Episode 112: Myisha Cherry discusses the skill of conversation

Subscribe to Elucidations:         In this episode, Myisha Cherry (UC Riverside) and I talk about talking. What makes someone good at at, and what makes someone bad at it? Click here to listen to our conversation. We don’t always think of conversation as a skill. Often, we think of it as something that just happens automatically; I need to talk someone, and I walk over and just tell them what’s on my mind....

Episode 111: Greg Kobele discusses mathematical linguistics

Subscribe to Elucidations:         Full transcript here. This month, we talk to Greg Kobele (Universität Leipzig) about what linguistics is and how abstract mathematics can be of use to it. Click here to listen to our conversation. Linguists study the rules that speakers of a given language actually follow when they speak. Not made-up rules like “never end a sentence with a preposition,” which no one ever follows (including the teachers who shame their students for not following them), but the actual rules you need to know in order to understand English....

Further reading on Du Bois

For those of you who are interested in following up on what Chike Jeffers and I discussed, you can’t go wrong reading Du Bois himself: The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois You may also be interested in reading the papers that were given during this event on Elizabeth Anderson’s book: Fall 2013 Symposium: Anderson on Integration Happy reading! Matt...

Episode 110: Chike Jeffers discusses the social and political philosophy of W.E.B. Du Bois

Subscribe to Elucidations:         Full transcript here. This month, we sit down with Chike Jeffers (Dalhousie University) to discuss the work of W.E.B. Du Bois. Click here to listen to our conversation. It’s the end of the American civil war. 4 million slaves have just been freed. Now what do we all do? The question still wasn’t settled by the turn of the century, when an interesting debate between Booker T....

Episode 109: Bonus episode with Matt Teichman and Toby Buckle

Subscribe to Elucidations:         Full transcript here. This month, Toby Buckle of the Political Philosophy Podcast and I are doing a joint episode. Click here to listen to it! Instead of the usual format wherein I draw that month’s guest out about a particular topic, Toby Buckle and I have a freeform conversation about why we do podcasts, the universality of fundamental moral principles, and the nature of political disagreement....

Further reading on freedom

Those of you who would like to follow up on our previous episode could hardly do any better than to check out Mariam Thalos’ incredible book on the topic! A Social Theory of Freedom, Mariam Thalos Matt Teichman...

Episode 108: Mariam Thalos discusses freedom

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, I sit down with Mariam Thalos (University of Tennessee, Knoxville) to discuss freedom. What is it, why do we want it, and how do we attain it? Click here to listen to our conversation. We all categorize ourselves. You might think of yourself as a student, or as a painter, or as being good with numbers, or as being civic-minded....

Further reading on identity and history

Professor Alcoff recommends the following books to those of you who are interested in working through her views in detail: Rape and Resistance (2018) The Future of Whiteness (2016) Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self (2006)...

Episode 107: Linda Martín Alcoff discusses identity and history

Subscribe to Elucidations:         In this episode, Emily Dupree and I had the pleasure of talking to Linda Martín Alcoff (Hunter College & CUNY Graduate Center) about identity. Click here to listen to our conversation. Let’s start with some terminology. ‘Identity’ means different things in different contexts, but in this episode we use it to mean something like: ‘the social demographic a person belongs to....

Episode 106: R. A. Briggs discusses gender

Subscribe to Elucidations:         Full transcript here. This month, it is our privilege to have R. A. Briggs (Stanford University) back on a second time to discuss the nature of gender. Click here to listen to our conversation. What exactly is gender? Simone de Beauvoir drew a distinction between gender and biological sex, and encouraged us to think of the former as the social significance of the latter....

Further reading on epistemic decision theory

For those of you who would like to read up on formal epistemology as it relates to decision theory, our esteemed guest recommends: Epistemic Utility Arguments for Probabilism, Richard Pettigrew Happy reading! Matt Teichman...

Episode 105: R. A. Briggs discusses epistemic decision theory

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we are joined by R.A. Briggs (Stanford University), who is here to discuss an interdisciplinary area of study called epistemic decision theory. Click here to listen to our conversation. Epistemic decision theory is an area of study that brings together two sub-disciplines. The first is decision theory, which tries to mathematically study the best principles for deciding what to do: what are the costs and benefits of each option you’re considering, and how can you optimize the decision process so as to at least the worst options?...

Episode 104: Seth Yalcin discusses the question-sensitivity of belief

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we learn that there’s more to a person’s beliefs than just one big blob of information! Seth Yalcin (University of California, Berkeley) sits down with us to talk about how a person’s beliefs are sorted into answers to various questions. Click here to listen to our conversation....

Further reading on Marx

For those of you who would like to follow up on our conversation with Brian Leiter, his paper ‘Why Marxism Does Not Need Normative Theory’ goes through some of the questions we discussed in more detail. Matt Teichman...

Episode 103: Brian Leiter explains why we should think about Marx

Subscribe to Elucidations:         Full transcript here. This month, Brian Leiter (University of Chicago) makes his third (!) appearance on the program to talk about how Karl Marx can help us understand our current political moment. Click here to listen to our conversation. Karl Marx thought that industrial capitalism had an in-built self-destructive tendency....

Further reading on the true self

If you want to follow up on the research Josh Knobe has been doing with his colleagues on the true self, you can check out the following piece for the New York Times: ‘In Search of the True Self,’ Josh Knobe Or, for a more detailed presentation, you can read: “Beliefs About the True Self Explain Asymmetries Based on Moral Judgment,” George E. Newman, Julian De Freitas, and Joshua Knobe...

Episode 102: Josh Knobe discusses the true self

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we get right into it with Josh Knobe (Yale University) about the notion of a person’s true self. Click here to listen to our conversation. Who are you, deep down, in your core? Maybe it isn’t fully clear what would count as an answer to that question, but it’s still a question we ask all the time....

Further reading on blame and forgiveness

For those of you who want to delve further into our esteemed guest’s views about blame and forgiveness, check out the following two papers: ‘What’s the Point of Blame?,’ Miranda Fricker ‘Forgiveness—an ordered pluralism,’ Miranda Fricker Happy reading! Matt Teichman...

Episode 101: Miranda Fricker discusses blame and forgiveness

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, Emily and Matt chat with Miranda Fricker (CUNY Graduate Center) about blame and forgiveness. Click here to listen to our conversation. We have a lot of conflicting feelings about blame. When someone does something bad, we feel a strong urge to blame them, and when it all goes down as intended, the person deserves the blame, and they learn that what they did was wrong, we intuitively feel that justice has been done....

Further reading on aspiration

To whet your appetite for Agnes Callard’s incredible forthcoming book on aspiration, here is a chapter-by-chapter summary. Happy reading! Matt Teichman...

Episode 100: Agnes Callard discusses aspiration

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we sit down with Agnes Callard (University of Chicago) to talk about aspiration. Click here to listen to our conversation. Have you ever wanted to get into something? Maybe you find it really boring to sit through an opera right now, but you think you might be missing something and want to learn how to appreciate opera....

Further reading on Spinoza

Those of you who are interested in following up on Spinoza will definitely enjoy this incredible graphic book by Ben and Steven Nadler: ‘The Graphic Spinoza,’ Ben Nadler and Steven Nadler Happy reading! Matt Teichman...

Episode 99: Steven Nadler discusses Spinoza on freedom

Subscribe to Elucidations:         Full transcript here. This month, we delve back into the early modern period with Steven Nadler, William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy, Evjue-Bascom Professor of the Humanities, and Weinstein-Bascom Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Click here to listen to our conversation. Baruch Spinoza is known for his views about how the mind and body are the same thing (see our Episode 70), and for coming up with a completely non-anthropomorphic notion of God....

Further reading on credibility

If you’d like to delve further into Jennifer Lackey’s views about credibility excesses, she has generously made her excellent paper ‘Credibility and the Distribution of Epistemic Goods’ available for you to download. Enjoy! Matt Teichman...

Episode 98: Jennifer Lackey discusses credibility

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we talk to Jennifer Lackey (Northwestern University) about what it means to be too trustful of another person. Click here to listen to our conversation. For some time, feminist authors have been concerned about the fact that women tend to be believed less than men, simply because they’re women....

Recommended reading on time biases

Meghan Sullivan’s book on time biases is due out any moment now. (Of course, according to her argument, we should feel indifferent to when it comes out, but I can’t help but feel anticipation!) If, like me, you are having trouble resisting the pull of that particular time bias, check out her and Preston Greene’s excellent article from last year that explores a number of the arguments we discussed. ‘Against Time Bias,’ Preston Greene and Meghan Sullivan...

Episode 97: Meghan Sullivan discusses time biases

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, Meghan Sullivan (University of Notre Dame) urges us to consider how we feel about the past, present, and future. Click here to listen to our conversation. Remember the marshmallow test? Back in the 1970s, some psychological experiments suggested that people who opted to delay short-term rewards if it meant a bigger reward in the future were likely to have more successful lives....

Further reading on the role of belief in reasoning

To do a deep dive into what I discussed with Nic Koziolek, check out the following papers: ‘Inferring as a Way of Knowing,’ Nic Koziolek ‘Coming to Believe,’ Nic Koziolek ‘Belief, Judgment, and Rational Explanation,’ Nic Koziolek He has a treasure trove of other work up on his website, which I would encourage you to visit. Matt Teichman...

Episode 96: Nic Koziolek discusses the role of belief in reasoning

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we talk to Nic Koziolek (Auburn University) about some big, meaty topics, including but not limited to thought, judgment, belief, reasoning, and knowledge. Click here to listen to our conversation. We engage in reasoning on a constant basis. Here’s an example of the kind of reasoning I engage in all the time: they’re working on the water main, my car is parked right in front of the water main, I want them to be able to work on the water main, so I guess I have to go move it....

Further reading on the genealogy of color

Those of you who would like to follow up on the history of color concepts can do no better than to check out Zed Adams’ fascinating book on the topic! On the Genealogy of Color, Zed Adams Happy reading. Matt Teichman...

Episode 95: Zed Adams discusses the genealogy of color

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we talk to Zed Adams (New School for Social Research) about colors like red, blue, and green. Click here to listen to our conversation. What is the color red? Is it a physical property of certain chemicals–the fact that they tend to reflect light with a wavelength of about 670 nm and absorb the rest?...

Further reading on fictional names

If you’d like to follow up on our interview with Zsofia Zvolenszky, check out her paper: Fictional Characters, Mythical Objects, and the Phenomenon of Inadvertent Creation, Zsofia Zvolenszky Happy reading! Matt Teichman...

Episode 94: Zsofia Zvolenszky discusses fictional names

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we talk to Zsofia Zvolenszky (Eötvös University) about fictional characters and places. Click here to listen to our conversation. Han Solo and Luke Skywalker sneak on board the Death Star and attempt to rescue to Princess Leia. The escape plan goes awry, and pretty soon it looks more like Princess Leia is rescuing them....

Episode 93: Barry Lam discusses obligations after death

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we talk about whether we owe the dead anything with Barry Lam. Barry Lam is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Vassar College, Story Lab Fellow at Duke University, and creator, producer, and lead host of Hi-Phi Nation, an exciting new philosophy podcast that turns stories into ideas. Click here to listen to our conversation....

Further reading on epistemic oppression

If you’d like to do a deep dive into some of our esteemed guest’s writings on epistemic oppression, here are links to some of her papers on the topic: ‘Conceptualizing Epistemic Oppression,’ Kristie Dotson ‘A Cautionary Tale: On Limiting Epistemic Oppression,’ Kristie Dotson ‘Tracking Epistemic Violence, Tracking Practices of Silencing,’ Kristie Dotson Happy reading! Matt Teichman...

Episode 92: Kristie Dotson discusses epistemic oppression

Subscribe to Elucidations:         Note: this episode was recorded in 2016, prior to the US presidential election. Kristie Dotson will be coming back in a future episode to give us her latest thoughts on these topics in light of recent developments in US politics! Full transcript here. This month, we talk to Kristie Dotson (Michigan State University) about how people’s ability to gather and share information can be negatively impacted under oppressive social systems....

Further reading on counterfactuals

Hello, everyone! Hope you’re enjoying the new year. If you enjoyed our episode on counterfactuals and would like to learn more about Paolo Santorio’s causal network theory, check out the following paper: ‘Interventions in Premise Semantics,’ Paolo Santorio For a broader overview of casual network approaches to counterfactuals, the following paper by R.A. Briggs is a wonderful start: ‘Interventionist Counterfactuals,’ R.A. Briggs Happy reading! Matt...

Episode 91: Paolo Santorio discusses counterfactuals

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we talk to Paolo Santorio about counterfactuals, also known as statements of the form ‘If A were, then B would be.’ Click here to listen to our conversation. Counterfactual statements, those funny conditional statements where the word ‘would’ comes after the word ‘then,’ play an absolutely central rule both in everyday commonsense reasoning and in our more formal scientific theorizing....

Episode 90: Ásta Sveinsdóttir discusses social construction

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we talk to Ásta Sveinsdóttir (San Francisco State University) about social-institutional entities, like money, the economy, political borders, nation states, and, interestingly, categories of people. Click here to listen to our conversation. For a while now, philosophers have been interested in the status of things like money. A $5 bill has the purchasing power it has not because of any intrinsic features that belong to the paper it’s printed on, but because we all agree to treat it as having that purchasing power....

Further reading on language universals

For a further taste of our guest’s thoughts on the theory of universal grammar, the following dialogue is an incredibly fun read: ‘Language: a Dialogue,’ John Collins I also heartily recommend that you visit his website and his academia.edu page, where he’s got lots of great papers on some of the most central issues in the philosophy of language and foundations of linguistics. Happy reading! Matt Teichman...

Episode 89: John Collins discusses language universals

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This time, we have the privilege of talking to John Collins (University of East Anglia) as we shift our attention to the human language faculty. Click here to listen to our conversation. Human beings are the only animal in the world that can natively acquire a language like English, French, Czech, Nahuatl, Yoruba, or Tamil....

Further reading on snap judgments

For those who are interested in following up on our previous episode, you can take a look at Section 5 of the following paper: ‘Knowledge In and Out of Context‘ The following papers by our guest are also a really great read! ‘Default Reasoning: Jumping to Conclusions and Knowing When to Think Twice’ ‘A Rationale for Reliabilism‘ Happy reading! Matt Teichman...

Episode 88: Kent Bach discusses jumping to conclusions

Subscribe to Elucidations:         Episode transcript here. This month, we talk to Kent Bach (San Francisco State University) about his picture of how beliefs relate to particular thoughts. Click here to listen to our conversation. In this episode, Kent Bach discusses two of his big ideas at the border between the philosophy of mind and epistemology....

Further reading on perceptual particularity

If you’re in the mood to do a deep dive and learn more about the view that Susanna Schellenberg shared with us during the previous episode, she suggests taking a look at the following papers of hers: ‘Perceptual Particularity’ ‘Phenomenal Evidence and Factive Evidence’ ‘Experience and Evidence’ ‘Belief and Desire in Imagination and Immersion’ ‘Perceptual Content Defended’ ‘Ontological Minimalism About Phenomenology‘ Enjoy! Matt Teichman...

Episode 87: Susanna Schellenberg discusses perceptual particularity

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we sit down with Susanna Schellenberg to talk about what ordinary perception does and doesn’t have in common with hallucination. Click here to listen to our conversation. When you picture to yourself how vision works, you probably imagine something along the following lines. There’s some light which gets projected into your eyes, and the light stimulates the rod and cone cells in your retina....

Further reading on photographs

For those of you who would like to follow up on our discussion with Daniel Smyth, he recommends the following papers: ‘Snapshots, Perception, and Intimacy,’ Daniel Smyth ‘Photography, Vision, and Representation,’ Joel Snyder and Neil Walsh Allen ‘Picturing Vision,’ Joel Snyder ‘Transparent Pictures,’ Kendall Walton ‘What’s Special About Photography?’ Ted Cohen He also recommends the following book on Hubble imagery: Picturing the Cosmos, Elizabeth A. Kessler Happy reading! Matt Teichman...

Episode 86: Daniel Smyth discusses photographs and their vicissitudes

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we discuss photographs and their vicissitudes with Daniel Smyth, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Sage School of Philosophy of Cornell University. (And yes, Smyth used to study and teach at the University of Chicago!) Click here to listen to the episode. In this episode, Smyth asks: What does a photograph evidence?...

Episode 85: Bryce Huebner discusses race and cognitive science

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we discuss race and cognitive science with Bryce Huebner, associate professor of philosophy at Georgetown University. Click here to listen to our conversation. Of course, we as individuals can be racist. Of course, so can our institutions. But when do we realize this, so that we might get something done about it?...

Further Reading on democracy

For those who are interested in following up on democracy and governmental legitimacy, check out the following article by our distinguished guest: ‘Consent and Political Legitimacy,’ Amanda Greene For a deeper dive, Amanda Greene recommends the following: Democratic Legitimacy, Fabienne Peter Democratic Authority: A Philosophical Framework, David Estlund ‘On Legitimacy and Political Deliberation,’ Bernard Manin, Elly Stein and Jane Mansbridge ‘Arguing for Majority Rule,’ Mathias Risse ‘Procedure and Substance in Deliberative Democracy,’ Joshua Cohen (in Deliberative Democracy) ‘Defending the Purely Instrumental Account of Democratic Legitimacy,’ Richard Arneson ‘Democracy: Instrumental vs....

Episode 84: Amanda Greene discusses the legitimacy of democracy

Subscribe to Elucidations:         Last year, we talked about anarchism. This year, we turn to democracy with Amanda Greene, Lecturer in Philosophy at University College, London, and Law and Philosophy Fellow at the University of Chicago. Click here to listen to our discussion. In the West, at least, most of us consider democracy to be the obvious choice for the best form of government, but we rarely take a step back to think about why....

Further Reading on Genealogical Anxiety

Those of you who would like to follow up on our interview with Bob Simpson can check out this article, which was the impetus for a lot of what we talked about: ‘You Just Believe that Because,’ Roger White That one requires a journal subscription, but you can look at Bob’s own paper on this (with Josh DiPaolo) without a journal subscription here: ‘Indoctrination Anxiety and the Etiology of Belief,’Joshua DiPaolo and Robert Mark Simpson...

Episode 83: Bob Simpson discusses genealogical anxiety

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we discuss genealogical anxiety with Bob Simpson, lecturer in philosophy at Monash University. Click here to listen to our conversation. If you listen to this podcast, then for better or worse, you have likely been exposed to some Nietzsche (hopefully at a safe level!). In the nineteenth century, Friedrich Nietzsche (perhaps notoriously) introduced an epistemological sense of genealogy – a genealogy of what we purport to know – by telling a story about how we have come to know the things we purport to know....

Episode 82: Robert May discusses Frege and the problem of identity

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we pull up our chairs and sit down once again with Robert May, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of California, Davis. Click here to listen to our conversation. It seems sublime, unbelievable, groundbreaking – but maybe it actually doesn’t mean anything at all:...

Further reading on Peirce and categories

For background on categories in general, Cathy Legg recommends the following: Amie Thomasson (2013). “Categories”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Paul Studtmann (2013). “Categories in Aristotle”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Barry Smith (2003). “Ontology”, in Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Computing and Information, (Oxford: Blackwell) Manley Thompson (1957). “On Category Differences”, Philosophical Review, 66(4): 486–508. For background on categories as they figure in Peirce’s work, our esteemed guest recommends the following:...

Episode 81: Cathy Legg discusses what Peirce's categories can do for you

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we talk with Catherine Legg, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at New Zealand’s University of Waikato. She teaches us about the philosophical categories of Charles Sanders Peirce’s (pronounced like the bag “purse”). Click here to listen to our conversation. At Legg’s university, philosophy is part of the School of Social Sciences....

Further reading on love and moral value

Those of you who would like a further taste of Mark Hopwood’s views about valuing a person as a particular can take a look at this short piece: ‘TPA Normativity of Love,’ Mark Hopwood Enjoy! Matt Teichman...

Episode 80: Mark Hopwood discusses love and moral value

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we discuss love and moral value with Mark Hopwood, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Sewanee: The University of the South, and former co-host of this podcast! Click here to listen to our conversation. In discussing rights, religion, politics, and much more, we ask: Who has moral value? Who are we obliged to accommodate, support, even love?...

Episode 79: Thony Gillies discusses conditionals

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we discuss conditionals with Anthony (Thony) Gillies, Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University. Click here to listen to our conversation. Lately, philosophers have resurrected interest in formal theories of what’s meant by conditional statements, or if-then statements. Conditionals are basic, because they relate conditions – knowns and unknowns, actions and results, etc....

Episode 78: Stephen Engstrom discusses the categorical imperative

Subscribe to Elucidations:         Episode transcript here. This month, we discuss the categorical imperative with Stephen Engstrom, professor of philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. Click here to listen to our conversation. True to the Chicago tradition, we philosophers spend a lot of time asking – but perhaps not so much time answering – an everyday question: What’s the right thing to do?...

Further reading on reasons

Those of you who are interested in following up on the topic of our previous episode can take a look at the following two papers: Mark Schroeder, “Stakes, Withholding, and Pragmatic Encroachment“ Mark Schroeder, “The Unity of Reasons“ Happy reading! Matt Teichman...

Episode 77: Mark Schroeder discusses reasons for action and belief

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we discuss reasons for action and belief with Mark Schroeder, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California. Click here to listen to our conversation. Consider one question from this episode. Can we decide what to believe, the way we decide how to act? We can, for instance, decide to worship at a church or temple....

Further Reading on Gratitude

Those of you who are interested in picking up some of the threads from our last episode can take a look at the following article: ‘Being Helped and Being Grateful,’ Barbara Herman Happy reading! Matt Teichman...

Episode 76: Barbara Herman discusses gratitude

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we discuss gratitude with Barbara Herman, Griffin Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles. Click here to listen to our conversation. Is our subject this week, well, gratuitous? Given the dearth of philosophical attention to it in the last century or two, gratitude might not seem worth studying....

Further Reading on non-monotonic logic

For those of you who are interested in following up on Malte Willer’s recommended solution to the miners paradox, he recommends the following paper: ‘Dynamic Thoughts on Ifs and Oughts,’ Malte Willer Happy reading! Matt Teichman...

Episode 75: Malte Willer discusses non-monotonic logic

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we discuss non-monotonic logic with Malte Willer, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago. Click here to listen to our conversation. If you have been so lucky as to take an introductory logic class, then you will learn a conception of logic that is, well, downright logical....

Episode 74: Christina Van Dyke discusses gender and medieval mysticism

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we discuss gender and medieval mysticism with Christina Van Dyke, professor of philosophy, director of gender studies, and executive director of the Society of Christian Philosophers at Calvin College. Click here to listen to our conversation. How might the notion of God to have meaning to us? God today can increasingly seem to us a mere historical phenomenon–a subject of past peoples’ energy, but presently only a subject of professors’ study....

Episode 73: Greg Salmieri discusses Ayn Rand’s moral philosophy

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we discuss Ayn Rand’s moral philosophy with Greg Salmieri, who teaches at Rutgers University and Stevens Institute of Technology and is co-secretary of the American Philosophical Association’s Ayn Rand Society. Click here to listen to our conversation. But wait: Ayn Rand is most famous for her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged....

Further Reading on pejoratives

Those of you who would like to follow up on the topic of this month’s episode can look at: ‘Moral and Semantic Innocence,’ Christopher Hom and Robert May In that paper, the semantic theory we discussed is presented in a bit more detail. Matt Teichman...

Episode 72: Robert May discusses pejorative expressions

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we discuss pejorative expressions with Robert May, distinguished professor of philosophy and linguistics at University of California, Davis. Click here to listen to our conversation. So pejorative expressions are politically incorrect. We should not, say, call Jews kikes. How should we understand why we should not? May says we should not for the simple reason his mother taught him as a child: “There are no such things as kikes....

Further Reading on Carnap

For those of you who are interested in following up on the topic of this month’s episode, Kent Schmor recommends the following overview article: “Carnap’s Logical Structure of the World,” Christopher Pincock For more background on the Vienna Circle, the philosophical group with whom Carnap was affiliated early in his career, see: “The Vienna Circle,” Thomas Uebel Kent writes: “Strictly speaking, the Circle didn’t go public until 1928, the same year the Aufbau was published....

Episode 71: Kent Schmor discusses Rudolf Carnap's Logische Aufbau

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we discuss Rudolf Carnap’s Aufbau with Kent Schmor, visiting philosophy instructor at the University of Pittsburgh. Click here to listen to our conversation. Why, Carnap would ask, did independent philosophers keep attempting to rehash huge domains? Scientists, Carnap noticed, each work on a focused problem, broadening knowledge collaboratively....

Further reading on Spinoza's ethics

Would you like to follow up on our previous episode? Susan James recommends looking at the following sections from Spinoza’s classic work: Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, Chapter 2 Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, Chapter 3 Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, Chapter 4 If you really want to do a deep dive, she also recommends the following secondary material: Collective Imaginings: Spinoza, Past and Present, eds. Moira Gatens and Genevieve Lloyd Spinoza on Philosophy, Religion, and Politics: The Theologico-Political Treatise, Susan James...

Episode 70: Susan James discusses Spinoza on the good embodied life

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we discuss Benedict de Spinoza’s work on the good embodied life with Susan James, Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London. Click here to listen to our conversation. Spinoza (1632-1677) was born in what was then one of Europe’s most free Jewish communities, in Holland. Perhaps thanks to that, he developed ideas centuries ahead of his time....

New Blogger: Dominic Surya

Please join me in welcoming Dominic Surya, our new blogger! We are excited to have him with us. Matt Teichman...

Background Reading on Adam Smith

If you’d like to do more reading on the topic of our last epsiode, check out Christel Fricke’s paper, Adam Smith: The Sympathetic Process and The Origin and Function Of Conscience, in the Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith. Matt Teichman...

Episode 69: Christel Fricke discusses Adam Smith's theory of moral sentiment

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we discuss the moral philosophy of Adam Smith with Christel Fricke, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oslo, and Research Director at the Center for the Study of Mind in Nature in the Department of Philosophy, Classics, and History of Art and Ideas at the University of Oslo....

Further Reading on Anarchism

For those of you who would like to follow up on our previous episode, Mark Lance recommends the following website, which is quite a thorough resource! http://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/index.html Matt Teichman...

Episode 68: Mark Lance discusses anarchism

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we talk political philosophy with Mark Lance, Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Justice and Peace at Georgetown University. Click here to listen to our conversation. Anarchy. Sounds like the wild west or something, doesn’t it? Lawlessness indeed sounds pretty terrifying. But our guest argues that anarchism isn’t at all about lawlessness; that anarchists are indeed very much in favor of society being governed....

Further reading on morality, evolution, and disasters

So a good starting point for those of you who are curious to read up on the topic of our last episode would be John Protevi’s own ‘Darwin, Disaster, and War.’ Our distinguished guest also recommends looking at the website for a course he recently taught on the topic: http://www.protevi.com/john/Morality/index.html Happy reading! Matt Teichman...

Episode 67: John Protevi discusses Darwin, disaster, and prosociality

Subscribe to Elucidations:         This month, we chat with John Protevi (Professor of Philosophy and Phyllis M. Taylor Professor of French Studies at Louisiana State University) about whether human beings may have evolved an altruism instinct. Click here to listen to our conversation. Thomas Hobbes famously argued that deep down, we’re all selfish creatures....