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Podcast Profile: The Badlands Politics & Philosophy Podcast

podcast imageTwitter: @TheBadlandsPod (followed by 18 philosophers)
Site: www.badlandsphilosophy.com
92 episodes
2018 to present
Average episode: 71 minutes
Open in Apple PodcastsRSS

Categories: Political Philosophy • Two Hosts

Podcaster's summary: A group of trained philosophers explore the philosophical dimensions of contemporary politics, and make the case for progressive politics.

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List Updated: 2022-Dec-07 12:35 UTC. Episodes: 92. Feedback: @TrueSciPhi.

Episodes
2022-Sep-30 • 97 minutes
92 - Is AI Replacing Artists?
In this episode, we discuss the complaints of artists that machine learning programs are using the works of human artists to mass produce similar kinds of art, and replacing the need for human artists. Can and does AI art have the same aesthetic value as human art? And if the complaints of the artists are justified, on what grounds?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2022-Aug-05 • 72 minutes
91 - The Supreme Court Overturns Roe vs Wade (pt.2)
In this episode, we dig into the Supreme Court's recent decision to overturn Roe v Wade, thereby eliminating a constitutional right to an abortion. There are two main questions at issue: Was the reasoning in Roe sound? And then, separately, should it be overturned? We go over the arguments of the majority and concurring opinions, and also the criticisms of the dissent.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2022-Jul-22 • 91 minutes
90 - The Supreme Court Overturns Roe vs Wade (pt.1)
In this episode, we dig into the Supreme Court's recent decision to overturn Roe v Wade, thereby eliminating a constitutional right to an abortion. There are two main questions at issue: Was the reasoning in Roe sound? And then, separately, should it be overturned? We go over the arguments of the majority and concurring opinions, and also the criticisms of the dissent.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2022-Jul-01 • 100 minutes
89 - Uh Oh, Have the Chat Bots Gone Sentient??
In today's episode, we discuss whether Google's "Lambda" chat bot is sentient. If not, is it intelligent? Does it have moral standing? What do these terms even mean?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2022-Jun-17 • 95 minutes
88 - Should We Get Rid of Applications? Pt. 2
In this episode, we continue discussing Adam Mastroianni's "Against All Applications" (https://experimentalhistory.substack.co... What is wrong with the application process, both for hiring and for education, and what are the alternatives?Toby Napoletano. Michael Hughes
2022-Jun-03 • 76 minutes
87 - Should We Get Rid of Applications? Pt. 1
In this episode, we discuss Adam Mastroianni's "Against All Applications" (https://experimentalhistory.substack.co... What is wrong with the application process, both for hiring and for education, and what are the alternatives?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2022-May-13 • 74 minutes
86 - Machine Learning and Ethics: The Toronto Declaration Pt. 2
In this episode, we continue to discuss some of the ethical problems surrounding machine learning technologies, and particular concerns about their discriminatory uses. We use the Toronto Declaration, which applies a human rights framework to machine learning as our starting point. Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2022-May-02 • 74 minutes
85 - Machine Learning and Ethics: The Toronto Declaration Pt. 1
In this episode, we discuss some of the ethical problems surrounding machine learning technologies, and particular concerns about their discriminatory uses. We use the Toronto Declaration, which applies a human rights framework to machine learning as our starting point. Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2022-Mar-28 • 101 minutes
84 - Is Doping Wrong?
In this episode, we consider whether, and why, it is wrong to use various performance enhancing drugs in sports. Should they be allowed? How and where do we draw the line? And what even is fairness in the context of sports?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2022-Mar-04 • 79 minutes
83 - Are We Living In A Failed Simulation?
On today's episode, we consider whether, given the depressing state of the world, we are actually just living in a failed simulation. Is there reason to think we are living in a simulation? And should we have hope that things will improve, or would it be better to simply accept our failure?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2022-Jan-14 • 87 minutes
82 - Pope Says It's Selfish to Have Pets Instead of Kids
Pope Francis recently declared that couples who choose to have pets over kids are exhibiting a “form of selfishness” which “diminishes us and takes away our humanity.” In 2014 Francis claimed that having pets instead of children was “another phenomenon of cultural degradation”In this episode, we defend ourselves as childless cat-owners against this brutal personal attack.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2021-Dec-10 • 74 minutes
81 - Do Ecosystems Have Intrinsic Value? Pt. 2
In this episode, we discussed Aldo Leopold's "Land Ethic", the idea that ecosystems--including the water, the soil, the rocks, the plants, animals, etc.--have intrinsic value. The idea sounds quite radical against a backdrop of standard moral theories, but whether the view is true or not, there might be lots of good reasons to adopt it.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2021-Nov-26 • 82 minutes
80 - Do Ecosystems Have Intrinsic Value? Pt. 1
In this episode, we discussed Aldo Leopold's "Land Ethic", the idea that ecosystems--including the water, the soil, the rocks, the plants, animals, etc.--have intrinsic value. The idea sounds quite radical against a backdrop of standard moral theories, but whether the view is true or not, there might be lots of good reasons to adopt it.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2021-Oct-22 • 75 minutes
79 - Can You Be Anti-Abortion Without Being A Socialist Vegan? (Part 2)
In this episode, we dive into the ethics of abortion. In particular, we ask: what positions on personhood, harm, and sacrifice does one have to hold in order to be anti-abortion WITHOUT also being committed to the moral (or legal) requirement of veganism or the mass redistribution of wealth. Turns out it's not so easy a question to answer.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2021-Oct-08 • 75 minutes
78 - Can You Be Anti-Abortion Without Being A Socialist Vegan? (Part 1)
In this episode, we dive into the ethics of abortion. In particular, we ask: what positions on personhood, harm, and sacrifice does one have to hold in order to be anti-abortion WITHOUT also being committed to the moral (or legal) requirement of veganism or the mass redistribution of wealth. Turns out it's not so easy a question to answer.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2021-Sep-20 • 56 minutes
77 - Texas' Anti-Abortion Law
In today's episode, we discuss the recent anti-abortion law passed in the state of Texas, which effectively tries to eliminate most abortions that occur after six weeks of pregnancy. The law is a blatant attempt to get around Roe vs. Wade, and creates a dangerous precedent wherein states can, at least temporarily, pass laws which violate constitutional rights.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2021-Sep-03 • 86 minutes
76 - The Conservative Mind and the Liberal Mind pt. 2
In this episode, we continue our discussion of conservative and liberal psychology. Is one cognitive style more rational than the other? How does philosophical conservatism fit in? And what, if anything, does this research suggest about how to do politics better?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2021-Aug-27 • 51 minutes
75 - The Conservative Mind and the Liberal Mind
In today's episode, we begin discussing the psychological and cognitive research on the differences between the brains, minds, and personalities of liberals and conservatives. Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2021-Jul-30 • 101 minutes
74 - Michael Sandel's The Tyranny of Merit pt. 2
On today's episode, we continue our discussion on meritocracy and Michael Sandel's recent book The Tyranny of Merit, which argues that meritocracy is "a hollow political project that reflects an impoverished conception of citizenship and freedom...". Meritocracy poisons our civic culture by dividing society into winners and losers, and breeds hubris and resentment which undermines the civic good.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2021-Jul-16 • 77 minutes
73 - Michael Sandel's The Tyranny of Merit pt. 1
On today's episode, we revisit the topic of meritocracy and begin discussing Michael Sandel's recent book The Tyranny of Merit, which argues that meritocracy is "a hollow political project that reflects an impoverished conception of citizenship and freedom...". Meritocracy poisons our civic culture by dividing society into winners and losers, and breeds hubris and resentment which undermines the civic good.
2021-Jun-18 • 77 minutes
72 - Is Morality Just Like Your Opinion, Man? Pt 2: Metaethics or Why Morality is Kind of Weird Though...
On today's episode, we continue our discussion of metaethics, explaining some of the traditional philosophical problems in metaethics, which have led some philosophers to think that anti-realist or relativist views of morality might actually be right.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2021-Jun-04 • 71 minutes
71 - Is Morality Just Like Your Opinion, Man? Pt 1: On Cultural Relativism
In this episode, we begin a discussion about the possibility that morality is all relative, subject, or perhaps merely opinion. We give some objections to the some of the simpler forms of moral relativism, and consider some of the more sophisticated replies. Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2021-May-21 • 89 minutes
70 - The Psychology of Power and Wealth
In this episode, we discuss some of the psychological findings on the powerful and the wealthy. Does having power or wealth make people less empathetic, more stingy, and generally worse? What kinds of people come to have power? And what can be done about the corrosive effects of power? Also, some really, really cool metatheory discussion.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2021-Apr-16 • 65 minutes
69 - Why Is Twitter So Awful?
In this episode, we try to understand why it is that Twitter seems to be so awful, and can be so easily weaponized to destroy someone's reputation or career. We focus on a proposal from C. Thi Nguyen (University of Utah), who argues that one of the major problems with Twitter is that it gamifies communication, and in so doing, it warps the purposes of communication so that it aims only at likes, retweets, and follows. Also, just when is mass, online. public outrage warranted?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hu...
2021-Apr-02 • 51 minutes
68 - UFO Reports & David Hume On Miracles
Former Trump official John Ratcliffe (National Intelligence Director) recently suggested that there would be reports from the government that suggest the presence of alien spacecraft on Earth. Some members of the public, in response to this, have come to believe in alien visitation less. When would it be rational to believe that unexplained observations are aliens, and what does Hume's work on miracles have to do with this?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2021-Jan-29 • 63 minutes
67 - On Irrationality and Detachment From Reality
In this episode, we discuss the idea that a significant portion of the population is being irrational, or "detached from reality", when it comes to politics. What does it mean to be irrational, and what are different ways that one could be irrational?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2021-Jan-08 • 120 minutes
66 - McCarthyism and Trumpism: Lessons In Political Hysteria
In this episode, we take a look at the second (and more famous) red scare, led by Joseph McCarthy. What were the conditions that led to that scare, and how did it end? What parallels and lessons can we draw for today's political hysteria, spearheaded by Trump?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2020-Dec-28 • 82 minutes
65 - The First Red Scare: Anti-Left Hysteria & How Progressives Became Known As Communists
In today's episode, we discuss the history and legacy of the first red scare, just after World War I. What were the forces that led to the anti-leftist hysteria and political persecution of people that were thought of as Communist sympathizers? And how did the first red scare lay the groundwork for future red-baiting of progressives? Can we learn any valuable lessons for today's toxic political environment?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2020-Dec-04 • 77 minutes
64 - The Demise of American Political Culture? Pt. 2:Epistemic Estrangement & Derangement
In today's episode, we begin to take stock of the frightening state of American democracy, where it is good news that the sitting president probably won't steal an election. Why is the situation so dire? How did we get here? What do we do going forward, and can we come back from this? We focus on the epistemic estrangement of liberals and conservatives, and also the increasing epistemic derangement of conservatives in today's episode.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2020-Nov-27 • 73 minutes
63 - The Demise of American Political Culture? Pt. 1: Polarization Hell, Trumpism
In today's episode, we begin to take stock of the frightening state of American democracy, where it is good news that the sitting president probably won't steal an election. Why is the situation so dire? How did we get here? What do we do going forward, and can we come back from this? Two of the main ingredients to the problem that we discuss in this episode are a background of extreme political polarization and an allegiance to Trump which supersedes allegiance to democratic institutions.Toby Nap...
2020-Nov-05 • 88 minutes
62 - The Supreme Court On Mail-in Ballot Deadlines in the 2020 Presidential Election
In this episode, we discuss the Supreme Court's decisions to allow or prohibit various extensions to the deadlines for mail-in ballots in the 2020 presidential election. In particular, we focus on Justice Kavanaugh's decision to prohibit a six-day extension on the receipt of mail-in ballots in Wisconsin, and Justice Kagan's dissenting opinion. What is a reasonable deadline for an election held amidst a pandemic? Should courts refrain from intervening so close to an election?Toby Napoletano, M...
2020-Oct-01 • 63 minutes
61 - 2020 Presidential Debate Nightmare: Catharsis
In this episode, we try to have a cathartic chat about the miserable nightmare that was the first 2020 presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden. Boy was it depressing.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2020-Sep-11 • 75 minutes
60 - Hannah Arendt On Eichmann and the Banality of Evil
In this episode, we discuss Hannah Arendt's classic Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report On the Banality of Evil. We discuss the sometimes surprising psychological underpinnings of evil, and the way that evil flourishes in the absence of thought. We also discuss some of the lessons that can be drawn from Arendt's discussion of Eichmann.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2020-Aug-21 • 77 minutes
59 - Mike Pompeo's Commission on Unalienable Rights
In today's episode, we discuss the recent report from Mike Pompeo's Commission on Unalienable Rights. We go through the document which, unfortunately, is largely self-congratulatory and intellectually vacuous, and discuss the relationship of the United States to the human rights project.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2020-Jul-17 • 44 minutes
58 - Bostock vs. Clayton County: The Supreme Court On Sexual Orientation/Identity and Workplace Discrimination (pt. 2)
In today's episode, we continue our discussion of the Bostock vs. Clayton County, Georgia Supreme Court case, which, in a surprise decision, extended Title VII of the Civil Rights act to protect gay, lesbian, and transgender people against employment discrimination. This time, we focus on some of the more confusing aspects of Alito's dissent.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2020-Jul-10 • 55 minutes
57 - Bostock vs. Clayton County: The Supreme Court On Sexual Orientation/Identity and Workplace Discrimination (pt. 1)
In today's episode, we begin our discussion of the Bostock vs. Clayton County, Georgia Supreme Court case, which, in a surprise decision, extended Title VII of the Civil Rights act to protect gay, lesbian, and transgender people against employment discrimination. We explain the decision, give some of the historical background, and discuss some of Alito's curious dissent.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2020-Jun-20 • 83 minutes
56 - The Ethics of Protest Pt 2: The Justification of Violent Protest
In this episode, we finish our discussion of the ethics of protest, and of whether or not violence in protest can be justified. Can thinking about the ethics of war help us understand whether violence in protest can be justified? Does the preservation of one's dignity sometimes require people to engage in acts of destruction? We also discuss the differing approaches to social resistance of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, and discuss the ways in which some violence can actually make protest more e...
2020-Jun-12 • 55 minutes
55 - The Ethics of Protest Pt 1: Protest and the Public Perception of Protest
In this episode, we begin our discussion of the ethics of protest, and of whether or not violence in protest can be justified. In the first part, we ask about the nature of protest itself, and discuss some of the sociology concerning the public's perception of protest, particularly as it relates the protests against police brutality against black Americans following the murder of George Floyd.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2020-May-29 • 58 minutes
54 - Arthur Lieber on Political Introverts (How Empathetic Voters Can Help Save American Politics)
In this episode, we chat with Arthur Lieber about his recent book Political Introverts (How Empathetic Voters Can Help Save American Politics). Lieber explains how a significant, introverted portion of the electorate is turned off by the loudness and boastfulness of our politics. If politics can be made more slower and more thoughtful, he argues, then political introverts can help to transform the political culture. In addition, we discuss the ways our political culture and educational systems are implicate...
2020-Apr-10 • 52 minutes
53 - Coronavirus pt. 3: Inequality in a Pandemic
In today's episode, we discuss the ways in which economic inequality interacts makes a pandemic worse. As usual, the economically vulnerable are likely to suffer more, and in this case, the presence of economically vulnerable populations makes it harder to combat.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2020-Apr-03 • 43 minutes
52 - Coronavirus pt. 2: The Delicate Balance of Health and the Economy
In this episode, we continue our discussion of the coronavirus pandemic, focusing on the difficulties in weighing up the health and economic costs, and how this complicates figuring out what to do.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2020-Mar-27 • 51 minutes
51 - Coronavirus Pt. 1: The Epistemology of a Pandemic
In today's episode, we begin our discussion on the coronavirus pandemic, focusing specifically on the epistemic challenges that face us as we try to figure out what to do, and the epistemic blunders that helped get us where we are. We will be talking about the challenges of balancing health risks and economic risks, and then the ways that inequality and economic insecurity make things worse in the coming weeks.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2020-Mar-13 • 70 minutes
50 - The Sanders Scare
In this episode, we address some of the common (sometimes outlandish) anti-Sanders narratives that have been ubiquitous in recent weeks, especially as it looked like, briefly, he might be the front runner. Would Bernie get anything done as president? Is he electable? Is he a socialist? That and more.Toby Napoletano | Michael Hughes
2020-Feb-07 • 64 minutes
48 - The Democratic Primary Begins: Does Iowa Have Too Much Influence?
In this episode, we talk about the state of the Democratic primary, and the extraordinary influence of the tiny Iowa caucus on the process. Why does it have such an outsized influence? Should it? Is it unfair to other parts of the electorate? And are there ways to do it better?
2020-Feb-04 • 69 minutes
49 - The Philosophy of Joe Biden (?)
In this episode, we attempt a philosophical sketch of Joe Biden. In particular, we discuss how his general approach to politics and representation, which focuses on his individual qualities and experiences, rather than policy and underlying political principles, differs from progressives like Sanders and Warren. Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2020-Jan-17 • 82 minutes
47-What Is The Right To Privacy?
In this episode, we delve further into the philosophy of privacy, and try to pin down just what the right to privacy is, how much it covers, and what theories of privacy can tell us about online data collection.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2019-Dec-20 • 95 minutes
46 - Badlands Christmas Special: The Ethics of Christmas
In this episode, we (half-seriously) debate the ethics of Christmas. Is Christmas, on the whole, a good thing or a bad thing? Does the uptick in charitable giving outweigh the explosion in consumption? Does Christmas ruin gift-giving? Does the fostering of community justify Christmas ham? Is the celebration of Christmas an act of cultural appropriation? And who has the better ham story?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2019-Nov-29 • 140 minutes
45 - Interview with Robert Talisse on Overdoing Democracy: Why We Must Put Politics in Its Place
In this episode, we talk to philosopher Robert Talisse about his new book Overdoing Democracy: Why We Must Put Politics in Its Place. Could it be that our politically polarized and oversaturated environment is undermining our democracy? How has this happened, and are there things that we can do to restore civic friendship and the conditions needed for healthy democracy?
2019-Nov-15 • 85 minutes
44 - Why Should We Care About Privacy?
In this episode, we begin our discussion of privacy, surveillance, and data collection. We argue that privacy is, in fact, deeply valuable, and that peoples' apathy towards their privacy is deeply misguided. Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2019-Oct-25 • 66 minutes
43 - Property Rights As A Social Construct
In this episode, we continue our discussion of property rights and investigate whether property rights can be justified as social rights. If they can, what standard do we appeal to in order to justify them? And to the extent that they are justified, just how strong should those rights be taken to be?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2019-Oct-11 • 72 minutes
42 - Is There A Natural Right To Property?
As Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren propose wealth taxes on the super rich, there are bound to be complaints that such policies would violate a sacred right to property. In this episode, we explore the philosophical foundations of property rights. Is there a good natural rights justification of a right to property, or does that approach fall short?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2019-Sep-20 • 56 minutes
41 - The Right to Representation and the Global Citizen
Ok, so if someone has a right to representation, they should have a right to participation. But who should be represented? Democratic principles suggest that it is “the governed”. But who is that? And does that lead us to thinking that probably everyone in the world should have some say over U.S. policy?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2019-Sep-06 • 55 minutes
40 - Making Sense of the Census: The Right to Count vs. the Right to Vote
In this episode, we ask: Is there any justification for denying the right to vote for non-citizen residents, assuming they have a right to political representation? After all, they are counted in the census for the purposes of apportioning political representatives, and yet, they are denied the right to vote. What gives?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2019-Aug-23 • 81 minutes
39 - Is It Actually Obvious That We Should Deport Violent Criminal Immigrants?
In this episode, we challenge the conventional wisdom on both the right and left that it is obvious that we should deport immigrants who are violent criminals. As it turns out, it's not so obvious, because of the serious consequences this has for the communities that the criminals are deported back into, and also because of the historical role that the U.S. has played in the creation of the epidemics of violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2019-Aug-02 • 54 minutes
38 - What’s Wrong With Partisan Gerrymandering? Pt. 2: The Complications of Proportionality
In this episode, we continue our discussion of partisan gerrymandering. We consider the pros and cons of more proportional systems, and ask to what degree proportionality should be sacrificed in order to ensure minority representation.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2019-Jul-26 • 65 minutes
37 - What's Wrong With Partisan Gerrymandering? Pt. 1
In this episode, we begin our discussion of partisan gerrymandering: what is it? How, exactly, does it happen, and why? What are the harms of it, and if it’s unfair, why is it unfair? Answering these questions forces us to grapple with the very goods that a representational democracy is meant to secure.Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2019-Jul-12 • 95 minutes
36- Is the General Public Epistemically Screwed?
We continue our discussion of expert misinformation, focusing on the roles of publishers, the media, and the general public in the process. Do researchers and publishers put too much focus on the novel and the surprising? Does the general public share any of the epistemic blame, or are they put in an impossible epistemic position?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2019-Jul-05 • 87 minutes
35 - When Experts Misinform: Conflicts of Interest, Bad Faith, and Research Blind Spots
In this episode, we discuss the relationship between expert researchers, their funders, the media, and the general public, and the ways that relationship can go bad. In what ways can researchers and funders act wrongly, and what are the consequences for the general public? Should we do more to prevent conflicts of interest, and what are some of the drawbacks of the private funding model we currently employ?
2019-Jun-28 • 48 minutes
34 - The Philosophy of Elizabeth Warren pt. 2: Crises of Democracy, Foreign Policy
We continue our philosophical profile of 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren by shifting to her views on the state of (and crises of) American democracy, and on foreign policy. What can we do about epistemic bubbles, the “revolving door”, and lobbyist misinformation? And what does a foreign policy which puts middle and working class Americans first look like?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2019-May-24 • 66 minutes
33 - The Philosophy of Elizabeth Warren pt. 1: Warren's Economic Philosophy
In this episode, we begin our philosophical profile of 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren. We start with her views on domestic economic policy. What are her deep economic values that drive her ideas? How does she conceive of the American Dream? How does her reading of American history drive her belief that the American Dream is dead? And how can we get it back (assuming we want it)? Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2019-May-17 • 59 minutes
32 - The Housing Crisis in Nashville with Sarah Imran
In this episode, we are joined by Sarah Imran (director of policy and research, Nashville Human Relations Commission) to talk about the housing crisis that is unfolding in Nashville, Tennessee. How bad is the crisis and what causes housing crises? What are the broader harms of a housing crisis and why are communities of color disproportionately affected? Can economic growth actually pose a threat to a basic human right to housing? Toby Napoletano, Sarah Imran
2019-May-03 • 101 minutes
31 - The Sad State of U.S. Happiness, Social Media, Big Data, and Addiction
This week, we continue our discussion of the 2019 edition of the World Happiness Report. How has the rise in screen-time and social media contributed to the decrease in happiness in the U.S.? What are the effects of Big Data on well-being? Why is there so much addiction in the U.S. and how has it driven unhappiness?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2019-Apr-26 • 92 minutes
30 - World Happiness in 2019: Results, Explanation, Political Engagement, Prosocial Behavior
This week, we start reviewing the 2019 edition of the World Happiness Report. How happy was the world in 2019? Which places are more happier than others and why? In what ways does subjective well-being affect political engagement and support of right-wing populism? And can volunteering and donating money make us happier?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2019-Apr-19 • 54 minutes
29 - On The Economic and Political Ramifications of a Democratic Economy
In this episode, we conclude our discussion of workplace democracy. Are workplace democracies more productive than their capitalist counterparts? Can they compete in a capitalist system? Will they substantially shrink economic inequality? And how impactful will they be on our politics?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2019-Apr-12 • 68 minutes
28 - Richard Wolff’s Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism” pt. 2
In this episode, we get further into the details of Richard Wolff’s Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism. First, what is a workplace democracy, and what do they look like? What are the moral benefits that accrue to workers in a workplace democracy? What about local communities? And are some of the limits of workplace democracies when it comes to curing some of our major social ills?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2019-Mar-22 • 47 minutes
27 - The College Admissions Scandal
In this episode, we talk about the college admissions scandal, and the underlying problems with admissions into prestigious universities. To what extent are the universities to blame for the scandal, and scandals aside, how meritocratic is the admissions process? Would we be better off if we just stopped attaching prestige to admission in these schools?Toby Napoletano, Micheal Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2019-Mar-15 • 50 minutes
26 - Richard Wolff’s "Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism” pt. 1
In this episode, we begin discussing Richard Wolff’s Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism. Could it be that the deep problems of various kinds of capitalism stem from their undemocratic organization of the workplace? What is it to democratize the workplace? And what’s the connection between democratic practice in the economic sphere and in the political sphere?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2019-Mar-08 • 69 minutes
25 - Suzy Killmister On the Socially Constructed Human and the Foundations of Human Rights
Philosopher Suzy Killmister (Monash University) joins The Badlands to discuss the philosophical foundations of human rights. She argues that we have human rights not because of some inherent feature of human beings, but because of a special social status we now have as members of the human kind. She defends the idea that human rights are deeply morally important, even though they are, ultimately, social constructs.Toby Napoletano, Suzy Killmister
2019-Mar-01 • 63 minutes
24 - The Philosophy of Work pt. 3: Is Being Hardworking A Virtue or a Vice?
This week, we wrap up our discussion on the philosophy of work. Would happiness be impossible for some people in a workless future? Does being hardworking make you deserving of resources? Is it a virtue, or is it maybe a vice? Is there a fine line between play and work?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2019-Feb-22 • 58 minutes
23 - The Philosophy of Work pt. 2: Total-Work Minds, Total-Work Lives
This week, we talk about the ways in which work dominates our lives and our minds, and get into the details of our extremely vexed relationship with our work. Are the causes mostly internal, external, or both? How is the obsession with work potentially harmful? Is the ideal of work, ultimately, a good one to organize a society and value system around? Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2019-Feb-15 • 59 minutes
22 - The Philosophy of Work pt. 1: On Survival, Enhancement, and Purpose
Opponents of a basic income argue that a basic income would undermine the incentive to work. But is that a bad thing? Work certainly has value, but does that mean it would be bad if we worked less? What about in a post-scarcity world of abundance? What about the idea that work gives people a sense of meaning and purpose? Would we be lost without it?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn
2019-Feb-08 • 72 minutes
21 - Are Progressives Luddites? Pt. 2: The Threat of the AI Automation Revolution
The threat of the widespread automation of the economy puts two strands of American ideology into direct conflict: the value of technological innovation and the insistence that one's living must be earned. Out of this conflict, people from all parts of the political spectrum are increasingly supportive of a universal basic income. But are the robots coming for our jobs? If so, can we find new ones? What will a mostly automated economy look like?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2019-Feb-01 • 74 minutes
20 - Is Kamala Harris Proposing A Universal Basic Income? Yeah Nah.
It’s time to break down Kamala Harris’ middle class tax cut and the rest of her 2020 platform! Will the policy help middle and working class families? How much? Does it help the most vulnerable? And if the tax cuts are her number one priority, what does this mean for the other ambitious progressive proposals she supports?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes
2019-Jan-25 • 80 minutes
19 - Roundtable: Progressives for President in 2020? Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard
Progressives (plural) are running for president in 2020! Is this evidence that progressive causes are gaining more traction? Do any of them have a chance of winning? Are there important philosophical differences between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren? What should we make of the recent scandals of these candidates?Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, Hanna Gunn, Jared Henderson
2019-Jan-18 • 73 minutes
18 - Are Progressives Luddites? Pt. 1: On The Potential of Life-saving Artificial Intelligence
Toby Napoletano and Michael Hughes discuss progressives’ complicated relationship to the burgeoning fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Is there reason to think that the potentially transformative technological progress will benefit the world’s poor? We examine some of the political and economic barriers that will need to be overcome first.
2018-Dec-13 • 80 minutes
17 - On The Ethics of Immigration pt. 2: Progressive Opposition to Open Borders?
Toby Napoletano and Michael Hughes continue the discussion on the ethics of immigration by examining some potential progressive arguments for restricting immigration. Would increasing immigration hurt those who are already struggling to get by? Are nations justified in prioritizing their own citizens at the expense of non-citizens?
2018-Dec-07 • 52 minutes
16 - On The Ethics of Immigration pt. 1: Freedom of Movement, National Security, and Culture
In this week’s episode, Toby Napoletano and Michael Hughes consider whether nations have the moral right to exclude immigrants and when they can justifiably do so. They consider arguments in favor of restricting immigration on the basis of national security and the preservation of culture, and discuss the difficulties and shortcomings of these kinds of arguments.
2018-Nov-30 • 52 minutes
15 - Do Countries Have the Right to Exclude Refugees?
Badlands contributors Toby Napoletano and Michael Hughes discuss whether countries have the right to close their borders to refugees. Do they have this right, or does closing their borders violate the rights of refugees to not be confined? Under what kinds of circumstances could excluding refugees be justified, and what does this mean for the homeless in the U.S.?
2018-Nov-16 • 75 minutes
14 - Roundtable: The 2018 Midterms
Badlands contributors Toby Napoletano, Michael Hughes, and Hanna Gunn discuss the 2018 midterms. Do the results give cause for optimism? How did progressive candidates and issues fare? Is Ted Cruz right to criticize the way progressives raise money for state elections?
2018-Nov-09 • 62 minutes
13 - Free Market Libertarianism vs. Progressivism
Badlands contributors Toby and Jared discuss the relationship between Milton Friedman-inspired free market libertarianism and contemporary progressivism. While both can be placed broadly within the philosophical liberal tradition, they disagree about how to understand liberalism, and about the role of markets in a liberal society. (See Toby’s “Milton Friedman, Libertarianism, Progressivism, and Liberalism” on BadlandsPhilosophy.com)
2018-Nov-02 • 63 minutes
12 - Roundtable: “What Will Future Generations Condemn Us For?” Pt. 2
Badlands contributors Toby, Michael, Jared, and Hanna have a roundtable discussion about Kwame Anthony Appiah’s “What Will Future Generations Condemn Us For?”, and give some of their own thoughts about how future generations might condemn us.
2018-Oct-26 • 80 minutes
11 - Roundtable: “What Will Future Generations Condemn Us For?” Pt. 1
Badlands contributors Toby, Michael, Jared, and Hanna have a roundtable discussion about Kwame Anthony Appiah’s “What Will Future Generations Condemn Us For?”, and give some of their own thoughts about how future generations might condemn us.
2018-Oct-19 • 69 minutes
10 - What’s Happening: Amazon’s $15 Minimum Wage, Working Class Politicians, 4-Day Work Week
Badlands contributors Toby, Michael, Hanna, and Jared discuss the philosophical angles of some recent news. Topics include Amazon’s recent decision to raise the minimum wage for their employee to $15/hr and their recent anti-union efforts, some recent research on why there are no working class politicians, and a study showing the benefits of a 4-day work week.
2018-Oct-12 • 67 minutes
9 - What is Capitalism?
Capitalism is once again a topic of conversation, both for progressives, who stand out as critics of capitalism, and those on the center and right who defend and praise capitalism. But seriously, what is capitalism? What do people mean when they use the word “capitalism”? We try to make some progress on these questions in this episode.
2018-Oct-05 • 45 minutes
8 - Economic Inequality pt. 3: The Myth of Meritocracy
If the United States is basically a meritocracy, then maybe the extreme inequality that exists in the United States isn’t a problem. After all, everyone is just getting what they deserve—even if there are serious differences in access to opportunity. In this episode, we examine the idea of “merit” and argue that the United States is not even remotely close to being a meritocracy. We also argue, however, that we shouldn’t want a pure meritocracy, and that this means that the American Dream isn’t even a good ...
2018-Sep-28 • 86 minutes
7 - Roundtable: “Optics”
Badlands contributors Toby, Michael, Jared, and Hanna have a roundtable discussion about the obsession with “optics” in politics and the political media and how it undermines the possibility of valuable political discussion.
2018-Sep-25 • 62 minutes
6 - What’s Happening: Kavanaugh, Vontae Davis, Defense Bill
Badlands contributors Toby, Michael, Hanna, and Jared discuss the philosophical angles of some current headlines. Topics include the troubling accusations against Brett Kavanaugh and what that should mean for his potential confirmation as Supreme Court Justice, the role of the Supreme Court in democracy, Vontae Davis’ sudden retirement and the military mindset that pervades the NFL, and also the latest increase in defense spending that was unanimously supported by Senate Democrats.
2018-Sep-21 • 40 minutes
5 - Economic Inequality pt. 2: Inequality of Opportunity and the Myth of the American Dream
The American Dream rests on the idea that there is something like equality of opportunity in the United States, or at least, that opportunity is plentiful for anyone who’s willing to seize it. But is that actually true? As we argue, the research on class and educational outcome makes it abundantly obvious that it is not. The American Dream is a myth.
2018-Sep-14 • 32 minutes
4 - Economic Inequality pt. 1: The American Dream and Deprivation Amidst Plenty
The issue of income and wealth inequality is a central one for progressives, but not so much for Democrats and Republicans. In this episode, we lay out some of the basic arguments for thinking that the extreme inequality in the United States is morally problematic, and that it reflects a serious injustice in our institutions. We also discuss the idea of the American Dream and how it relates to the problem of inequality.
2018-Sep-07 • 86 minutes
3 - Roundtable: The Cure for Toxic Partisanship Is not “Coming Together”
Badlands contributors Toby, Michael, Jared, and Hanna have a roundtable discussion about the state of political discourse and the idea of “coming together”, whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.
2018-Aug-31 • 34 minutes
2 - Money in Politics pt. 2: The Corrupting Influence of Money in Politics
In this episode, we take a closer look at the justifications Democrats give for accepting big donations. We argue that, even if everyone is of sound character and well-intentioned, there’s good reason to think that big money has a corrupting influence on politicians. And we also discuss whether, as a matter of practical necessity, Democrats must accept big donations in order to beat out their Republican opponents.
2018-Aug-22 • 40 minutes
1 - Money in Politics pt. 1: The Structural Problem of Money in Politics
We start the series off by taking a look at one of the major areas of dispute between progressives and the rest of the Democratic Party, namely, the issue of money in politics. Democrats often seem to think that the issue is overblown, since there’s no proof that big money has a corrupting influence. In this episode, we argue that the focus on corruption misses the deeper, structural problem of money in politics, which poses a real threat to our democratic ideals.