January 22, 2016 – How Do We Establish A Purposeful Life?

My guest on this program is Baylor University Associate Professor of Sociology, Paul Froese, author most recently of On Purpose: How We Create the Meaning of Life. Professor Froese is also the Director of the Baylor Religion Surveys, and co-author of America’s Four Gods: What We Way about God—and What That Says about Us. The current book, On Purpose: How We Create the Meaning of Life, mixes data and analysis with literary and historical examples to show not that life has some ultimate meaning or no meaning at all, but rather that creating a purpose-driven life has always been a collective project.

November 6, 2015 – Faith versus Fact

My guest today is Jerry Coyne, professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, where he specializes in evolutionary genetics. New York Times bestselling author, his most recent book is Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible, In which he asserts that religion and science are not complementary, but rather compete with each other to understand the realities of our universe, but that only one area—science—has the means to actually discover the truth.

October 9, 2015 – Who Is In Charge of America’s Schools?

My guest on this program is journalist Dale Russakoff, author of The Prize, Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools, in which she delivers a riveting drama of our times, encompassing the rise of celebrity politics, big philanthropy, extreme economic inequality, the charter school movement, and the struggles and triumphs of schools in one of the nation’s poorest cities.

September 25, 2015 – The Politics of Openness

My guest on this program is Nathaniel Tkacz, author of Wikipedia and the Politics of Openness. Few virtues are as celebrated in contemporary culture as openness. But what does openness mean, and what would a political theory of openness look like? On this program, we will analyze the theory and politics of openness in practice–and break its spell.

September 11, 2015 – Ecology, Ethics, and the Future of Humanity

My guest on this program is philosopher and environmental & human rights activist Adam Riggio. In his book, Ecology, Ethics, and the Future of Humanity, he argues that climate change and the ecological destruction it entails requires a complete reorientation of morality, politics, and human identity along ecological lines. Bringing together concepts from environmental activism, moral philosophy, biological and ecological sciences, and Continue reading

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