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David and Tamler explore the many variations of simulation theory, the view that our universe is just a computer generated model created by an advanced civilization that has reached “technological maturity.” What does the growing popularity of simulation theories reveal about contemporary life? Are any of the arguments for simulation theory compelling or are they just post-hoc ways of justifying what you already believe on faith? If we are living in a simulation, does that mean we can go around killing people? Would it change anything about how we should live? Rodney Ascher’s (Room 237, The Nightmare) excellent documentary "A Glitch in the Matrix" gets the discussion going. Plus the return of the VBW does conceptual analysis segment - a careful, rigorous, systematic inquiry into the concept “cringe.”* *Note: if you think the opening segment is itself cringe, that’s because we’re doing seventh dimensional Zoomer meta shit and you just didn’t get it.
We welcome Paul Bloom to talk about the first season of "Severance," the new mind-bending and mind-splitting TV series on Apple TV+. What happens when you separate your home life from your work life? Do you create a completely different person? Is it a form of self-slavery? How important is autobiographical memory to your identity? And what’s the deal with the break room… and the goats? Plus, what happens when you combine the obsessions of evolutionary psychology with the methodological problems of social psychology? You (finally) get an explanation for the female orgasm. Special Guest: Paul Bloom.
Panpsychism didn't give us river spirits or mischievous sootballs, so this time we go straight to the source - a defense of animism, and in a top 10 analytic philosophy journal. Could a failed argument for the existence of God establish the existence of trees and mountains with “interiority” and “social characteristics”? Tamler wants to believe, but is the argument that'll push him over the edge?  Plus – speaking of top journals, a doozy of social psych article: Is forgiveness better than revenge at rehumanizing the self? Let's check the voodoo dolls to find out. Tamler is delighted by David’s reaction to this one.
David and Tamler conclude their discussion of "The Trial," Franz Kafka's darkly comic vision of an opaque and impenetrable bureaucracy that comes for us all in the end. Plus we interrupt our previously scheduled opening segment because apparently something happened at the Oscars last week.
David and Tamler wander through the bewildering dream-like world of Franz Kafka’s "The Trial." In part one of a two-part discussion we discuss the circumstances of its publication, the various interpretative approaches that can be taken to the novel, and all the ways that Kafka’s prose gets under your skin, making you feel what’s happening even if you don’t fully understand it. Recorded in the decidedly un-Kafka-esque location of Nosara, Costa Rica – thanks to the Harmony Hotel for having us back! Plus – Social Psychologists for Peace send an open letter to Vladimir Putin urging him to reverse course on the tragic invasion of Ukraine. Putin seems intent on toppling the Ukranian government but has he considered Sherif et al (1961), Tajfel (1977), Festinger (1954), and Brewer (1991)?
It’s the topic voted on by our beloved Patreon patrons, panpsychism! David and Tamler delve into the resurgent debate over whether consciousness is the fundamental stuff that makes up the universe. We hoped we might be entering Miyazaki land - river spirits, benevolent radishes, a universal mind. But is this just the same old philosophy of mind debate with different words? Are there any stakes to this debate or is it purely terminological? Plus – we answer some last-minute questions from listeners on dissertations, Ukraine, pseudoscience, and the music from "The Shield."
Many of us think that art is subjective, but at the same time it seems like some artistic judgments are better than others. Do you think Crash deserved to receive an award for Best Picture? Did you like Season 2 of Ted Lasso? Well you’re wrong. So how do we reconcile these two conflicting attitudes about art? David and Tamler turn to David Hume’s classic essay Of the Standard of Taste (link in notes) for help. Will Pizarro finally see the error of his ways on Straw Dogs? Plus a doozy of a medical ethics paper – should we allow people to change their legal age if it doesn’t match their "biological" and "emotional" age?
David and Tamler sink deeper and deeper into Melancholia, Lars von Trier’s harrowing and stunningly beautiful depiction of depression, anxiety, and a wedding reception that just won’t end. They bring Freud’s “Mourning and Melancholia” into the conversation and confront the question: what if the depressed and anxious people are right? Plus Whoopi, M&Ms, baby brain waves, Rogan – we empty out the opening segment Slack.  Note: We recorded the opening segment before the latest development in the Joe Rogan story, but we briefly address that in the promo segment right after the break.
Episode 229: Skin Deep?

Episode 229: Skin Deep?

2022-01-2501:39:073

We think racism is wrong but what about “lookism” – a bias that favors attractive people over unattractive ones? If it’s wrong to judge people by the color of their skin, what about judging people for something that is only skin deep? We talk about two pieces today, a forthcoming philosophy article by William D’Allesandro “Is it Bad to Prefer Attractive Partners” and the Ted Chiang story “Liking What You See: A Documentary.” Plus we select the topic finalists for our beloved Patreon listener-selected episode. Interesting list this time around!
Episode 228: Forever Jung

Episode 228: Forever Jung

2022-01-1101:33:433

David and Tamler confront their shadows and dive into Carl Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious. What are the central differences between Jung and Freud? What did Jung mean by archetypes and what’s his evidence for their centrality in the human psyche? How can we integrate elements of our unconscious and avoid projecting them onto the world? Can Jung’s ideas tell us anything about culture wars and relationships? Plus, an fMRI study on offensive humor – I thought you were stronger Batman!
David and Tamler dive into David Foster Wallace’s celebrated and surprisingly earnest Kenyon College commencement speech “This is Water”. How can we escape the prison and prism of our (literally) self-centered perspective? Can we choose to adjust our natural default settings, take a break from our running inner monologue, and pay attention to what’s in front of us right now? Is DFW appealing to Buddhist ideas or something more general that you can be found across all spiritual traditions? Plus we ask the AI ethics program “Ask Delphi” some tough moral questions (spoiler alert: "just the tip" is "rude"), and almost get into a big fight about the potential of AI ethical robots (but we’re saving that argument for a future episode).
First, it’s the return of the annual drunken Thanksgiving segment! Tamler and based wicked stepmom Christina Hoff Sommers fight about JFK, systematic racism, corporations, and how to pronounce valium. (We find more common ground than usual though on Covid and Havana Syndrome.) Then podcast auteur Barry Lam joins David and Tamler to talk about David Lewis on time travel, the new season of Barry’s excellent podcast Hi-Phi Nation, and then a deep dive on maybe the best time travel movie of all time - Shane Carruth's mind-melting cult classic "Primer." Special Guests: Barry Lam and Christina Hoff Sommers.
David and Tamler talk about the often rancorous debate among cognitive scientists and evolutionary psychologists over whether the mind is modular -- composed of discrete systems responsible for vision, reasoning, cheater detection, sexual jealousy, and so on. David and Tamler (mostly David) describe the history of the debate, then dive into a recent paper (Pietraszewski & Wertz, 2021) arguing that virtually all the disagreement is the product of a conceptual and methodological confusion – that the two sides are operating with different levels of analysis and talking past each other as a result. Plus, we REALLY tried not to talk about the University of Austin thing for the whole opening segment. We had another topic lined up and everything. It just didn’t work out. Cicero would understand. Bari Weiss stans might wanna skip to the main segment.
VBW favorite Paul Bloom joins us to talk about the pleasures of suffering, flow states, Sisyphus, meaning, and dating questions. Check out his new book The Sweet Spot which comes out today! Plus what are NFTs and why does everyone hate them?
David and Tamler dive into Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 masterpiece Persona, a film about two (?) women, Elisabet, a famous stage actress who has stopped speaking, and Alma the chatty young nurse assigned to care for her at an island cottage. What happens when the roles we play as parents, spouses, friends, and colleagues start to feel like dishonest performances, an endless series of desperate lies? Can we escape to an inner sanctum of truth and authenticity? Or is that putting on another mask, playing yet another part, telling a different set of lies? We offer some tentative interpretations of this rich and baffling film. Get that boy a normal sized sheet!  Plus we share some thoughts about the Chappelle special…
David and Tamler don black turtlenecks and light up a couple of Gauloises to talk about Jean Paul Sartre's classic essay “Existentialism is a Humanism.” Why are choices so fundamental to our experience? What does Sartre mean when he says that “existence precedes essence”? Why does he try to shoehorn universalizability into a view that’s clearly hostile to it? Plus, how much free time is good for you? Is that even the right question?
David and Tamler wind their way through the long-requested “Meditations on Moloch” by Scott Alexander, a comprehensive account of the coordination problems (personified by Allan Ginsberg’s demon-entity Moloch) that lead to human misery and values tossed out the window. Does Alexander’s rationalist conception of human nature ignore the work of VBW favorites like Joe Henrich and Robert Frank? Is he a little too friendly to the neo-social Darwinism view of some guy named Nick Land? And oh no, why does he have to go transhumanist at the end?! Plus, we talk about the unique comic vision of Norm Macdonald and why we loved him.
Episode 220: On Your Marx

Episode 220: On Your Marx

2021-09-0701:50:442

In honor of Labor Day, David and Tamler dive into two works by Karl Marx - "The Communist Manifesto" and "Estranged Labor." What is Marx's theory of historical change? Why does capitalism produce an alienated workforce? What role does philosophy play in maintaining the status quo? Plus, fraudulent data in a famous study about dishonesty and former guest Dan Ariely is under investigation.
It’s a Borges bonanza! David and Tamler dive into two stories: “Emma Zunz” and “Borges and I.” The first seems like a straightforward daughter revenge story (Tamler’s favorite genre), but Borges being Borges there are layers of doubt and fuzziness about what exactly is going on. “Borges and I” may be less than a page, but it has us questioning our identity, the relationship between private and public selves, and what happens to when you release a work out into the world. Plus, back to social psychology. Are you a picky eater? Then people think you suck at sex. We are not sure who is recording this podcast.
David and Tamler go deep on Michael Haneke’s unnerving psychological thriller Caché. An upper middle class French intellectual couple receives mysterious videotapes of the exterior of their house, forcing them to confront their past and present. Can we run from our history? Or will it always find a way to break through? And who’s sending the tapes? Plus, VBW does conceptual analysis - what does it mean to be “corny”?
Comments (74)

Duane A Magley

reminds me of the movie "paycheck"

May 4th
Reply

Duane A Magley

couple takes on that better help ad, huh?

Mar 8th
Reply

Sandcastle •

It's hilarious that you guys like rogan, yet Eric Clapton is bad. You might know better now, but rogan has always held racist beliefs, conspiracy theories and had never pushed back on anti vaxxers but has given legit scientists a hard time.

Mar 5th
Reply

Duane A Magley

I liked this discussion.

Feb 11th
Reply

Duane A Magley

I used to have this intuition that everyone is "the most attractive person" to someone. yes, some people are more attractive generally, but nobody is ugly to everyone.

Feb 10th
Reply

justin skemp

.k

Oct 16th
Reply

ncooty

Tamler is an idiot.

Sep 15th
Reply

ncooty

None of the characters can see the absurdity--even one as plain as the nose on one's face--other than through the lenses of their own self-involvement. The author even emphasized it at the end (i.e., that the most absurd element related to publication), yet the hosts couldn't see it. I strained to view the hosts' obtuseness as intentionally ironic, but I couldn't quite convince myself.

Sep 15th
Reply

ncooty

Drinking game: "you know"

Sep 15th
Reply

Rosie P

Deadwood literally got me through the death of my partner. It's a masterpiece. I think I've watched it over 10 times now, lost count after 5 lol.. I know shit all about films/tv but this would probably be my mastermind topic :D I've not listened yet but i have extensive thoughts on this topic so bring it on! ❤️

Aug 29th
Reply

GoTo2 Podcast Review

https://castbox.fm/post/detail/5fc4d40e098d4352f7ecc349 bit like this podcast from the UK.

Nov 30th
Reply (1)

William McClellan

[REDACTED]

Nov 25th
Reply

Alan

amazing

Nov 2nd
Reply

Jason Gregory

Tamler rocks.

Aug 24th
Reply

Michael Pemulis

excited for this one, as always

Aug 13th
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Worth Swearingen

Love these guys. This is almost unlistenable, though. Do not care about stoner movies.

Aug 13th
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Louis VXI

Fucking hell. Tamler needs to quit politics

Jun 25th
Reply

Maitri

"Why are they so upset about the idea of abolishing the police?" you've got to be kidding guys... Maybe because they're aware that the communities who need the police most will suffer immensely if police determine to simply let these communities live as they please. I'm all for critiquing their ideas but please actually offer a critique rather than burning a straw man

Jun 24th
Reply

Maitri

I'm really hoping the protests brought about positive change. I worry that you have missed the point, have traded sober analysis for moral opinion. I hear Tamler stating consistently that there's a singular point to the movement, that being police reform. I haven't heard any of the IDE deny that. Maybe their emphasis isn't what you'd like, but it's curious to me that you believe your description of the point is characteristic of the entire movement. I've been hearing a discussion sadly lacking in nuance and facts that spans much wider than police reform

Jun 23rd
Reply (1)

ZB Fasih

What BS (pun).

Jun 12th
Reply
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