July 21, 2017 – Moral Failure & Moral Dilemmas

My guest on this program is Lisa Tessman, professor of philosophy at Binghampton University. She teaches and does research in ethics, moral psychology, feminist philosophy, and related areas. Her work focuses on understanding how real human beings construct morality and experience moral demands, especially under difficult conditions. She is the author of Moral Failure: On the Impossible Demands of Morality, and most recently When Doing the Right Thing is Impossible, in which she provides examples, both real and fictional, of situations that will make us wonder whether we can be required to do the impossible, and how and why human beings have constructed moral requirements to be binding even when they are impossible to fulfill.

March 31, 2017 – Anger and Forgiveness

My guest on this program is Martha Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Professor of Law and Ethics, appointed in the Law School and the Philosophy Department at the University of Chicago. She is the author of many books, and was recently named the 2017 Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities, the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities. Her most recent book is Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice, in which she analyzes the roots of both anger, finding it conceptually confused and normatively pernicious, and forgiveness, as potentially the best way to respond to injury, shedding new light on both.

October 14, 2016 – The Wisdom of Frugality & Simple Living

My guest on this program is Professor Emrys Westacott, author most recently of The Wisdom of Frugality: Why Less Is More—More or Less. The book examines why, for more than two millennia, so many philosophers and people with a reputation for wisdom have been advocating frugality and simple living as the key to a good life. They have been mostly ignored, but he argues that in a world facing environmental crisis, it may finally be time to listen to the advocates of a simpler way of life.

July 22, 2016 – Being a Good Neighbor

My guest on this program is Harvard University Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government Nancy Rosenblum. Her most recent book is Good Neighbors: The Democracy of Everyday Life in America, in which she explores how our relationships with our neighbors—meeting on the street, monitoring one another, and even betraying each other—create a democracy of everyday life that is somewhat removed from the moral principles prescribed for public, and more universalized, civil society and democratic life.

June 24, 2016 – Ethical Life

My guest on this program is Webb Keane. He is the George Herbert Meade Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. He has written several books, and his most recent is Ethical Life: Its Natural and Social Histories, in which he argues that ethics is neither entirely culturally relative nor solely a function of human nature, but arises at the intersection of human biology and social dynamics.

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.

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 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 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

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