063: Ep59 – Finding Peace

Philosophy Bakes Bread radio show and podcast

Dr. Annie Davis WeberIn this fifty-ninth episode of the Philosophy Bakes Bread radio show and podcast, we interview Dr. Annie Davis Weber yet again, this time on the subject of “Finding Peace” with Buddhism. This episode is different and special, as the very first wholly live episode, recorded while on the air live on WRFL Lexington, 88.1 FM in Lexington, Kentucky. The episode aired and was recorded on December 18th, 2017, our final episode for 2017, the first official season of the show.

A photo of a man walking peacefully on the beech at sundown.

Photo courtesy of Maxlkt, creative commons license.

Dr. Annie Davis Weber earned her doctorate in Higher Education Leadership and Policy at Vanderbilt University and is the Assistant Provost for Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness at the University of Kentucky. In this episode, she is representing only her own point of view. This episode is a follow-up of sorts on Ep0.1 from the “pilot season,” titled “Acceptance and Happiness with Stoicism.” We talk about Annie’s experience learning about and growing from some challenges that arose at the start of Eric and Annie’s daughter’s life, when Helen suffered a stroke and other medical difficulties. Annie learned a great deal from Buddhism and joined Anthony and Eric in this episode to talk about her experience and the insights that she found most valuable from the Buddhist tradition. We also celebrate the end of our first official season of Philosophy Bakes Bread.

Listen for our “You Tell Me!” questions and for some jokes in one of our concluding segments, called “Philosophunnies.” Reach out to us on Facebook @PhilosophyBakesBread and on Twitter @PhilosophyBB; email us at philosophybakesbread@gmail.com; or call and record a voicemail that we play on the show, at 859.257.1849. Philosophy Bakes Bread is a production of the Society of Philosophers in America (SOPHIA). Check us out online at PhilosophyBakesBread.com and check out SOPHIA at PhilosophersInAmerica.com.


(1 hr 8 mins)

Click here for a list of all the episodes of Philosophy Bakes Bread.

 

Notes

  1. This episode was the second time Annie appeared on the show. The first time was in Episode 25, on “Assessing Assessment.”
  2. This episode features shout-outs to: Daniel Wayne Rinn, TheLetterWriter, Karl Aho, Helena Tubridy, Samuel Douglas, Amy Glover, & Kaylen Addison.
  3. More information about Buddhism’s 4 noble truths and about the 8-fold path.
  4. Cover of Buddhism Plain and Simple.Steve Hagen, Buddhism Plain and Simple (Rutland, VT: Tuttle Publishing, 2011).
  5. Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are (Boston: Shambhala, 1994).
  6. PBS documentary, The Buddha [YouTube], narrated by Richard Gere.
  7. At the end of the episode, we reminisce about our favorite episodes of the first seasons, 2017. A record of the most downloaded episodes and some of our favorites is available with links in this post.

 

You Tell Me!

For our future “You Tell Me!” segments, Annie posed the following question in this episode:

“What are you grateful for?”

Let us know what you think! Via TwitterFacebookEmail, or by commenting here below.

062: Ep58 – Posthumanism and the Media

Philosophy Bakes Bread radio show & podcast

Dr. J. J. Sylvia of Fitchburg State University.In this fifty-eighth episode of the Philosophy Bakes Bread radio show and podcast, we interview J. J. Sylvia of Fitchburg State University about “Post-Humanism and the Media.”

Neil Harbisson, who hears colors that he cannot see.

J.J. is an assistant professor in Communications Media at Fitchburg State University. Since 2014, he’s been a HASTAC Scholar and in 2015 he received North Carolina State University’s Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching. J.J.’s research focuses on understanding the impact of big data, algorithms, and other new media on processes of subjectivation. Using the framework of posthumanism, he explores how the media we use contribute to our construction as subjects.

Listen for our “You Tell Me!” questions and for some jokes in one of our concluding segments, called “Philosophunnies.” Reach out to us on Facebook @PhilosophyBakesBread and on Twitter @PhilosophyBB; email us at philosophybakesbread@gmail.com; or call and record a voicemail that we play on the show, at 859.257.1849. Philosophy Bakes Bread is a production of the Society of Philosophers in America (SOPHIA). Check us out online at PhilosophyBakesBread.com and check out SOPHIA at PhilosophersInAmerica.com.


(1 hr 6 mins)

Click here for a list of all the episodes of Philosophy Bakes Bread.

 

Notes

  1. Different findings about what percentage of a person is human cells: Michael Greshko, “How Many Cells Are in the Human Body—And How Many Microbes?National Geographic, January 13, 2016 and Ron Sender, Shai Fuchs, and Ron Milo, “Revised Estimates for the Number of Human and Bacteria Cells in the Body,” PLOS Biology 14, Issue 8 (2016): 1-14.
  2. Katherine Hayles, How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).
  3. Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy (London: Routledge, 2012).
  4. Neil Harbisson, “I Listen to Color,” TED Talks, July 2012.
  5. Video of Angel Giuffria, speaking with Grant Imahara on the White Rabbit Project, and demonstrating the shooting of an arrow with her prosthetic forearm.
  6. The Rob Dunn Lab, North Carolina State University.
  7. National Geographic, “Are Mites Having Sex on Your Face? [Video],” YouTube.com, September 23, 2014.
  8. According to their Web site, “HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) is an interdisciplinary community of humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists, and technologists that are changing the way we teach and learn.”

 

You Tell Me!

For our future “You Tell Me!” segments, J. J. posed the following question in this episode:

“How do you think our current media environment is shaping the way that we understand and interact with the world? How might we experiment with those media?”

Let us know what you think! Via TwitterFacebookEmail, or by commenting here below.

061: Ep57 – Philosophy Outdoors

Philosophy Bakes Bread radio show & podcast

Dr. Alejandro Strong.In this fifty-seventh episode of the Philosophy Bakes Bread radio show and podcast, Anthony and Eric talk with Dr. Alejandro Strong, about “Philosophy Outdoors,” especially about the company he started, Apeiron Expeditions.

This is a photo of a canoe on a beautiful river in Maine with a blue sky above.

Alex’s philosophical work specializes especially in environmental philosophy. He founded an “L3C” company, Apeiron Expeditions. According to the company Web site, “Our guides are here to lead you in the footsteps of Henry David Thoreau, Helen Hamlin, Louise Dickinson Rich, Frederic Edwin Church, Neil Welliver, and others who have shared the story of their encounters with this beautiful land. It is your turn to venture forth with us and be inspired. Apeiron Expeditions provides the equipment and expertise for you to enjoy a wilderness expedition, even if this is your first camping trip.” Apeiron is also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with some lovely photos and stories about their ventures.

Listen for our “You Tell Me!” questions and for some jokes in one of our concluding segments, called “Philosophunnies.” Reach out to us on Facebook @PhilosophyBakesBread and on Twitter @PhilosophyBB; email us at philosophybakesbread@gmail.com; or call and record a voicemail that we play on the show, at 859.257.1849. Philosophy Bakes Bread is a production of the Society of Philosophers in America (SOPHIA). Check us out online at PhilosophyBakesBread.com and check out SOPHIA at PhilosophersInAmerica.com.

 


(1 hr 4 mins)

Click here for a list of all the episodes of Philosophy Bakes Bread.

 

Notes

  1. Meriam Webster’s definition of “Apeiron“: “the unlimited, indeterminate, and indefinite ground, origin, or primal principle of all matter postulated especially by Anaximander.”
  2. Alex started an L3C company. What are those? See: Anne Field, “Another Reason to Become an L3C,” Forbes, August 22, 2014.
  3. Check out Apeiron Expeditions’ Web site.
  4. Follow Apeiron’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles.

 

You Tell Me!

For our future “You Tell Me!” segments, Alex posed the following question in this episode:

“Where do you think best?”

Let us know what you think! Via TwitterFacebookEmail, or by commenting here below.

060: Ep56 – Inclusion and Philosophy

Philosophy Bakes Bread radio show and podcast

Grace Cebrero.In this fifty-sixth episode of the Philosophy Bakes Bread radio show and podcast, Anthony and Eric talk with Grace Cebrero, a rising star in philosophy, a graduate of Mount Saint Mary’s University, and an alumna of the Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute. We talk with Grace about “Inclusion and Philosophy.”

An image of a tree with multicolored hands for leaves.

Grace has worked as a research intern for a professor at MSMU and has been recognized a number of times in impressive ways. She was a leader on campus, furthermore, having revived Mount Saint Mary’s Philosophy Club known as “The Seekers.” She has been recognized as a University of Michigan Compass Scholar and as an Iris Marion Young Fellow in the PIKSI program at Penn State University. She received two Mount Saint Mary’s President’s Awards, including the Mother Margaret Mary Brady Founder’s Award and the Sister Dolorosa Alumnae Courage Award. She’s also won two awards from the Philosophy department. She is pursuing graduate study next and was greatly inspired and encouraged by her experience in the PIKSI program. We ask Grace about that, but also more generally about inclusion and exclusion in philosophy education.

Listen for our “You Tell Me!” questions and for some jokes in one of our concluding segments, called “Philosophunnies.” Reach out to us on Facebook @PhilosophyBakesBread and on Twitter @PhilosophyBB; email us at philosophybakesbread@gmail.com; or call and record a voicemail that we play on the show, at 859.257.1849. Philosophy Bakes Bread is a production of the Society of Philosophers in America (SOPHIA). Check us out online at PhilosophyBakesBread.com and check out SOPHIA at PhilosophersInAmerica.com.

 

(1 hr 4 mins)

Click here for a list of all the episodes of Philosophy Bakes Bread.

 

Notes

  1. Plato, Parmenides.
  2. The Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institutes (PIKSI) program, with application deadline of January 31st.
  3. Robert Sanchez and Carlos Sanchez, Mexican Philosophy in the 20th Century: Essential Readings (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).

 

You Tell Me!

For our future “You Tell Me!” segments, Grace posed the following questions in this episode:

Is it more important that we have “the best people” or a nice variety of people at the table? For an example, consider conferences and publishers, in terms of what they choose, include, and exclude.

Let us know what you think! Via TwitterFacebookEmail, or by commenting here below.

Waking from the Dream of Total Victory in the Contests for Public Truth

Civil American, Volume 3, Article 1 (January 19, 2018).

| By Paul Croce |

Can academics support the democratic struggle not just to critique fake news, but also to engage the public in the stories that make those false facts appealing?

 

Adobe logo, to serve as a link to the Adobe PDF version of the transcript.The Oxford English Dictionary named “Post-Truth” its Word of the Year for 2016. The dictionary cites “appeals to emotion or personal belief,” which have gained more influence than “objective facts … in shaping public opinion.” The sober scholars of the OED spotlighted this word not to glorify this way of thinking, but to call attention to a disturbing trend. In 2005, Stephen Colbert had already identified “truthiness” as the posture of public figures who “feel the truth” even in the face of contrasting facts and reasons. The particular items of recent history are new, such as the claim that Democrats have been managing a ring of pedophiles out of the Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria in Washington, DC, but fabricated news has always been the exaggerating cousin of political spin. The multiplication of media outlets appealing to diverse clusters of people has made it particularly difficult to sort out corrupted truths from authentic stories.

This image is in the public domain.

Intellectual responses surely help identify the really true stories, but the problem of fakery runs deeper because of the way fake stories can seem plausible, at least to segments of the population, as a way to explain what’s happening around them. The political problem with “post-truth” is that, in its tendencies toward exaggerations of the truth, it reinforces already sharp suspicions about contrasting points of view. And it gets worse: people convinced by the fake stories, especially ones with lurid depictions of contrasting positions, tend to believe that the other side should not even get a hearing. At the righteous extreme of these extreme reports, fake news encourages the assumption that one side will simply need to defeat the other.

 

  1. Making a Case for Listening to the Stories that Make Fake News Appealing

Post-truth statements are not hidden in dark corners gaining no attention. The kindred label, “Alt.Truth,” is in wide enough circulation to be the name of a popular Homeland episode. The wide appeal of these distortions, not their merits, makes them an issue. And it is our democratic culture and commitments that makes popular appeal significant. Respect for the voice of the people calls for attempting to understand how stories stripped of truth gain support. That suggests a special role for academics and teachers, as long as they do not get so caught up in their learned ways that they come to believe that they can’t learn anything from the thinking of the average citizen. One of our most intellectual of presidents, Thomas Jefferson, even believed that the tangible experiences of “a ploughman” would foster a better decision on “a moral case” than the abstract reasoning of “a professor.” Even when not learned, citizens can shed light on the lived experience of democracy, and those lessons travel on the wings of stories instead of the highways of scholarship.

In The Death of Expertise, professor of comparative politics Thomas Nichols honors the “specialization and expertise” that have produced the marvels of the modern world, and he laments the squandering of those achievements by the “unfounded arrogance” of citizens with “stubborn ignorance.” Philosopher Zach Biondi has issued a call to action for philosophers to help the public “recognize incompetence and poor argument.” Investigative journalists gamely try to bridge the gap between knowledgeable professionals and citizen indifference about expert insights. The organization Snopes evaluates public statements from True to Mostly False to downright Legends that circulate despite their lack of factual support. These experts do great work and deserve wide support. This approach shows great faith in the power of knowledge, with the tacit assumption that people just need to learn objective facts to correct the appeal of false facts.

William James.

William James.

Accuracy of facts is surely important, and they can sometimes be persuasive, but the appeal of misinformation persists. American psychologist William James offers helpful insights for addressing this challenge. He formed his thoughts in the late nineteenth century, just as the age of information abundance and expertise was taking on its modern shape. His psychology both helps to explain the appeal of false facts and suggests ways to respond to them. Without understanding the appeal of fakery, the responses won’t get very far. His insights can actually support the goals of the experts and fact checkers.

First, James points to the formative role of selective attention in the establishment of sharply different views. In the vastness of experience, there is not only room for different interpretations of facts, but also for selection of different facts. To make sense of situations, James observes, we select portions of the abundant facts to construct likely stories, which provide guidance within the complexities of experience based on prior assumptions. The most basic elements of false information can generally be corrected rather directly with true information. But the false is often not simple; more complex settings call for deeper inquiry into the sources of those likely stories.

Second, when facing the resulting cacophony of different points of view, James acknowledges the complexity, and suggests the humbling effect that awareness of this range of interpretations can have for coping with this diversity. In reminding that “to no one type … whatsoever is the total fullness of truth … revealed,” his point is not that there is no truth, but that truth is immense and complicated. Even with his awareness of human limitations in the face of the vastness of experience, he firmly critiques those ready to use the elusiveness of truth as a cover for active promotion of untruths. In recognizing the rich complexity of truth, he points to the need for constant inquiry and cooperation among us mere mortals who each have portions of truth in degrees. Attention to the truths of others can even shed light on one’s own truths.

James’s insights about selective attention and the overarching complexity of experience suggest the importance of looking at problems of fabricated news not just as reported (false) information, but also as storytelling, people’s efforts to find meaningful truth in their experiences. Every claim to fact is embedded in a story, which enables that fact to be accepted or not based on the plausibility of the story surrounding it. Awareness of the power of stories is not an endorsement of the sometimes false facts within them, but an acknowledgement of their significance in the human mind, and this awareness can also serve as a resource for addressing their unsavory power. This is especially important when the well-informed voices of experts are not enough to persuade citizens. And this is most especially important in a democracy that values the voice of the people.

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Inviting International Philosophical Dialogue with Iran

An image from the poster at St. Olaf College about World Philosophy Day in 2017. On November 16th of 2017, many around the world celebrated World Philosophy Day, a UNESCO initiative. For years, Javad Hieran-Nia and colleagues at the Mehr News Agency in Tehran, who publish The Tehran Times, have interviewed philosophers from around the world. SOPHIA’s Executive Director Eric Weber has given quite a few interviews, including some that ended up on the front pageThe Tehran Times is Iran’s major English language newspaper.

Mr. Hieran-Nia prepared remarks that were delivered digitally via a video message partly presented to faculty and students at St. Olaf College, but also with a more general audience. In addition to having rich thoughts to offer about peace and international intellectual engagement, Hieran-Nia also shares the message that The Tehran Times has committed to expanding its space for intellectual dialogue with philosophers from around the world with readers online and in Iran via the newspaper. Hieran-Nia and the chief editor of The Tehran Times, Mohammad Ghaderi, both have called for more open and engaged dialogue with philosophers from all around the world and their newspaper.

If you are interested in writing Mr. Hieran-Nia and Mr. Ghaderi, reach out to SOPHIA’s Executive Director, Eric Weber, and let us know. Here is the video of Mr. Hieran-Nia’s remarks, along with Chief Editor’s Ghaderi’s invitation to engage in international philosophical dialogue via the forum of The Tehran Times (transcript of Mr. Hieran-Nia’s remarks here):

If you’re interested in learning more, read The Tehran Times‘s piece on their interaction with St. Olaf College and their World Philosophy Day celebration here.

 

 

2014 SOPHIA Grant Still Paying Off for Philosophy for Children

The Bakersfield Californian
September 16, 2017

Dr. Senem Saner of CSUB, talking with children about bravery. Henry Barrios / The Californian.

A few years back, SOPHIA awarded a grant for a “Philosophy for Children” program in Bakersfield, CA. Dr. Jackie Kegley of California State University Bakersfield shared the linked article to let us know that it “shows the success of our SOPHIA ‘Philosophy for Children‘ grant three years ago.”

059: Ep55 – Evaluating Public Philosophy

Philosophy Bakes Bread radio show and podcast

Dr. Eric Thomas Weber.Photo of Dr. Anthony Cashio.In this fifty-fifth episode of the Philosophy Bakes Bread radio show and podcast, Anthony and Eric talk about “Evaluating Public Philosophy,” in an episode based upon their recently co-authored paper, titled “Lessons Learned Baking Bread.” In this episode and in our paper, Anthony and Eric propose four criteria by which public philosophy can be evaluated: substance, accessibility, invitingness, and community building.

Judges scoring with numbers raised high.

Anthony and Eric presented this paper in the summer of 2017 at the Future of Philosophical Practice conference at UNC Asheville, in the beautiful hills of Asheville, North Carolina. We are grateful to Brian Butler for hosting a great event there, as well as for all the great feedback that we received at the event. In fact, that is where we met and interviewed Cole Nasrallah, our guest from episode 36, “Quality Philosophy for Everyone.” While we were there, we also interviewed John Shook and Randy Auxier for episode 34, on “Saving American Culture in a Yurt.”

Listen for our “You Tell Me!” questions and for some jokes in one of our concluding segments, called “Philosophunnies.” Reach out to us on Facebook @PhilosophyBakesBread and on Twitter @PhilosophyBB; email us at philosophybakesbread@gmail.com; or call and record a voicemail that we play on the show, at 859.257.1849. Philosophy Bakes Bread is a production of the Society of Philosophers in America (SOPHIA). Check us out online at PhilosophyBakesBread.com and check out SOPHIA at PhilosophersInAmerica.com.


(1 hr 8 mins)

Click here for a list of all the episodes of Philosophy Bakes Bread.

 

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Subscribe to the podcast! 

We’re on iTunes and Google Play, and we’ve got a regular RSS feed too!

 

Notes

  1. UPDATE: As of this podcast release, our updated numbers are: 27,500 downloads from 99 countries!
  2. Freeman Dyson, “What Can You Really Know,” The New York Review of Books, November 8, 2012. In that review essay, Dyson asks, “When and why did philosophy lose its bite? How did it become a toothless relic of past glories?”
  3. Our episode with Nancy McHugh, on “Philosophy and Social Change,” episode 47.
  4. Our episode with Amy Leask, on “Philosophy at Home,” episode 46.

 

You Tell Me!

For our future “You Tell Me!” segments, Anthony and Eric posed the following questions in this episode:

“Whom should we have on the show? It doesn’t have to be a philosopher, just someone thoughtful and fun to talk to, from any walk of life.”

“What rewards would be attractive for people who might want to support the show?”

Let us know what you think! Via TwitterFacebookEmail, or by commenting here below.

Looking Back on 11 Months of Philosophy Bakes Bread

Logo for Philosophy Bakes Bread, as of June 2017.

Click here to visit PhilosophyBakesBread.com.

SOPHIA released our first episode of the Philosophy Bakes Bread in our podcast series on January 19th of 2017. We had a handful of pilot episodes that now-co-host Eric Thomas Weber had made on his own. But in the third week of January, the show launched on the internet for the first time in its present form, with Anthony Cashio serving as our first guest. From then on, Cashio and Weber have to date released and aired 59 episodes on the radio, and 53 in the podcast. As we round the bend and think back on the year, we are also hopeful that this last month leading up to January 19th of 2018 will garner the 2,700 downloads remaining to mark 30,000 for our first year.

View of a sunset through a rear-view mirror.

Copyright Aldertree, CC0 license.

The hope is realistic. The month of November saw 3,500 downloads, and August saw more than 4,500. So, we’re excited. 30,000 seems like a nice round number that also has been mentioned in some of the podcasts that Weber and Cashio listen to regularly, and is considered an important milestone in bigger shows’ growth. Our 59th aired episode was actually our first one recorded entirely while live on the radio in Lexington, at WRFL, 88.1 FM. Anthony had to call in half way through the episode for family reasons. It worked and was a lot of fun. He says that he liked being able to pace as he spoke. That’s not usually an option when you’re in front of a condenser microphone.

In our most recent episode, we took a moment and [spoilers] talked about our most downloaded episodes, as well as which were the favorites for Anthony, Eric, and our returning guest, Dr. Annie Davis Weber. Annie has seen the mountains of work that have gone on behind the scenes to put the show together, edit it, and get it out to you all. Plus, the very first pilot episode of the show (not counting Weber’s roughly recorded speech), Ep0.1, had focused on how philosophy profoundly helped him to be happy despite challenges for the Webers’ daughter, Helen. Given that the episode was recorded so long ago, and was told from Eric’s perspective, Anthony and Eric decided to interview Annie about the matter. She was also helped by philosophical thinking. For Eric, it was stoicism that helped most. For Annie, Buddhist philosophy. We’ll have that episode out in the podcast in a few weeks, but as we round out the year, we thought we’d provide some spoilers about which were our favorite episodes, as well as which have been the most downloaded.

For anyone who hasn’t heard the following episodes, here’s your chance to catch up on them and to help us reach our target milestone of 30,000 downloads by January 19th, 2018. Let’s start with our most downloaded episodes and then we’ll share with you which ones we said were our favorites.

 

Our most downloaded episodes:

 


Dr. Daniel Brunson.#5 of Our Most Downloaded Episodes

Our fifth most downloaded episode featured Drs. Seth Vannatta and Daniel Brunson! The episode was the first part of a two part series:

 

Episode 6: “Part I of II – Teaching Philosophy to First-Generation College Students”

Dr. Seth Vannatta

As of December 20th, 2017, this episode has had 826 downloads. To listen alongside show notes and a transcript, you can click on the link here above, or just listen to it right here:

 

(1hr 5 mins)

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