Recent Shows

  • Week of: 
    November 15, 2015
    What is it: 

    Innovation, be it social, economic, or technological, is often hailed as the panacea for all our troubles. Our obsession with innovation leads us to constantly want new things and to want them now. But past innovations are arguably the main reason for many of our current predicaments, which in turn creates a further need to innovate to solve those problems. So is innovation – and our obsession with it – ultimately a force for good or ill? Is our constant need to innovate a function of our biology, or just a product of various cultural forces? Can we ever escape the innovation loop? Should we try before it kills us? John and Ken find new ways to talk to Christian Seelos, author of Innovation and Scaling for Impact: How Effective Social Enterprises Do It (forthcoming).

    Christian Seelos, Visiting Scholar, Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society

  • Week of: 
    November 8, 2015
    What is it: 

    Baruch Spinoza was a 17th century Dutch philosopher who laid the foundations for the Enlightenment. He made the controversial claim that there is only one substance in the universe, which led him to the pantheistic belief in an abstract, impersonal God. What effect did Spinoza have on Enlightenment thinkers? What are the philosophical – and religious – consequences of believing that there is only one substance in the universe? And why do scientists today still take him seriously? John and Ken welcome back Rebecca Goldstein, author of Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity.

    Rebecca Newberge Goldstein, Visiting Professor of Philosophy, New College of the Humanities

  • Week of: 
    November 1, 2015
    What is it: 

    Imagine that the world will end in thirty days. Would your life have meaning anymore? Would anyone’s? It seems that there would no longer be any point to making technological or medical advances, developing new forms of art, or even taking good care of ourselves. Imagining the doomsday scenario shows that there is something particularly disturbing about the prospect that not only we, but also everyone else, will die. Why is this? Would our lives be nearly as meaningful if others did not live on after our death? Could our “collective afterlife” through the lives of others actually be more important than the “personal afterlife” with which we are so often preoccupied? John and Ken live on through Samuel Scheffler from NYU, author of Death & the Afterlife.

    Samuel Scheffler, Professor of Philosophy, New York University

John Perry and Ken Taylor

Continue the Conversation

Sidebar Menu

More Past Shows

Support Philosophy Talk


Philosophy Talk relies on the support of listeners like you to stay on the air and online. Any contribution, large or small, helps us produce intelligent, reflective radio that questions everything, including our most deeply-held beliefs about science, morality, culture, and the human condition. Make your tax-deductible contribution now through Stanford University's secure online donation page. Thank you for your support, and thank you for thinking!