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.
My guest on this program is David Benatar, professor of philosophy at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. His research interests are in moral and social philosophy, and applied ethics. His most recent book is The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions, in which he invites us to take a clear-eyed view of such questions as “Are human lives ultimately meaningless?” “Is our inevitable death bad?” He argues that while our lives can have some meaning, cosmically speaking we are ultimately the insignificant beings we fear we are.
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.