power, in effect, use people, constituting them as what we simplistically and thoughtlessly call "individuals"? Was Tolstoy asking this question in War and Peace with reference to Napoleon and the "great man" theory of history? Does Chomsky's view encourage a "committed" populace, dedicated to the greater social good, and hopeful that society can be made better? Or does it attempt to perpetuate naivete and misunderstanding? And is Foucault's view of power a step forward in our understanding of ourselves, or does it lead to despair and apathy in the face of injustice?

Michael Andersen's picture

Michael Andersen

Friday, April 20, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

Hi Ken & John. As I've written before, I'd like

Hi Ken & John.
As I've written before, I'd like to again suggest something on "Authenticity"--What does it mean to be an authentic individual living in today's technological, consumer-capitalist societies? How do contemporary views of authenticity fit with older conceptions of a good life? What do we see when we shift the focus from right or wrong acts to what it is good to be? Charles Taylor's work on this--esp. "Ethics of Authenticity"--would be a great focus, together with insights from Heidegger, Sartre, Iris Murdoch, Charles Guignon, or Harry Frankfurt.
Such a focus on Being, rather than doing or acting, would be really interesting for me and my students (who are often cynical about dry, formulaic ways of doing philosophy or ethics). We Americans seem to have lost the ethos of shaping our lives against a meaningful backdrop of culture, within a community that means something more than economic activity or instrumental reason. (Witness the popularity of Robert Bellah's "Habits of the Heart" in the 80s, or Robert Putnam's 2001 book "Bowling Aone.") This is particularly poignant for so many of my students who are turned off by organized religion, New Age slogans or Self-Help mantras, who are very scientifically-minded yet still crave a mode of being which gives definition and purpose to their lives. (They prefer ironic movies like "Donnie Darko" and "Little Miss Sunshine," which seem to nail the theme of growing up in an insane world, to typical Hollywood fare.) They're also suspicious of American individualism, with its shallow emphasis on material pleasure or personal fulfillment; yet, at the same time, they are similarly skeptical of a flat, sterile scientism that many atheists adopt.
So, someone like Taylor or Murdoch, with their emphasis on a philosophical idea of the Good, or perhaps Alisdair MacIntyre, who stresses the importance of a cultural tradition, offer intelligent challenges to the empty relativism or religious fundamentalism so prevalent today. Do you know of a potential guest who could help you investigate this precarious territory? I'm sure you would get some juicy conversation going.
Thanks for listening. Great show!
--Michael Andersen, High School Philosophy teacher, Vancouver, WA.

Guest's picture

Guest

Monday, April 23, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

I would really like to hear Judith Butler on your

I would really like to hear Judith Butler on your program. Disciplinary politics aside (as these issues should be easily taken from the foreground in this program), I think she could be a very interesting, active participant for many issues of political philosophy. Also it's a very short drive...

Guest's picture

Guest

Thursday, April 26, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

There's been more than one episode of PT dealing w

There's been more than one episode of PT dealing with sports in some way or other - its philosophical or aesthetic dimension. How about an episode treating martial arts and Western philosophy?
Quite a bit has been written about the philosophical side of martial arts, usually a straightforward account of how Buddhism and Taoism inform the traditions; but it seems to me that more questions can be asked of the subject:
-Do the martial arts traditions have something to say about broader issues, like just war and politics? (After all, war is a tool of the state.) Is there a univocal answer among martial artists? (I'd say no.)
-What makes a martial art what it is? What (if anything) differentiates it from boxing, wrestling, or quarterstaff fighting?
-Given the rise in popularity of MMA (mixed martial arts) matches, has there been a decline in the traditions?
-Bruce Lee held that the body expresses a world-view; your fighting style reflects the way you see things. Has there been much study of non-verbal communication/language, and is there a way of doing philosophy - with one's fist?
-Lee's favorite Western thinker was Spinoza. How can Western philosophy contribute to martial arts today?
You can probably find questions more amenable to the show than these. These are just my two cents' worth for a fine program; hopefully they're interesting to you too. Keep up the good work!

Guest's picture

Guest

Thursday, April 26, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

Another thought: how about something on psychoanal

Another thought: how about something on psychoanalysis and philosophy?

Guest's picture

Guest

Friday, April 27, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

Interesting question about the martial arts. What

Interesting question about the martial arts.
What differentiates the martial arts from western forms of boxing, wrestling, etc. is that true martial arts incorporates mind, body, and spirit into one combined energy that is free from thought, feelings, and time. Normally one?s mind, body, and spirit are each focused on different things for different reasons. In Zen, there is no time, there is no thought? the martial artist reacts without thought, without mind and lives only in the present. Thinking of a tactic or calculating a move should the opponent do this or that is in itself distracting and counterproductive. The true martial artist becomes one energy with the universe.
I recently read two books that give a very interesting perspective on this subject:
?Karate-do, Traditional Training for All Styles? by Kevin L. Seiler and Donald J. Seiler; and ?Everything,? by Robert T. Wood.

Guest's picture

Guest

Wednesday, May 2, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

Dear Ken and John, I was NOT referring to Creati

Dear Ken and John,
I was NOT referring to Creationism rather how real created change comes about that is standard setting!

Guest's picture

Guest

Monday, May 7, 2007 -- 5:00 PM

Is this podcast available in mp3? (like a lot of

Is this podcast available in mp3? (like a lot of people, I listen to podcasts mostly on my mp3 player.)

 

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