Steven Pinker: A New Enlightenment

Long Now: Seminars About Long-term Thinking | 14 March 2018 | 1h 32m | Listen Later  | iTunes
The Enlightenment worked, says Steven Pinker, by promoting reason, science, humanism, progress, and peace. The programs set in motion by the 18th-Century intellectual movement became so successful we’ve lost track of what that success came from. Some even discount the success itself, preferring to ignore or deny how much better off humanity keeps becoming, decade after decade, in terms of health, food, money, safety, education, justice, and opportunity.

John Gray on the Seven Kinds of Atheism

EconTalk | 15 October 2018 | 1h 36m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Philosopher and author John Gray talks about his book, “Seven Types of Atheism”. Rather than being about atheism, this is really a rejoinder to the rational optimism of Matt Ridley and Steven Pinker. While conceding that technological know-how and scientific knowledge improve over time, Gray argues that morality and political systems are cyclical and that there is no reason to be optimistic about the future.

Tyler Cowen on Stubborn Attachments

Conversations with Tyler | 16 October 2018 | 2h 30m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with Tyler Cowen about the ideas in “Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals”. Makes the moral case for prioritising economic growth by not discounting future humans relative to those currently alive.

Man Up

Hidden Brain | 1 October 2018 | 0h 42m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Male workforce participation is falling, in part due to men’s reluctance to move into sectors traditionally viewed as women’s work. Explores definitions of masculinity; research that suggests that manhood is “hard to earn and easy to lose”; and the compensations deployed by men undertaking traditionally female work.

Tucker Max – Speak Your Truth or Be Silenced

The James Altucher Show | 25 September 2018 | 1h 07m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Discussion with Tucker Max about book publishing, media, the Overton window, virtue signalling, and separating the truth from everything else.

Jonathan Haidt – The Coddling of the American Mind

Waking Up with Sam Harris | 9 September 2018 | 1h 36m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with Jonathan Haidt about the ideas in his book “The Coddling of the American Mind.” Covers hostility to free speech, recent moral panics on campus, the role of intentions in ethical life, the economics of prestige in “call out” culture, bigotry, systemic racism and the paradox of progress.

The Edge of Humanity

Waking Up with Sam Harris | 19 September 2018 | 2h 06m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with Yuval Noah Harari about his book “21 Lessons for the 21st Century.” Discusses the importance of meditation, the primacy of stories, the need to revise our fundamental assumptions about human civilisation, threats to liberal democracy, a world without work, universal basic income, the virtues of nationalism and the implications of AI and automation.