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philosophy

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  At 8:30 pm on Thursday, September 8, 1966, NBC aired the premiere of a new series called "Star Trek". The episode was "The Man Trap." The star date was 1513.1, in case you're interested in that kind of thing.

I am not interested in that kind of thing.

Anjan Chatterjee

I find great joy in walking in the dead of winter along the river trail near my house. Everything leaves my mind as I watch the Canadian geese take flight, their wings flapping together as they lift and swoop over my head. I'm in awe of their beauty.

Old Rollei / Creative Commons

Have you ever woken in the middle of the night, looked at the clock, and noticed that it's the same time you woke up the night before - and the night before that? How does your body know what time it is?  You're not sure but the passage of minutes makes you worry that if you don't get back to sleep, you'll be too tired in the morning to get your work done on time. You can't get back to sleep. The minutes are ticking. You feel the pressure of the clock bearing down on you. 

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There has been a surge of interest in the writings of Ayn Rand in the last decade, including from Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, President Donald Trump and several of his cabinet picks.

Mike Burns / Flickr Creative Commons

Jerks. Jackasses. A-holes. Some people are just... the worst. Aren't they? But so: Why? And what do we do about it?

Uptowner / Creative Commons

Donald Trump's election last month was the culmination of a venom-filled campaign that was nastier than almost any in recent memory. The mean-spirited comments tossed to voters eager to "lock her up" fell just shy of the malicious rhetoric coming from Thomas Jefferson's presidential campaign in 1796. Jefferson's hatchet-man called John Adams a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

haru__q / flickr creative commons

There's a theory that ours isn't the only universe. That there are, actually, infinitely many universes.

That there are, then, infinitely many yous.

Edoardo Di Falchi / Flickr

Why is there something rather than nothing? This has been described as perhaps the most sublime philosophical question of all. Today, on The Colin McEnroe Show, we answer it. But as we do, we realize that it's not just a philosophical quandary; it's a scientific, cultural, and theological one as well.

Mike Burns / flickr creative commons

Jerks. Jackasses. A-holes. Some people are just... the worst. Aren't they? But so: Why? And what do we do about it?

Michael Vadon / Creative Commons

The one thing we knew for sure was that by the time we got to today, yesterday would be over.

And it is.

And we have a new President-elect.

Betsy Kaplan / WNPR

Against Everything is a book about self-improvement. Before you tune out, I ask you to challenge your notion of 'self-improvement.' 

JD Hancock / flickr creative commons

At 8:30 pm on Thursday, September 8, 1966, NBC aired the premiere of a new series called "Star Trek". The episode was "The Man Trap." The star date was 1513.1, in case you're interested in that kind of thing.

I am not interested in that kind of thing.

AllenRan917 / Creative Commons

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - George Santayana, 1905

David Rieff isn't against the lessons of remembrance, but he believes it shouldn't be the only morally-sanctioned option. Forgetting may be the better choice.

Alison and Fil / Creative Commons

It's Yale and New Haven Humanism Week in New Haven, and so we thought: Hey, wait. Just what the heck is a humanism exactly anyway?

And so then we thought: And what about, uh, agnosticism? Unitarianism? Universalism? Unitarian Universalism? Maybe even atheism?

Gage Skidmore / flickr creative commons

For a normal show, on a normal day, in a normal time, we'd usually put two or three experts in a room with Colin and ask them to hash out whatever it is we're interested in for that hour.

For this show, by the time it's over with, we'll have corresponded with dozens of people and recorded interviews with seven or eight experts from ten or eleven different disciplines: a philosopher, an ethicist, a futurist, a speechwriter, a comedy writer, an author of speculative fiction, a politician, an 'investigative humorist,' a Muslim, an expert in international affairs, and an expert in... manners.

Mike Licht / Creative Commons

Our deepest convictions shape how we see the world from a very young age. Our parents, community, and religion deeply influence our beliefs and ultimately, the political identity we choose to adopt.

Better Than Bacon / WNPR

Quick! Name a living philosopher. Chances are if you can do it at all, you're going to say Peter Singer, Martha Nussbaum, Shelly Kagan, or Daniel Dennett. 

Dennett is probably the best bet because he plays the game at several different levels. He was known until the death of Christopher Hitchins as one of the four horseman of the atheist apocalypse. But his work on free will and consciousness have conferred a kind of celebrity on him.

Tim Green / flickr creative commons

For most shows, I’d use these first paragraphs to explain why we’ve chosen to spend an hour on its particular topic. I’d remind you of events in the news. I’d site a publication date. I’d point out a trend that we’ve maybe noticed that you maybe haven’t.

For today’s show, for instance, I could type a list of towns here — international towns, domestic towns, Connecticut towns — and you’d recognize them all as spots on a map that share a wound, as place names that represent a raw, unhealed sore in our shared memory.

Walking With Dante

Dec 9, 2015
Freeparking / Creative Commons

"Dante's Inferno" is the most famous section of "The Divine Comedy," poet Dante Aligheri's, 14,000 line epic poem. It's where Dante must face his sins before moving beyond an eternity in hell, where the doomed can still find redemption in the acceptance of their humanity. 

Anonymous Inmate / Permission by Ron Jenkins

Dante's painful journey through the nine circles of hell in "Dante’s Inferno" defies description: "If I had verses harsh and grating enough to describe this wretched hole…"

Yet this is the most alluring section of the "The Divine Comedy," in the most enduring poem of all time. Dante Alighieri was a 14th century poet and politician who wrote his epic poem about sin and redemption upon his permanent exile from his beloved city of Florence.

Gretana / Wikimedia Commons

Here’s a question: If the things we’re made of — the particles, the fundamental elemental irreducible bits, the most basic littlest chunks of us — if those things are literally, actually indistinguishable from one another, from the tiniest simplest bits of everyone else, from the tiniest simplest bits of everything else… then what makes us us?

What even makes us anything at all, really?

Lawrence OP / Flickr

According to Yale Philosophy Professor Shelly Kagan, many of today's political issues are actually philosophical ones. Kagan says no one ever asks philosophers to weigh in.

Wouldn't a deeper understanding of the day's news -- including why people think what they think and hold the positions they hold -- be beneficial?

One reason for the lack of philosophical commentary in the media might be the relatively short attention spans many Americans have for absorbing information. Who has time for philosophy? And are political debates real outlets for philosophical argument?

Mike Licht / Creative Commons

University of Kentucky Biology professor James Krupa is frustrated with the resistance of his non-biology students to accept the theory of evolution as established fact, despite what he calls an "avalanche of evidence" supporting its validity.

Krupa says that evolution is the foundation of our science, and just as we accept germ theory, cell theory, quantum theory, and even game theory, we must understand the significance of evolution even if it challenges long-held religious beliefs.

Sean MacEntee / Flickr Creative Commons

Here in America we're taught to celebrate ideas, to think outside the box and to fan the flames of innovation whenever possible. But what do we do when an idea becomes destructive? And even worse; when that idea becomes an ideology?

This is the prospect we're facing with extremism around the world. Now America, a nation well adapted to win wars by conventional means, is being forced onto a battlefield it's less accustomed to-- one where social media, propaganda and targeted messaging are the weapons of choice.

Look Into My Eyes / Creative Commons

In his new book, Jealousy, Peter Toohey explores the less talked about side of the green-eyed monster. That is, he takes a look at some of the ways that jealousy can actually be good for us. 

This hour, Peter joins us for a panel discussion about jealousy's impact on creativity. We take a look at how the emotion has fueled some of society's greatest books, plays, songs, and paintings -- and discuss what these works, in turn, tell us about ourselves. 

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