Dilemma Podcast

de Jay Shapiro

Solving the problems of what to do next with some of today's top thinkers and writers. Hosted by Jay Shapiro.

Episodios

S02E22: High School Philosophy - Lawrenceville Ethics Bowl Team

por Jay Shapiro

Do we underestimate the ability of High Schoolers to tackle complex politically charged existential and moral philosophy problems with nuance, intelligence, and compassion? I hope this episode will convince you that we absolutely do.

Jay has served as a judge for the High School Ethics Bowl for six years. In this episode he speaks with 5 students who participated this year on the view of the world from high school, their favorite and least favorite cases, their future excitement and trepidation, and the endless dilemma of the tension between "making money" and "finding happiness."

To follow along, see the full case list from this year and past years, and get involved directly: https://nhseb.unc.edu/

S02E21: Are we in a simulation? Does it matter? - Rizwan Virk

por Jay Shapiro

Quantum mechanics, mathematical robustness, dream state deja vu oddities... these are all things that one would expect to find in a simulated world. Wait, so are we in a simulation?

Author, investor, and video game pioneer Rizwan Virk joins Jay for a deep conversation taking on the Simulation Theory first made famous by Nick Bostrom. They strike gold when the conversation shifts to the philosophical and psychological implications of the theory rather than the truth of the theory itself.

S02E20: Conspiracies Everywhere - Hugo Drochen and Annemarie S Walter

por Jay Shapiro

What kind of environmental and individual factors lead to the proliferation of conspiracy theories?

Jay is joined by co-authors and researchers Hugo Drochen and Annemarie S Walter to discuss their paper "Conspiracy Thinking in Europe and America: A Comparative Study".

Jay opens by telling his personal story of flirtation with conspiracy and pays homage to a good friend who recently took his own life, Ellery Samson.

S02E19: Quantum Computing - Sean Holland

por Jay Shapiro

Have artificial intelligence fears been overblown? Are we glossing over the much more pressing issue of weaponized quantum computing? Or are these tandem problems? What the heck is a computer anyway and what would make one "quantum"?

Jay discusses these issues and more with philosopher, consultant, and co-Founder of the QC Ethics Initiative (QCEthics.org) Sean Holland.

In the open, three famous rules of technology from Arthur C. Clarke help Jay demystify the computer with metal buckets, rocks, ropes and pulleys on the side of a desert cliff.

S02E18: Hostage - Michael Scott Moore

por Jay Shapiro

Michael Scott Moore was held captive by pirates in Somalia for 977. He recounts what philosophies and psychological tactics got him through the experience while he and Jay ponder the moral dilemma of whether or not to pay ransoms to criminals and terrorists.

Discussed in this episode: stoicism, a message from the Pope, living with guilt and gratitude, the elasticity of the human mind, and the loose analogy to being held captive by COVID-19.

Subscribe to Jay's low key email reminders to keep up with when he writes something new, releases something new, appears as a guest on something, plans a live event, or has an urgent book or film recommendation at whatjaythinks.com

Jay's Special Comment on The Coup with Michael Scott Moore

por Jay Shapiro

On the using of the word "coup" to describe the events in Washington on Jan 6 2021.

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S02E17: Atheistic search for god - Seth Andrews

por Jay Shapiro

Seth Andrews was a Christian Radio host in Tulsa Oklahoma before he began his intellectual journey to atheism. Jay and Seth discuss the philosophies underpinning the religious worldview and how it continues to inform our political landscape.

Jay lays out exactly what the title of this episode means with the help of his favorite Richard Feynman clip.

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S02E16: The Silence Beyond Sound - Scott Barry Kaufman

por Jay Shapiro

Why do we avoid intimacy when we know it is the deepest need we have?

Scott Barry Kaufman is an author, psychologist, and podcast host. His latest book "Transcend" continues the work of Abraham Maslow who introduced the hierarchy of needs. Jay and Scott discuss: peak experience, 1st order and 2nd order desires, the danger of gurus, the vulnerability of intimacy, the higher grumbles, utopias, and much more.

Jay ponders the tragedy of Jonestown and also asks the listeners for a future show idea. 

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S02E15: Speech on Campus - Sigal Ben-Porath

por Jay Shapiro

Are the kids alright?

Sigal Ben-Porath and Jay discuss the thorny issues of free speech on college campus by first traversing some philosophical groundwork offered by Hannah Arendt. Together they explore what speech is "beyond the pale", "a waste of time", "too dangerous", or simply disingenuous cover for nefarious politics. Ultimately, the questions of what kinds of responsibilities educational (and housing) institutions have to their students and tenants and what the purpose of school really is become central to the conversation.

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S02E14: Thanksgiving 2020 - Mom

por Jay Shapiro

Jay and his mom Sally talk about old age, being thankful in a strange year, and the lessons they're learning from COVID.

Video posted on YouTube: https://youtu.be/oeboanFZOG8

Happy Thanksgiving from Dilemma

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S02E13: The Power of Memes - Susan Blackmore

por Jay Shapiro

Did Charles Darwin discover something much more fundamental than the origin of species?

A defense and exploration of the field of memetics with Professor Susan Blackmore. Jay and Susan make their way through the common confusions, problems, and good and bad questions to ask about memetics.

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S02E12: How To Avoid a Civil War - Mike Selinker

por Jay Shapiro

Jay goes down the dark paths that might lie ahead spurred by the 2020 US election with Mike Selinker. Mike is an award winning game designer and game theorist who writes frequently about politics. What are the historical analogies that could warn us and help us steer clear of the dangers?

This episode follows the format of Mike's viral essay "A wargame designer defines our four possible civil wars". Available here: https://medium.com/@mikeselinker/a-wargame-designer-describes-our-four-possible-civil-wars-cf5b2e980099

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S02E11: Home Field Advantage - Jon Wertheim

por Jay Shapiro

A look at the philosophical side of sports and what we can learn about human behavior in the time of COVID altered stadiums.

Jay speaks with veteran sports writer Jon Wertheim as they focus in a particular chapter from his book Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won all about "home field advantage" and what exactly caused home teams to win so much... before COVID changed everything.

Subscribe to Jay's low key email reminders to keep up with when he writes something new, releases something new, appears as a guest on something, plans a live event, or has an urgent book or film recommendation at whatjaythinks.com

S02E10: Too Much Information - Cass Sunstein

por Jay Shapiro

What do you NOT want to know?

Jay is joined by the prolific and influential behavior economist Cass Sunstein for a conversation about his latest book: Too Much Information.

Discussed in this episode: The Garden of Eden, Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept metrics, the social media habit, the right to know vs the consequences of information, the usefulness of informing one's vote, the focus of attention and editorial choices, and whether Cass really did "ruin popcorn."

Subscribe to Jay's low key email reminders to keep up with when he writes something new, releases something new, appears as a guest on something, plans a live event, or has an urgent book or film recommendation at whatjaythinks.com

S02E09: What is Art? - SWOON

por Jay Shapiro

Jay tackles the age old question of philosophically defining art with the incredible street artist SWOON (Caledonia Curry). Together they wonder, can machines make art?

Swoon's recent piece: The Medea

https://swoonstudio.org/#/the-canyon/

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S02E08: Your Right To Say It - David Goldberger

por Jay Shapiro

David Goldberger was raised as a proud Jew. In 1977, he was working as a civil liberties attorney for the ACLU in Illinois when a Neo-Nazi named Frank Collin knocked on his door claiming his first amendment rights were being violated. In this episode David Goldberger revisits the famous Supreme Court case, National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie.  Jay and David tease out the complications of free speech and what has changed, if anything, since 1977. 

Also discussed in this episode: warning signs from the ACLU,  the difficult task of law enforcement,  McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission and it's application to social media bans, the heap fallacy as a way to consider legal philosophy.

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S02E07: The Lessons of Black Panther - Chloe Valdary

por Jay Shapiro

Chloe Valdary, Coleman Hughes, and Jay Shapiro consider the analogies and lessons of Marvel's Black Panther.

Discussed in this episode: tensions with policing, Black Lives Matter, the original Black Panther movement of the 60's, the differing philosophies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, and the eternal task of the superhero to resist our darkest impulses. 

This conversation was recorded on August 18th, 2020, in New York City's Central Park, 10 days before the death of the star of Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman.

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S02E06: Illusionism Part 2 : Finding Each Other - Keith Frankish

por Jay Shapiro

In part 2 of this conversation, Keith Frankish and Jay talk about the implications of the illusionists view of mind and consciousness. They forecast the moral, social, and political fallout of a world which would embrace illusionism while lamenting the confused state of conversations being exported to the public on this subject.

Jay recalls a depressing experience in Iceland with a Buddhist monk ill-equipped to handle deserving inquiries into the mysteries of mind and death.

Ultimately, Frankish and Jay explore how we can truly meld with the physical universe and find each other by dissolving the illusions of mind.

Subscribe to Jay's low key email reminders to keep up with when he writes something new, releases something new, appears as a guest on something, plans a live event, or has an urgent book or film recommendation at whatjaythinks.com

S02E05: Illusionism Part 1 : What Needs Explaining - Keith Frankish

por Jay Shapiro

“Illusionists deny that experiences have phenomenal properties and focus on explaining why they seem to have them”

In part 1 of this 2 part interview Jay discusses what exactly is meant by this statement from renowned philosopher of mind and author Keith Frankish.

What part of our conscious experience, if any, is real and demands an explanation? Does the idea of a philosophical zombie make any sense? Are we ready to throw out all science and understanding while we forever chase down an illusion? Are we hopelessly separated from physical reality by an indescribable philosophical barrier... or have we all just been stirred into an incredible effect of ineffable private experiences by a universe which works much like a magician convincing an audience of the reality of levitation?

Get ready for a wild ride through Jay's resistance, puzzlement, partial understanding, and finally full digestion of the argument in part 1.

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S02E04: History Rhymes - Uyghur Genocide - Rahima Mahmut

por Jay Shapiro

An urgent episode about a genocide unfolding in China.

Rahima Mahmut is the U.K. Project Director, World Uyghur Congress. https://www.uyghurcongress.org/en/

Crowdfunding link here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/stop-Uyghur-genocide

www.stopuyghurgenocide.org.uk

Study about the global supply chains stained with Uyghur slave labor: Uyghurs for Sale  https://www.aspi.org.au/report/uyghurs-sale

PBS’s Undercover China documentary: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/china-undercover/

Subscribe to Jay's low key email reminders to keep up with when he writes something new, releases something new, appears as a guest on something, plans a live event, or has an urgent book or film recommendation at whatjaythinks.com

S02E03: Virtual Afterlives - Candi Cann

por Jay Shapiro

Are virtual worlds any different than real worlds?

A mother is reunited with her deceased daughter in virtual reality for a South Korean TV show.

Jay Shapiro speaks with Associate Professor and author Candi Cann about the ways in which technology is intersecting with death and grief rituals. Professor Cann's book on the subject is available here.

Find a bonus conversation with Adelle Archer, the founder of eterneva diamonds at dilemmapodcast.com

Subscribe to Jay's low key email reminders to keep up with when he writes something new, releases something new, appears as a guest on something, plans a live event, or has an urgent book or film recommendation at whatjaythinks.com

S02E02: The Meaning of Travel - Emily Thomas

por Jay Shapiro

What does travel mean? Why has formal philosophy largely ignored the question? Just how strange is it to release a book on travel in the time of a global lock down and what exactly is the world missing right now? Jay introduces Frank Jackson's famous "Mary's Room" thought experiment to consider the notion of experience vs imagination in the context of travel.

Jay and Emily swap travel stories of giant Pringles cans in Ghana and Christmas villages in Alaska.

Jay ends by considering travel as a physical form of philosophy.

Subscribe to Jay's low key email reminders to keep up with when he writes something new, releases something new, appears as a guest on something, plans a live event, or has an urgent book or film recommendation at whatjaythinks.com

S02E01: Unattractive Discrimination - Francesca Minerva

por Jay Shapiro

We often hear about racism, sexism, classism, and other familiar kinds of discrimination. But there is a bias which might dwarf them all, discrimination against unattractive people.

Jay Shapiro speaks with philosopher, author, and researcher Francesca Minerva on the topic of "Lookism" and introduces John Rawls' famous "Veil of Ignorance" thought experiment to consider just how challenging this type of discrimination is. We ponder how evolution and society both shape our ideas of physical attraction and wonder if these can and should be altered and how one could even begin to do that.

Subscribe to Jay's low key email reminders to keep up with when he writes something new, releases something new, appears as a guest on something, plans a live event, or has an urgent book or film recommendation at whatjaythinks.com

S01E18: Can We Sue China? - William Burke-White

por Jay Shapiro

International law scholar and professor William Burke-White speaks with Jay Shapiro during the ongoing global COVID19 crises.

They discuss the philosophical foundations of international law, why globalism needs to re-brand itself to be more "local", the legal process of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the apparent absence of the United Nations in this pandemic, the rapidly changing role of China on the world stage, the potential for international legal and political retribution, and much more.

William Burke-White is the Richard Perry Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. From 2009-12, Burke-White served in the Obama administration on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, where he was principal drafter of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, Secretary Clinton’s hallmark initiative to reform the Department of State and reshape U.S. foreign policy.

S01E17: Surviving a Slow Motion Disaster - Amanda Ripley

por Jay Shapiro

Amdana Ripley, best selling author of "The Unthinkable: Who Survives when Disaster Strikes and Why" talks with Jay Shapiro during coronavirus lock down.

Topics discussed: Ripley's work with ignored hurricane warnings, 9/11 rescues, stampedes at the Hajj, surviving plane crashes, what good risk communication sounds like, what personal resilience means for our collective safety, and the danger of "negative panic"

What habits are we learning now and what might we want to retain when this is over? 

S01E16: Pandemic Special: Invisible Responsibility COVID-19

por Jay Shapiro

Jay and Coleman discuss the giant trolley problem that we're all living through in the midst of the  pandemic. 

Topics discusses: The "worry-wart" paradox. Invisible responsibility of spreading a virus. Social media etiquette and how to deal with accounts with large follower totals in a time of crisis. The case for pure scientific research. Countries focused on how not "get" it versus countries focused on how not to "give it. And of course which movies, board games, shows, and books to enjoy while you're stuck inside.

Wash your hands.

S01E15: Season 1 in Hindsight - Jay Shapiro

por Jay Shapiro

Jay reviews Season 1 with the help of his girlfriend, a piano, and a glass of wine.

Submit your Season 2 Dilemma Ideas to DilemmaIdeas@gmail.com

S01E14: Selecting for Deafness - David Deutsch

por Jay Shapiro

In the finale of Dilemma Season 1 famed author of "The Fabric of Reality" and "The Beginning of Infinity", David Deutsch, sits down with Jay Shapiro to discuss the ethics of a situation where deaf parents wish to use genetic selection techniques to intentionally choose having a deaf child. Deutsch lays out his intricately developed theories on knowledge, creativity, explanation, persons, and moral realism in order to address this complex question.

Co-Hosts Jay Shapiro and Coleman Hughes juggle these topics while comparing which generational references the other won't understand.

Get ready, this one is a real brain twister.

S01E13: Self Driving Cars - Matthew B. Crawford

por Jay Shapiro

The best selling author of Shop Class As Soulcraft and The World Beyond Your Head has a new book coming out entitled Why We Drive. He sits down with Jay Shapiro to ponder the philosophical and psychological transformations afoot in a future world of automated driving. "Human Intelligent Action", "Deskilling", "Mass Infantilization", The Luddites, London taxi drivers, speed limits on the Autobahn, and what happens when the traffic lights go out.

 These topics and more are explored in this deep dive.

Co-Hosts Coleman Hughes and Jay Shapiro also share their experiences in the High School Ethics Bowl and discuss the notions of "Play" as a central feature of sentience as first laid out by Johan Huizinga.

S01E12: Medically Assisted Death - Steven Pinker

por Jay Shapiro

"If I lose my mind, just kill me."

Co-Hosts Jay Shapiro and Coleman Hughes discuss the philosophical borders and ethical complications of Medically Assisted Dying with Steven Pinker, cognitive psychologist, linguist, and best selling author of Enlightenment Now.

Thanksgiving Hindsight

por Jay Shapiro

Jay Shapiro is joined by a very special guest... his mother, Sally.

They speak about Jay's moral upbringing, Judaism, Atheism, Africa, and giving thanks.

S01E11: A Camera, A Child, and A Vulture - Larissa MacFarquhar

por Jay Shapiro

In the depths of a brutal famine in Sudan in 1993, Kevin Carter took a photo of a starving child and a perched vulture which appeared on the front page of newspapers all over the world. Readers bombarded the editors with the question "What happened to the child?"

Co-Hosts Jay Shapiro and Coleman Hughes discuss this difficult ethical case with Larissa MacFarquar, best selling author of Strangers Drowning 

S01E10: Clara Barton's Placebo - Stephen Finlay

por Jay Shapiro

A battlefield of wounded and dying soldiers in front of you. You hover over a mortally wounded man. You have medicine in one pocket and water in another. The soldier looks into your eyes and asks if you can help him with some medicine... You reach for the water...

Meta-ethicist, philosophy professor, and author Stephen Finlay joins Jay Shapiro for a conversation through the complex dilemma of placebo usage.

Ep 9: In Hindsight with Jay Shapiro

por Jay Shapiro

Do you have hill worth dying on?

Jay Shapiro reflects on Dilemma Episode 9: Hurricane at a Hospital with Lisa Tessman

S01E09: A Hospital in a Hurricane - Lisa Tessman

por Jay Shapiro

When the power went out, the flood waters rose, and supplies dwindled in Memorial Hospital in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Pau and her nurses faced the awful choice of what to do with the remaining patients when evacuation looked hopeless.

Philosopher Lisa Tessman argues that this case and others like this are true philosophical dilemmas where doing the right thing is impossible.

Jay Shapiro and Coleman Hughes tackle this difficult question and discuss the if doing the "right" thing and doing the "better" thing mean something different.