Elucidations: A University of Chicago Podcast

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Who should we trust more and who should we trust less?

In this episode, Jennifer Lackey discusses both how you can get things factually wrong and do something morally wrong by trusting people more than they deserve to be trusted.

Should we care more about the future than the past?

In this episode, Meghan Sullivan argues that if it's irrational to sacrifice long-term benefits for short-term gain, then it's also irrational to prefer for bad experiences to have already happened.

What are the component parts of reasoning?

In this episode, Nic Koziolek offers an account of what thought, belief, and reasoning are in terms of what knowledge is.

How did we get to wondering whether colors were real?

In this episode, Zed Adams argues that philosophers are in an irresolvable debate about whether colors are real because they inherited multiple conflicting conceptions of what color is from previous generations.

What does the name 'Princess Leia' stand for?

In this episode, Zsofia Zvolenszky argues that names like 'Harry Potter' or 'Princess Leia' stand for non-concrete human-made artifacts.

Should we honor the wishes of someone who passed away, no matter what they are, indefinitely?

In this episode, Barry Lam examines our common assumption that we should prioritize honoring the wishes of dead people.

How does oppressing or being oppressed affect your ability to know and learn things?

In this episode, Kristie Dotson discusses how imbalances in the way we share information with each other reflect broader power imbalances between social groups.

What do statements like 'If A were, then B would be' mean?

In this episode, Paolo Santorio argues that to explain what statements like 'If A were, then B would be' mean, we need to understand them as statements about causal networks.

Is being disabled a social status, or a physical impairment, or both?

In this episode, our guest argues that we confer social statuses on each other by treating each other has having different obligations and entitlements.

Why are people so good at acquiring languages?

In this episode, John Collins discusses the philosophical significance of Noam Chomsky's theory of universal grammar, along with some of the scientific evidence for it.

Can the fact that you aren't thinking about something be evidence that it isn't worth thinking about?

In this episode, Kent Bach discusses the importance of subconscious processes that underlie ordinary, everyday reasoning.

What distinguishes hallucinations from ordinary visual experience?

In this episode, Susanna Schellenberg argues that hallucination involves the very same ability as ordinary visual experience--it's just that the ability goes wrong.

Photography as a Recording Technology

In this episode, Daniel Smyth discusses the vast amount of background knowledge that goes into interpreting a photograph.

In this episode, Bryce Huebner argues that our implicit racial biases are shaped by the physical environments we inhabit.

In this episode, Amanda Greene argues that democracy is the form of government that most reliably leads to long-term stability and acceptance.

In this episode, Bob Simpson discusses how a person should respond to the realization that they only believe something because of how they were brought up.

In this episode, Robert May discusses the problems that arise when we try to explain what simple statements of arithmetic are saying.

In this episode, Cathy Legg talks about why Charles Sanders Peirce thought that existing was only one of three ways of being.

In this episode, Mark Hopwood discusses the moral relation that results when one person values another as a particular individual.

In this episode, Anthony S. Gillies shows us how difficult it is to figure out what if/then statements mean!

In this episode, Stephen Engstrom discusses the principle that Immanuel Kant thought to underlie all of ethics.

In this episode, Mark Schroeder discusses an example of how something other than evidence against a claim can give you a reason not to believe that it's true.

In this episode, Barbara Herman describes the intricacies of the relationship between two people that is created when one does a favor for the other.

In this episode, Malte Willer discusses attempts to give a formal theory of commonsense reasoning, and how it differs from the kind of reasoning that has traditionally been studied.

In this episode, Christina van Dyke discusses the medieval mystics, a loose collection of authors who thought through philosophical issues by writing about their religious experiences.

In this episode, Greg Salmieri explains why Ayn Rand thought a good life is oriented, first and foremost, toward the goal of benefitting oneself.

In this episode, Robert May explains what racial, ethnic, and homophobic slurs literally mean.

In this episode, Kent Schmor introduces us to Rudolf Carnap's classic work, _The Logical Construction of the World_.

In this episode, Susan James explains Spinoza's view that the mind and the body are really just different aspects of the same thing, and how that view led him to think of moral reasoning as having an emotional component.

In this episode, Christel Fricke discusses a view in ethics according to which you determine the right thing to do by imitating the perspective of an ideal, impartial spectator.

In this episode, Mark Lance defends the view that instead of answering to a central authority, our society should self-govern, only scaling up what it has to.

In this episode, John Protevi discusses research across several different disciplines which supports the hypothesis that human beings evolved to cooperate with each other.

In this episode, Haim Gaifman argues that there are mathematical facts about real, objective, mathematical entities.

In this episode, Julian Savulescu argues that professional sports should change their regulations so as to allow for a certain amount of doping.

In this episode, James Conant and Jay Elliott go into the history of the movement known as analytic philosophy.

In this episode, Michael Devitt explains why we need a theory of what it means for a proper name to stand for a person or place.

In this episode, Sally Sedgwick runs through Immanuel Kant’s idea that doing the right thing means doing whatever respects the dignity of all rational creatures, along with G. W. F. Hegel’s worry that Kant neglected how his moral theory was the product of a particular historical moment.

In this episode, Jeff Buechner gives us an overview of the work of Saul Kripke, and explains his (not yet published) argument against the idea that the human mind is a kind of computer.

In this episode, Fabrizio Cariani explains some of the challenges that arise when we try to precisely define the words 'ought' and 'should.'

In this episode, Rebecca Kukla questions the assumptions behind the idea that keeping unborn fetuses safe is simply a matter of individual mothers managing risk responsibly.

In this episode, we return to the topic of vagueness from a new perspective.

In this episode, Julia Annas introduces us to the ancient Greek conception of ethics.

In this episode, Philip Pettit considers whether a corporation can have any special privileges or rights.

In this episode, Branden Fitelson proposes a new notion of coherence to explain certain unusual situations in which the need to believe what's true conflicts with the need to believe what's supported by evidence.

In this episode, Patricia Blanchette explains why Gottlob Frege and other early 20th century philosophers wanted to understand all of mathematics as really being about logic.

In this episode, Martin Stokhof argues that understanding what formal theories of linguistic meaning are actually doing is less straightforward than it might seem.

In this episode, Rafeeq Hasan argues that according to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, there isn't any conflict between being a free individual and living in a cooperative society.

In this episode, Jeroen Groenendijk and Floris Roelofsen discuss a new theory of linguistic meaning that brings out a deep commonality between statements and questions.

In this episode, Greg Salmieri looks at the attitudes ancient philosophers used to take towards craftsmanship.

In this episode, Hans Kamp discusses his influential dynamic theory of linguistic meaning.

In this episode, Jennifer Frey discusses the medieval philosopher Thomas Aquinas' idea that what's ethically right or wrong is determined by our nature as human beings.

In this episode, Alexandru Baltag gives us a tour through a number of formal definitions of knowledge that have been proposed in recent years.

In this episode, Frank Veltman discusses the central role that the idea of normality (along with abnormality) plays in our everyday reasoning.

In this episode, Anubav Vasudevan argues that there is no conflict between the belief that the future is completely determined by the past and the belief that some things truly happen by chance.

In this episode, Joelle Proust discusses whether you need to have the concept of memory in order to evaluate your ability to remember things.

In this episode, Peter Adamson gives us a tour through the impressively wide-ranging work of Al-Kindi, including his arguments for the unity of God and against the eternity of the universe.

In this episode, Agustin Rayo considers whether the number of dinosaurs being zero is the same thing as there being no dinosaurs, whether some wood blocks being nailed together into the shape of a table is the same thing as there being a table, and similar matters.

In this episode, David Enoch argues that there are real facts of the matter about whether something is right or wrong, and that our ability to deliberate about what to do depends on this.

In this episode, Johan van Benthem argues that the subject matter of logic should be broadened to encompass not only processes of inference performed by individuals, but also the sharing of information among groups of people.

In this episode, Nicholas Asher discusses some of the challenges faced by philosophers, linguists, and computer scientists when it comes to developing a formal theory of meaning that (for example) a computer could understand.

In this episode, Christopher Frey explains why Aristotle thought that after you sever a person's hand, it isn't really a hand anymore.

In this episode, Catarina Dutilh Novaes talks about whether there is any one method that's specific to philosophy, the way there is (for example) something we call the scientific method.

In this episode, Robert van Rooij talks about a paradox that arises when you try to decide exactly how many millimeters high someone has to be in order to count as tall.

In this episode, Martha Nussbaum proposes a new set of criteria for determining the overall health and prosperity of a country.

In this episode, Kieran Setiya discusses the difference between disagreeing with someone about how you should live your life and disagreeing with someone about what you just saw (like, for example, who was the winner of a very close race).

In this episode, Daniel Sutherland explains some of the difficulties involved in trying to say what numbers are.

In this episode, Jennifer Lockhart tells us what happens when a person is unable to go ahead and do something they know how to do in theory.

In this episode, Branden Fitelson discusses some mistakes we often make when reasoning about probabilities, and explains why we may even have evolved to make these mistakes.

In this episode, Marko Malink discusses what Aristotle meant by words like 'every' and 'some,' and how his use of these words differs subtly from ours.

In this episode, Peter Kail discusses the importance of David Hume's contributions to philosophy, including his thoughts on the scientific method, human psychology, and religious belief.

In this episode, John Searle explores some of the problems that come up when we try to reconcile what's obvious and self-evident about human experience with what we know about how the world works.

In this episode, Emma Borg explains why it's important to have a sharp distinction between what a person literally means when they say something and what they merely imply.

In this episode, Robert Richards argues that we have evolved an instinct to act for the benefit of other people.

In this episode, Robert Stalnaker draws a distinction between two different meanings of the word 'context,' then explores some of its philosophical ramifications.

In this episode, Christopher Peacocke discusses what it is to hear emotion in music.

In this episode, Quassim Cassam discusses an influential strategy for arguing against the idea that (for example) we're all in the Matrix.

In this episode, Ben Laurence discusses the difference between what an individual person does and what a group of people does.

In this episode, Raymond Geuss critiques the idea that we should always look to what the general consensus is when deciding which political policies to adopt.

In this episode, Simon Critchley considers whether religious faith can serve as a model for faith in ethical principles.

In this episode, Dan Sperber discusses the psychological habits we develop in order to figure out whether the information we hear from other people is trustworthy.

In this episode, Mark Lance discusses how the conventions by which we verbally address one another define the roles we play in society.

In this episode, Mark Lance discusses how the conventions by which we address one another verbally define the roles we play in society.

In this episode, Brandon Fogel discusses how attitudes toward the idea of action at a distance have changed over the course of history.

In this episode, Amartya Sen critiques the idea that in order to make our society more just, we have to model it on an ideal.

In this episode, Brian Leiter considers whether claims of religious conscience--as opposed to claims of other matters of conscience--should be given special status under the law.

In this episode, Edward Witherspoon considers whether a disembodied brain could, in principle, have the ability to think.

In this episode, Fabrizio Cariani discusses how the beliefs held by a single person in a group relate to the beliefs held by that group as a whole.

In this episode, Jason Bridges discusses how a single sentence can mean completely different things in different contexts, and why this is of particular interest to philosophers.

In this episode, Martin Gustafsson discusses Ludwig Wittgenstein's thoughts on the commonsense belief that the meaning of a word is the thing for which the word stands.

In this episode, Richard Kraut discusses the contrast between being good for someone and simply being good.

In this episode, Ted Cohen argues that metaphorical language is a tool we use to identify with other people.

In this episode, Chris Haufe discusses the problems involved in trying to give an evolutionary account of our psychological traits.

In this episode, Daniel Groll discusses how one might invoke the idea of nature when making an argument about what is right or wrong.

In this episode, Jesse Prinz discusses a new movement in philosophy which makes use of findings in psychology and the social sciences to address traditional philosophical problems.

In this episode, Jocelyn Benoist reflects on whether our sense perception is reliable. Should we worry about whether we can be certain that there is a real, tangible, external world, or is that worry misplaced?

In this episode, Martha Nussbaum discusses how and whether sexual conduct should be legally regulated.

In this episode, Brian Leiter discusses Nietzsche's critique of morality and his naturalist approach to human psychology.

In this episode, Gabriel Richardson Lear tells us why Plato thought that the stylistic choices made by a poet could have ethical ramifications.

In this episode, Agnes Callard offers a new account of what it is to want something, and what it means to get the thing you want.