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Related Readings
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Rationally Speaking is the official podcast of New York City Skeptics. Join hosts Massimo Pigliucci and Julia Galef as they explore the borderlands between reason and nonsense, likely and unlikely, science and pseudoscience.

Rationally Speaking is produced by Benny Pollak and recorded in the heart of New York City's Greenwich Village.

Don't forget to follow us on twitter and become fan of the RS Podcast on Facebook. You can also support Rationally Speaking by joining New York City Skeptics today.

Current Episodes

Thursday
Aug112011

RS41 - Robert Zaretsky on Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding

Release date: August 14, 2011


Imagine a time when a dispute between two philosophers was the talk of high society. That is the time that our guest, Robert Zarertsky, describes in his book "The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding." He tells the story of the short and dramatic friendship between Hume and Rousseau. Hume, who championed the progress of the sciences and arts, and Rousseau, who questioned progress, wondering whether it was just another word for moral decay and despair. He also discusses the implications their friendship may have had on the Enlightenment's conceptions of reason and human understanding.

Robert Zaretsky is a professor of French history at the University of Houston Honors College and the Department of History. He has published several books about philosophy and history of philosophy.

Robert's pick: "How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer".

Sunday
Jul242011

RS40 - Q&A With Massimo and Julia

Release date: July 31, 2011


Massimo and Julia answer listeners' questions. In this installment the topics include: what would they teach in a class in critical thinking, their views on analytics vs. continental philosophy, the ethics of profiteering from a drought in examplistan, how do they compartmentalize their rationality, how does modern technology affect the way we think about things, and what is, or should be the primary purpose of our species. Also, is there really a rational argument to prove the divine origin of the bible?

Comment on the episode teaser.

Saturday
Jul092011

RS39 - The Science and Philosophy of Free Will

Release date: July 17, 2011


Dilbert.com

In this episode we tackle the never ending debate about free will, which David Hume famously defined as “a power of acting or of not acting, according to the determination of the will.” We do this with a couple of twists. We begin by examining the concept of free will from the standard philosophical perspective, then ask what — if anything — modern neuroscience can tell us about it, and come back to the interface between philosophy and science to explore how the two approaches may complement each other.

Comment on the episode teaser.

Julia's pick:  "Fluid Concepts And Creative Analogies: Computer Models Of The Fundamental Mechanisms Of Thought"

Massimo's pick: "Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale : The Moral Limits of Markets"