What books should thoughtful people read this summer? Josh and Ray talk to the authors and editors of new and recent books as they comp...
Your friendly neighborhood Senior Prodcuer here, once again stepping out from behind the mixing board to bring you some bonus content from this week's 17th (!) annual Summer Reading special. Naturally we're most eager for you to listen to the edited broadcast and podcast, but there's always good stuff from each of the conversations we record for these multi-guest episodes that had to be left on the cutting-room floor.
This year's program actually begins on TV. Josh and Ken had previously talked about The Good Place on our 2018 episode, The New Golden Age of Television, with one the philosophers consulted by the show's producers, Pamela Hieronymi from UCLA. This year Josh and Ray went straight to the source and spoke to the show's creator, Michael Schur, about his own new book, How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question. [Spoiler alert: there is not one correct answer to every moral question.]
For the next book on their list, the hosts revisited the topic of an epiosde from last year, Effective Altruism—a moral theory about doing the most good you can. Our guest for that program, Theron Pummer from the University of St. Andrews, had just written a book and was enthusiastic about the subject. But the theory has also been tied to some high-profile financial scandals and questionable pronouncements over the past year, so Josh and Ray were eager to talk to one of the editors of a new volume of essays critiquing Effective Altruism, old friend of the show Lori Gruen from Welseyan University.
And then for something completely different... Our final summer reading selection is Recording Russia: Trying to Listen in the Nineteenth Century by Gabriella Safran, Josh's colleague in the Stanford Division of Languages, Cultures, and Literatures (and current Senior Associate Dean of Humanities and Arts). The book looks at how middle-class Russian writers began trying to represent the "voice of the people" in their novels—an issue with surprising resonances today.