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ypradio.org > YPR Program Guide > Program Listings > Philosophy Talk

Philosophy Talk

Thursdays, 9pm

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, friendly fashion.

 

March 12
Diseases of the Mind: The Philosophy of Psychiatry
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual is the primary reference catalog for mental health illnesses. But whereas a medical textbook will show you the picture of a broken bone or a tumor, leaf through the DSM and you will find just one thing: lists of symptoms. Who creates these lists, and based on what criteria? Do such lists really capture the nature of a mental illness? What does it mean to be a disease of the mind versus a disease of the body? Does our classification system construct mental illness, or does it reveal underlying facts from genetics or neuroscience? John and Ken diagnose the issues with Jerome Wakefield from NYU, co-author of All We Have to Fear: Psychiatry's Transformation of Natural Anxieties into Mental Disorders.

March 19
Forbidden Words
Some words, like n****r, ch*nk, and c*nt, are so forbidden that we won't even spell them out here. Decent people simply don't use these words to refer to others; they are intrinsically disrespectful. But aren't words just strings of sounds or letters? Words have life because they express ideas. But in a free society, how can we prohibit the expression of ideas? How can we forbid words? Where does the strange power of curses, epithets, and scatological terms come from? John and Ken avoid mincing words with Chris Hom from Texas Tech University, author of Hating and Necessity: The Semantics of Racial Epithets.

March 26
Morality in a Godless World
Belief in God is thought by many to be the only possible source of morality, such that without a God, “everything is permitted.” Yet godlessness is on the rise in the West, with figures like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Lawrence Krauss leading the “New Atheism” movement. But if atheism is defined by its lack of belief, where do these non-believers find guiding principles? Are there any positive beliefs or values that atheists have in common? If so, are they based on a rational, scientific framework, or must non-believers, like believers, ultimately rely on faith? John and Ken welcome John Figdor, a Humanist chaplain at Stanford University and co-author of Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart: Rewriting the Ten Commandments for the Twenty-first Century, for a program recorded live on campus.

April 2
Democracy in Crisis
Democratic systems of government are supposed to reflect the interests of ordinary citizens, and not some shadowy political elite. But more and more we see the influence of big money and special interest groups in so-called democratic politics, while income inequality and voter suppression grow. With millions convinced that politicians don’t speak for them, is there a "crisis of representation" in the US? Are these problems a result of political decay in our institutions, or is democracy in trouble everywhere? How can we achieve an efficient and prosperous democracy in which the average citizen is truly represented? Should we consider a radically different system of government? John and Ken keep calm with renowned political scientist Francis Fukuyama, author of Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy. This program was recorded live on the Stanford University campus.

April 9

The Nature of Wilderness
Nowadays we think of wilderness as a fully natural environment that contrasts sharply with the designed and constructed environments in which we normally move. But does that vision of wilderness really exist anymore? What is natural and what is artificial about wilderness? Should humans be understood as a part of nature or distinct from it? And how should we approach conservation efforts so that we balance the needs of a growing world population with the need to preserve some aspect of the wild in our lives? John and Ken welcome Jay Odenbaugh from Lewis & Clark College, for a program recorded live on campus in Portland, Oregon.

April 16
The Art of Non-Violence
We all hope for peace. Yet in the face of violence, it often seems the only recourse is more violence. Advocates of non-violence claim it’s not necessary to respond to war in kind, and that responding violently, even in self-defense, just perpetuates the cycle of violence. So how can we practice non-violence under the direct threat of violence? Can non-violent acts be spread to stop aggression and war? And are there times when violence is, in fact, necessary? John and Ken keep the peace with renowned cultural critic Judith Butler, in a program recorded live at The Marsh in Berkeley.

April 23
Economics - Science or Cult?
With the recent global economic crisis, many people wonder if our economic policies are built on sound principles or on dubious, unscientific claims. What kinds of assumptions does Economics make about markets and the behavior of producers and consumers? What kinds of assumptions does it make about the rationality of individuals? How, if at all, are those claims empirically verified? Or are they just speculative theories proven false by the current crisis? John and Ken pursue their rational self-interest with Alex Rosenberg from Duke University, author of Economics: Mathematical Politics or Science of Diminishing Returns? - See more at: http://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/economics-science-or-cult#sthash.nMwPKALS.dpuf


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