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Sean Illing talks with Glory Liu, the author of Adam Smith’s America: How a Scottish Philosopher became an Icon of American Capitalism. Smith is most well-known for being the “father of capitalism,” but as Liu points out in her book, his legacy has been misappropriated — especially in America. They discuss his original intentions and what we can take away from his work today. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: Glory Liu (@miss_glory), author; lecturer, Harvard University References:  Adam Smith’s America: How a Scottish Philosopher became an Icon of American Capitalism by Glory Liu (Princeton; 2022) Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life by Nicholas Phillipson (Yale; 2012) Free to Choose: A Personal Statement by Milton & Rose Friedman (Harcourt; 1980) “Adam Smith’s ‘History of Astronomy’ and view of science” by Kwangsu Kim (Cambridge Journal of Economics v. 36; 2012) Works by Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations (1776) Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) Lectures on Jurisprudence (1763)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support The Gray Area by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Guest host Sigal Samuel talks with Holden Karnofsky about effective altruism, a movement flung into public scrutiny with the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried and his crypto exchange, FTX. They discuss EA’s approach to charitable giving, the relationship between effective altruism and the moral philosophy of utilitarianism, and what reforms might be needed for the future of the movement. Note: In August 2022, Bankman-Fried’s philanthropic family foundation, Building a Stronger Future, awarded Vox’s Future Perfect a grant for a 2023 reporting project. That project is now on pause. Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), Senior Reporter, Vox Guest: Holden Karnofsky, co-founder of GiveWell; CEO of Open Philanthropy References:  "Effective altruism gave rise to Sam Bankman-Fried. Now it's facing a moral reckoning" by Sigal Samuel (Vox; Nov. 16, 2022) "The Reluctant Prophet of Effective Altruism" by Gideon Lewis-Kraus (New Yorker; Aug. 8, 2022) "Sam Bankman-Fried tries to explain himself" by Kelsey Piper (Vox; Nov. 16, 2022) "EA is about maximization, and maximization is perilous" by Holden Karnofsky (Effective Altruism Forum; Sept. 2, 2022) "Defending One-Dimensional Ethics" by Holden Karnofsky (Cold Takes blog; Feb. 15, 2022) "Future-proof ethics" by Holden Karnofsky (Cold Takes blog; Feb. 2, 2022) "Bayesian mindset" by Holden Karnofsky (Cold Takes blog; Dec. 21, 2021) "EA Structural Reform Ideas" by Carla Zoe Cremer (Nov. 12, 2022) "Democratising Risk: In Search of a Methodology to Study Existential Risk" by Carla Cremer and Luke Kemp (SSRN; Dec. 28, 2021)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support The Gray Area by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sean Illing talks with writer and reporter Jerusalem Demsas about the causes of homelessness in America. They discuss our ideas of home ownership, and how our country’s cultural expectations and policies are working against us.  Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: Jerusalem Demsas (@JerusalemDemsas) staff writer, The Atlantic References:  “The Homeownership Society Was a Mistake” by Jerusalem Demsas (The Atlantic; Dec. 20, 2022) “The Obvious Answer to Homelessness and Why Everyone’s Ignoring It” by Jerusalem Demsas (The Atlantic; Dec. 12, 2022) “The Billionaire’s Dilemma” by Jerusalem Demsas (The Atlantic; Aug. 4, 2022) “Stuck! The Law and Economics of Residential Stagnation” by David Schleicher (Yale Law Review; Oct. 2017) “Black Americans And The Racist Architecture of Homeownership” by Alisa Chang, Christopher Intagliata, and Jonaki Mehta (NPR; May 8, 2021)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support The Gray Area by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Can race be transcended?

Can race be transcended?

2023-01-1242:274

Sean Illing talks with author Thomas Chatterton Williams about race and identity in America. Thomas has analyzed racial identity through the lens of his own upbringing, and the performativity and pressures he experienced. In conversation with Sean, Thomas speaks about how he sees these identities as restrictive connections to the racial oppressions of the past, whether it's possible to achieve liberation without sacrificing solidarity, and on the complex interplay between race and class. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: Thomas Chatterton Williams (@thomaschattwill), author; contributing writer, The Atlantic References:  Self-Portrait in Black and White: Family, Fatherhood, and Rethinking Race by Thomas Chatterton Williams (W.W. Norton; 2019) Losing My Cool: Love, Literature, and a Black Man's Escape from the Crowd by Thomas Chatterton Williams (Penguin; 2011) White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo (Beacon; 2018) "Camus' Stance on Algeria Still Stokes Debate in France" by Eleanor Beardsley (NPR; Nov. 7, 2013) The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1880) Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (One World; 2018) South to a Very Old Place by Albert Murray (Vintage; 1991) "The limits of anti-racism" by Adolph Reed (2009)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support The Gray Area by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Is ethical AI possible?

Is ethical AI possible?

2023-01-0944:002

Sean Illing talks with Timnit Gebru, the founder of the Distributed AI Research Institute. She studies the ethics of artificial intelligence and is an outspoken critic of companies developing new AI systems. Sean and Timnit discuss the power dynamics in the world of AI, the discriminatory outcomes that these technologies can cause, and the need for accountability and transparency in the field. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: Timnit Gebru (@timnitGebru), founder, Distributed AI Research Institute References:  “The Exploited Labor Behind Artificial Intelligence" by Adrienne Williams, Milagros Miceli, and Timnit Gebru (Noema; Oct. 13, 2022) “Effective Altruism is Push a Dangerous Brand of ‘AI Safety’” by Timnit Gebru (Wired; Nov. 30, 2022) Datasheets for Datasets by Timnit Gebru, et al. (CACM; Dec. 2021) “In Emergencies, Should You Trust a Robot?” by John Toon (Georgia Tech; Feb. 29, 2016) “We read the paper that forced Timnit Gebru out of Google. Here’s what it says” by Karen Hao (MIT Technology Review; Dec. 4, 2020) “On the Dangers of Stochastic Parrots: Can Language Models Be Too Big?” by Timnit Gebru, et al. (Proceedings of the 2021 ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency; March 2021)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support The Gray Area by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What do we owe animals?

What do we owe animals?

2023-01-0544:465

Guest host Sigal Samuel talks with philosopher and author Martha Nussbaum about her new book, Justice for Animals. Martha discusses several different ethical, legal, and metaphysical theories for how we humans should treat other non-human animals, and offers her own distinct new approach. Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), Senior Reporter, Vox Guest: Martha Nussbaum, author; Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy, U. Chicago References:  Justice for Animals: Our Collective Responsibility by Martha Nussbaum (Simon & Schuster; 2022) Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights by Steven M. Wise (Basic; 2003) Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved by Frans de Waal (Princeton; 2006) Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals by Peter Singer (1975) Fellow Creatures: Our Obligations to Other Animals by Christine Korsgaard (Oxford; 2018) Political Liberalism by John Rawls (1993) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) "Ag-Gag" Laws in the United States (Animal Legal Defense Fund) Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights by Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka (Oxford; 2011)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support The Gray Area by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sean Illing talks with Cornel West about the American philosophical tradition known as pragmatism. They talk about what makes pragmatism so distinctly American, how pragmatists understand the connection between knowledge and action, and how the pragmatist mindset can invigorate our understanding of democratic life and communal action today. Cornel West also talks about the ways in which pragmatism has influenced his work and life, alongside the blues, Chekhov, and his Christian faith. This was an episode of The Philosophers, a series from Vox Conversations, originally released in May. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews writer, Vox Guest: Cornel West (@CornelWest), author; Dietrich Bonhoeffer professor of philosophy & Christian practice, Union Theological Seminary References to works by American pragmatists:  Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882): "Self-Reliance" (1841) William James (1842–1910): Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (1907); The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902); "Is Life Worth Living?" (1895) Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914): "The Fixation of Belief" (1877) John Dewey (1859–1952): The Quest for Certainty (1929); "Emerson—The Philosopher of Democracy" (1903); The Public and Its Problems (1927) Richard Rorty (1931–2007): "Pragmatism, Relativism, and Irrationalism" (1979); "Solidarity or Objectivity?" (1989) Other references:  Cornel West Teaches Philosophy (MasterClass) The American Evasion of Philosophy: A Genealogy of Pragmatism by Cornel West (Univ. of Wisconsin Press; 1989) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925) Plato, Republic (refs. in particular to Book 1 and Book 8) The Phantom Public by Walter Lippmann (1925) Leopardi: Selected Poems of Giacomo Leopardi (1798–1837), tr. by Eamon Grennan (Princeton; 1997) "The Myth of Sisyphus" by Albert Camus (1942; tr. 1955) Democracy & Tradition by Jeffrey Stout (Princeton; 2003) Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area by subscribing in your favorite podcast app. Support The Gray Area by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Senior Producer: Katelyn Bogucki Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sean Illing talks with Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan about his new book The Paradox of Democracy, which he co-authored with media studies professor Zac Gershberg. Sean and Margaret discuss the relationship between free expression and democratic society, talk about whether or not the January 6th hearings are doing anything at all politically, and discuss some potential ways to bolster democratic values in the media ecology of the present. This was originally released as an episode of Vox Conversations in July. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), Interviews Writer, Vox Guest: Margaret Sullivan (@Sulliview), media columnist, Washington Post References:  The Paradox of Democracy: Free Speech, Open Media, and Perilous Persuasion by Zac Gershberg and Sean Illing (Chicago; 2022) Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy by Margaret Sullivan (Columbia Global Reports; 2020) "Four reasons the Jan. 6 hearings have conquered the news cycle" by Margaret Sullivan (Washington Post; July 22) Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan (1964) Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman (1985) Newsroom Confidential: Lessons (and Worries) from an Ink-Stained Life by Margaret Sullivan (St. Martin's; Oct. 2022) Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area by subscribing in your favorite podcast app. Support The Gray Area by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Senior Producer: Katelyn Bogucki Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The church of celebrity

The church of celebrity

2022-12-1556:454

Guest host Alissa Wilkinson talks with Katelyn Beaty, author of the new book Celebrities for Jesus, about how the dynamics of fame, influence, and new media are changing our experience of religious faith. They discuss how celebrities like Billy Graham set the tone for a lionization of celebrity in the Evangelical Church, why faith leaders cultivate distance from their congregations and build influencer-style social media presences, and share their thoughts on the future of the Church in our perhaps increasingly celebrity-obsessed culture. Host: Alissa Wilkinson (@alissamarie), senior culture writer, Vox Guest: Katelyn Beaty (@KatelynBeaty), author References:  Celebrities for Jesus: How Personas, Platforms, and Profits Are Hurting the Church by Katelyn Beaty (Brazos; 2022) "Inside Hillsong, the Church of Choice for Justin Bieber and Kevin Durant" by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (GQ; Dec. 17, 2015) "After Columbine, martyrdom became a powerful fantasy for Christian teenagers" by Alissa Wilkinson (Vox; Apr. 17, 2019)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support The Gray Area by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Senior Producer: Katelyn Bogucki Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sean Illing talks with author, researcher, and Brookings Institution senior fellow Richard V. Reeves about his new book Of Boys and Men, which documents the ways that males all over the industrialized world are struggling — and what to do about it. Sean and Richard talk about how this crisis among men has its roots in the progress societies have made toward gender equality, about what has been exposed as the playing field has become more level, and about how to challenge our traditional understandings of masculinity and fatherhood in order to address the crisis — which, Reeves says, will be to everybody's benefit. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: Richard V. Reeves (@RichardvReeves), author; senior fellow, Brookings Institution; director, Future of the Middle Class Initiative References:  Of Boys And Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do about It by Richard V. Reeves (Brookings; 2022) "The State of American Friendship: Change, Challenges, and Loss" by Daniel A. Cox (American Survey Center; June 8, 2021) Unbound: How Inequality Constricts Our Economy and What We Can Do about It by Heather Boushey (Harvard; 2019) "Gender Achievement Gaps in U.S. School Districts" by Sean F. Reardon et al. (American Educational Research Journal vol. 56 (6); Apr. 25, 2019) "The GOP's masculinity panic: David French on the cult of toughness on the Trumpist right" by Sean Illing (Jan. 5; episode here or here) "Infrastructure Bill Must Create Pathways for Women To Enter Construction Trades" by Marina Zhavoronkova and Rose Khattar (Center for American Progress; Sept. 20) 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson (Random House Canada; 2018) "Few Good Men" by Kathryn Edin (American Prospect; Dec. 19, 2001) "Redshirt the Boys: Why boys should start school a year later than girls" by Richard V. Reeves (The Atlantic; Sept. 14) "What might interrupt men's suicide? Results from an online survey of men" by Fiona L. Shand et al. (BMJ vol. 5 (10); Oct. 15, 2015)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support The Gray Area by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Senior Producer: Katelyn Bogucki Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sean Illing talks with Michael Sacasas, an author and teacher exploring the relationship between technology and society in his newsletter, The Convivial Society. This conversation is all about attention: what it exactly is, what its purpose is, and how it is under threat by the technology of modern society and its ubiquitous distractions. Michael calls upon venerated philosophers (like Simone Weil and Iris Murdoch) as well as contemporary writers (like Nicholas Carr and Jenny Odell) to make the case that figuring out how to command our attention is a matter of great moral significance, and is a crucial component of living a good life. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: L. Michael Sacasas (@LMSacasas), author of the newsletter The Convivial Society on Substack; associate director, Christian Study Center of Gainesville References:  The Frailest Thing: Ten Years of Thinking About the Meaning of Technology by L.M. Sacasas (Gumroad; 2019) "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut (1961) "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" by Nicholas Carr (The Atlantic; July/August 2008) Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan (1964) Blaise Pascal on Diversion, from the Pensées (1670) "Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God" by Simone Weil (1942) "The idea of perfection" by Iris Murdoch (1964) "Against Dryness" by Iris Murdoch (1961) Simone Weil, letter to Joë Bousquet, Apr. 13, 1942: "Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity." "On Two Ways of Relating to the World" by L.M. Sacasas (The Convivial Society, Nov. 22) How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell (Melville House; 2019)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support The Gray Area by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Senior Producer: Katelyn Bogucki Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sean Illing talks with James Fallows, veteran reporter and editor at The Atlantic, about the state of political journalism in America. Fallows has been covering the relationship between media and democracy since the mid-nineties, when his book Breaking the News presciently documented the roots of a growing mistrust in news media. Sean and James talk about the dangers facing the political press today, why national political news is not useful to most Americans, and what can be done to regain the people's trust in journalism. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: James Fallows (@JamesFallows), author of the newsletter, Breaking the News: Dispatches from a Veteran Reporter on Substack References:  Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy by James Fallows (Vintage; 1996) Ashley Parker's tweet (Nov. 22) "Exclusive: Naomi Biden On Her White House Wedding" by Chloe Malle (Vogue; Nov. 22) Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America by James Fallows and Deborah Fallows (Vintage; 2018) Our Towns (HBO; 2021) Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers "Leslie Moonves on Donald Trump: 'It May Not Be Good for America, but It's Damn Good for CBS'" by Paul Bond (Hollywood Reporter; Feb. 29, 2016) Public Opinion by Walter Lippmann (1922) "Correcting the Record; Times Reporter Who Resigned Leaves Long Trail of Deception" by Dan Barry et al. (New York Times; May 11, 2003) "Weapons of Mass Destruction? Or Mass Distraction?" by Daniel Okrent (New York Times; May 30, 2004) "3 Truths About Trump" by James Fallows (The Atlantic; July 13, 2015) The Paradox of Democracy by Zac Gershberg and Sean Illing (U. Chicago; 2022)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support The Gray Area by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Senior Producer: Katelyn Bogucki Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The end of social media

The end of social media

2022-12-0150:525

Sean Illing talks with technology writer and philosopher Ian Bogost about the state of social media — especially in the wake of Elon Musk's recent acquisition of Twitter. They discuss the recent but surprising history of the platforms that have come to dominate the lives of so many, and note a crucial shift that made social media what is today. Sean and Ian also talk about how Silicon Valley views "scale," whether Twitter should be treated as a public utility, and how — as a society — we might be able to quit. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: Ian Bogost (@ibogost), contributing writer, The Atlantic; professor and director of film & media studies, Washington University of St. Louis References:  "The Age of Social Media Is Ending" by Ian Bogost (The Atlantic; Nov. 10) "The Madness of Twitter" by Ian Bogost (The Atlantic; Nov. 22) "People Aren't Meant to Talk This Much" by Ian Bogost (The Atlantic; Oct. 22, 2021) "Facebook Is A Doomsday Machine" by Adrienne LaFrance (The Atlantic; Dec. 15, 2020) Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan (1964) The Paradox of Democracy: Free Speech, Open Media, and Perilous Persuasion by Zac Gershberg & Sean Illing (U. Chicago; 2022)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support The Gray Area by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sean Illing talks with Dr. Gabor Maté, a physician, speaker, and bestselling author who has written on subjects like addiction, stress, and attention deficit disorder. In Maté's new book, The Myth of Normal, he argues that the Western paradigm of health is fundamentally flawed in its attempt to separate inner, emotional well-being from bodily health. Sean and Dr. Maté discuss how our society and culture can contribute to illness. They also talk about the adverse effects of trauma, the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, and parenting. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: Dr. Gabor Maté (@DrGaborMate), author; physician References:  The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture by Gabor Maté, MD, with Daniel Maté (Avery; 2022) "Mothers Are the 'Shock Absorbers' of Our Society" by Jessica Grose (New York Times; Oct. 14, 2020) "'It's Life or Death': The Mental Health Crisis Among U.S. Teens" by Matt Richtel (New York Times; Apr. 23) Scattered Minds: The Origin and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder by Gabor Maté, MD (Jan. 2023; Avery. Previously published as Scattered, 2000) "The brutal mirror: What the psychedelic drug ayahuasca showed me about my life" by Sean Illing (Vox; Feb. 19, 2018) "How to discipline your child and toddler, without hitting - Jordan Peterson" (YouTube; Mar. 15, 2018) Hold On to Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté, MD (Ballantine; 2006) "A Theory of Human Motivation" by Abraham H. Maslow (Psychological Review vol. 50; 1943)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sean Illing talks with economic historian Brad DeLong about his new book Slouching Towards Utopia. In it, DeLong claims that the "long twentieth century" was the most consequential period in human history, during which the institutions of rapid technological growth and globalization were created, setting humanity on a path towards improving life, defeating scarcity, and enabling real freedom. But... this ran into some problems. Sean and Brad talk about the power of markets, how the New Deal led to something approaching real social democracy, and why the Great Recession of 2008 and its aftermath signified the end of this momentous era. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: J. Bradford DeLong (@delong), author; professor of economics, U.C. Berkeley References:  Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Twentieth Century by J. Bradford DeLong (Basic; 2022) The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich von Hayek (1944) The Great Transformation by Karl Polanyi (1944) Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy by Joseph Schumpeter (1942) "A Short History of Enclosure in Britain" by Simon Fairlie (This Land Magazine; 2009) "China's Great Leap Forward" by Clayton D. Brown (Association for Asian Studies; 2012) What Is Property? by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1840) The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order by Gary Gerstle (Oxford University Press; 2022) Apple's "1984" ad (YouTube) The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes (1936) "The spectacular ongoing implosion of crypto's biggest star, explained" by Emily Stewart (Vox; Nov. 18) "Did Greenspan Add to Subprime Woes? Gramlich Says Ex-Colleague Blocked Crackdown" by Greg Ip (Wall Street Journal; June 9, 2007) "Families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The federal government should do the same," from President Obama's 2010 State of the Union Address (Jan. 27, 2010) "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte" by Karl Marx (1852) Why We're Polarized by Ezra Klein (Simon & Schuster; 2020) The Paradox of Democracy: Free Speech, Open Media, and Perilous Persuasion by Zac Gershberg and Sean Illing (U. Chicago; 2022)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sean Illing talks with neuroscientist Gregory Berns, author of The Self Delusion. Berns claims that the idea of a unified, persistent self is a kind of illusion, and that we are better understood as multiple selves at different moments in time, tied together by a story — which is what we call our identity. Sean and Greg also talk about whether the brain is a computer, how perception works, the limits of thinking too much about thinking, and what psychedelics can do to disrupt and change the stories we tell about ourselves. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: Gregory Berns (@gberns), author; professor of psychology and distinguished professor of neuroeconomics, Emory University References:  The Self Delusion: The New Neuroscience of How We Invent — and Reinvent — Our Identities by Gregory Berns (Basic; 2022) More on the "Ship of Theseus" by Noah Levin "Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness" by David Chalmers (Journal of Consciousness Studies 2; 1995) More on "The Hard Problem of Consciousness" by Josh Weisberg (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) "The extraordinary therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs, explained" by Sean Illing (Vox; Mar. 8, 2019)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sean Illing talks with veteran political strategist James Carville about the U.S. midterm elections — and the surprising success for Democrats that was a far cry from the "red wave" of Republican victories widely predicted by pundits. They talk about why the results differed so vastly from these expectations, what lessons both parties should be drawing from the outcomes, and whether or not the Democratic party, despite their victories, still have a systematic problem with political messaging. This conversation took place mid-day on Wednesday, November 9th. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: James Carville (@JamesCarville), political strategist; co-host, Politics War Room podcast References:  Fall 2022 Harvard Youth Poll (Oct. 27) Exit poll data from ABC News and CNN "'Wokeness is a problem and we all know it': James Carville on the state of Democratic politics" by Sean Illing (Vox; Apr. 27, 2021) "GOP to use debt limit to force spending cuts, McCarthy says" by Eugene Robinson (Washington Post; Oct. 18) 2022 abortion-related ballot measures (Ballotpedia) "Democrats' Long Goodbye to the Working Class" by Ruy Teixeira (The Atlantic; Nov. 6) "Is John Fetterman the Future of the Democratic Party?" by Michael Sokolove (New York Times; May 18) On Carville's role in the abortion referendum campaign in Kansas: "The Most Consequential Vote in Recent American History is Happening Today and the News Media Is Ignoring It" by Colby Hall (Mediaite; Aug. 2nd) "How a 10-Year-Old Rape Victim Who Traveled for an Abortion Became Part of a Political Firestorm" by Solcyre Burga (Time; July 15) "Democrats still have a path to keep the House — but it's tough" by Andrew Prokop (Vox; Nov. 10)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sean Illing talks with technologist, media theorist, and author Douglas Rushkoff, whose new book Survival of the Richest explains how the ultra-wealthy are obsessed with preparing for the end of the world — and the troubling mindset that leads many rich and powerful people down this road. They discuss the blend of tech utopianism and fatalism behind this doomsday prepping, how Silicon Valley and "tech bro" culture have incentivized a kind of misanthropy, and why the world's billionaire class can't see that the catastrophes they fear are of their own making. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: Douglas Rushkoff (@rushkoff), author; professor, media studies, CUNY Queens College References:  Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires by Douglas Rushkoff (W.W. Norton; 2022) "Epson boobytrapped its printers" by Cory Doctorow (Medium; Aug. 7) "Cosmism: Russia's religion for the rocket age" by Benjamin Ramm (BBC; Apr. 20, 2021) The Selfish Gene (1976) and The God Delusion (2006) by Richard Dawkins Francis Bacon, Redargutio Philosophiarum (1608), tr. by Benjamin Farrington in The Philosophy of Francis Bacon (1964): "Nature must be taken by the forelock . . . lay hold of her and capture her" (p. 130). "Power changes how the brain responds to others" by Jeremy Hogeveen, et al., Journal of Experiential Psychology (Apr. 2014) What We Owe the Future by William MacAskill (Basic Books; 2022) Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff (W.W. Norton; 2021)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sean Illing talks with Nicole Hemmer, history professor and author of the new book Partisans. In it, she gives a reinterpretation of the Reagan presidency and what followed, and shows how the conservative political movement entangled with media figures and became what it is in the 1990s. They discuss the doomed but influential presidential campaigns of Pat Buchanan, the rise to dominance of conservative talk radio, and the enduring dangers of political violence. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: Nicole Hemmer (@pastpunditry), author; professor, Vanderbilt University References:  Partisans: The Conservative Revolutionaries Who Remade American Politics in the 1990s by Nicole Hemmer (Basic; 2022) "The Man Who Won the Republican Party Before Trump Did" by Nicole Hemmer (New York Times; Sept. 8) Talk Radio's America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States by Brian Rosenwald (Harvard; 2019) On the Fairness Doctrine (First Amendment Center; MTSU) GOP Reagan Library Debate (CNN; Sept. 16, 2015)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sean Illing talks with Yuval Noah Harari, historian and bestselling author, about how humanity came to be the dominant species on earth, and what our future might hold. Sean and Yuval discuss mankind's imaginative "superpower," the threats to democracy across the globe, the future of artificial intelligence — and plenty more. Yuval's new book Unstoppable Us adapts many of his macro-historical insights from Sapiens for younger readers, and is the first in a planned four-volume series. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: Yuval Noah Harari (@harari_yuval), author; professor, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem References:  Unstoppable Us, Volume 1: How Humans Took Over the World by Yuval Noah Harari; illustrated by Ricard Zaplana Ruiz (Bright Matter; 2022) Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari (Harper; 2017) Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (Harper; 2015) "Nationalism vs. globalism: the new political divide | Yuval Noah Harari" (TED; YouTube)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Comments (256)

James Loar

@28:07 ... I would extend the feminism problem to be more in the denigrating of boys it has caused.

Dec 26th
Reply

James Loar

@7:00 ...that the education systems were biased towards girls has been known for decades...this is not some new discovery. Schools are geared towards the way girls learn. The difficulty of the structured classrooms has always been known for boys. While the roadblocks to girls education removed are being discussed, hopefully they will explain why boys have declined. My hypothesis for boys decline is due to more fatherless homes for boys.

Dec 26th
Reply (14)

Chrys Woodyard

I loved the nuance and feeling in this. The discussion we need to have.

Nov 2nd
Reply

Golden boy

What a dumb take on a decent program.

Oct 26th
Reply

Carl Davidson

This is a fantastic conversation and interview with Peniel Joseph. Incredibly informative and salient in understanding our current struggle and discourse of politics, race, and class in America.

Oct 24th
Reply

Mark Saltiel

Reza asserts that religious folks do not claim that morality derives from scripture. This is the exact opposite of the truth: religious people are always saying that without God there can be no morality. Of course, it's not true. It's just what they say.

Oct 23rd
Reply

Marlo Lemieux

FFS Vox, stop inviting relugious people to talk about religion. They don't know the first thing about it. Reza Aslan is no more interesting than any 2bit evangelical preacher.

Oct 21st
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Mark Saltiel

Existentialism started after WWII? Not really. Kirkegaard?

Aug 22nd
Reply

Michael Meenan

Eat Borscht and drop some lb's. The fat epidemic is not confined to race. Processed foods in the USA are largely responsible and should be examined for addictive properties. I live in Syracuse, NY and Kyiv. Flat out - not a lot of fat people in Ukraine. They eat natural foods. Fat people in the 'Cuse come in all races and sizes... XXXL & XXXXL. Eat Borscht and drop some lbs.

Jun 22nd
Reply

NoahArkwright

This was a very informative interview and I'm grateful Vox dedicated the time to this emergent issue. The only thing worse than fascism is Gilbert Gottfried explain-screaming about fascism! So when is anyone going to acknowledge that a significant percentage of the right can't wait for the opportunity to kill Americans? I'd kinda like to think that somebody is paying attention.

Apr 16th
Reply (1)

Lindsey Helfrey Scott

the philosopher who resisited despair was one of the best of episodes.

Apr 5th
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James Loar

@34:35 .... Seems odd then for school board leaders to prohibit parents from reading content from school library books at their meetings because the passages are deemed too offensive. That's the type of issue the parents are raising at these meetings.

Mar 27th
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James Loar

@24 55. The checks and balances would probably work better if Congress had not deligated so much power to the executive branch and the unelected burocrats. Why is the president allowed to write so many executive orders?

Mar 26th
Reply

James Loar

Here's a conservative idea that seems to be missing from the Republicans.... How about ... eliminate 40% of the Federal Government to start with, and return all the "non-designated powers" back to the states where they belong... e.g. Education, environmental regulation.....

Mar 26th
Reply

James Loar

@2:00 ... saying that Ukrainian government is corrupt has been reported by the NYT for a long time. They didn't become uncorupt just because Russia invaded them and is killing their citizens.

Mar 25th
Reply

James Loar

After listening to her explain the Abolitionist position, she is basically a Communist, doesn't believe in individual property rights, and wants the benefits of free stuff that others work to provide without any of her own contribution. Capitalism is bad because some people benefit more than others.

Mar 20th
Reply

James Loar

@2:08 ...why, too, were the folks not calling out the local crime long before the issues of police violence were raised in 2020? Why was that not addressed? What systemic issues were in place to result in that?

Mar 20th
Reply

dp

this is why we dems lose elections. like our oath keepers and qanon believers

Feb 6th
Reply

Rex Tien

WARNING: MATRIX 4 SPOILERS IN HERE, WOULD HAVE REALLY APPRECIATED A SPOILER WARNING!!!

Jan 18th
Reply

Jim Loar

@44:44 ... for long term hope, something would need to be ingrained in the culture and not be dependent upon political waves.

Dec 28th
Reply
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