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  • Week of: 
    April 24, 2016
    First Aired: 
    August 25, 2013
    What is it: 

    Gangnam style, Lolcats, and Chuck Norris’ superhuman feats are all memes – units of cultural transmission – that spread through the internet. But when the term was originally coined, memes were posited as vehicles of a kind of evolution, similar to genes and biological evolution. So are the memes that colonize our brains simply those that survive natural selection? Don’t we get any say in the viruses that populate our minds? What happens if the fittest memes are also the most detrimental to us? John and Ken spread ideas with Susan Blackmore from the University of Plymouth, author of The Meme Machine.

    Susan Blackmore, Professor of Psychology, University of Plymouth

  • Week of: 
    April 17, 2016
    First Aired: 
    July 7, 2013
    What is it: 

    If the Ancients found themselves transported to the modern world, they would have much to learn about science, technology, and human thinking. But is there something the Ancients can still teach us about how to live a good life? What relevance do the virtues – wisdom, courage, prudence, justice, and so on – have for our modern times? Could these ancient values help solve some of the most challenging problems of contemporary life? John and Ken talk old school with Melissa Lane from Princeton University, author of Eco-Republic: What the Ancients Can Teach Us about Ethics, Virtue, and Sustainable Living. This program was recorded live on campus as part of the Stanford Continuing Studies series The Art of Living.

    Melissa Lane, Professor of Politics, Princeton University

  • Week of: 
    April 10, 2016
    What is it: 

    The old metaphysical question – why anything exists at all – has perplexed and intrigued humankind for ages. It has long been a question reserved for philosophers, but now some physicists claim to have answered it. Yet these attempts have raised questions of their own: is this even a meaningful question in the first place? Can it be answered by science alone, or is philosophy necessary? And what will answering the question mean for us? John and Ken find something to talk about with Jim Holt, author of Why Does The World Exist: An Existential Detective Story.

    Author and Essayist Jim Holt

John Perry and Ken Taylor

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