Introduction to Philosophy syllabus in podcast episodes

With digital teaching and screen overload during lockdown, I tried something new for my syllabus. I used podcast episodes rather than readings for my NMBU introduction to philosophy class (examen philosophicum), which could then be enjoyed away from the screen, while going for a walk or just taking a break.

Daily Nous has a story on it, and the list is included in TrueSciPhi’s podcast playlists. In the course evaluation, the students said they wanted the podcast option continued. I have written about the experiment here: The new normal: How the pandemic helped improve my course design.

NB! For each day, choose between the suggested episodes. You are not expected to listen to them all, but welcome to do so. Episodes are meant to be combined with my lecture handouts for this course.

Links to podcast list:

RRS (to use in any podcast app), ListenNotes (terrific browser for podcasts and episodes) or, for the correct order and including descriptions, from this list:

Week 1 the Sophists and Relativism

DAY 1: knowledge is relative

Socrates and the Sophists, Philosophize This. On this episode of the podcast, we discussed the Sophists and the man who inspired the term ‘Presocratic’, Socrates himself. We first discussed the ‘golden age’ of culture and philosophy that took place in Athens around 500 BC. During this time, language and critical thinking skills were highly desired, but rarely Pessed–a demand which gave rise to a group called the Sophists. The Sophists were philosopher-teachers who charged Athenians an arm and a leg to learn how to win arguments in court, regardless of whether their argument had any validity or not. As we learned, the Sophists aren’t held in very high regard in philosophy circles, but they’re an important part of philosophy’s history nonetheless. Next, we discussed the ways that some of the philosophers we’ve discussed previously are categorized. 40 minutes

Relativism, BBC In Our Time. Relativism is a school of philosophical thought which holds to the idea that there are no absolute truths. Instead, truth is situated within different frameworks of understanding that are governed by our history, culture and critical perspective. Why has relativism so radically divided scholars and moral custodians over the centuries? How have its supporters answered to criticisms that it is inherently unethical? And if there are universal standards such as human rights, how do relativists defend culturally specific practices such as honour killings or female infanticide? Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss relativism, a philosophy of shifting sands. With Barry Smith, Jonathan Rée and Kathleen Lennon. 41 minutes

DAY 2: Morality is relative

Moral relativismPhilosophy Bites. Is moral relativism a tenable position? Does it matter? Paul Boghossian argues that it isn’t and that it does matter. 17 minutes

When Doing the Right Thing Is Impossible, Radical Philosophy. Professor Lisa Tessman discusses how and why do human beings construct morality, and how is it that sometimes moral wrongdoing is just unavoidable also the situation that occurred with Cyclone Katrina and the moral decisions that had to be made. 28 minutes

The Socratic methodPhilosophy Bites. What is Socratic Method and does it have any present day applications? MM McCabe explains the significance of Socrates’ impertinent questioning and contrasts his approach with present day university teaching. 13 minutes

Week 2 Plato and Hypatia

day 1: true knowledge is ideal and abstract

The cave allegory of Plato’s RepublicHistory of Philosophy Without Any Gaps. The most famous work of Plato is the “Republic” and its most famous passage is the allegory of the cave. In this episode Peter Adamson looks at the allegory, along with the Form of the Good and divided line. 19 minutes

Plato, Philosophize This. In this week’s episode, we learn about Plato’s “Symposium”, which you might think of as philosophy’s version of fan fiction. We also learn about Plato’s “Theory of Forms” and ask ourselves what makes a tree, well, a tree. This leads to discussion of Plato’s famous “Allegory of the Cave” and calls into question whether or not everything we see is merely a shadow of its true self. Finally, we learn about Plato’s views on society and government and why he thought democracy was one of the worst forms of government, second only to tyranny. 45 minutes

Plato’s Republic, BBC In Our Time. Is it always better to be just than unjust? That is the central question of Plato’s Republic, discussed here by Melvyn Bragg and guests. Writing in c380BC, Plato applied this question both to the individual and the city-state, considering earlier and current forms of government in Athens and potential forms, in which the ideal city might be ruled by philosophers. The Republic is arguably Plato’s best known and greatest work, a dialogue between Socrates and his companions, featuring the allegory of the cave and ideas about immortality of the soul, the value of poetry to society, and democracy’s vulnerability to a clever demagogue seeking tyranny. With Angie Hobbs, MM McCabe and James Warren. 49 minutes

Plato’s Cave and the theory of FormsThe Panpsycast. The voices in this episode are owned by Jack Symes, Andrew Horton and Ollie Marley. 1 hour

Hypatia, Iconic Women Podcast. Meet Hypatia, the world’s first known female mathematician AND the world’s first known female philosopher. She was also the greatest mathematician and greatest philosopher of her time, which is a title that no other woman in history can claim. Hypatia was an extraordinarily talented and accomplished scholar in Alexandria at an extremely tense time. Scholars of all faiths came from far and wide just for the opportunity to learn from her. Today, Hypatia is heralded as one of the world’s first feminist icons, for her accomplishments and contributions to the fields of math, astronomy, and philosophy; for achieving her power, status, and respect completely independently in a time where women were not accepted or followed as intellectual equals, let alone superiors; and for her brutal death at the hands of an intolerant, sexist, oppressive government. 8 minutes

Yanis Varoufakis on Hypatia, BBC Radio 4. The Greek politician and economist takes us back to ancient Alexandria and the life of the first woman to make her name as a mathematician. But Hypatia is best known now for being brutally murdered. Yanis Varoufakis makes the case for her as a philosopher and mathematician, and explores how her story has been interpreted and misinterpreted in the centuries after her death. He’s joined by the writer and broadcaster, Professor Edith Hall. Presented by Matthew Parris and produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Chris Ledgard. 27 minutes

day 2: eternal virtues

Plato’s political philosophyThe Panpsycast. This episode benchmarks the beginning of our mini-series on political philosophy. Plato provides a strong critique of democracy through his formulation of a utopian city-state. By attempting to find justice in the city, Plato prompts us to question whether or not democracy can promote the common good. In this episode we’ll be asking questions like; What is justice? Is democracy worthless? and What can we learn from Plato today? 57 minutes

Plato’s conception of the Good, Radical Philosophy. Professor Rachel Barney answers the questions, would you be able to define what good is? I suppose the opposite to good is bad or evil, would you have a definition of evil? and would you say that the good is something that everybody desires? 25 minutes

Plato’s political philosophyHistory of Philosophy Without Any Gaps. In the Republic, Plato describes the ideal city and draws a parallel between this city and the just soul, with the three classes of the city mirroring the three parts of the soul. Peter Adamson discusses this parallel and the historical context that may have influenced Plato’s political thought. 20 minutes

Plato and sustainabilityPhilosophy Bites. What can the ancients teach us about sustainability? According to Melissa Lane of Princeton University, author of Eco-Republic, quite a lot. She discusses the relevance of Plato to modern environmental problems in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast. 14 minutes

Week 3 Aristotle and Virtue Ethics

day 1: being and becoming

Aristotle’s basic philosophyThe Panpsycast. The voices in this episode are owned by Jack Symes, Andrew Horton and Ollie Marley. This episode fulfils the function of tackling Aristotle’s basic philosophies. Special thanks to the prime mover for your help in the production of this recording. 1 hour 6 minutes

Aristotle on substanceHistory of Philosophy Without Any Gaps. Aristotle rejects Plato’s Forms, holding that ordinary things are primary substances. But what happens when we divide such substances into matter and form? With Peter Adamson. 20 minutes

day 2: becoming a virtuous person

Virtue ethicsPhilosophy Bites. Julia Annas outlines the key features of Virtue Ethics, the approach to living well derived from Aristotle’s writings, and explains what she thinks the purpose of this ethical approach is. 15 minutes

Julia Annas discusses virtue ethics, Elucidations. Julia Annas argues that thinking of ethics this way revitalizes the entire enterprise, giving philosophers a new set of problems to consider and rendering many old ones irrelevant.  For example, it gives us the occasion to rethink what happiness is–is it a feeling?  A matter of having all of your desires satisfied?  An entire way of life? Podcast webpage. 39 minutes

Virtue, BBC In Our Time. Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of virtue. When Socrates asked the question ‘How should man live?’ Plato and Aristotle answered that man should live a life of virtue. Plato claimed there were four great virtues – Temperance, Justice, Prudence and Courage and the Christian Church added three more – Faith, Hope and Love. But where does the motivation for virtue come from? Do we need rules to tell us how to behave or can we rely on our feelings of compassion and empathy towards other human beings? So is virtue a character trait possessed by some but not others? Is it derived from reason? Or does it flow from the innate sympathies of the human heart? For the last two thousand years philosophers have grappled with these ideas, but now in the twenty first century a modern reappraisal of virtue is taking the argument back to basics with Aristotle. With Galen Strawson, Miranda Fricker and Roger Crisp. 45 minutes

Virtue ethics, Radical Philosophy. Professor Jennifer Baker speaks about virtue ethics and the reform of US policing – the connection between norms and virtual ethics and how virtual ethics are applied to law enforcement. 29 minutes

Week 4 Descartes and Astell

day 1: i think, therefore I am

Descartes’ CogitoPhilosophy Bites. Anthony Grayling, author of a recent biography of René Descartes, explores Descartes’ Cogito argument, the pivotal argument of the Meditations, in conversation with Nigel Warburton. 12 minutes

Descartes on innate knowledgePhilosophy Bites. Where do our ideas come from? According to René Descartes at least some of them are innate, acquired indpendently of experience. In this episode Colin McGinn explains why he thinks that Descartes’ view of the mind has something to be said for it, particularly when combined with Leibniz’s insight that innate ideas must be initially unconscious. 15 minutes

The Very Basics of Consciousness: What is a Mind?, Tony Talks Back. Descartes and Princess Elisabeth. Name a more iconic duo. Is dualism of the mind and body the answer? Or is the mind-body problem insurmountable? Will physicists be able to tell us what consciousness is? I don’t have answers, only more questions. Also, what is it like to be a bat? Just curious. 18 minutes

day 2: Why are women born slaves?

Mary Astell, BBC In Our Time. The philosopher Mary Astell (1666 – 1731) has been described as “the first English feminist”. Born in Newcastle in relatively poor circumstances in the aftermath of the upheaval of the English Civil War and the restoration of the monarchy, she moved to London as a young woman and became part of an extraordinary circle of intellectual and aristocratic women. In her pioneering publications, she argued that women’s education should be expanded, that men and women’s minds were the same and that no woman should be forced to marry against her will. Perhaps her most famous quotation is: “If all Men are born Free, why are all Women born Slaves?” With Hannah Dawson, Mark Goldie and Teresa Bejan. 51 minutes

Mary Astell, Radical Philosophy. Speaking to Dr Jacqueline Broad, who is writing a book about Mary Astell, a 17th century English feminist and philosopher, who was quite famous in her time, but whose influence and notoriety has dissipated considerably since. 25 minutes

Week 5 Hume and Wollstonecraft

day 1: knowledge is empirical

David Hume, BBC In Our Time. Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the work of the philosopher David Hume. A key figure in the Scottish Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, Hume was an empiricist who believed that humans can only have knowledge of things they have themselves experienced. Hume made a number of significant contributions to philosophy. He saw human nature as a manifestation of the natural world, rather than something above and beyond it. With Peter Millican, Helen Beebee and James Harris. 42 minutes

Hume’s significancePhilosophy Bites. (Contrasting the mechanistic world-view with the teleological Aristotelian one.) David Hume is one of the great philosophers. Hume expert Peter Millican explains his significance. He also provides textual evidence for Hume’s atheism. 14 minutes

David Hume, Philosophize This. On this episode of the podcast, we learn about Hume’s ‘is’ versus ‘ought’ distinction and how not being mindful of this pitfall can lead us down a dangerous path. Next, we discuss the limitations of science and learn what Hume thought should fill in the gaps it leaves (spoiler alert: it’s not religion). Finally, we discuss Hume’s thoughts on causality and ensure that you’ll never think about playing pool the same way again. 30 minutes

The problem of induction, BBC The Philosopher’s Arms. This week, the problem of induction: are we justified in predicting the future on the basis of what’s happened in the past? How do we know that the sun will rise tomorrow? In the snug with Matthew is philosopher Helen Beebee, discussing a conundrum which faces all of us in our daily life – and which raises profound questions about the nature of science. 27 minutes

day 2: justice for one half of the human race

Mary Wollstonecraft, BBC In Our Time. Melvyn Bragg and guests John Mullan, Karen O’Brien and Barbara Taylor discuss the life and ideas of the pioneering British Enlightenment thinker Mary Wollstonecraft. Her career took a dizzying trajectory through a bleak period as a governess to becoming a writer, launching a polemical broadside against the political star of the day, witnessing the bloodshed of the French Revolution up close, rescuing her lover’s stolen ship in Scandanavia, then marrying one of the leading philosophers of the day, William Godwin, and with him having a daughter who – though she never lived to see her grow up – would go on to write Frankenstein. But most importantly, in 1792, she published her great work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, which marks her out as one of the great thinkers of the British Enlightenment, with a much stronger, more lasting influence than Godwin. The Vindication was an attempt to apply the Enlightenment logic of rights and reason to the lives of women. Yet it was not a manifesto for the extension of the vote or the reform of divorce law, but a work of political philosophy. With John Mullan, Karen O’Brien and Barbara Taylor. 43 minutes

Mary Wollstonecraft, Radical Philosophy. Dr Sandrine Bergès discusses Mary Wollstonecraft’s views on children’s rights and animal ethics, opinions on inequality respect and love and her approaches to motherhood. 26 minutes

Week 6 Kant, Châtelet and Duty Ethics

day 1: knowledge requires senses and reason

Kant’s metaphysicsPhilosophy Bites. Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason is a great but difficult work. In this interview for Philosophy Bites A.W. Moore gives an accessible account of the main themes of the book and explains what might have been motivating Kant’s approach to metaphysics (no mean feat in under 20 minutes!).

Kant, Philosophize This. On this episode of the podcast we continue our discussion of Kant, this time focusing on his contributions to the debate between rationalism and empiricism . We begin by reviewing the major points of contention between the rationalists and empiricists regarding how we arrive at knowledge. Next, we learn about Kant’s “eureka!” moment, which arose from his discovery of a major assumption made by empiricist David Hume. Finally, we find out why Kant believed that we can never truly know the external world as it actually is, an idea which calls into questions basic concepts like space, time, and causality and goes well beyond the “veil of perception”. 25 minutes

Émilie du Châtelet – a free-spirited physicist, BBC The Forum. Emilie du Chatelet was esteemed in 18th-century France as a brilliant physicist, mathematician, thinker and linguist whose pioneering ideas and formidable translations were known all across Europe. Du Chatelet’s insights into kinetic energy foreshadowed Einstein’s famous equation and her suggestions for experiments with the different colours of light would only be carried out half-a-century after she’d written about them. Bridget Kendall discusses du Chatelet’s life and work with history professor Judith Zinsser, Chatelet’s biographer David Bodanis and philosophy professor Ruth Hagengruber. 40 minutes

day 2: morality is rational and universal

Kant on the categorical imperative, BBC In Our Time. Melvyn Bragg and guests (Alison Hills, David Oderberg and John Callanan) discuss how Kant sought to define the difference between right and wrong by applying reason, looking at the intention behind actions rather than at consequences. Kant argued that when someone was doing the right thing, that person was doing what was the universal law for everyone, a formulation that has been influential on moral philosophy ever since and is known as the Categorical Imperative. Arguably even more influential was one of his reformulations, echoed in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in which he asserted that humanity has a value of an entirely different kind from that placed on commodities. Kant argued that simply existing as a human being was valuable in itself, so that every human owed moral responsibilities to other humans and was owed responsibilities in turn. 49 minutes

Kantian Ethics: The categorical imperative and its three formulations, The Panpsycast. Welcome to Episode 6 (Part II), Kantian Ethics. The voices in this episode are owned by Jack Symes, Andrew Horton and Ollie Marley. 48 minutes

Week 7 Utilitarianism and Arendt

day 1: the greatest happiness

Utilitarianism, BBC In Our Time. A moral theory that emphasises ends over means, Utilitarianism holds that a good act is one that increases pleasure in the world and decreases pain. The tradition flourished in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, and has antecedents in ancient philosophy. According to Bentham, happiness is the means for assessing the utility of an act, declaring “it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong.” Mill and others went on to refine and challenge Bentham’s views and to defend them from critics such as Thomas Carlyle, who termed Utilitarianism a “doctrine worthy only of swine.” With Melissa Lane, Janet Radcliffe Richards and Brad Hooker. 43 minutes

John Stuart Mill and UtilitarianismThe Panpsycast. Welcome to Episode 5 (Part II) of The Panpsycast, Utilitarianism. The voices in this episode are owned by Jack Symes, Andrew Horton and Ollie Marley. 1 hour and 12 minutes

Peter Singer on using animalsPhilosophy Bites. How should we treat animals? Peter Singer, perhaps the best know living moral philosopher addresses this question in conversation with Nigel Warburton in this bonus episode. This  was produced in association with The Open University as part of podcast Ethics Bites. 16 minutes

Philippa Foot and trolley problems, Women in Parenthesis. Although the trolley problem is a well-known meme, not many people know of its origins in philosophy. In this episode, I introduce the doctrine of double effect and discuss why Philippa Foot created the trolley thought experiment in the first place. This is part 1 of 5 episodes on Foot’s moral philosophy. 7 minutes

day 2: politics, truth and ethics

Hannah Arendt, BBC In Our Time. Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the political philosophy of Hannah Arendt. She developed many of her ideas in response to the rise of totalitarianism in the C20th, partly informed by her own experience as a Jew in Nazi Germany before her escape to France and then America. She wanted to understand how politics had taken such a disastrous turn and, drawing on ideas of Greek philosophers as well as her peers, what might be done to create a better political life. Often unsettling, she wrote of ‘the banality of evil’ when covering the trial of Eichmann, one of the organisers of the Holocaust. With Lyndsey Stonebridge, Frisbee Sheffield and Robert Eaglestone. 47 minutes

Hannah Arendt, Radical Philosophy. Dr Serena Parekh tells us about some of the tensions and paradoxes within the modern concept of human rights, which Arendt brings to light, and the “the banality of evil”. 29 minutes

Hannah Arendt, Philosophize This. On this episode, we begin our discussion on the work of Hannah Arendt. 29 minutes

Samantha Hill on Hannah Arendt on PluralismPhilosophy Bites. Hannah Arendt’s experience of the Eichmann trial in 1961 and of the reaction to her book about this, Eichmann in Jerusalem, led her to think deeply about politics, truth, and plurality. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Samantha Rose Hill, author of a biography of Arendt, explains the context, and outlines the key features of Arendt’s approach. 20 minutes

Week 8 Philosophical Bias in Science

day 1: scientific controversy

Scientific disagreement and philosophy, NMBU PedPod. Elena Rocca and her colleague piloted a new philosophy course in June 2020. Their course examines how expert disagreement in science research might find resolutions in philosophy. Elena discusses the importance of modern philosophical thinking and its ramifications for how students and professional scientists can think about their research. She explains how science cannot avoid making assumptions of a philosophical nature, what they call ‘philosophical bias in science‘. Such philosophical biases are often sources of scientific controversy and expert disagreement, which means that they might agree on all the scientific data, but still disagree over how to interpret or use them. Scientific uncertainty does thus not only stem from limited evidence, but also from the different way such evidence is evaluated. Since decades, philosophers of science and ethicists point out that the non-evidential component of science is mostly unscrutinised, despite its essential role. 9 minutes

Physics, reality, and lost in math, EconTalk. Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder talks about her book Lost in Math with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Hossenfelder argues that the latest theories in physics have failed to find empirical confirmation. Particles that were predicted to be discovered by the mathematics have failed to show up. Whether or not there is a multiverse has no observable consequences. Hossenfelder argues that physicists have become overly enamored with the elegance and aesthetics of their theories and that using beauty to evaluate a model is unscientific. The conversation includes a discussion of similar challenges in economics. 1 hour and 6 minutes

DAY 2: science for sustainability

Silvio Funtowitcz: On the rhetorics of sustainability, Bergen Global. When discussing sustainability, terms such as science advice and the science-policy interface have become all the rage. What is this all about? In this talk, professor Silvio Funtowicz takes a critical look at the sustainability concept, sharing his experiences on how researchers can provide advice to policy-makers in the context of scientific uncertainty and value conflicts.

Week 9 Scientific Methods and Progress

day 1: what is the best scientific method?

The scientific method, BBC In Our Time. Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the evolution of the Scientific Method, the systematic and analytical approach to scientific thought. In 1620 the great philosopher and scientist Francis Bacon published the Novum Organum, a work outlining a new system of thought which he believed should inform all enquiry into the laws of nature. Philosophers before him had given their attention to the reasoning that underlies scientific enquiry; but Bacon’s emphasis on observation and experience is often seen today as giving rise to a new phenomenon: the scientific method. With Simon Schaffer, John Worrall and Michela Massimi. 43 minutes

Baconian science (Bacon’s inductive method), BBC In Our Time. Patricia Fara, Stephen Pumfrey and Rhodri Lewis join Melvyn Bragg to discuss the Jacobean lawyer, political fixer and alleged founder of modern science Francis Bacon. He is most famous for developing an idea of how science should be done – a method that he hoped would slough off the husk of ancient thinking and usher in a new age. It is called Baconian Method and it has influenced and inspired scientists from Bacon’s own time to the present day. 45 minutes

Karl Popper (falsification, pseudo-science),  BBC In Our Time. Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century, Karl Popper whose ideas about science and politics robustly challenged the accepted ideas of the day. He strongly resisted the prevailing empiricist consensus that scientists’ theories could be proved true. Popper wrote: “The more we learn about the world and the deeper our learning, the more conscious, specific and articulate will be our knowledge of what we do not know, our knowledge of our ignorance”. He believed that even when a scientific principle had been successfully and repeatedly tested, it was not necessarily true. Instead it had simply not proved false, yet! This became known as the theory of falsification. He called for a clear demarcation between good science, in which theories are constantly challenged, and what he called “pseudo sciences” which couldn’t be tested. His debunking of such ideologies led some to describe him as the “murderer of Freud and Marx”. With John Worrall, Anthony O’Hear and Nancy Cartwright. 45 minutes

day 2: scientific paradigms and revolutions

Thomas Kuhn: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Then and Now. An introduction to Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, published in 1962, and itself a revolutionary approach to the philosophy of science. The book was both influential and controversial. 14 minutes

Imre Lakatos – Science and pseudoscience, BBC Radio Talk. This is Lakatos’s most succinct public summary of his philosophy of science. In this talk he outlines his view of the importance of ‘the demarcation problem’ in the philosophy and history of science, namely the problem of distinguishing between science and pseudo-science, and of why its solution is not merely an issue of ‘armchair philosophy’, but also one of vital social and political significance, and even of life and death itself. It reviews what he saw as the inadequacies of previous attempted solutions, such as both probative and probabilist inductivism, and how his own methodology of scientific research programmes solves some of the problems posed by the history of science for those of Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn. 18 minutes

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas KuhnContext with Brad Harris. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is a classic in the history of science, and one of the most cited books of the twentieth century. Thomas Kuhn insightfully challenged our assumptions about how science works, but his opaque style ignited a cultural movement energized around the misinterpretations that objective truth was an illusion and that scientific progress was just a conceit of western civilization. These ideas became pillars of postmodernism, and no one was more frustrated by the folly of their development than Thomas Kuhn himself. 24 minutes

Week 10 Data and Theory, Scientific Anarchism and Democracy

day 1: is empirical knowledge objective?

Sabina Leonelli: Science in the world of Big Data, The Dissenter with Ricardo Lopes. In this episode, we talk about science and Big Data, based mostly on Dr. Leonelli’s book, Data-Centric Biology. We discuss the relationship between data and science; data classification; bio-ontologies; what are curators, their role, and their relationship with scientists and researchers. We also talk about the processes of decontextualizing and recontextualizing data, and data travels; and how political and financial powers might interfere with the production of scientific knowledge. Toward the end, we also talk about the role that model organisms have played in Biology, and the potential of synthetic biology. 54 minutes

Nancy Cartwright asks Why Trust Science?, The Aristotelian Society. Nancy Cartwright is a methodologist and philosopher of the natural and human sciences, with special focus on causation, evidence and modelling. Her recent work has been on scientific evidence, objectivity and how to put theory to work. This podcast is an audio recording of Professor Cartwright’s talk – ‘Why Trust Science?’ – at the Aristotelian Society on 27 April 2020. 44 minutes

day 2: Science and power

Feminist epistemology, Radical Philosophy. Professor Alessandra Tanesini explains about the different varieties of feminist theory of knowledge. She explains the importance of standpoint in feminism and how power is relevant to scientific knowledge. 31 minutes

Sandra Harding: “Objectivity and Diversity: Another Logic of Scientific Research”, New Books in Science. Sandra Harding‘s book Objectivity and Diversity: Another Logic of Scientific Research (2015) raises new questions about two central concepts in STS (science and technology in society): objectivity and diversity. In doing so it allows us to animate them in new kinds of relationships and shows that objectivity and certain forms of diversity can be mutually supportive. Harding does this in two major ways: by considering specific cases where science has been shaped by social values and interests and drawing conclusions about the “logical positivist legacy” from them; and by locating these issues within particular historical contexts. Though the “social” tends to be treated as an impediment to scientific research rather than a source of new resources and pathways, social and political movements have deeply shaped the practices and philosophy of science. 1 hour and 12 minutes

Science and technology in societyHow to think about science series, CBC Radio. Technological science exerts a pervasive influence on contemporary life. It determines much of what we do, and almost all of how we do it. Yet science and technology lie almost completely outside the realm of political decision. No electorate ever voted to split atoms or splice genes; no legislature ever authorized the iPod or the internet. Our civilization, consequently, is caught in a profound paradox: we glorify freedom and choice, but submit to the transformation of our culture by technoscience as a virtual fate. In this episode we explore the relations between politics and scientific knowledge. David Cayley talks to Brian Wynne of the University of Lancaster in the north of England. He’s the associate director of an institute that studies the social and economic aspects of genetic technologies, and one of Britain’s best-known writers and researchers on the interplay of science and society. 54 minutes

Speaking truth to power, by Edward Said, BBC The Reith Lectures. We hear Palestinian American academic, political activist, and literary critic Edward Said. Regarded as one of the founders of post-colonial theory, his 1978 book Orientalism is one of the most influential scholarly books of the 20th century. In his fifth lecture, Edward Said considers the basic question for the intellectual: how does one speak the truth? Is there some universal and rational set of principles that can govern how one speaks and writes? He examines the difficulties and sometimes loneliness of questioning authority, and argues that intellectuals should present a more principled stand in speaking the truth to power. 30 minutes

TrueSciPhi has collected an impressive list of philosophy podcasts.

Radical Philosophy, by Beth Matthews. Radical Philosophy will push the boundaries of conventional philosophy by exploring alternative viewpoints. The topics will include happiness, evil, the meaning of life, logic and ethics. Philosophers will be interviewed about their various areas of expertise. Preference will be given to female philosophers, because within the discipline of philosophy there is a bias towards male philosophers.

In Our Time Philosophy podcast, by Melvyn Bragg for BBC. From Altruism to Wittgenstein, philosophers, theories and key themes.

Philosophy Bites, by Nigel Warburton and David Edmonds. A podcasts of top philosophers interviewed on bite-sized topics…

New Narratives in the History of Philosophy. A series of short interviews with people interested in women philosophers. Learn something, get excited, find out how to learn more. Developed by the New Narratives in the History of Philosophy Project.

The Philosopher’s Arms, by Matthew Sweet for BBC. Matthew Sweet examines philosophical problems with a live audience in a pub…

History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, by Peter Adamson. Peter Adamson takes listeners through the history of philosophy, “without any gaps.” The series looks at the ideas, lives and historical context of the major philosophers as well as the lesser-known figures of the tradition.

How to Think About Science, by David Cayley for CBC Radio. If science is neither cookery, nor angelic virtuosity, then what is it? Modern societies have tended to take science for granted as a way of knowing, ordering and controlling the world. Everything was subject to science, but science itself largely escaped scrutiny. This situation has changed dramatically in recent years. Historians, sociologists, philosophers and sometimes scientists themselves have begun to ask fundamental questions about how the institution of science is structured and how it knows what it knows. David Cayley talks to some of the leading lights of this new field of study.

The UnMute Podcast, by Myisha Cherry. Where Philosophy & Real World Issues Collide… The UnMute podcast is a monthly podcast hosted and produced by Myisha Cherry. It is called UnMute because we want to provide a platform to people and topics that have not been given much attention in mainstream philosophy. UnMute is focused on providing informal and accessible conversations about social, political, and ethical issues from a fresh, fun, and philosophical perspective. We talk with a diverse group of philosophers as they give their take on controversial issues, pop culture, and the political and ethical dramas of our day. The UnMute experience is philosophical hip-hop and unapologetic intellectual jazz. It’s a home-cooked meal made for the everyday citizen. Don’t know what philosophy is? This podcast is for you.

Philosophize This, by Stephen West. Beginner friendly if listened to in order! For anyone interested in an educational podcast about philosophy where you don’t need to be a graduate-level philosopher to understand it. In chronological order, the thinkers and ideas that forged the world we live in are broken down and explained.

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