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Philosophy Talk celebrates the value of the examined life. Each week, our philosophers invite you to join them in conversation on a wide variety of issues ranging from popular culture to our most deeply-held beliefs about science, morality, and the human condition. Philosophy Talk challenges listeners to identify and question their assumptions and to think about things in new ways. We are dedicated to reasoned conversation driven by human curiosity. Philosophy Talk is accessible, intellectually stimulating, and most of all, fun!
Philosophy Talk is produced by KALW on behalf of Stanford University, as part of its Public Humanities Initiative.
Philosophy Talk celebrates the value of the examined life.
John Perry is the Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Stanford University, and a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at University of California Riverside. He is author of over 100 articles and books on the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. He received a Jean Nicod Prize (France), a Humboldt Prize (Germany), and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1983, he co-founded Stanford's Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI) and served as its director. He also wrote the internet’s most popular essay on procrastination.
Ken Taylor (1954-2019) was the co-founder of Philosophy Talk and its co-host for almost fifteen years. He was the Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University and director of Stanford's interdisciplinary program in Symbolic Systems. His work lies at the intersection of the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind, with an occasional foray into the history of philosophy. He is the author of many books and articles, including Truth and Meaning, Reference and the Rational Mind, and Referring to the World.
Josh Landy is the Andrew B. Hammond Professor of French, Professor of Comparative Literature, and co-director of the Literature and Philosophy Initiative at Stanford University. He joined the Philosophy Talk team as co-host in 2017 when John Perry retired from the show. Among many other publications, he is the author of Philosophy as Fiction: Self, Deception, and Knowledge in Proust and How to Do Things with Fictions. He is currently writing a second book on Proust for Oxford’s Very Short Introductions series.
Ray Briggs is a Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University. Their research explores how formal models can help us reason better about practical and theoretical matters; they are particularly interested in decision theory, measurement theory, and the philosophy of probability. In addition to over 20 philosophy articles, Ray has published two poetry collections and been nominated for a Pushcart.
Debra Satz is the Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society at Stanford University and dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences. She is a political philosopher whose work addresses contemporary public policy debates. In addition to authoring many articles and co-editing books, she is the author of Why Some Things Should Not be for Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets and co-author of Economic Analysis, Moral Philosophy and Public Policy.
Laura Maguire is Philosophy Talk's Director of Research, editor-in-chief of Philosophers' Corner, and an occassional co-host. She hails from Dublin, Ireland, but has called the Bay Area home for decades. After graduating with distinction at Trinity College Dublin, she earned her PhD in Philosophy at Stanford University. She has taught in Stanford's Philosophy Department, Introduction to the Humanities program, and Structured Liberal Education program.
Born and raised in Montreal, Devon studied medieval Judeo-Portuguese manuscripts and earned a PhD in Linguistics from Cornell University before pursuing radio professionally. Since then he has been the primary studio producer for Philosophy Talk, while also contributing as a writer, editor, occasional Roving Philosophical Reporter, and manager of the program's day-to-day operations.
Merle Kessler is a writer, humorist, and performer, best known perhaps by his pen name, Ian Shoales. As Ian Shoales he has been churning out cranky yet strangely humorous commentaries since 1979. First heard on NPR's All Things Considered, he has been featured on Morning Edition, ABC's Nightline, and the online magazine, Salon. In addition, his pieces have been published in the New York Times, LA Times, the San Francisco Examiner, USA Today, the Washington Post, and the Minneapolis Tribune, among other publications.
Holly J. McDede is the criminal justice reporter for KALW public radio in San Francisco. She studied Creative Writing and Literature at the University of East Anglia in Norfolk, England, where she wrote her dissertation on Don Quixote and a radio drama about public radio. She also works as an editor and producer at KCBS radio, sometimes very late at night when it’s difficult not to ponder life’s existential questions.
David Livingstone Smith is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of London, Kings College, where he worked on Freud’s philosophy of mind and psychology. His current research is focused on dehumanization, race, propaganda, and related topics.
Neil Van Leeuwen is an empirically-oriented philosopher of mind at Georgia State University. He did his graduate work at Oxford University, where he studied classics, and at Stanford University, where he studied philosophy. Prior to his appointment at Georgia State, he held postdoctoral fellowships at Rutgers University and Tufts University. He has also taught at University of Johannesburg, where he has an ongoing appointment as Senior Fellow.
Antonia Peacocke is currently a Bersoff Faculty Fellow in the Philosophy Department at New York University and is looking forward to joining the Philosophy Department at Stanford in 2019 as an Assistant Professor. She writes about philosophy of mind, epistemology, metaphysics, and aesthetics—especially as they relate to literature and poetry. Recently she has written about special first-personal knowledge, the nature of aesthetic value, and how mental actions can have several contents at once. She writes short stories as well as philosophy.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Greatness then, is not an act, but a habit” ― Aristotle
“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!” ― J.R.R. Tolkien
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” ― Dr. Seuss
“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” ― Plato
“Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.” ― Isaac Asimov, Foundation
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