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The Here and Now Podcast

Author: Dave Monds

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The Here and Now Podcast with Dave Monds explores topics in psychology and philosophy. Each weekly episode translates big ideas from science and the humanities into meaningful themes for everyday life. We also feature regular interviews with a diverse range of guests. Travel to the edge of the universe or to the deepest recesses of the mind with The Here and Now Podcast.
80 Episodes
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Universal Basic Income

Universal Basic Income

2021-07-1436:04

The concept of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been growing in popularity so I decided to explore it for a recent research project. I began as a sceptic but after considering a variety of social justice arguments I now believe a UBI should be an policy goal for societies who wish to reduce inequality and achiever greater social justice.  But UBI is not just about helping those worst off, it can benefit everyone in a range of ways which we explore in this episode. Show NotesBasic Income NetworkBasic income – A guide for the open minded – Guy StandingResults of Finland’s basic income experimentSpain UBI projectEverywhere basic income has been tried in one mapPublic equity and tax benefit reform – Keith RankinUBI: A policy for social justice – D MondsThe Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Societal and community psychologist Professor Darrin Hodgetts joins me to discuss his work with marginalised communities most affected by social injustice and structural violence.  Prof Hodgetts is a highly respected figure in New Zealand community psychology circles having advanced ethnographic and action oriented research to engage directly with those most affected by urban poverty, homelessness, and other social issues. We discuss structural violence, equality of opportunity and outcome, why resolving inequalities benefits all members of society, and how applied psychologists tackle social justice issues and help to shape policy that improves well-being across society. Show notesProfessor Darrin Hodgetts - Massey University profileProfessor Hodgetts - Nga Pae Ote Bio (NZ Maori centre of research excellence)The Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Distributive Justice

Distributive Justice

2021-06-3031:23

In this episode we consider the limits of wealth distribution in society, inherent inequalities to life and the role of luck. We also explore the economic ideas of the commons and public goods and the role these play in free market and state capitalist societies. We also take a look at the social protection floor and why it is often conceptualised by society as something to be ashamed of. This leads us to consider the tight coupling of labour and income and the subsequent vulnerability of those without a job or in casual work, a class known as the precariat. All of this leads us to question social justice in wealth distribution and ask the question; could be another way to smooth the edges of income precarity?Show notesInequality in nature and society – Scheffer et al. 2017Iron & steel industry in Middlesbrough’s historyTeesside Steel Works - WikipediaPlunder of the commons – Guy StandingWe’re all state capitalists now – Niall Ferguson, Foreign PolicyThe Precariat: A dangerous new class – Guy StandingThe Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Social Justice

Social Justice

2021-06-2340:03

In this episode we explore social justice, namely: what is it, why is it so contested, and why are you probably sick of hearing about. It has taken a while to write this episode, largely because it is a challenging topic which introduces politics and confronts our worldviews.  It is not meant to be divisive or inflammatory, its purpose is to open minds and approach social justice issues with compassion and rationality.  This episode also draws together a few threads to set the stage for the next episodes which will cover social justice issues more fully.  Show NotesThe Universal Declaration of Human RightsThe Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
The Social Contract

The Social Contract

2021-06-1125:22

What is the role of government? Should it exist to provide safety and security for its citizens or to maintain order because humans are fundamentally selfish? Is an equitable society possible? What would such a society look like? Episode 73 is the first of a mini-series on social justice in which we consider the social contract that exists between a state and its people according to the divergent views of four political philosophers.We ExploreThe United States Declaration of IndependenceThe natural state and natural lawSocial Contract Theory according to Hobbes and LeviathanLocke's second treatise of government The Social Contract according to RousseauA theory of justice by RawlsShow NotesEpisode 45 - Moral relativism Leviathan – Thomas HobbesTwo Treatises of Government – John LockeThe Social Contract – Jean-Jacques RousseauRosseau and Locke on Property and the State – Matt SchrageA Theory of Justice – John RawlsThe Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Integrity

Integrity

2021-05-1224:10

Integrity is one of the most hallowed virtues but is it one we can ever truly attain? Is acting with integrity always the best path to follow? We explore integrity and its opposite in this episode and find that integrity may be more complicated than it seems and often when we think we act with integrity, we may actually be lying to ourselves. Show NotesThe Prince – Niccolò Machiavelli Hypocrisy and integrity – Ruth W. GrantJean-Jacques Rousseau Integrity: Its causes and cures – David LubanStanford Prison experimentThe Stanford Prison Experiment Film (2015)Hippocratic oathThe Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Pointlessness

Pointlessness

2021-05-0529:10

What is the meaning of life? That age old, philosophical cliché has had no shortage of answers but what if there isn’t one? What if life is pointless?  Philosopher Rivka Weinberg presents a compelling argument for the pointlessness of life which I explore in this episode. But don't be alarmed, there is a bright side! (Spoiler alert: there may not be a bright side).We exploreThe myth of SisyphusThe journal of controversial ideasThe notions of telic and atelic meaning Why a valued end can only be external to an enterpriseWhy life can have no ultimate meaningWhy an afterlife doesn’t change anythingWhy goals give us an illusory sense of purpose Are you making a categorical error by asking the question: what is the meaning of life?Why the scale of the universe does not diminish our significance The importance of everyday meaning Why we are better off  forgetting the question Whether it is right or wrong to live a pointless lifeWe’re here, now what?The ultimate choice Show NotesThe Myth of Sisyphus Weinberg, R. (2021). Ultimate Meaning: We don’t have it, we can’t get it, and we should be very, very sad. Journal of controversial ideas, 1(1), 4.Making Sense Podcast 245 – Can we talk about scary ideas?Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World - Iddo Landau, 2017The Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
We often struggle to find a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. In this episode we consider the psychology of how we find meaning and consider a few strategies to help to you find meaning and purpose in both your professional and private life. I'd love to hear your story so reach out if you are searching for meaning and purpose, or if you've found it!Show notesThe SAGE Handbook of Applied Social Psychology - Edited by K. O'Doherty & D. HodgettsSocial Cognition and the Workplace: The Future of Research on the Meaning of Work - Paul J. Maher, Deirdre O’Shea and Eric R. IgouThe Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an email Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Bruce Grierson is a social science writer whose work has featured in many well known print and online publications including New York Magazine, Popular Science, Time Magazine, Psychology Today and Scientific American. He is a five times Canadian National Magazine Award winning feature writer and has written the books U-Turn: What if you woke up one morning and realised you were living the wrong life? and What makes Olga run?: The mystery of the 90-something track star and what she can teach us about living longer, happier lives. We discuss both of Bruce's books, topics from psychology and social science, creativity and writing and one of my favourite subjects, space exploration.Show Noteshttp://brucegrierson.com/https://twitter.com/BruceGriersonU-Turn: What if you woke up one morning and realised you were living the wrong life?What makes Olga run?: The mystery of the 90-something track star and what she can teach us about living longer, happier lives.Dear Moon ProjectThe Carpe Diem Project - Psychology TodayThe Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
We conclude the language series by considering the final question: Do words actually mean anything? This may sound like a strange question to ask, considering the many aspects of language we've covered over the last eight episodes, but when we look closely at language and words, the answer is not obvious. We unpack the question from the perspective of Jacques Derrida, the 20th century French philosopher whose work established the controversial field of deconstruction. Show NotesThe Here and Now Podcast Language SeriesDerrida on Language – Philosophy NowDeconstruction - WikipediaDerrida and Words – Philosophize This! Stephen WestHow to deconstruct almost anything – Chip MorningstarThe Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
In the third and final part of our series on language we consider the philosophical question: Do we need language to think? This question is often articulated as the Sapir Whorf hypothesis. We examine the question from its historical perspective, Boas, Sapir and Whorf's anthropological investigations, Lenneberg's formulation of a strong and weak version of the hypothesis, the relationship between language and cognition, what we've learned from Piaget's study of childhood development, how bilingualism and translatability inform thought and how this leads us to our old friend, culture. Spoiler alert: the conclusion is unsatisfying (at least to me), but we still uncover some interesting aspects of human cognition and language along the way.Show notesThe Here and Now Podcast Language SeriesArrival Imdb Linguistic relativity - WikipediaWilhelm von Humboldt - WikipediaFranz Boas - WikipediaEdward Sapir - WikipediaBenjamin Lee Whorf - WikipediaThe Language Animal - Charles TaylorChange of language, change of personality? – Psychology Today20 words that don’t exist in English but really should - InsiderFive ways of learning how to talk about events – Berman & SlobinFrog, where are you?The Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
To conclude part two of the series we consider pragmatics, the linguistic field that deals with context and how language is used. We take a look at 'why' we have language and the subtle and not so subtle ways we communicate. We consider different types of dialects, turn taking and the power of language to shape the way we think. We then conclude the episode with a look at one of the superpowers of language, swearing. Show NotesThe Here and Now Podcast Language SeriesThe Social Origins of Language – Dor D, Knight C & Lewis J.Why We Talk – DessallesLanguage and Situation – Gregory M & Carroll SLanguage as a Social Action – Holtgraves THow to do Things with Words – John AustinSpeech Act Theory – John AustinJohn Searle – PhilosopherA Simplest Systematics for the Organization of Turn Taking for Conversation – Sacks H, Schleghoff E & Jefferson G1984 – George OrwellLanguages don’t all have the same number of terms for colorsJocko Podcast #263 on 1984 and NewspeakSwearing is good for you: The amazing science of bad language – Byrne ESwearing as a response to pain – Dr. Richard StephensSwearing is a sign of more intelligence not lessYour cursing cortexThe Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Part two of our series on language considers the question: How do we use language? In this episode we look at the field of linguistics known as semantics which considers how words represent tangible and abstract meanings. We also see how much of what we say is metaphor and how culture informs how we create mental maps of meaning which we use to communicate and share ideas. Show notesThe Here and Now Podcast Language SeriesA Basic Course in Anthropological Linguistics – Marcel Danesi (2004)Pidgins - WikipediaMetaphors We Live By – Lakeoff G & Johnson MDo Inuits really have 50 words for snow?The Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Professor Quentin Atkinson of the University of Auckland joins me to discuss his work on the origins of language and the evolution of culture. Professor Atkinson gained widespread recognition for his 2011 paper in the journal Science in which he used modeling techniques from evolutionary biology to show how human language can be traced to its origins on the west coast of Africa. I discussed this briefly in the last episode Language V - The Great Leap.In our conversation we discuss this work and how understanding the core elements of languages can tell us about the movements and histories of human populations, how cultures are shaped by folktales and stories, the importance of connecting the past with the present as we attempt to understand ancient cultures and how the big questions in science can benefit from an interdisciplinary approach which applies diverse problem solving techniques to problems both old and new. The Here and Now Podcast Language Serieshttps://www.quentinatkinson.com/Phonemic diversity supports a serial founder effect model of language expansion from Africa. Q. Atkinson (2011).Pagel, M., Atkinson, Q. D., Calude, A., & Meade (2013). Ultraconserved words point to deep language ancestry across Eurasia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 110(21):8471–8476. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1218726110Ross, R. M. & Atkinson, Q. D. (2016). Folktale transmission in the Arctic provides evidence for high bandwidth social learning among hunter-gatherer groups. Evolution and Human Behavior, 37(1):47-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2015.08.001The Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
In this final episode of part I of our series on language, we examine the non-gradualist theory of the emergence of language, also referred to as The Great Leap theory which argues that complex human language appeared suddenly around 50,000 years ago.  We consider the evidence and arguments for and against this theory made by archeologists, linguists and anthropologists and briefly introduce several of MIT linguist Noam Chomsky's theories and Professor Quentin Atkinson's intriguing theory of a serial-founder effect of language.  Show NotesThe Here and Now Podcast Language SeriesOldest cave art found in Sulawesi – A. Brumm et al. (2021)45,500 year old Sulawesi warty pig painting found in Indonesian caveWhy only us: Language and evolution. R. Berwick & N. Chomsky (2017)Masters of the planet: The search for our human origins. I. Tatersall (2012)The dawn of human culture. R. Klein (2007)The truth about language: What it is and where it came from. M. Corballis (2017)Natural language and natural selection. S. Pinker & P. Bloom (1990)On nature and language. N. Chomsky with A. Belletti & L. Rizzi. (2002)What exactly is Universal Grammar and has anyone seen it?Principles and parameters Language: The cultural tool. D. Everett (2012)Lascaux cave complex – Wikipedia The revolution that wasn’t: A new interpretation of the origin of modern human behaviour. S. Mcbrearty & S. Brooks (2000)When humans became human Phonemic diversity supports a serial founder effect model of language expansion from Africa. Q. Atkinson (2011). The Here and Now Podcast on FacebookThe Here and Now Podcast on TwitterSend me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
We get more technical in this fourth episode of our series on language. We continue with the gradualist theory of the origins of language by looking at three key areas: the brain, speech production and gestures. We consider whether there are regions of the brain associated with language, whether there is a language gene and how the speech apparatus works. We also consider sign language and gestures and discuss whether these could have been the origins of language in humans and hominids like Homo erectus.  Show notesThe Here and Now Podcast Language SeriesThe human language faculty as an organ. S. Anderson & D. Lightfoot (2000)Masters of the planet: The search for our human origins. I. Tattersall (2013)Natural language and natural selection. S. Pinker & P. Bloom (1990)The evolution of language – W. T. Fitch (2010)The faculty of language: What is it, who has it and how did it evolve? (Hauser, Chomsky & Fitch, 2002)Internal cranial features of the Mojokerto child fossil (East Java, Indonesia) (2005)Broca’s area network in language function. B. Bernal, A. Ardila & M. Rosselli (2015)Birds share language gene with humansFOXP2 - WikipediaLanguage is in the genes Diverse genome upends understanding of how language evolvedEvolution of a single gene led to language Mirror neurons and the evolution of language. M. Corballis (2009)How language began: Gesture and speech in human evolution. D. McNeill (2012)The descended larynx is not uniquely human. W. T. Fitch & D. Reby (2001)From grunting to grabbing: Why humans can talk The truth about language: What it is and where it came from. M. Corballis (2017)Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Dr. Trevor Harley is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Dundee University, Scotland specialising in cognitive psychology. He has authored eight books including the best selling textbook, The Psychology of Language, currently in its fourth edition, as well as his gentler introduction to the topic, Talking the Talk. His other works include The Psychology of Weather, Science and Psychology and a soon to be released textbook on the psychology of consciousness. Despite his many academic achievements, Dr. Harley has battled with mental illness throughout his life. In our conversation we discuss a range of topics from cognitive psychology including the parallels between consciousness and language, the features of language which make humans unique, language and consciousness in animals, the function of the brain as a filter and what this means for dreams, non-verbal communication and its myths, slips of the tongue and how he has managed his challenges with mental illness. The Here and Now Podcast Language Serieshttp://www.trevorharley.comTrevor A. Harley - Amazon Author PageWhat is the meaning of my life? - Dr. Harley's blog on mental healthTalking the Talk - Language, Psychology and Science The Here and Now Podcast on Facebook The Here and Now Podcast on Twitter Send me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Language III - Animals

Language III - Animals

2021-02-0317:06

Animals are capable of many amazing feats. Some even have remarkable learning and communication abilities, but do they have language? In part three of our series on language we take a look at the linguistic abilities of several animals and highlight a few of the distinctions between animal communication and human language. Show notesThe Here and Now Podcast Language SeriesAlex - The Genius Grey Parrot (YouTube)Washoe the signing chimpanzee (YouTube)Kanzi the bonobo who can talk (YouTube)Talking the Talk: Language Psychology and Science – Trevor Harley (2017)The Evolution of Language – W. Tecumseh Fitch (2010)The Language Instinct - Steven Pinker (2010)The Here and Now Podcast on Facebook The Here and Now Podcast on Twitter Send me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Language II - Origins

Language II - Origins

2021-01-2722:13

The origins of language are unknown. Now that's out of the way we can get on with investigating several of the possibilities in this second episode of our series on language. This episode considers Daniel Everett's gradualism thesis that the hominid Homo erectus  was an early adopter of language as evidenced by their extensive travels and creation of icons and symbols. We explore this thesis, Pierces' semiotics model, and evidence from the fossil record. Remember, this is a gentle introduction to the topic which fills volumes. You can find much more detail in the reading list below. Show NotesThe Here and Now Podcast Language SeriesHow Language Began – Daniel Everett (2017)How Language Began – Daniel Everett TED talk (YouTube)Language: The cultural tool - Daniel Everett (2012)The Evolution of Language – W. Tecumseh Fitch (2010)Talking the Talk: Language Psychology and Science – Trevor Harley (2017)Homo erectus - WikipediaHomo erectus may have been a sailor and able to speak – The Guardian (2018)Homo floresiensis - making sense of the small bodied hominin fossils from Flores - K. Baab (2012) Oldowan tools Charles Pierce’s Semiotic Theory of SignsThe Makapangskat Pebble The Here and Now Podcast on Facebook The Here and Now Podcast on Twitter Send me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
Is there a quality more uniquely human than language? The domain of language is vast and complex and involves many disciplines. In this series we will explore many of the big questions about language and cover a range of topics from evolution, biology, linguistics, anthropology, psychology and philosophy. On our search for answers we’ll gain a deeper understanding of what language is, how it emerged in humans, and how it functions in individuals and society.In this first episode of the series, I introduce the topic of language, raise several of the big questions and attempt to understand what language is. We also take our first tentative steps toward answering the biggest question of all: how did language emerge in homo sapiens?Show notes and further readingThe Here and Now Podcast Language SeriesLanguage – Collins Online DictionaryGenesis Chapter 11, verses 1 - 9Talking the Talk: Language Psychology and Science – Trevor Harley (2017)Daniel EverettHow Language Began – Daniel Everett (2017)A Basic Course in Anthropological Linguistics – Marcel Danesi (2004)Max MüllerOn the origin of species – Charles Darwin (1859)Psamtik I and the babies talk of breadKing James IV and the island experiment – BBC HistoryThe Here and Now Podcast on Facebook The Here and Now Podcast on Twitter Send me an emailSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehereandnowpodcast)
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