The WFMT Radio Network
The WFMT Radio Network and Stanford University welcome you to Philosophy Talk as our partnership enters its second year. This on-going 52-week, 1-hour series is NPR News-friendly, with a 5-minute "hole" at the beginning of each program. Those 5 minutes will be silent for stations not wishing to broadcast NPR News.
Over the last eight years, Philosophy Talk has demonstrated that there is a large audience hungry for a deeper grasp of issues and concepts presented relatively unreflectively in the media. Mainstream media operates in a narrow space: column inches and airtime are limited, and a thorough-going attempt to separate the strands of opposing viewpoints, and clarify conceptual confusions, is in large part cost-prohibitive. Philosophy Talk serves as an antidote to the naïve deference to pseudo-experts and uncritical appeals to tradition, routinely employed by mainstream media.
Too often, public conversation concerning topics of utmost importance is reduced to deceptive rhetoric or hidden fallacy. Critical thinking, a precondition of good citizenship, is vital to democracy, and it has been part of Philosophy Talk's mission to restore some of the dialectic too sorely lacking in current public debate. Philosophy Talk never shrinks from the 'Big Questions' beneath everyday assumptions about our lives, and the meaning of our activities.
Praised in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation and the San Francisco Chronicle, Philosophy Talk is radio for people who think (and like to have fun while doing it!).
"In this celebrity-soaked era, when Americans seem to spend more time pondering whether Britney Spears' underwear exists than whether God does, these two Stanford philosophy professors take on everything from the weighty to the winsome."
-- Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times
"Philosophy Talk has proven that it can do what public radio does at its best: reach a wide audience with material that's intellectually challenging and at the same time accessible and entertaining."
--Matt Martin, General Manager, KALW 91.7 FM, San Francisco, CA
Philosophy Talk's motto is: "the program that questions everything - except your intelligence." Our intention is to create a talk radio forum that is unlike any other. A forum that sheds light, not heat, on important topics of the day. Our other objective is to demonstrate to listeners that the discipline can be fun, and above all, useful in the 21st century.
This program is available free of charge to all stations…..you do not have to be a WFMT Affiliate to broadcast. Philosophy Talk is available via ContentDepot, FTP and CD (please contact me for the FTP information), and stations may broadcast either as an on-going, weekly program or on an occasional basis.
For more information or to schedule this series, please contact Tony Macaluso at (773) 279-2114, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Carol Martinez at (773) 279-2112, email: email@example.com or Dave Millar, Philosophy Talk, (650) 724-7193, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Broadcast Schedule - Spring 2013 **REV 4/12
PROGRAM #: PHT 12-27
RELEASE: April 7, 2013
Reading, Narrative, and the Self
Reading is a lot of fun, especially narrative fiction - everyone loves a good story. But maybe there's more to it than that. Maybe everyone is, or at least tries to be, a good story themselves. Perhaps our very personal identities rest on narratives we form about ourselves, narratives that give our lives meaning, continuity, and coherence. Will the younger generation fashion lives based on the chaos and violence-based levels of computer games, rather than the carefully constructed lives of great fiction? Or is that just one of the old-fogey hosts grumbling? John and Ken swap stories with Joshua Landy, author of How To Do Things With Fictions, for a program recorded live at Congregation Beth Shalom in San Francisco.
PROGRAM #: PHT 12-28
RELEASE: April 14, 2013
Dance as a Way of Knowing
Whether it be rhythmic or shuffling, athletic or pedestrian, erotic or just social, dance is an art form that utilizes movement of the body through space. Could the aesthetic experience of being physically present and embodied in the world be considered a way of knowing? Is there something in particular we can come to know by watching or performing dance? And are there broader lessons that dance can teach us about human perception and action? John and Ken hit the floor with Alva Noe from UC Berkeley, author of Varieties of Presence. This program was recorded live at the Marsh Theater in Berkeley.
PROGRAM #: PHT 12-29
RELEASE: April 21, 2013
What is an Adult?
In the Middle Ages, people married, had children, went off to war and took on all the traditional trappings of adulthood by their early teens. But today many people put off those trappings until well into their thirties. Some have even suggested that we need a new vocabulary to describe the variety of life stages experienced by 21st century humans. John and Ken explore the new adulthood with Ethan Watters, author of Urban Tribes: A Generation Redefines Friendship, Family, and Commitment, in a program recorded live at the Marsh Theater in Berkeley.
PROGRAM #: PHT 12-30
RELEASE: April 28, 2013
The Demands of Morality
We all want to lead a moral life. But even if we all agreed on what that would mean, we still have to balance our own self-interest with the competing demands of morality. This becomes even more challenging when the decks are stacked against us, or when everyone around us is only looking out for themselves. So in the real world, what does it mean to live a moral life? Do we have a responsibility to act morally when others around us are not? And what do we do if morality makes excessive demands of us? John and Ken balance their own self-interests with Tamar Schapiro from Stanford University, for a program recorded live as part of the Stanford Continuing Studies series The Art of Living.
PROGRAM #: PHT 12-31
RELEASE: May 5, 2013
Good, Evil, and the Divine Plan
A theodicy is an explanation by a philosopher or theologian about why a world created by a kind and all-powerful God contains so much suffering. It forces us to think about the nature of good and evil, about whether the kind of knowledge an all-knowing God has leaves room for human freedom. Why do people who suffer often find their faith in God growing stronger? Is evil an illusion? Does God really need a defense attorney? John and Ken search for insight with Andrew Pinsent from the University of Oxford.
PROGRAM #: PHT 12-32
RELEASE: May 12, 2013
The Extended Mind
An increasing number of psychologists and philosophers believe that to understand how the mind really works, we must understand it as both embedded in a body and as situated in an environment. According to some, in fact, the body and the environment do not just house the mind, but are an essential part of the mind in the sense that workings of the mind depend upon and exploit the body and the environment. John and Ken probe the extended mind, embodied cognition, and the situated self with renowned cognitive scientist George Lakoff, co-author of Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought. This program was recorded live at the Marsh Theater in Berkeley.
PROGRAM #: PHT 12-33
RELEASE: May 19, 2013
Faith vs. Reason
It sounds plausible to require that all our beliefs be based on evidence and sound reasoning. Yet some people's most cherished beliefs, like their belief in a deity, are based on faith alone. Does that make those beliefs fundamentally irrational, or could there be some rational justification for such faith? And what about reason itself-are there limits to what can be known rationally? Does our reliance on reason demand a kind of faith of its own? Is there a way to reconcile faith and reason, or does the well-lived life demand that we choose one over the other? John Ken put reasonable faith in Howard Wettstein from UC Riverside, author of The Significance of Religious Experience. This program was recorded live as part of the Stanford Continuing Studies series The Art of Living.
PROGRAM #: PHT 12-34
RELEASE: May 26, 2013
Summer Reading List
Summer is the perfect time to dig in to deep reading. Martin Heidegger's Being and Time may be a bit much to take on vacation, but there are lots of readable, beach-friendly classics and non-classics to add philosophical depth to your summer reading. Not to mention new and classic fiction books with a philosophical bent. John and Ken share some of the philosophically-minded titles on their reading list and take suggestions from listeners and special guests.
PROGRAM #: PHT 12-35
RELEASE: June 2, 2013
Gay Pride and Prejudice
Gay Rights has become a hot button issue, with opposition taking on the air of a moral panic and support taking on the air of a righteous crusade. John and Ken attempt to dispassionately examine the competing scientific, religious, and philosophical visions of the nature of gayness. They explore the consequences of those competing arguments for and against gay rights with cultural and psychological anthropologist Gilbert Herdt, editor of Moral Panics, Sex Panics: Fear and the Fight over Sexual Rights. This program was recorded live at the Marsh Theater in Berkeley.
PROGRAM #: PHT 12-36
RELEASE: June 9, 2013
Physics, Philosophy, and Theology
The world disclosed by the physical sciences can seem depressing. Modern physics, for example, has undermined the religious idea that the universe has a spiritual dimension. Quantum physics in particular seems to present the world as more paradoxical than rational. Is there room within - or in addition to - the world presented to us by the physical sciences for philosophical and religious ideas such as values, freedom, dignity, justice, and even God? Or should these all be regarded as useful illusions? John and Ken peer into the cosmos with Tim O'Connor from Indiana University, author of Theism and Ultimate Explanation.
PROGRAM #: PHT 12-37
RELEASE: June 16, 2013
Education and the Culture Wars
In contemporary democracies, the state is responsible for providing children with an education. But parents surely have both the right and responsibility for instilling appropriate morals and values in their children. How should we reconcile conflicts between the state's responsibility to properly educate minors and the parents' rights to influence their children's values and ideals? Should the government's approach to education in areas such as history and science always trump that of the child's most direct guardians? Or should parents hold some veto power when it comes to education about evolution, sex, and other issues that bear on religious and personal values? John and Ken do their homework with Stanford political scientist Rob Reich, co-editor of Education, Justice, and Democracy, for a program recorded live at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco.
PROGRAM #: PHT 12-38
RELEASE: June 23, 2013
Nations and Borders
One's country of birth has a profound effect on life prospects. It's often best to go elsewhere. But moving is not always so easy. Borders and immigration control restrict people from going where they want to pursue a better life. On the one hand there is the state's need for security, self-determination, and a functioning economy. But why should arbitrary boundaries, based on past thefts of territory, limit a person's opportunities? Are borders essential to nationhood, or do they form an exclusive club that unfairly keeps certain people from pursuing a better life? John and Ken lift the gate for UC Berkeley Law Professor Sarah Song, author of Justice, Gender, and the Politics of Multiculturalism. This program was recorded live at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco.
PROGRAM #: PHT 12-39
RELEASE: June 30, 2013
Whodunit: The Language of Responsibility
Who is responsible for the broken vase in the foyer? How harshly should criminals be punished for their crimes? Did Justin Timberlake mean to disrobe Janet Jackson during her infamous 'wardrobe malfunction'? Cognitive scientists have recently discovered some surprising ways in which the language we use influences how we think about responsibility and agency. John and Ken welcome back Stanford psychologist Lera Boroditsky for a probing look at cross cultural variations in the language of responsibility. This program was recorded live at the Marsh Theater in Berkeley.