My guest on this program is Justin E.H. Smith, university professor of the history and philosophy of science at Université Paris Diderot. He writes frequently for the New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, and other publications, and has authored and edited numerous books. His most recent is The Philosopher: A History in Six Types, in which he brings to life six kinds of figures who have occupied the role of philosopher in a wide range of societies around the world over the millennia—the Natural Philosopher, the Sage, the Gadfly, the Ascetic, the Mandarin, and the Courtier.
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.
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.
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
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
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
My guest on this program is Dallas Denery, Associate Professor at Bowdoin College, and author most recently of The Devil Wins: A History of Lying from the Garden of Eden to the Enlightenment. The question “Is it ever acceptable to lie?” plays an important role in the story of Europe’s transition from medieval to modern society, and we are all the inheritors Continue reading
On this program we’ll talk with intellectual historian, journalist, and author Peter Watson. His most recent book explores one of the modern world’s most important yet controversial intellectual achievements: atheism. The book, The Age of Atheists: How We Have Sought to Live Since the Death of God, explores the revolutionary ideas and big questions provoked by some of the greatest philosophical, scientific, & political minds of the last Continue reading
This program features a conversation with Michael Tomasello, author of Origins of Human Communication, and most recently, A Natural History of Human Thinking. He is Co-Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.
I apologize to my listeners for getting this posted so late.
Richard Fortey was senior paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London. His previous books include The Hidden Landscape: A Journey into the Geological Past, which won the Natural World Book Prize in 1993, Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution, which was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and was a New York Times Best Book of the Year, and most recently Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms: The Story of Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind.