About Rationally Speaking

Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rationally Speaking podcast: Philosophical Shock Tactics

Why do philosophers sometimes argue for conclusions that are disturbing, even shocking? Some recent examples include the claim that it's morally acceptable to kill babies; that there's nothing wrong with bestiality; and that having children is unethical.

In this episode of Rationally Speaking, Massimo and Julia discuss what we can learn from these "Philosophical shock tactics," the public reaction to them, and what role emotion should play in philosophy.

Julia's pick: "What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought."

Massimo's pick: "Graphing the history of philosophy."


* Philosophical shock tactics
* Be a Communications Consequentialist

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed the podcast as usual, but I have to say that the closing comments on consistency were deeply problematic.

    I take it that the whole point of the podcast was, roughly, "despite our negative gut reactions, we should take formal arguments seriously." Well, I'm sure you guys are aware of a formal argument that goes, and I'm paraphrasing here for emphasis, "Any formal system powerful enough to talk about itself MUST lead to contradiction."

    And you finish the podcast by expressing your intuition that consistency is inviolate, without giving any arguments? In your defense, ever since Aristotle asserted the law of non-contradiction with a few flimsy supporting arguments, people have largely taken consistency as inviolate. I myself consider there to be little of higher value. But: thats not an argument! I guess I'd have to say I wish you guys had been a little more... consistent... on your discussion of consistency.


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