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.

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

March 4, 2016 – The Way Forward

My guest on this program is social critic Curtis White, and author of the acclaimed The Science Delusion: Asking the Big Questions in a Culture of Easy Answers, and the bestselling The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don’t Think for Themselves. His most recent book is We, Robots: Staying Human in the Age of Big Data, which takes up the question, “Can technology really solve all of our problems?” to which he answers essentially, “No.” He offers us an insightful and incisive look into what it will take to alter course.

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.

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

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

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

June 5, 2015 – Are Human Beings Free?

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