Literature

Literary Minds

What can neuroscience tell us about novels, poems, and plays? Can fiction help us develop real-world cognitive skills? And can writers exploit our mental weaknesses—for our own good? These are some of the questions we'll be asking on this week’s show, “Your Brain on Literature.”

Should the Arts Be for All?

Should artists make artworks that are easy to understand? Or should there be challenging artworks out there, but free education to help us understand them? What, if anything, is the value of difficult paintings, poems, and novels? This week we’re thinking about “The Arts for All.”

Can Philosophy Help in a Crisis?

We are months into a global crisis that has claimed at least 300,000 lives around the world and left many others feeling isolated and alone. Can the arts and humanities help us find comfort, connection, and a sense of common purpose in these difficult times? In particular, can philosophy?

Should We Abandon the Canon?

Should we still be venerating works by Plato, Shakespeare, Woolf, and company as “great books”? Should we still be reading them at all? Or should we simply abandon the "Western canon"? These are the questions we're asking in this week's show.

Is Kanye a Philosopher?

Kanye West, best known for his music career, is now expanding into philosophy, as revealed in an interview with his interior designer. But the 'book' Kanye has in mind will find its medium not in printed pages, but in real-time tweets.