Show cover of The Philosophists

The Philosophists

The Philosophists - Declan & Simon - look to inject some philosophy into your day. So if you're looking for meaning, morality, or just a bit of mayhem then tune in for their unique blend of shorter and longer conversations. Often with the help of some very special guests. This project may or not succeed, but what's the worst that could happen? Listen & find out!

Tracks

Ep 8 - The Challenges Women Researchers Face - Part 1 (with Mohammad Hosseini and Shiva Sharifzad)
Research in academia is a wonderful intellectual pursuit, but are the fruits of that pursuit equally available to all? What if you are a woman? Do you have the same opportunities and outcomes as your other colleagues? In this episode, we talk to Mohammad Hosseini and Shiva Sharifzad, authors of Gender disparity in publication records: a qualitative study of women researchers in computing and engineering (linked below), a highly illuminating paper interested in the answers to these questions. This research was carried out at Dublin City University (DCU) in Ireland and found that, during a 5 year window, "women researchers had fewer publications, received fewer citations per person, and participated less often in international collaborations". Their paper offers a fascinating insight into some of the underlying challenges that contributed to this - and contains more than a few surprises. If you care about understanding and redressing the challenges that women in research face, which has implications for society more broadly, then listen in on this important conversation. Note: This episode supports a "Chapters" feature, which is available in the web player and many podcast apps.About Mohammad Hosseini (Full Bio)Born in Tehran (Iran), Mohammad acquired a B.A. in Business Management and an M.A. in Applied Ethics in the Netherlands (2009-2016). Fascinated by the ethics of scholarly authorship and publication issues, he completed a PhD in Research Ethics and Integrity in Ireland (2017-2021). He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University in Chicago. Mohammad's professional goal is to cultivate fair and inclusive working cultures and improve the ethics and integrity of research.About Shiva Sharifzad (@Shiva_Sharifz)Shiva Sharifzad is a Gender and Gender-Based Violence Analyst. She has a Bachelor in Law and an LLM in Human Rights Law from Iran, and an MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law from Geneva.  Originally from Tehran (Iran), now she is based in Geneva (Switzerland) working with the UN, and other International Organizations.Main Talking PointsThe barriers women face when publishingCitation quality and its importanceThe fight for the authorship bylineThe Women in Leadership plan at DCUThe burden that gender balance policies can imposeInitiatives to help those taking and returning from maternity leaveThe need for more men to be involved in gender-related researchThe vast majority of our discussion is on the research itself, though we do relate some of the work in the paper to the ideas of Simone De BeauvoirLinks To The Paper and Related WorkGender disparity in publication records: a qualitative study of women researchers in computing and engineering - The paper by Mohammad Hosseini and Shiva Sharifzad discussed in this episodeThe Senior Academic Leadership Initiative (SALI) - A separate article by by Mohammad and Shiva on SALI itselfOther LinksSimone de Beauvoir and The Second Sex  - We mention De Beauvoir's work describing woman as an "other" in relation to man. The opening paragraph of this article by Nasrullah Mambrol provides an excellent overview of this topicShow Info, Contact Details & CreditsSee here. 
60:09 2/28/23
Ep 7 - Nested Utilitension (an Ethics to Rule Them All?)
"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."In this one famous line from Star Trek, the ever-logical Spock seemingly nailed his flag to the mast of Utilitarianism. But what if Kant had been a member of the team aboard the USS Enterprise? He may have thrown a glass of cold water over Spock and exclaimed, "You're wrong! The needs of the few may triumph!" So, who should we side with here? What do we do when different philosophical systems disagree and guide us towards conflicting solutions? In this episode, Declan and Simon introduce a new ethical system they've been cooking up. Can we balance the needs of the many with the needs of the few? Let's see what Nested Utilitension can do!Note: This episode supports a "Chapters" feature, which is available in the web player and many podcast apps. Main Talking PointsWhat are the problems with some of the existing ethical theories?Rebooting the classic ticking time bomb thought experimentNested UtilitensionThe Utility PlungeThe significance of nesting groups inside larger groups and expanding outwards when making ethical comparisonsEthical circuit breakersDoes who you are change how you decide what's right?Other LinksThe Philosophists - Episode 2 covered Utilitarianism and Deontonology (including some Kantian ethics) and may be worth a listen first. The show notes are also worth a lookThe Philosophists - Episode 4 covered the Trolley Problem and some more Utilitarian/Kantian discussionThe Repugnant ConclusionDerek Parfit’s famous paradoxical conclusion that, for any world with all very happy individuals, there can exist a better world (in terms of the Utilitarian maths) with a much larger population of whose lives are barely worth living.Good explainer video by Julia Galef but you'll still need your thinking hat on!The Veil of IgnoranceJohn Rawls theory on how to design a fairer societyAn illustrated overview narrated by Stephen FryShow Info, Contact Details & CreditsSee here. 
29:37 8/16/22
Ep 6 -- LP -- Wisdom - A Very Valuable Virtue with Jason Merchey
Wisdom... an old and dusty concept that has fallen down the pecking order in today's world. As a result, it's no surprise that many feel our civilisation is slipping ever deeper into an idiocracy. Well, this episode aims to single-handedly arrest that slide... and bring wisdom back into fashion! To this end, we have enlisted the talents of Jason Merchey, who literally wrote the book on wisdom. In fact, he's written four, including his latest work - Wisdom: A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought.  Given his lifelong study of this subject, Jason helps us tackle wisdom from many angles. He uses a supporting cast of wise quotations from down through the ages to prevent us losing sight of what wisdom really means - and why it is indeed a most valuable virtue.More About JasonIn addition to being a philosophical thinker and author, Jason is a master’s level psychologist, proponent of the research ideal, social critic, author / essayist / blogger, and a student of the tradition of arts and letters. You can buy Jason's latest book on Amazon (or enter our competition - see below!) or follow his work via his website.Note: This episode supports a "Chapters" feature, which is available in the web player and many podcast apps.Main Talking PointsWhat is wisdom?Capitalism, Sisyphus and higher valuesThe usefulness of philosophyThe power of quotationsEffective truth-seekingThe wisdom and anti-wisdom of intuitionIs America wise or unwise?Wisdom vs common senseChanging opinions, changing climateThe knowing nod of older Ireland (and why some things may be best left unsaid)Respecting elders but perhaps not their ideasConflating status with wisdomReal wisdom, real estate, and investingWhat can Foucault, Trump and Mussolini teach us about Irish house prices?Staying sane in an insane worldOther LinksThe Road Less Traveled  by Scott Peck (1978) A very influential book on psychology that Jason citesWisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience by Stephen S Hall (2010) A book on wisdom with a big impact on Jason's philosophical thinkingThe myth of Sisyphus by Alex Gendler (TED Ed) Wonderfully illustrated video of this mythic taleJason's Wisdom Search Engine - a quote database that around 36,000 quotes for you to exploreStanford Prison Experiment -  a highly unethical study to analyse behavioural effects in a two-week simulation of a prison environment (wikipedia)The Stanley Milgram Experiment: How Far Will You Go to Obey an OrderCitizens United Supreme Court Decision (wikipedia)CompetitionSend us in your favourite quotation - and why it is - to be in the running to win one of the 3 copies of Jason's book that he is kindly giving away to listeners! Enter using our contact details below.Show Info, Contact Details & CreditsSee  here. 
99:59 6/14/22
Ep 5 -- LP -- Towards Biohappiness with David Pearce (The End of Suffering)
Suffering is unavoidable. Or is that really the case? David Pearce, renowned transhumanist, author of the Hedonistic Imperative and cofounder of the World Transhumanist Association / Humanity+, has a vision that sees suffering abolished in all sentient life and replaced with "information-sensitive gradients of bliss". In this feature length episode, David gives an introduction to his abolitionist project and how we can achieve this remarkable goal using biotechnology, especially genetic engineering. Join us to hear David's fascinating insights into what has been dubbed the Biohappiness Revolution.You can follow David Pearce on Twitter at @webmasterdave.Note: As this episode tips over the hour mark into "Long Play" territory, if you are short on time, you are invited to use the "Chapters" feature of the web player (or in your podcast app or offline audio player if it supports chapters). We've put a little extra effort into indexing this conversation for your convenience and we hope you find it useful. Let us know!Main Talking PointsHedonic set-points and the hedonic threadmillThe Lottery ParadoxProblems associated with existing drug-based treatments for painGene therapy and the role of certain genes, such as SCN9A, in painHyperthymic people and the role of the FAAH and FAAH-OUT genesPreimplantation genetic screening and CRISPRHappier babies and whether suffering should be opt-in or opt-outHolding genetic engineering to account and the sanctity of lifeContrasting software engineering techniques to genetic engineeringIf you care about helping to bring an end to suffering,  please donate whatever you can afford to provide a life-saving mosquito net to someone who really needs it at http://www.againstmalaria.com/thephilosophistsOther LinksLottery winners and accident victims: Is happiness relative? Brickman, P., Coates, D., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1978 paper)Gene-Editing (SCN9A) Pain Away With CRISPRLandmark CRISPR trial shows promise against deadly disease (Transthyretin Amyloidosis)Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (including preimplantation genetic screening)Windows Phone, A History - An interactive timeline of the Windows Phone operating system dating back to 1996Socially AwkwardYou can follow @thephilosophists on Instagram / Facebook / TwitterYou can follow Declan at @theirishpenguinShow website at https://www.thephilosophists.com (rss feed)Credits"Bike, Bell Ding, Single, 01-01.wav" by InspectorJ (www.jshaw.co.uk) of Freesound.orgMusic and artwork by © 2022 Declan McGrath, All Rights Reserved
73:28 2/2/22
Ep 4 - Beyond Cockroach Ethics - Part 2 (Virtue Ethics, Trolley Problems and Inaction)
Back in episode two, we covered Utilitarianism and Deontology and promised to return with an episode covering Virtue Ethics. Well, wanting to do the moral thing, we fulfil that promise here. The episode opens up with Simon invoking the famous philosophical conundrum of the Trolley Problem. We also discuss the distinction between action and inaction, if any, before diving into the ethical system that has been with us for over two thousand years - Virtue Ethics. Hopefully, you have enough of the virtue of patience to stick with us for half an hour. Main Talking PointsThe Trolley Problem - would you sacrifice one to save five?A wonderful short animated TED-Ed video explainer by Eleanor NelsenWatching season 2 episode 5 of The Good Place (summary) is also an easy & fun way to learn moreThe Point of View of the Universe - an arguably more objective way to think ethicallyPeter Singer makes the case in favour (short video - or see this written summary)Inaction vs Action - can you dodge the blame game or are they just the same?Why Inaction Is An Action by Lynne Sargent gives a succinct informative take on thisDoing vs. Allowing Harm in the Stanford Encyclopedia is detailed but very readableJean-Paul Sartre's Universalisation of Actions - am I always setting an example?See the Anguish section of Nigel Warburton's great summary of Sartre's "Existentialism and Humanism"The Golden RuleKant's Summum Bonum (The Kingdom of Ends)The delightful end game for perfectly rational beings is concisely explained by this short video or WikipediaObjections to Virtue Ethics (including the bank robber example Declan cites)If you feel full of virtue as you listen to this episode, we would greatly appreciate it if you could please donate whatever you can afford to provide a life-saving mosquito net to someone who really needs it at http://www.againstmalaria.com/thephilosophistsFollow the show on Twitter at @philosophistpodSocially AwkwardYou can follow @thephilosophists on Instagram or FacebookYou can follow Declan at @theirishpenguin; Simon's keeping a low profile :-)Show website at https://www.thephilosophists.com (rss feed)Credits"Bike, Bell Ding, Single, 01-01.wav" by InspectorJ (www.jshaw.co.uk) of Freesound.orgMusic and cover artwork by © 2021 Declan McGrath, All Reserved
28:00 11/8/21
Ep 3 -- LP -- Corrupting The Youth (Philosophy For Children with Daniel McCrea)
Well... Let's not quite call it corrupting. Let's call it teaching. And, in this episode, we are delighted to welcome Daniel McCrea as our special guest, who takes us on an exciting journey through the world of teaching philosophy to children.Main Talking PointsWhy children should care about philosophyHow philosophy helps children developGetting philosophy into the education cycle in Ireland and bringing it to a younger audienceHow philosophy can transform how teachers engage with their studentsThe Irish school curriculum, the junior cert and the leaving certPhilosophy and parentingThe upcoming "GADFLY" event, which Daniel created for Irish Philosophy educatorsWe cover a lot of philosophers and their ideas along the wayAbout Daniel McCreaDaniel is the creator of www.philosophyshortcourse.com, a FREE resources website for Irish philosophy teachers and the event "GADFLY".He holds a B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy and regularly teaches philosophy at Gonzaga College SJ secondary school in South Dublin. He has trained in teaching philosophy with Marelle Rice, Peter Worley and Educate Together and facilitates public Philosophy events for "The Philosophers Hat" and "Socrates Cafe" His mission is to make teaching philosophy the best job in Ireland.Save a Child From MalariaIf you care about children beyond your borders, along with their carers,  please donate whatever you can afford to provide a life-saving mosquito net to someone who really needs it at http://www.againstmalaria.com/thephilosophistsFollow the show on Twitter at @philosophistpodOther LinksDaniel McCrea and his projects@DanielMccrea_ on Twitter Private FB group for Irish Philosophy TeachersGADFLY event (tickets)Resources site: www.philosophyshortcourse.comSimon Critchley QuoteGADFLY Competition TweetCommunitiesSocrates Cafe Philosopher's HatLearn more about the philosophy behind The Matrix in this Two Philosophers Drink Beer & Discuss Film podcast episodeSocially AwkwardYou can follow @thephilosophists on Instagram or on FacebookYou can follow Declan at @theirishpenguin; Simon's keeping a low profile :-)Just be glad we don't have a TikTok!Show website at https://www.thephilosophists.com (rss feed)Credits"Bike, Bell Ding, Single, 01-01.wav" by InspectorJ (www.jshaw.co.uk) of Freesound.orgMusic and artwork by © 2021 Declan McGrath, All Rights Reserved
88:59 8/12/21
Ep 2 - Beyond Cockroach Ethics - Part 1 (Utilitarianism vs Deontology)
What can a cockroach teach us about ethics? Well, in this episode we attempt to find out as we talk our way through two of the most widely accepted ethical systems - Utilitarianism and Deontology. While scuttling around, we'll meet the great Immanuel Kant (well, not literally) and see how his ethical ideas can get you out of a sticky situation.Is morality a numbers game or just a bunch of rules? Decide for yourself after hearing us out. Just one thing to note - this is the first part of a mini-series on the main ethical models and we'll be back next time to cover Virtue ethics, which will complete the moral menu we have prepared for you.Main Talking PointsWhat is Utilitarianism?What is Deontology?What was some of Kant's thinking on morality?Is inaction is a form of action and can it be immoral?If Mr Kant suitably convinces you to treat humans with the utmost dignity then we would greatly appreciate it if you could please donate whatever you can afford to provide a life-saving mosquito net to someone who really needs it at http://www.againstmalaria.com/thephilosophistsFollow the show on Twitter at @philosophistpodOther LinksAn Irish Goodbye - As promised at the start of the episode, here is a way to make your exits as sharp as your wit!Deontology & KantBBC's "In Our Time" podcast with Melvyn Bragg has a wonderful episode on Kant's Copernican Revolution. Find out more about Kant, his ideas and his even some of his quirksThe Panpsycast Podcast really dive into Kantian Ethics (Part I) in a fun and accessible wayFor something shorter and more visual, The School Of Life's short animated overview of Immanuel Kant is a pretty good way to spend 8 minutes of your lifeUtilitarianismHere we go again, this time The Panpsycast Podcast pick apart Utilitarianism and give plenty of background contextIn just under 5 minutes, Julia Markovits packs just the right amount of info into this excellent illustrated Wireless Philosophy video on UtilitarianismWikipedia entry briefly covering some of the systems of ethics mentioned in this episode (this was in last month's show notes but we thought it useful to list again)Socially AwkwardYou can follow @thephilosophists on Instagram or on FacebookYou can follow Declan at @theirishpenguin; Simon's keeping a low profile :-)Just be glad we don't have a TikTok!Show website at https://www.thephilosophists.com (rss feed)Credits"Bike, Bell Ding, Single, 01-01.wav" by InspectorJ (www.jshaw.co.uk) of Freesound.orgIntro music and cover artwork by © 2021 Declan McGrath, All Rights Reserved
27:37 7/19/21
Ep 1 - Feeling Bad About Doing Good
In this episode, Declan and Simon ask - should you feel bad about doing "good"?"What?!" you may ask. But have you ever asked yourself if you should give almost all your money to charity? And, if you don't then how you should approach the question of whether you should do more? Is every one of your pleasures condemned to be a guilty pleasure? Cosmic Skeptic's video asking if Should You Sell All Your Possessions? kickstarted our discussion. And we think you'll enjoy where our discussion took this.Main Talking PointsShould each of us be giving more to charity?Why don't people give more to charity?How could we approach beginning to give more to charity?How do we know when we have donated enough to charity?What is the effect of dependants on giving to charity?What on earth has antinatalism got to do with any of this?While we are on the subject of doing good, we would greatly appreciate it if you could please donate whatever you can afford to provide a life-saving mosquito net to someone who really needs it at http://www.againstmalaria.com/thephilosophistsFollow the show on Twitter at @philosophistpodOther LinksEffective Altruism websites that rank charities in terms of impact per amount donated - http://givewell.org, https://www.thelifeyoucansave.orgDavid Pearce's Quora post listing What Are The Arguments Against Antinatalism? (You can follow David at @webmasterdave)Wikipedia entry on David Benatar's book Better Never to Have BeenWikipedia entry on AntinatalismWikipedia entries on Transhumanism and Humanity+Wikipedia entry briefly covering some of the systems of ethics mentioned in this episodeSocially AwkwardYou can follow @thephilosophists on Instagram or on FacebookYou can follow Declan at @theirishpenguin; Simon's keeping a low profile :-)Just be glad we don't have a TikTok!Show website at https://www.thephilosophists.com (rss feed)Credits"Bike, Bell Ding, Single, 01-01.wav" by InspectorJ (www.jshaw.co.uk) of Freesound.orgMusic and artwork by © 2021 Declan McGrath, All Rights Reserved
32:04 4/5/21