Regina Rini holds the Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Moral and Social Cognition at York University and she joins us today to discuss why we might be disturbed when we learn about the role that psychology plays in our moral decision-making.
Although they didn’t set out to, the British philosophers and friends Mary Midgley, Iris Murdoch, Elizabeth Anscombe and Philippa Foot revolutionized the field of ethics in the middle of the 20th century. Our guest today, the philosopher Benjamin Lipscomb, explores the unique friendship and work of four women who changed the face of moral philosophy in his book, The Women Are Up to Something: How Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgley, and Iris Murdoch Revolutionized Ethics.Continue reading →
Many of us rely heavily on our smartphones and computers. But does it make sense to say we “trust” them? On today’s episode of Examining Ethics, the philosopher C. Thi Nguyen explores the relationship of trust we form with the things we use. We not only can trust non-human objects like smartphones, we tend to trust those objects in an unquestioning way; we’re not thinking about it all that much. While this unquestioning trust makes our everyday lives easier, we don’t recognize just how vulnerable we’re making ourselves to large and increasingly powerful corporations.Continue reading →
Alison Bailey opens her new book, The Weight of Whiteness with an invitation to “wade slowly and mindfully into the weight of whiteness, and to attend to the ways white supremacy has misshapen our nation, our communities, and our humanity.” She writes that while black, indigenous and people of color feel the weight of whiteness daily, most white people tend to numb themselves to this weight.
She argues that white people need to do the work of investigating the weight of whiteness, and its effects not just on the mind, but also on the heart. This work involves philosophy and epistemology, but it also involves genealogy. It requires white people to feel the weight of white supremacy they’ve inherited from their ancestors.Continue reading →
Nature has always fascinated the philosopher Martin Bunzl. After retiring to California, he was excited to live near the Pacific Crest Trail. The close proximity of the famous foot path inspired him to embark on a new project of thinking while walking. For him, this spectacular setting proved to be fertile ground for reflecting on philosophical puzzles and questions about nature and ethics.Continue reading →
Is it possible to be too good? Is it possible that thinking about morality could cause clinical levels of emotional and mental distress? On today’s show (hi, it’s been a while!), Christiane talks to two…
We often take for granted the active process of learning about ethics and morality, so today’s show focuses on the source of ethics education: the educators themselves. We hear from two superstar teachers: Chris Robichaud is a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School with an interest in creating moral simulations for education, and Thomas Wartenberg is the creator of the Teaching Children Philosophy program and website. Both share their ideas on learning philosophy and ethics, fiction, and more.Continue reading →
In Episode 26, producer Christiane Wisehart spoke to philosopher Myisha Cherry about her work on forgiveness and moral exemplars (people who exemplify excellent forgiveness practices — for better or for worse). They had a great conversation, so much so that producer Eleanor Price put together this bonus episode to showcase more of Myisha’s wisdom. Myisha explains who might have stake in someone’s forgiveness, and whether a person should ask for forgiveness. Continue reading →
We’re talking about the culture and quirks of the world of moral philosophy on this episode. Specifically, we’re asking questions about the parts of the field of ethics and philosophy that confuse us the most. First, independent producer Sandra Bertin roams the streets of New York City, looking for people who can correctly define moral philosophy jargon. Then, producer Christiane Wisehart sits down with our resident ethics expert Andy and another ethicist, Emily McWilliams, to ask them some questions she’s always had about the world of ethics and philosophy.
Happy Earth Month! Many people think of climate change as something that will affect the world equally sometime in the distant future. But that’s not true. Some communities are already experiencing the effects. Join special guest host Jen Everett and producers Christiane Wisehart and Sandra Bertin as we learn how to challenge our thinking about the environment with scholar Kyle Whyte.
What are achievements and how should we think about them? How should we talk about them?
Philosopher Gwen Bradford’s work on the nature of achievement inspired us to talk about the ethics of naming achievements for other people. Can you tell someone they have achieved something if they don’t think they have?
What do you think? Send us a comment or a voice memo to: email@example.com.
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- Listeners can receive a 30% discount on Gwen Bradford’s Achievement from Oxford University Press
- Gwen Bradford
- Gwen Bradford recently gave two fascinating talks on the nature of achievement at the Prindle Institute
- Stella Young’s Ted Talk, “I’m Not Your Inspiration”
Poet Tarfia Faizullah joins us to discuss her new book, Seam. Tarfia wrote Seam after winning a Fulbright grant to travel to Bangladesh to interview women who were sexually assaulted during the 1971 war with Pakistan. Friend of the podcast and poet Joe Heithaus interviews Tarfia.
This is a story of a failed transportation project that bankrupted the state of Indiana… 200 years ago. We uncover the human suffering this canal system causes and the moral questions it raises. We also discuss questions like: when is it morally permissible to go into debt to fund a big project? When is it OK to tax? This episode was made in partnership with Indiana Humanities. This episode is an officially endorsed Indiana Bicentennial Legacy Project.
Welcome to the second episode in our “Ethics in Focus” series. These bonus episodes get right to the point for people with backgrounds in ethics or philosophy. There are no explanations, just the full-length interviews with some of our expert guests. Regularly scheduled episodes of Examining Ethics will still be released at the end of every month. But every once and a while, keep an eye out for one of these “Ethics in Focus” interviews. Today’s edition of “Ethics in Focus” features a conversation with David Benatar and David Wasserman, authors of Debating Procreation: Is It Wrong to Reproduce? out now from Oxford University Press.
When thinking about whether or not to become a parent, there is a lot more at stake than just deciding when you’re ready or if you even want to. But what are the questions we should be asking ourselves when we think about parenting? In this episode, we discuss the ethics of having children and more with Samantha Brennan and Sarah Hannan, the editors of Permissible Progeny: The Morality of Procreation and Parenting, out now from Oxford University Press.
Welcome to a new series called “Ethics in Focus.” These bonus episodes get right to the point for people with backgrounds in ethics or philosophy. There are no explanations, just the full-length interviews with some of our expert guests. Regularly scheduled episodes of Examining Ethics will still be released at the end of every month. But every once and a while, keep an eye out for one of these “Ethics in Focus” interviews. Today’s edition of “Ethics in Focus” features our resident ethics expert Andy’s conversation with Professor Caspar Hare, author of The Limits of Kindness out now from Oxford University Press. Hare is a professor of philosophy at MIT, and his work focuses on ethics, practical rationality, and metaphysics. His book The Limits of Kindness addresses questions in moral philosophy by starting with an uncontroversial principle, that being moral “involves wanting particular other people to be better off.”
Comedian, actress and tap dancer, Maysoon Zayid joins us to discuss the ethics of comedy, discrimination, and General Hospital. We discuss questions like, “Is it ever okay to make fun of someone?” and “Should you be allowed to make fun of Donald Trump’s hair?” Join us as Maysoon answers these questions and more.
Ever wonder what role white people should people play in fighting against racism? The legendary feminist scholar and racial justice activist Peggy McIntosh has some ideas. Maybe you have also wondered, “why does it always feel like white people avoid the topic of race?” To answer this question, we bring on the philosopher Alison Bailey to discuss a phenomenon known as “white talk.” Join us on a journey through whiteness in the United States in which we explore a Crayola crayon factory, police stations in Massachusetts, and Donald Trump claiming to be “the least racist person you will ever meet.”
What do you think? Send us a voice memo to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or leave a voicemail: 765-658-5857. We might feature your comment on a future episode!
Summary: In this episode, we tackle the question, “Can Animals Be Moral”? We interview philosopher Mark Rowlands to get his perspective. Join us on the journey from animal videos on YouTube to metaphors that liken humans to mindless corks bobbing on a sea. We will leave you with not only questions regarding the morality of animals but also, what should you do if they are moral?
Summary: In this episode, we interview Lori Gruen and Martin Wilkinson. As a group or nation, we like to own pets and keep people in certain kinds of jails, but Lori Gruen will explain to us why she thinks our current practices might be problematic as they relate to the autonomy and dignity of individuals (including animals) in captivity. There is a worldwide organ shortage. As a group, we have an interest in procuring organs of the recently dead. Martin Wilkinson will explain to us how difficult it is to balance that need against individual rights (even after they’re dead).
Summary: In this episode, the cultural historian Chris Hager joins us to discuss the phrase, “the right side of history.” When did we start using this phrase? When is it most often used? Is it legitimate reason to change one’s mind about an issue?
In this episode we hear from producers Sandra and Christiane about their voices. We’ve also got an interview with Rebecca Gordon about her new book Mainstreaming Torture, and Robin Zheng discusses her work on racialized sexual preferences. Continue reading →