The Team

Philosophy Talk celebrates the value of the examined life.

Ken Taylor


Ken Taylor is the current Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University. He is also director of Stanford's interdisciplinary program in Symbolic Systems.
His work lies at the intersection of the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind, with an occasional foray into the history of philosophy.

John Perry


John Perry is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of California at Riverside, and Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Stanford University.

Shuka Kalantari

Roving Philosophical Reporter

Shuka Kalantari is a Bay Area journalist who was born in Iran and raised in Northern California. Her reports have taken her to Turkey, Cambodia, and across U.S. She has a Master's Degree in multimedia health reporting from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and Bachelor's in Philosophy and Latin American studies from UC Santa Cruz. Shuka's stories regularly appear on PRI's The World and KQED.

Laura Maguire

Director of Research

Laura originally hails from Ireland, but has called San Francisco home for many years. After graduating with distinction in Philosophy from Trinity College Dublin, she moved to the Bay Area to pursue her doctoral studies at Stanford University and received her PhD in 2005. She has taught in the Introduction to the Humanities (IHUM) and Structured Liberal Education (SLE) programs and in the Department of Philosophy at Stanford.

Devon Strolovitch

Senior Producer

Born and raised in Montreal, Devon studied medieval Judeo-Portuguese manuscripts and earned a PhD in Linguistics from Cornell University before pursuing radio professionally. Since then he has been the primary studio producer for Philosophy Talk, while also contributing as a writer, editor, occasional Roving Philosophical Reporter, and manager of the program's day-to-day operations.

Merle Kessler

Sixty-Second Philosopher

Merle Kessler is a writer, humorist, and performer, best known perhaps by his pen name, Ian Shoales. As Ian Shoales he has been churning out cranky yet strangely humorous commentaries since 1979. First heard on NPR's All Things Considered, he has been featured on Morning Edition, ABC's Nightline, and the online magazine, Salon. In addition, his pieces have been published in the New York Times, LA Times, the San Francisco Examiner, USA Today, the Washington Post, and the Minneapolis Tribune, among other publications.

Leslie Francis

Film Editor/Featured Contributor

Leslie Francis is a philosophy professor and law professor at the University of Utah. Her fields include applied ethics of all types, disability, philosophy of law, and law and health care. Her edited collection, the Oxford Handbook of Reproductive Ethics, is due in print in January 2017 (and available online here), and her Privacy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with co-author John G. Francis) will be published by Oxford in June 2017.