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87 minutes | Nov 29, 2021
Kant Stop Critiquin' (Aryeh Cohen-Wade & David Ottlinger)
A bizarre Washington Post column about critical theory and Immanuel Kant ... Why has Kant become a bogeyman? ... How contingent is the history of philosophy? ... Relativism vs. rationalism ... What Kant meant by the "Critique of Pure Reason" ... Steven Pinker and the problem with rationalists ... David explains what Kant actually believed ...
138 minutes | Nov 24, 2021
The Dharma of Bob 8: A Cosmic View of Our Situation (Robert Wright & Josh Summers)
What part of secular-guru space (if any) does Bob occupy? ... On the origin of Bob’s theses (by means of natural selection) ... The mind-boggling mystery of consciousness ... Could evolution have a larger purpose? ... The “global brain” as the flowering of natural selection’s seed ... Saving our species by transcending some species-typical tendencies ... The algorithm of evolution as “the Logos” ... How cognitive biases get in the way of global cooperation ... The positive feeling of negative emotions (but can mindfulness feel even better?) ... Bob explains his recent writings on tribalism ... Bob: You are an expression of "the [evolutionary] Logos" ... Bob’s latent-functionality theory of epiphenomenal consciousness ... Does evolution steer us toward greater alignment with moral truth? ... On the “panoramic specificity” of Bob’s dharma ...
97 minutes | Sep 21, 2021
The Dharma of Bob 7: Cognitive Bias and Conflict (Robert Wright & Josh Summers)
Remembering Michael Brooks ... The existential stakes of enlightenment ... Overcoming the affective dimension of cognitive bias ... Bringing broader awareness to the concept of cognitive bias ... Cognitive bias and the roots of war ... The folly of feedback loops ... Quelling our primitive retributive impulses ... Taking a mulligan in your meditation practice ... Focusing on the hindrances ... Can you fail at meditation? ...
125 minutes | Sep 15, 2021
Saving Anti-Wokeness from Itself (David Ottlinger & Cathy Young)
A plea to the weary to return to the Woke Wars ... Who is James Lindsay? ... Lindsay's book, Cynical Theories ... Lindsay's other critiques of wokeness ... The religion of wokeness, the religion of anti-wokeness ... Lindsay jumps on the Trump train (starts shoveling coal) ... The anti-semitism thing ... David: In a way, Lindsay is on the side of BLM ...
74 minutes | Sep 14, 2021
Contesting Determinism (Robert Wright & Oliver Burkeman)
Oliver's new book, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals ... Oliver outlines “compatibilism,” the idea that free will and determinism can coexist ... Bob: Everyone should be a free will agnostic ... The occasionally dramatic consequences of arguments against free will ... Would determinism require us to reform our approach to criminal justice? ... A (possible) quantum hack for free will vs. determinism ... Bob thinks compatibilism is bullshit ... ... ... but Oliver tries to persuade him there's something to it ... Oliver: No position on free will and determinism is free of contradiction ...
76 minutes | Sep 7, 2021
The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics (Robert Wright & John Horgan)
John's recent bout of fever-induced hallucinations ... Does math actually help you understand QM? ... What experiments in QM have and have not verified ... John: All interpretations of QM are bad ... What do we want from science? ... "An operating system for reality" ...
81 minutes | Aug 25, 2021
Debating the Sexual Psychology of Men and Women (Robert Wright & Agustín Fuentes)
Disavowing the naturalistic fallacy ... Why “sex” may not mean what you think it means ... Did evolution make women “choosier” about sex partners than men? ... Haggling over the price of sperm and eggs ... Agustín: Empirical studies complicate evolutionary psychology’s theoretical models ... The evolutionary significance of non-reproductive sex ... Why are males bigger than females in our species? ... Looking at pornography (for insights into human evolution) ... Are male and female sexual jealousy systematically different? ...
63 minutes | Aug 5, 2021
Consolations of Physics (John Horgan & Sabine Hossenfelder)
Sabine inspires John's quantum experiment ... Sabine previews her book-in-progress ... Isn't quantum mechanics non-deterministic? ... Is consciousness conserved? ... John and Sabine tangle over free will ... Physics creationism ... Will quantum mechanics be replaced? ...
82 minutes | Aug 4, 2021
Time Management for Mortals (Robert Wright & Oliver Burkeman)
Oliver’s new book, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals ... Why is it so hard to accept the limits of our productivity? ... Prioritizing mindfully ... Heideggerian time management ... Finding value in even "meaningless" work ... Reducing the lure of distractions ... Ten tools for embracing your finitude ... Five (pretty intense) questions for reflection ...
87 minutes | Jul 6, 2021
The Dharma of Bob 6: The Explain/Excuse Conflation (Robert Wright & Josh Summers)
Josh's aversion to the term "guru" ... Explaining the explain/excuse conflation ... The (possible) evolutionary origins of (biased) arguing ... Are humans mismatched to their modern environment? ... Building strengths vs. addressing deficiencies ... Defusing attribution error ... Making cognitive empathy cool ... Using meditation to strengthen cognitive empathy ... The mythical side of Bob ... Rationalists, effective altruists, and other possible fellow travelers ...
74 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
Should Darwin Be Cancelled? (Robert Wright & Agustín Fuentes)
Agustín on what he was and wasn’t saying in his controversial Science piece on Darwin ... What is biological anthropology? ... What social media critiques of Agustín’s editorial missed ... Untangling Darwin’s attitudes toward race and genocide ... Darwin’s worries about his theory’s acceptance ... What do female gibbons want? ... Agustín: Commonly used racial categories are unscientific ... The changing rules for competition among males ... Okay, so should we cancel Darwin or not? ...
73 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
Quantum Mechanics and the Quest for Final Knowledge (John Horgan & Philip Ball)
Will science ever absorb the arts and humanities? ... Why Phil wrote a book about quantum mechanics ... Knowing quantum math doesn’t necessarily help ... Is "information” the key to quantum mechanics? ... What quantum computing can and can’t do ... The weirdness and arbitrariness of existence ...
132 minutes | May 27, 2021
Thinking in Tongues (Nikita Petrov & David Poleski)
114 minutes | May 25, 2021
Saving the World One Podcast at a Time (Robert Wright & Rob Wiblin)
Defining effective altruism ... Rob explains the meaning of ‘80,000 Hours’ ... Should young people dedicate their careers to fighting climate change? ... The Apocalypse Aversion Project ... How cognitive biases fuel tribalism ... Bob: We need a psychological revolution ... Are external threats the best way to bring people together? ... The balance between surveillance and public safety ... Bob: Let's retire the word 'apologist' ... Making rationality cool ... Rob challenges Bob to find flaws in "The Moral Animal" ...
99 minutes | May 11, 2021
The Dharma of Bob 5: Mindful Defiance (Robert Wright & Josh Summers)
Josh tries to help Bob retool his meditation practice ... Identifying the purpose of your practice ... What to do when your mind wanders ... Tuning your mind ... The Four Rs ... Can mindfulness help us bolster our courage? ... Learning to tolerate blowback from your tribe ... Suffering and the psychology of tribalism ... Developing a non-zero-sum relationship with your own mind ... So you say you've been called a neofascist... ...
94 minutes | May 5, 2021
Despite Our Best Intentions (Robert Wright & Paul Bloom)
The value of defying your tribe ... Egocentric bias and attribution error ... The thin line between between courage and acting like an asshole ... Why do we punish people for unintentional transgressions? ... To understand all is to forgive all … ... … but forgiveness won’t get you retweets ... Are people’s politics as irrational as they seem? ... William James’ preternatural insight into human psychology ... Should the Philip Roth biography have been pulled? ... Reliving the worst day of your life ...
74 minutes | Apr 27, 2021
Circling the Elephant (Robert Wright & John Thatamanil)
John’s new book, Circling the Elephant: A Comparative Theology of Religious Diversity ... John’s early religious sensibility ... The Advaita Vedanta tradition in Hinduism ... Grappling with the human predicament ... Approaches to ultimate reality ... John’s brush with non-dualistic experience ... Why John doesn’t consider himself a perennialist ... Touching the infinite elephant ...
60 minutes | Apr 12, 2021
Science, Fiction, and the Mind-Body Problem (John Horgan & Erik Hoel)
Erik's new novel, The Revelations ... How Erik became a writer and a neuroscientist ... Erik defends integrated information theory ... The agnosticism of the novelist ... Should the mind-body problem have a single solutions? ...
71 minutes | Apr 7, 2021
DMT and Plato's Cave (Nikita Petrov & John Horgan)
85 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
The Dharma of Bob 4: Averting the Apocalypse (Robert Wright & Josh Summers)
Who you callin' bodhisattva? ... Outlining the Apocalypse Aversion Project ... How meditation can make us better global citizens ... Why we need “cognitive crampons” ... Transcend and include ... The varieties of meditative experience ... Achieving micro-enlightenment ... The benefits of confronting your dark side ... Building a cognitively empathetic grassroots movement ...
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