DiscoverThe Philosopher & The News
The Philosopher & The News
Claim Ownership

The Philosopher & The News

Author: Alexis Papazoglou

Subscribed: 54Played: 549
Share

Description

Leading philosophers bring to the surface the ideas hidden behind the biggest news stories.
17 Episodes
Reverse
The Philosopher & The News will be resuming next week with guest Camila Vergara, author of Systemic Corruption: Constitutional Ideas for an Anti-Oligarchic Society. If in the meantime you're craving your weekly philosophy fix, I have just the thing for you. This week The Philosopher journal is putting on virtual lectures every single day, to coincide with the release of its spring issue on the topic of Authority and Knowledge.To see the full program, and register for these events, for free, go to: www.thephilosopher1923.org/events .
According to the received narrative, we have entered a new geological era in the history of our planet, the Anthropocene. Human beings, so the theory goes, have become geological agents, having an impact on the planet so profound that it can only be compared to past ice ages and the early stages of the planet’s formation. But this narrative implies that all humans have had a hand in changing the planet, and that that all humans are affected in the same way by climate change. Philosophers, historians and geologists have recently been pointing out that this isn’t the case. Climate change affects different groups of people differently, and the same goes for some of the proposed solutions to climate change. Desmond Tutu has spoken of a climate apartheid. “Climate adaptation” he says “is becoming a euphemism for social injustice on a global scale”. So what does the South-African cleric and human rights activist mean when he compares some climate change solutions to the apartheid regime? What’s the relationship between climate change and racism?  And how can understanding the origins of both help us put forward solutions that don’t reproduce the inequities of the past? Nancy Tuana is Professor of Philosophy, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Penn State College of the Liberal Arts. She is the author of several books and papers on feminism, climate change and the nature of racism, including "Climate Apartheid: The Forgeting of Race in the Anthropocene".This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal.  Register for free for the spring series of talks and events at: https://www.thephilosopher1923.org/events Music by Pataphysical Artwork by Nick Halliday
In 1825 the planet’s human population was 1 billion. In 2011, there were 7 billion human beings on the planet.  With the current projections estimating that by the year 2050 the human population will be 9.6 billion, there is a pressing question: Can climate change be stopped simply by moving to greener energy sources and reducing the consumption levels of the developed world? Or is something more drastic in order, like curbing the human population growth ? Given the grim history of states trying to control their population, could something like that be morally acceptable? And if so, how would governments around the world go about implementing such a policy? Sarah Conly is professor of philosophy at Bowdoin College, and author of the book One Child: Do We Have a Right to More? in which she puts forward the argument that in the wake of climate change and the overall environmental destruction, future parents have a moral right to only one child, and that the state should regulate the rate of human reproduction. This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal.  Register for free for the spring series of talks and events at: https://www.thephilosopher1923.org/events Music by Pataphysical Artwork by Nick Halliday
In 2019 the US Congress representative Alexandria Occasio Cortez and US senator Edward Markey put forward a resolution called the Green New Deal. Borrowing the name from Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s, a massive state-led plan to save the economy from the 1929 crash, the Green New Deal proposes an even more ambitious state plan, this time to save the planet from climate change. The aim of a net-zero carbon emissions economy within the next thirty years, the argument goes, can only be achieved by huge state intervention. The swift closing down of the oil and gas sectors of the economy will require the state to become the leader in investment planning, and even the guarantor of jobs for everyone. But what assumptions about the economy, the nature of currency and the role of financial institutions do we need to rethink in undertaking such a project? And what are the ethical challenges in giving the state unprecedented power over our future? Alex Douglas is lecturer in philosophy at the University of St Andrews, author of The Philosophy of Debt and co-director of The Future of Work and Income Research Network. This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal.  Register for free for the spring series of talks and events at: https://www.thephilosopher1923.org/events Music by Pataphysical Artwork by Nick Halliday
What if we’re been thinking about climate change the wrong way? What if it’s not a problem that can be solved, but something that can only be managed? What if climate change is here to stay? Thom Brooks is the author of Climate Change Ethics for an Endangered World. He is professor of Law and Government at the University of Durham, and the outgoing Dean of the Durham Law School. He is also a public policy advisor and the founding Director of the Labour Academic Network. This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal.  Register for free for the spring series of talks and events at: https://www.thephilosopher1923.org/events Music by Pataphysical Artwork by Nick Halliday
January 1st this year marked the end of the transition period in the UK’s long and tortured journey of leaving the European Union. Four and a half years after the 2016 Brexit referendum the UK began a new chapter in its history, sovereign and independent, as the Leave campaign might have put it, no longer constrained by the EU’s laws and courts.   Underneath those claims lies a variety of different conceptions of freedom. As Isaiah Berlin explained in his famous essay “Two Concepts of Liberty” there are at least two, fundamentally different conceptions of freedom.   So what are these conceptions? And how do they apply to Brexit? Are the claims that the UK is a freer country, now that it’s out of the EU true? Or are such claims concealing the many meanings of the concept of freedom?   A joint episode with a fellow podcaster, Toby Buckle, producer and host of The Political Philosophy podcast.  This conversation was based on an article I wrote for the LSE’s Politics and Policy blog, back in 2016, entitled "Isaiah Berlin and Brexit: How The Leave Campaign Misunderstands Freedom", and Toby’s past solo episode on Berlin’s distinction, entitled “Positive and Negative Freedom”. This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal.  Register for free for the spring series of talks and events at: https://www.thephilosopher1923.org/events Music by Pataphysical Artwork by Nick Halliday 
On February 22nd, NASA released video footage of the car-sized Rover Perseverance, landing on the surface of Mars. After a journey of seven months and 293 million miles, the robot vehicle finally reached the red planet, with the aim of searching for ancient signs of life on Mars. A couple of weeks later, Elon Musk’s company Space X tested a prototype of Starship, a vehicle meant to enable mass interplanetary travel, and the eventual colonisation of other planets by humans. This, according to Musk, would be an insurance policy against possible events like nuclear war or an asteroid collision, that could wipe out all of humanity if we were to remain on Earth.But is it ethically justifiable for a government to spend billions of dollars on sending a remote control robot to Mars, when that money could be spent on improving the lives of its citizens? Should we leave space exploration to eccentric private individuals, or does that compromise humanity’s future in space? Would it be OK to try and change the surface and atmosphere of Mars, to suit our human needs? And what ethical framework should we apply to our potential future interactions with alien forms of life, if they have evolved in radically different ways from life on Earth? Brian Patrick Green is the director of technology ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, in California’s Silicon Valley. In his forthcoming book, Space Ethics, he explores many of the moral questions that arise from a future of space exploration. This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal.   Check out the upcoming events and register for free at https://www.thephilosopher1923.org/events Music by Pataphysical Artwork by Nick Halliday
One of the many things that the pandemic forced us to rethink is the importance of a sense we usually don’t give much attention to: Our sense of smell. More than half of people with Covid-19 experience the loss of smell or taste and while two-thirds recover within six to eight weeks, many are left without much improvement months down the line. Some of the people who regain their sense of smell, experience it as hugely altered (parosmia) — aromas that they used to enjoy are now overbearingly pungent, and even revolting. The recent progress in the scientific investigation of smell means we now know a lot more about it than we did even 30 years ago: We understand that smell works rather differently from other senses, like vision. Just as you can lose your sense of smell, you can train it – and become a lot more sensitive to the nuances of what a wine smells like. But perhaps most importantly, we have understood that our sense of smell is not just the reception of raw data from our environment. Smell involves judgement and interpretation, and so a different context can alter the way we perceive of the same sensory stimuli. Smelling is thinking. So what do these new discoveries mean for philosophy? Does our understanding of smell mean that the classic model of the mind as a mirror of the external world is wrong? And what does knowing the role smell plays in our choice of sexual partners mean for our idea of ourselves as rational agents? Ann Sophie Barwich is  Assistant Professor at Indiana University Bloomington, and an academic with a dual identity: a cognitive scientist as well as a philosopher. Ann is the author of the book: Smellosophy: What the Nose tells the Mind , which highlights the importance of thinking about the sense of smell both through empirical research in neuroscience as well as through philosophy and cultural history. This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal.   Check out the upcoming events and register for free at https://www.thephilosopher1923.org/events Music by Pataphysical Artwork by Nick Halliday
The reason Covid-19 became the pandemic it did had to do with a distinctly modern phenomenon: global mass travel. Until about a year ago, getting on a plane and travelling thousands of miles across the Earth for a business meeting, or a short holiday in a different country, was something millions of people didn’t think twice about.These days, travel is one of the things the pandemic has deprived us of, reminding us what a privilege it was to be able to roam freely around the world, making us appreciate what we previously took for granted. Travel is one of those topics that philosophers didn’t really think about until the age of discovery, around the 16th century. Francis Bacon, John Locke and René Descartes all thought travel could make one a better philosopher. But what is the value of travel? Why do we enjoy visiting far-away places, and getting out of our comfort zone? Is there any value to waiting in airport lounges and train stations? And what are the ethical concerns around doom-tourism? Emily Thomas is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Durham, and a member of the Institute of Mediaeval and Early Modern Studies. Emily’s research focuses on metaphysics, the study of the general and necessary features of existence, and more specifically the philosophy of space and time. She is the author of two books on the subject,  Absolute Time: Rifts in Early Modern British Metaphysics (2018, Oxford University Press) and Early Modern Women on Metaphysics (2018, Cambridge University Press). But apart from being a philosopher, a lover of wisdom, Emily is also a lover of travel. Marrying her two passions she wrote a book called  The Meaning of Travel: Philosophers Abroad .This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal.   Check out the upcoming events and register for free at https://www.thephilosopher1923.org/events Music by Pataphysical Artwork by Nick Halliday
One set of ethical questions has been looming large since the start of the pandemic: How do we evaluate the costs and benefits that result from lockdown measures? Is it possible to weight the lives saved by lockdown measures against the unemployment, damage to mental health and education that they resulted in? Or are such comparisons impossible to make?  Is there a price to human life, and if so, how do we arrive at it? What are the ethical principles that we should follow when making decisions under conditions of radical uncertainty? And how has the pandemic challenged our usual framework for making life and death decisions? Jonathan Wolff is the Alfred Landecker Professor of Values and Public Policy at the University of Oxford, and was formerly Blavatnik Chair in Public Policy. He has been a public policy advisor on several issues, including gambling regulation, railway safety, bioethics, and at the moment he is co-char of the Working Group for ethics and governance for the Word Health Organisation -  Accelerator Covid Response. Jo has written about his experiences as a public policy advisor, and the lessons there are to be learned for both policy and philosophy, in his book Ethics and Public Policy: A Philosophical Enquiry. This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal. The winter issue of The Philosopher is out, tackling one of philosophy’s perennial puzzles: the concept of Nothing. If you’d like to order a copy of the latest issue, and subscribe to the journal, go to www.thephilosopher1923.org/subscribe. Music by Pataphysical: https://soundcloud.com/pataphysicaltransmission Artwork by Nick Halliday: https://www.hallidaybooks.com/design 
One of the first things we lost as the Covid pandemic began was the handshake. It foreshadowed what would follow in the months ahead: Social distancing, the loss of human touch and our longing for the physical presence of others. As we began living an increasingly disembodied existence on Zoom meetings and video calls with friends and family, many of us had a similar realization: The tactile sensation cannot be replaced with vision and sound.Historically, much of philosophy downgraded the importance of touch. According to Plato it was vision that brought us closer to the divine, the realm of ideas and reason. Touch, on the other hand, connected us to our lesser, carnal, animal nature.  Aristotle, as usual, had a different take from Plato. For him touch was the most important and philosophical of the senses. So what does this philosophical disagreement teach us about the nature of touch? And is the current trend to “live on the internet” the result of a technological accident, or the culmination of a culture that prioritises vision while neglecting our embodied nature? Has the pandemic confirmed the importance of physical presence and touch as part of a good social life?  And what can Ancient Greek medicine teach us about the role of touch in healing? Richard Kearney holds the Charles B. Seelig Chair of Philosophy at Boston College.He is extremely prolific, the author of over 24 books on European philosophy and literature (including two novels and a volume of poetry) and has edited or co-edited 21 more.Long before the pandemic, he had already started work on a project around the philosophy of touch, resulting in the publication of his book Touch: Recovering our Most Vital Sense, which has just been published. The book is a testament to how philosophy can capture something important about our cultural moment, even before events themselves make it explicit to the rest of us. Guardian pieces referenced: Lost touch: how a year without hugs affects our mental healthI desperately miss human touch. Science may explain why. This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal. The winter issue of The Philosopher is out, tackling one of philosophy’s perennial puzzles: the concept of Nothing. If you’d like to order a copy of the latest issue, and subscribe to the journal, go to www.thephilosopher1923.org/subscribe. Music by Pataphysical: https://soundcloud.com/pataphysicaltransmission Artwork by Nick Halliday: https://www.hallidaybooks.com/design 
Two days after the storming of the Capitol, following a Trump rally, and with the former president  seemingly continuing to glorify the events of January 6, Facebook and Twitter decided to ban him from the social media platforms, in Twitter’s case permanently. Many welcomed this move, while others cried that this constituted a violation of the former President’s free speech. Some argued that Twitter and Facebook are private companies, and therefore can enforce their terms of service however they see fit. Others argued that given social media platforms are more akin to a public square, rather than someone’s private salon, these companies should not have the right to decide what speech is and isn’t allowed.  So did Twitter and Facebook violate Trump’s free speech, or were their bans justified? Does having moral arguments for banning certain kinds of speech mean those arguments should be reflected in the law, or should what speech is legally allowed stretch beyond the morally acceptable? What type of speech is dangerous, and are there ways of combating it besides taking legal measures against it? Jeffrey Howard is an Associate Professor of Political Theory at UCL’s Department of Political Science and School of Public Policy. He works on topics in contemporary political and legal philosophy, focusing on freedom of speech, criminal punishment, and democracy. His paper, "Dangerous speech", published in the journal Philosophy and Public Affairs, won him the 2021 Berger Memorial Prize for the best article in philosophy of law, a prize awarded every two years by the American Philosophical Association. Visit Jeff's personal webpage for a great set of recorded public talks as well as radio appearances, podcasts (including the brilliant Hi Phi Nation) and his Tedx talk on moral disagreement and free speech. This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal. The winter issue of The Philosopher is out, tackling one of philosophy’s perennial puzzles: the concept of Nothing. If you’d like to order a copy of the latest issue, and subscribe to the journal, go to www.thephilosopher1923.org/subscribe. Music by Pataphysical: https://soundcloud.com/pataphysicaltransmission Artwork by Nick Halliday: https://www.hallidaybooks.com/design 
In the era of populism and political polarisation, listening to the other side has become harder than ever. Even agreeing to a common starting point, a set of facts about the world, has come to seem impossible. To many of us it seems that our political and cultural opponents just live in a different world, a different reality from us. Facts have become politicised, and their acceptance or denial a sign of one’s political identity. On top of that, much of political discourse takes place in an environment not conductive to civil debate and exchange of ideas: social media. Trolling, antagonising memes and conflict entrepreneurs short-circuit any chance of honest and truthful communication. So, is there a way to talk to the other side? To really engage with the viewpoint of our opponents? To understand their lived experience? And what can philosophy teach us about productive and unproductive ways to argue with each other?  There aren’t many philosophers who get profiled in The New Yorker, but Elizabeth Anderson is one of those rare exceptions. She is the John Dewey Distinguished University Professor and the John Rawls Collegiate Professor, at the University of Michigan, and that is only two of her titles. In 2019 she delivered the Uehiro lectures, at the University of Oxford, under the title: Can We Talk? Communicating Moral Concern in an Era of Polarized Politics I couldn’t think of a better philosopher to both diagnose the causes of our failure to communicate across the political divide, and provide us with insights into how we can relearn to talk with the other side. This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal. The winter issue of The Philosopher is out, tackling one of philosophy’s perennial puzzles: the concept of Nothing. If you’d like to order a copy of the latest issue, and subscribe to the journal, go to www.thephilosopher1923.org/subscribe. Music by Pataphysical: https://soundcloud.com/pataphysicaltransmissionArtwork by Nick Halliday: https://www.hallidaybooks.com/design
Most commentators treat vaccine hesitancy as part of a bigger problem: the death of expertise.  Maya Goldenberg disagrees: vaccine hesitancy has to do with trust. According to the received narrative, people have stopped listening to experts, relying instead on Google searches and social media influencers for advice on important topics. There is an ongoing war, the narrative continues, between knowledge and ignorance, and the way to win the war it is by educating the public, those who think a scientific paper and a blog post by a lay person have the same claim to truth. Only this approach doesn’t seem to be working. Maya Goldenberg, associate professor at the University of Guelph, and author of the forthcoming  Vaccine Hesitancy: Public Trust, Expertise, and the War on Science, believes it’s because this is the wrong approach. Phenomena such as vaccine hesitancy don’t exist because the public is ignorant and doesn’t understand the science. Vaccine hesitancy exists because the public has lost trust in scientists and the public bodies they advise. The way to tackle people’s concerns therefore isn’t by yet another public information campaign, but by listening to those concerns, addressing them, and in the process, regaining the public’s trust. This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal. If you’d like to read a sample of some of the best public philosophy out there, and subscribe to the journal, go to: www.thephilosopher1923.org/subscribe. Music by Pataphysical: https://soundcloud.com/pataphysicaltransmission Artwork by Nick Halliday: https://www.hallidaybooks.com/design
The SARS-Covid-2 pandemic brought to the surface something that has accompanied other pandemics in the past: conspiracy theories. Now, with several vaccines having been developed, the conspiracy theories have turned to them.But how should we understand conspiracy theories? And why do people find them so attractive? Do the producers of conspiracy theories really believe in them? And what does the rise of populism have to do with the proliferation of conspiracy theories? Quassim Cassam, is professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick, and author of the book Conspiracy Theories, in which he argues that the main function of conspiracy theories is political propaganda. This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal. If you’d like to read a sample of some of the best public philosophy out there, and subscribe to the journal, go to: www.thephilosopher1923.org/subscribe. Music by Pataphysical: https://soundcloud.com/pataphysicaltransmission Artwork by Nick Halliday: https://www.hallidaybooks.com/design
On January the 6th, what started as a Trump rally in Washington DC, ended up in the violent storming of the Capitol, with, members of Congress being rushed to safety. Fuelled by the president’s words, calling the 2020 election results fraudulent, Trump’s followers took over the Capitol, shouting among other things “This is our house!” and “They work for us!” referring to the members of Congress, their representatives. Commenting on the events President-elect Joe Biden, said “The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, they do not represent who we are.”The concept of political representation is not examined as often as that of democracy, but according to David Runciman, a professor and historian of political thought at the University of Cambridge, it is perhaps even more foundational to the political system we live in. So, what does it mean for elected officials to represent us? And does it matter whether they resemble the electorate? Is representative government always elitist? And what did the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes mean when he suggested the concept of "the people" is a fiction, one that doesn’t exist without representation? This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal. If you’d like to read a sample of some of the best public philosophy out there, and subscribe to the journal, go to: www.thephilosopher1923.org/subscribe. David Runciman is also host of the excellent podcast, Talking Politics: www.talkingpoliticspodcast.com Weekly political commentary on major political events, and beyond, by Cambridge academics, like Helen Thompson, and star guests. Music by Pataphysical: https://soundcloud.com/pataphysicaltransmissionArtwork by Nick Halliday: https://www.hallidaybooks.com/design
A new podcast where leading philosophers bring to the surface the philosophy hidden behind the biggest news stories. Together we'll be exploring the ideas that can help us understand the times we're living through.  Welcome to The Philosopher & The News.This podcast is made in partnership with The Philosopher journal: https://www.thephilosopher1923.org/Music by Pataphysical: https://soundcloud.com/pataphysicaltransmissionArtwork by Nick Halliday: https://www.hallidaybooks.com/design
Comments 
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store