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Playlist: Halloween

Compiled By: Philosophy Talk

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The Occult Philosophy

From Philosophy Talk | Part of the Philosophy Talk series | 53:59

How did the study of the occult give birth to modern science?



From Philosophy Talk | Part of the Philosophy Talk series | 53:59

Is fear the engine of civilization?

Philosophy Talk


Fear is an emotion, but it is one with a long history in both political theory and politics in the real world. In many versions of social contract theory, it is a fear of the state of nature that leads to government in the first place. From McCarthy to post-9/11 politics, fear has played a leading role in American public discourse. Ken and John examine fear as theme in politics and political philosophy with Corey Robin from the City University of New York, author of Fear: The History of a Political Idea.

Overcoming the Terror of Death

From Philosophy Talk | Part of the Philosophy Talk series | 53:59

What exactly is it that frightens us about death?


To many death is terrifying. But why? As David Hume pointed out, all the years we didn't exist before we were born seemed painless enough. Why worry about future non-existence? Is the real worry that we will continue to exist? Ken and John confront mortality with psychiatrist and novelist Irv Yalom, author of Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death.

The Psychology of Evil

From Philosophy Talk | Part of the Philosophy Talk series | 53:58

What is the mind of a truly evil person really like?


True evil seems easy to recognize: the killing of innocent children; assigning whole populations to death by gassing, or napalm, or aerial bombing. These acts go beyond the criminal, the mean, the bad. But what is the psychology of evil-doers? Are they monsters among us -- just like the rest of us, with one screw a little loose, or are they radically unlike us? John and Ken probe the evil mind with Simon Baron Cohen from Cambridge University, author of The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty.

Monstrous Technologies?

From Philosophy Talk | Part of the Philosophy Talk series | 53:58

How do we ensure that the Victor Frankensteins of the future unleash no new monsters on the world?

Text_image Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein raises powerful questions about the responsibilities of scientists to consider the impact of their inventions on the world. Are these questions as relevant now as they were 200 years ago? What insights, if any, should today’s technologists and disrupters glean from Shelley's story? What does it mean to take responsibility for one’s scientific or technological innovations? And what role should university educators play in ensuring that no new monsters are unleashed onto the world? The Philosophers have a monstrously fun conversation with Persis Drell, Provost and former Dean of Engineering from Stanford University.

Immortality and the Afterlife

From Philosophy Talk | Part of the Philosophy Talk series | 54:00

No rational person wants to be infinitely tall or infinitely heavy – so why would anyone want to be infinitely old?


Many religions contemplate some form of personal continued existence after death: reincarnation in another body, or continued being in some vastly different place like Heaven or Hell. Do any of these conceptions make sense? If so, is there any evidence for any of them? And why do people want continued existence, even immortality? Wouldn't it be a bore? John and Ken welcome back Anne Ashbaugh of Colgate University to explore the philosophy of eternal life.