Every once in a while I like to step out from behind the mixing board to give a behind-the-scenes look at some aspect of the program. For our annual end-of-year special, we tried something a bit different, though not unprecedented.
What Is It
What happened over the past 12 months that challenged our assumptions and made us think about things in new ways?
- The Year in Political Insurrection with former co-host and current Stanford Dean Debra Satz
- The Year in Space Tourism with Brian Green from Santa Clara University, author of Space Ethics
- The Year in the Post-Pandemic Workplace with Quill Kukla from Georgetown University, author of City Living: How Urban Spaces and Urban Dwellers Make One Another
...because the un-examined year is not worth reviewing!
In the last episode of 2021, Josh and Ray look at the philosophical significance of events and ideas from the past year. The philosophers are first joined by Debra Satz, Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University and a former co-host, who speaks about the January 6 insurrection on the Capitol and the threat to American democracy. Josh is skeptical that our current democracy will hold out for much longer, and Debra speaks about why people have been losing faith in institutions. Ray asks about those who feel wrongly disempowered, which Debra thinks is tied to how the news makes it more difficult to grasp real facts. Lastly, Josh, Ray, and Debra discuss the strengths of democracies over dictatorships.
Next, the philosophers welcome Brian Green, Director of Technology Ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, to the show to discuss ethical concerns with civilian space flights. Brian mentions how cost and safety measures are both immediate worries, both to individuals and to the industry as a whole. Josh worries about privatizing space travel and space debris, and Brian agrees that rule of law could be weakened if big corporations disrespect space treaties. Plus, space debris could eventually lead to debris rings, which would cut us off from outer space. Ray asks if we should send humans to space at all, and Brian points out that some missions need humans to be present while others do not.
In the last segment of the show, the co-hosts talk to Quill Kukla, Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University, about the post-pandemic workplace. Quill describes how having blurrier boundaries between people’s workspaces and home spaces increases accessibility and awareness of domestic, private lives. Ray asks about people who aren’t able to work from home, and Quill compares the traumatic, extended effects of COVID-19 with those from 9/11. Josh regrets the loss of serendipity that comes with constantly scheduling virtual meetings, but Quill is optimistic that other forms of spontaneous interactions will arise.
- Sixty-Second Philosopher (Seek to 46:13) → Ian Shoales runs through a long list of the many disasters in 2021.
Welcome to Philosophy Talk the program that questions everything...
...except your intelligence. I'm Ray Briggs.
And I'm Josh Landy, we're coming to you via the studios of KALW San Francisco Bay Area,