On Michel Serres with David Webb

2Jul

On this podcast I am talking to my colleague Prof. David Webb a philosopher at Staffordshire University. David is the author of Heidegger, Ethics and the Practice of Ontology (Continuum: 2011) and Foucault's Archaeology: Science and Transformation (Edinburgh U.P. 2013). He has published several articles on Michel Foucault, Michel Serres, modern French philosophy. He is especially interested in epistemology and philosophy of science. We talked specifically about French Philosopher Michel Serres. David helped me understand Serres’ influences from Leibniz, Bachelard and ancient atomism, and we talked about what Serres has to say about science, art, poetry and the nature of contingency.

If you would like to find out more about David here is a link to his university web page. If you would like to study with David (and me!) you can find more information about our distance education courses here. You can find out more information on our MA in Continental Philosophy via this link. Or, join our MA in Philosophy of Nature, Information and Technology via this link. Find out more about me here. January and September intakes available either F/T or P/T.

On the Formation of the Modern Self with Felix O’Murchadha

13May

On this episode of Thales’ Well I talk to Prof. Felix O’Murchadha who returns to talk about his new book The Formation of The Modern Self (Bloomsbury, 2022). Felix’s book provides a genealogy of the emergence of the self in the early modern period. We had a very wide-ranging discussion moving from ancient accounts of the self to contemporary versions. We discussed Montaigne, Descartes, Spinoza, Hume and Kant.

Felix is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Galway. You can find more about Felix here. And  here is a link to his University website. You can also find a sample of his writings here. Here is a link to the book at Bloomsbury, and it is also available in all the usual places.

Come study with me on Staffordshire University’s distance learning MA in Continental Philosophy via this link. Or, join our distance learning MA in Philosophy of Nature, Information and Technology via this link. Find out more about me here. January and September intakes available either F/T or P/T.

On Propaganda with Colin Alexander

6Jul

This episode I had a fantastic discussion with Dr Colin Alexander about propaganda. We discussed the nature of propaganda, how to identify it, its ubiquity, as well as things we might do to mitigate the effect of propaganda on ourselves and society. More specifically, we focussed on a particular case study, with Colin explaining how propaganda is deployed by charitable organisations, companies and governments. In addition, we spoke about representations of charity in culture with reference to Charles Dickens, Andrew Carnegie and Bob Geldof and Live Aid. The blog piece on Andrew Carnegie which formed the basis of our conversation can be found here.

Colin Alexander is Senior Lecturer in Political Communications at Nottingham Trent University, UK. His expertise surrounds propaganda studies, with a particular interest in communications ethics, imperialism and north-south issues. He is also interested in moral philosophy and debates surrounding the role of charity and altruism within society. He is the author of two monograph books: 'China and Taiwan in Central America' (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and 'Administering Colonialism and War’ (Oxford University Press, 2019), and he recently published his first edited volume 'The Frontiers of Public Diplomacy: Hegemony, Morality and Power in the International Sphere' (Routledge, 2021).  

You can listen to more free back content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FmStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. You can also subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review.

On David Lewis and Possible Worlds with Ben Curtis

21Apr

On this episode, I discuss analytic philosopher David Lewis' concept of possible worlds with Dr Benjamin Curtis. Ben is  colleague at Nottingham Trent University. We talked about possible worlds, actual worlds, probability, causation and time.

Ben Curtis lectures in Philosophy at Nottingham Trent University. He has published on a wide-variety of themes including epistemology, bioethics, time as well as the philosophical status of antiques. You can find out more about Ben on his university webpage here. Ben has also contributed a number of pieces to The Conversation which you can find here.

You can listen to more free back content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FmStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. You can also subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review.

 

 

 

 

On Camus and ‘The Plague’ with Robert Zaretsky

6May

I had an amazing conversation with Robert Zaretsky who is a Professor of Humanities at the Honors College, University of Houston. We spoke about French novelist and philosopher Albert Camus and his great pandemic novel The Plague. The Plague is currently receiving renewed critical attention due to the Covid-19 pandemic and is set to be re-issued by Penguin. Thus, I thought it would be a good time to discuss the novel. We touched on the background to Camus' novel, the influence of Thucydides on Camus,  silence, ethics, judgement, the distinction between moraliser and moralist, the strange parallels between Camus and George Orwell as well as Camus' perennial relevance.

Rob is a historian of France and literary biographer. Amongst others, he has published two biographies of Albert Camus entitled A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning with Harvard U.P. and Albert Camus: Elements of a Life with Cornell U.P. You can read his recent essay on Camus' The Plague here, and an essay he wrote on online pedagogy for Times Higher Education hereElsewhere Rob is a contributor to the Los Angeles Review of Books where you can read his essay on Camus and Simone Weil here, as well as an essay on Franz Kafka here. He has also contributed to New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Foreign PolicyForeign Affairs and Chronicle of Higher Education. Here is an essay from Foreign Affairs where Rob writes about the importance of books in pandemics.  You can find out more about Rob on his university website here.

You can listen to more free back content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FmStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. You can also subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review.

On Character with Christian Miller

24Apr

I am talking with Prof. Christian Miller about the nature of character. We discuss different types of character,  character psycholgoy, forms of character virtue as well as forms of character vice, the difference between moral habits and instincts, Aristotle's contribution to the theory of character, and the ever-present gap between who we are and who we should be. Christian outlines valuable strategies for helping us achieve virtue and avoiding vice. 

Christian B. Miller is the A. C. Reid Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University. He was recently the Philosophy Director of the Beacon Project , funded by a $3.9 million grant from Templeton Religion Trust, and is Past Director of the Character Project, funded by $5.6 million in grants from the John Templeton Foundation and Templeton World Charity Foundation. He is the author of over 90 academic papers as well as three books with Oxford University Press, Moral Character: An Empirical Theory (2013), Character and Moral Psychology (2014), and The Character Gap: How Good Are We? (2017). His writings have also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, Slate, The Conversation, Newsweek, Aeon, and Christianity Today. Miller is the editor or co-editor of Essays in the Philosophy of Religion (OUP), Character: New Directions from Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology (OUP), Moral Psychology, Volume V: Virtue and Character (MIT Press), Integrity, Honesty, and Truth Seeking (OUP), and The Continuum Companion to Ethics (Continuum Press). You can find out more about him on his website, or you can follow him on Twitter @CharacterGap or on Facebook. You can purchase a copy of The Character Gap here

You can listen to more free back content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FmStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. You can also subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review.

On Plato with Keith Crome

5Apr

This time we turn to Ancient Philosophy, and I discuss Plato with Dr Keith Crome. We speak about the pedagogical dimension of Plato's work, and focus specifically on Plato's Republic. Keith argues that to understand Plato, it is essential to understand Plato's account of education and how it relates to Socrates, the Sophists, the myth of the cave, the theory of forms, democratic politics as well as Plato's lesser known more playful side.

Keith Crome is scholar of ancient philosophy, postmodernism and education. He is a philosophy lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan Univeristy.  He is a specialist in the 20th Century thinker Jean Francois Lyotard, and has composed a monograph on this topic entitled Lyotard and the Greeks. You can find out more about Keith here.

You can listen to more free back content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FmStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. 

You can also subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review.

On Blockchain with Peter Howson

4Apr

I am talking with Dr Peter Howson from Nottingham Trent University about blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Peter is a Human Geographer, so we talk about the environmental impact of crypto-currency as well as it’s distribution in space. Largely, Peter explains to me the technological, economic, financial and geopolitical ramifications of these new forms of currency.

Unfortunately, we only had a short window to record this, and the only room available was one with a high ceiling and a loud fan. Therefore, the audio suffers. I have done my best with it so I hope you stick with it as Peter is exceptionally insightful about this topic.

Peter is currently a a Researcher and Lecturer in the School of Arts and Humanities at NTU. He is Course Leader for the MA in International Development and leads a number of modules across the Global Studies (Joint Honours) programme. His teaching and research interests span political ecology, critical geopolitics, gender, race and development, ‘green violence’, and blockchain-based environmental management in the Global South. Most of Peter's teaching draws on his research interests and professional experience in the Asia-Pacific region. You can find out more about Peter here.  The podcast Peter recommended is called the ‘The Missing Crypto Queen’. Here is some of the research that Peter spoke about during our conversation: ‘Tackling climate change with blockchain,’ ‘Marine conservation with blockchain,’ and ‘Tackling deforestation with blockchain.

You can listen to more free content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FmStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. You can subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review. You can follow me on Twitter: @drphilocity

 

On Online Learning with David Webster

22Mar

This time I thought it would be useful to try to do something slightly different. Given that many teachers and lecturers have had on-line learning foisted about them due to the Covid-19 crisis, I thought it would be helpful to talk to an expert about ways of delivering on-line learning. I spoke with Dr David Webster who is the Director of the Centre for Innovation in Learning & Teaching at SOAS, University of London.  Dave and I discussed the benefits and pitfalls of on-line learning, synchronous and asynchronous delivery, blended learning, managing student expectations, the value of focusing on structure and specifics,  managing behaviour in online forums, ideas about segmenting on-line classes and a host of other practical tips and ideas to help us cope with the huge changes our teaching is currently going through.  

You can find out about Dave here and you can look at some his work on education here.  Dave tweets at @davidwebster.

You can listen to more free content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FmStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. You can subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review. You can follow me on Twitter: @drphilocity

 

On Difference and Repetition with David Deamer

21Feb

Dave is back! We speak again about French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. This time we try to crack one of his most famous works Difference and Repetition. We talked about some very abstract concepts such as space, time, motion, representation and identity, and Deleuze’s three syntheses of time, but Dave does a brilliant of job of coherently explaining this very challenging book and the ‘sheet of black night’ that confronts us all.

Dr David Deamer is a writer and free scholar associated with Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. His interests lie at the intersection of cinema and culture with theory, history, and politics, centring on the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, Henri Bergson, and Friedrich Nietzsche. He is the author of Deleuze’s Cinema Books: Three Introductions to the Taxonomy of Images (EUP, 2016); and Deleuze, Japanese Cinema and the Atom Bomb: The Spectre of Impossibility (Bloomsbury, 2014). He has published here and there in various edited collections and journals, and his latest essay – available free on the Film-Philosophy journal home page – is ‘Deleuze’s Three Syntheses Go to Hollywood: The Tripartite Cinema of Time Travel, Many Worlds and Altered States‘ (Film-Philosophy v23i3 EUP, 2019). You can find out more about David on his homepage.

You can listen to more free content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FMStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. You can subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review. You can follow me on Twitter: @drphilocity

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