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Program Website: http://www.philosophytalk.org/
Philosophy Talk is a weekly, one-hour radio series hosted by
Ken Taylor, Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University,
and John Perry, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
at the University of California at Riverside. The program is not a lecture
or college course—it's philosophy in action! Philosophy Talk
is a fun opportunity to explore issues of importance in a thoughtful,
Reincarnation - Past Lives, Future Selves. According to Buddhist tradition, all people must suffer illness, aging, and death. Yet the universe is seen as a vast living entity, in which cycles of individual life and death are repeated without cease. Therefore death is a necessary part of the process of life, making renewal and new growth possible. So what does this view mean about the eternality of the self? Is there a single subject or consciousness that persists through all the cycles of death and rebirth? What are the karmic consequences of one’s moral acts for future lives? And how can the view of endless death and rebirth lead to greater compassion for all life? John and Ken revisit their past with Robert Thurman from Columbia University, author of Infinite Life: Awakening to Bliss Within.
Unconditional Love. According to Corinthians 13, “Love is patient, love is kind and envies no one.” But is love always unconditional? Should it be? If unconditional love means that we love no matter what our beloved’s actions or traits are, doesn’t that suggest we should love everyone in this way? If not, how do we select just a few to love unconditionally? Perhaps the feeling we reserve for those we cherish most in the world is better described as selfless rather than unconditional love, in which case we are confronted with another challenge. What happens when our beloved changes radically and loses the very features that caused us to love in the first place? John and Ken talk unconditionally with Lynn Underwood, editor of The Science of Compassionate Love: Theory, Research and Applications.
How Words Work - From Noise to Meaning. Humans have an amazing capacity to communicate. By uttering sounds we are able to convey meaning to those around us. These noises we make take on properties – they mean certain things, they are true or false, etc. Some animals also use forms of language: bees, for example, use dances and pheromones to communicate with each other. What gives these signals – words and movements – their linguistic meaning? How is it possible to communicate complex propositions simply by making sound? John and Ken cut through the noise with celebrated philosopher of language John Searle, in a program recorded live at the Marsh Theatre in Berkeley.
How Fiction Shapes Us. A good novel can do many things. It can distract us from the humdrum of daily existence, stimulate our imaginations, and delight us with its creativeuse of language. But isn’t there something more we gain from engaging with fictional worlds and characters? Do we, for example, use literary texts to morally improve ourselves? Is there some deeper truth we’re supposed to learn from a good novel? Or do we use fiction to fine-tune certain cognitive capacities? John and Ken entertain the possibilities with Joshua Landy, author of How To Do Things With Fictions, for a program recorded live at Litquake – San Francisco's Literary Festival.