ToKCast
Ep 36: The Borders of Ideas

Ep 36: The Borders of Ideas

October 21, 2020

This is some commentary upon a recent debate Douglas Murray was engaged in - which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3sSnmq9uKU It is, broadly speaking, an excellent encounter, modulo - as Douglas rightly observes - the tendency for his interlocutor to resort to insults or other ad hominem remarks. I reflect on Douglas' position (with which I largely agree) and attempt to connect his remarks to some underlying modern philosophy. (Modern, I hasten to add, not "postmodern"!).

Ep 35 Ch 14 “Why are Flowers Beautiful?”

Ep 35 Ch 14 “Why are Flowers Beautiful?”

October 21, 2020

Audio listeners, please note: This episode contains a lot more visuals than my usual podcasts. As always this can be found on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWZ4GcRd-_8 if you want the full experience. I'm referring to images and so on throughout, or the images are illustrating what I am saying without comment.

In this chapter we counter a number of prevailing views about the arts: the purposes of art and the possibility of objective standards of beauty. This leads to a discussion of the place of inexplicit knowledge when creating in the arts and how the "hard to vary" quality of explanations finds an analogue in the art. All of this discussion comes through the lens of beauty in nature and how flowers evolved to be attractive. But this attractive quality of flowers is not a mere matter of opinion for both insects and people find flowers attractive.

 

 

Ep 34 Ch 13 “Choices” Part 2. Some readings and remarks.

Ep 34 Ch 13 “Choices” Part 2. Some readings and remarks.

October 18, 2020

This is some reading and reflections upon chapter 13 of "The Beginning of Infinity". In this second part we consider criteria for democracy and democratic institutions. I take a deep dive into Popper's own writings on the topic to supplement the material in David's book. There is even, what we might call, some "self help" when it comes to making choices, or making better choices, or cultivating a better approach to problem solving when no option seems viable. Popper's article on democracy can be found here: https://www.economist.com/democracy-in-america/2016/01/31/from-the-archives-the-open-society-and-its-enemies-revisited

Ep 33 Ch 13 “Choices” Part 1. Some readings and remarks.

Ep 33 Ch 13 “Choices” Part 1. Some readings and remarks.

October 9, 2020

This is the first episode of 2 parts all about chapter 13 "Choices" from "The Beginning of Infinity" by David Deutsch. Here we take a deep dive into voting systems and what this means for decision making more broadly: both as societies and individuals. Logic and fairness seem to come in conflict if we become reductionist and turn only to mathematics in order to make rational choices. As always the "David Deutsch" take on what might otherwise seem to be a parochial issue turns out to have civilisation level consequences.

Ep 32 Ch 12 “A Physicist’s History of Bad Philosophy” Part 3. Some readings and remarks

Ep 32 Ch 12 “A Physicist’s History of Bad Philosophy” Part 3. Some readings and remarks

October 1, 2020

This is the third episode in a 3 part series about chapter 12 of "The Beginning of Infinity". This part is focussed in a more specific way on bad science (that being explanationless science). We also delve into the nature of personhood once more, its moral significance and the possibility of having an experience as a human animal versus a non-human animal. 

Ep: 31 Ch 12 “A Physicist’s History of Bad Philosophy” Part 2: Some readings and remarks.

Ep: 31 Ch 12 “A Physicist’s History of Bad Philosophy” Part 2: Some readings and remarks.

August 6, 2020

This is the second episode in a 3 part series about chapter 12 of "The Beginning of Infinity". Here we get into some of the connections between poor "interpretations" of quantum theory and relativism.

Ep: 30 Ch 12 “A Physicist’s History of Bad Philosophy” Part 1: The Introduction

Ep: 30 Ch 12 “A Physicist’s History of Bad Philosophy” Part 1: The Introduction

August 6, 2020

This is the first episode in a 3 part series about Chapter 12 of "The Beginning of Infinity". As this chapter is about Bad Philosophy, I thought an episode that sets the context - especially the contemporary context - might be timely. 

Ep: 29 Ch 11 “The Multiverse” Part 5

Ep: 29 Ch 11 “The Multiverse” Part 5

July 2, 2020

The final part of "The Multiverse" series - and with some discussion (and a story!) of some little known material about how to test "The Multiverse" against other (so-called) interpretations of quantum theory.

Ep 28: Ch 11 “The Multiverse” Part 4

Ep 28: Ch 11 “The Multiverse” Part 4

May 15, 2020

With apologies to audio only listeners, this one was up on Youtube for a while (and contains a few visuals) - I simply forgot to upload it to Podbean and Apple Podcasts. It is largely an analysis of common misconceptions about the multiverse and references a conversation between Sam Harris and Bret Weinstein who spoke about the multiverse during a recent conversation. 

Ep 27: Christian Atheists

Ep 27: Christian Atheists

April 25, 2020

This is a very brief and non-standard non-Beginning of Infinity podcast. It also does not mention COVID-19 at all. It is inspired in part by some remarks made by Yaron Brook. There is an important post associated with this episode which appears here: http://www.bretthall.org/blog/mainstream-morality

As with my last episode, we will return to the usual programming soon.

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