December 8, 2017 – How Language Began

My guest on this program is linguist Daniel Everett, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He is the author of many books, including Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes; and Language: The Cultural Tool; and his life and work is also the subject of a documentary film, The Grammar of Happiness. I interviewed him last May for his book, Dark Matter of the Mind: The Culturally Articulated Unconscious, and we have him back for his new book, How Language Began: The Story of Humanity’s Greatest Invention. He argues that we are not born with an instinct for language, and that the near seven thousand languages that exist today—the product of one million years of evolution—are the very basis of our own consciousness.

October 6, 2017 – How Emotions Are Made

My guest on this program is Lisa Feldman Barrett, University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northwestern University, with appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in psychiatry and radiology. She received a National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award for her groundbreaking research on emotion in the brain. She is the author most recently of How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, in which she disputes the prevailing view that emotion and reason are at odds. She argues that emotion is not hardwired, but is constructed by our brains and our bodies as we go along. In addition, emotions are not cross-culturally universal-e.g. fear does not live in the amygdala-and there are no body patterns or changes, or patterns of brain activity that specifically and solely identify any one emotion. Her work in this area has been termed a revolution on par with the discovery of relativity in physics, and natural selection in biology. The book reveals the latest research and intriguing practical applications of the new science of emotion, mind, and brain.

September 29, 2017 – The Unhealthy Politics of Medicine

My guest on this program is Eric Patashnik, Julis-Rabinowitz Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Brown University. He is one of three co-authors of Unhealthy Politics: The Battle over Evidence-Based Medicine, to be published next Wednesday, October 4th. The authors argue that many common medical treatments  in the U.S. are not based on sound science, and shed light on why the government’s response to that troubling situation has been so inadequate, and why efforts to improve the evidence base of U.S. medicine continue to cause so much political controversy and public trepidation.

May 12, 2017 – Mind & Human Nature

My guest on this program is Daniel Everett, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He is the author of many books, including Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes; Language: The Cultural Tool; and Linguistic Fieldwork: A Student Guide. His life and work is also the subject of a documentary film, The Grammar of Happiness. His most recent book is Dark Matter of the Mind: The Culturally Articulated Unconscious, in which he argues that human nature as normally conceived does not exist. Flying in the face of major trends in evolutionary psychology and related fields, he offers a provocative and compelling argument that the only thing humans are hardwired for is freedom: freedom from evolutionary instinct and freedom to adapt to a variety of environmental and cultural contexts.

Dan’s next book:
How Language Began: The Story of Humanity’s Greatest Invention (To be released November 7, 2017)

Dan Everett’s definition of culture:
“Culture is the abstract network shaping and connecting social roles, hierarchically structured knowledge domains, and ranked values. Culture is dynamic, shifting, reinterpreted moment by moment. Culture is found only in the bodies (the brain is part of the body) and behaviors of its members. Culture permeates the individual, the community, behaviors, and thinking” (66).

April 28, 2017 – Memory and The Self

This program features University of Miami philosopher Mark Rowlands. He is the author of eighteen books, and over a hundred journal articles, chapters and reviews, and his work has been translated into more than twenty languages. His memoir, The Philosopher and the Wolf, became an international bestseller. His most recent book is Memory and the Self: Phenomenology, Science and Autobiography, in which he explores the role of memory in maintaining a sense of personal identity over time.

March 3, 2017 – The War on Science

My guest on this program is Shawn Otto, author of The War On Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It. He investigates the historical, social, philosophical, political, and emotional reasons why the evidence-based politics that gave birth to democracy are now in decline and authoritarian politics are once again on the rise on both left and right—and he provides some compelling solutions to bring us to our collective senses, before it’s too late.

December 23, 2016 – When Robots Rule the Earth

My guest on this program is Robin Hanson, associate professor of economics at George Mason University, and a research associate at the Future of Humanity Institute of Oxford University. His academic training is in physics, philosophy, and social science, and he has worked for years in artificial intelligence at Lockheed and NASA. His recent book is The Age of Em: Work, Love, and Life when Robots Rule the Earth, in which he provides a thought experiment about our technological future when brain emulations, or “Ems,” proliferate, perhaps a hundred years from now.

September 30, 2016 – Parent and Child Relationships

My guest on this program is Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at UC Berkeley. She is an internationally recognized leader in the study of children’s learning and development. She writes the Mind and Matter Column for the Wall Street Journal, and is the author of The Philosophical Baby and a coauthor of The Scientist in the Crib. Her recent book is The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us about the Relationship between Parents and Children, in which she argues that the modern notion of parenting as a kind of avocation or Continue reading

September 16, 2016 – Inevitable Technological Forces

My returning guest on this program is Wired magazine senior maverick Kevin Kelly. Author of numerous books, and writer for such publications as The New York Times, The Economist, Science, Time, and the Wall Street Journal, his most recent book is The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces that Will Shape Our Future, in which he argues that much of what will happen in the next thirty years is inevitable, driven by technological trends that are already in motion, and that will revolutionize the way we buy, work, learn, and communicate with each other.

September 2, 2016 – Disarming the Narcissist

My guest on this program is Wendy Behary, founder and clinical director of the Cognitive Therapy Center of New Jersey and the Schema Therapy Institute of New Jersey. We’ll be talking about her book, Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed, which shows how to move past a narcissist’s defenses using empathy, confrontation, and limit-setting. As former guest on this program Dr. Daniel Siegel says in the preface to the book, “For two decades, (Wendy Behary) has immersed herself in Continue reading