August 21, 2015 – Madness in Civilization

This program features a conversation with Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego Andrew Scull. He is the author most recently of Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity from the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine. Today, mental disturbance is most commonly viewed through a medical lens, but societies have also sought to make sense Continue reading

August 14, 2015 – Original Sin & the Western World

My guest on this program is historian James Boyce, author of Born Bad: Original Sin and the Making of the Western World. The book explores how the centuries-old concept of original sin has shaped the Western view of human nature, right up to the present. He explores how many historical figures have contributed to the idea, and he argues that Continue reading

July 31, 2015 – Philosophy in a Divided World

My guest on this program is Carlos Fraenkel, McGill University professor of philosophy and Jewish Studies. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Nation, the London Review of Books, and the Times Literary Supplement, among others. He has traveled and taught philosophy and religion in many different regions, and his most recent book, Teaching Plato in Palestine: Philosophy in a Divided World, explores how useful the tools of philosophy can be–particularly in places fraught with conflict–to clarify important social, political, and religious questions and explores answers to them.

July 17, 2015 – The Ethics of Attachment, Virtue, & Respect

The guest on this program is Philip Pettit, L.S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values, Princeton University, and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Australian National University, where he teaches courses in political theory and philosophy. He holds a number of honorary doctorates and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has authored numerous books, most recently The Robust Demands of the Good: Ethics with Attachment, Virtue, and Respect. We will be Continue reading

July 3, 2015 – History of Black Holes

My guest on this program is Marcia Bartusiak, Professor of the Practice, Graduate Program in Science Writing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the award-winning author of five previous books. We’ll be talking about her most recent, Black Hole: How an Idea Abandoned by Newtonians, Hated by Einstein, and Gambled on by Hawking Became Loved. It examines the history of an idea, and tells the story of the fierce black Continue reading

June 19, 2015 – The Search for Justice in Science

My guest, Alice Dreger, is a professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and the author of numerous books. Her work has been discussed in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Science, and on CNN, and her op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. We’ll be talking on this program about her Continue reading

June 5, 2015 – Are Human Beings Free?

My guest on this program is John Gray, author of many critically acclaimed books. He is a former professor of politics at Oxford, a visiting professor at Harvard and Yale, and a professor of European thought at the London School of Economics. We’re going to be talking about his most recent book, The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Inquiry into Human Freedom, in which he draws together the religious, philosophic, and fantastical traditions Continue reading

May 22, 2015 – Mind Change

The guest on this program is Susan Greenfield, neuroscientist, broadcaster, and bestselling author. Her most recent book is Mind Change: How Digital Technologies Are Leaving Their Mark on Our Brains. She is also a senior research fellow at Lincoln College, Oxford University, an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and a member of Continue reading

May 8, 2015 – Media and Progressive Politics

My guest on this program is Robert McChesney, Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois. He specializes in the history and political economy of communication, and the role media play in democratic and capitalist societies. He co-founded Free Press, a national media reform organization. Author of numerous books, we’ll be talking today about his most recent, Blowing the Roof off the 21st Century: Media, Politics, and the Struggle for Post-Capitalist Democracy. Continue reading

April 24, 2015: Mind & Media

My guest on this program is UCLA Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director of the Children’s Digital Media Center, Patricia Greenfield. Her central theoretical and research interest is in the relationship between culture and human development and she sees media as a key component of modern culture. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and recipient of an Award for Distinguished Contributions to Cultural and Contextual Factors in Child Development from the Society for Research in Child Development. We’ll be talking about her classic book, Mind and Media: The Effects of Television, Video Games, and Computers.