There is a new podcast in the philosophy world, Very Bad Wizards - A philosopher and a psychologist ponder the nature of human morality. Interesting - look froward to what they will be offering in the future.
Very Bad Wizards is a collaboration between Tamler Sommers, a philosopher at the University of Houston, and David Pizarro, a psychologist at Cornell University. We first met at a conference on ethics a few years ago, and have been arguing (and occasionally agreeing) about morality ever since.Their first podcast was a two-part series on Brains, Robots, and Free Will.
At some point we realized that our conversations were entertaining (and crazy) enough that other people might enjoy eavesdropping. With that in mind we began recording a series of podcasts, and created this website to give them a proper home.
The title of the podcast was "sampled" from the title of one of Tamler's books "A very bad wizard: Morality behind the curtain," a title he stole from an obscure movie about a wizard.
Listen to episode:
Episode notesDave and Tamler start out talking about the new wave of skepticism about free will and moral responsibility in the popular press from people like Sam Harris and Jerry Coyne.
Neuroscience figures heavily in their arguments, but Dave and Tamler agree that neuroscientific data adds little of substance to the case other than telling us what we already know: human beings are natural biological entities. Dave also accuses Tamler of being a hipster philosopher for abandoning a view once it got popular.
Next, our podcasters talk about what kind freedom we need to have in order to deserve blame and punishment. Do we need to create ourselves out of the swamps of nothingness? Dave comes out as a Star Trek nerd and asks whether we're all, in the end, like Data the android. They also wonder whether a belief in free will is all that's keeping us from having sex with our dogs.
Finally, Dave grills Tamler about his new book on the differences in attitudes about free will and moral responsibility across cultures. After seeing how long they've been carrying on, they then agree to talk about all the stuff they left out in the next episode.
Coyne, J. “Why You Don’t Really Have Free Will.”Sam Harris. “Free Will.”Eddy Nahmias. "Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will?"Galen Strawson. "Luck Swallows Everything."