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Podcast Profile: Brain in a Vat

podcast imageTwitter: @JasonWerbeloff (followed by 5 philosophers)
Site: anchor.fm/braininavat
116 episodes
2020 to present
Average episode: 56 minutes
Open in Apple PodcastsRSS

Categories: Interview-Style • Two Hosts

Podcaster's summary: Thought experiments and conversations with philosophers. Hosted by Dr Jason Werbeloff and Mark Oppenheimer.

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List Updated: 2022-Aug-10 11:32 UTC. Episodes: 116. Feedback: @TrueSciPhi.

Episodes
2022-Aug-07 • 64 minutes
Is Hate Speech Free Speech? | Nadine Strossen
Why is free speech valuable? Should there be any limits on what we are allowed to say? Should we tolerate words that are hateful? | | Hosted by Mark Oppenheimer and Jason Werbeloff | Produced and Edited by James Mullen
2022-Jul-31 • 50 minutes
Science and The Big Questions | Alexander Arnold
How do scientists and philosophers work together to make progress on the nature of the cosmos, the meaning of life, and what it means to flourish? The John Templeton Foundation funds work on the intersection of philosophy and science in some of the most important questions of our time. | | Hosted by Mark Oppenheimer and Jason Werbeloff | Edited and Produced by James Mullen
2022-Jul-24 • 51 minutes
Music and Philosophy | Mark Linsenmayer
Can music be objectively good (or bad)? How should we understand fundamental disagreement about preferences and values? And should philosophical discussion be theory driven or should we use another methodology?
2022-Jul-17 • 57 minutes
Effective Altruism | Theron Pummer
Are we obligated to save strangers? Does it matter whether those strangers are in different countries or our in own? And even if we are not obligated, have we done something wrong if we help but not in the most efficient way possible? | Theron's book: https://global.oup.com/academ... | Hosted by Mark Oppenheimer and Jason Werbleoff | Produced by Jimmy Mullen
2022-Jul-10 • 57 minutes
The Philosophy of Apology | Jeff Helmreich
What makes a good apology? Are we ever obligated to apologize even though we did nothing wrong? And how should we deal with apologies in this highly politicized landscape? | Hosted by Mark Oppenheimer and Jason Werbeloff | Edited and produced by James Mullen
2022-Jul-03 • 52 minutes
The Philosophy of Everything Everywhere All at Once | Taylor Cyr
Everything Everywhere All at Once is a magnificent mess. The film raises questions around the meaning of life, the nature of the multiverse, and how we should understand free will in a world filled with counterfactuals. | Presenters: Mark Oppenheimer and Jason Werbeloff  | Editor and Producer: Jimmy Mullen   | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Shopify): https://smarturl.it/BrainShop Brain in a Vat bookshop (Amazon): https://smarturl.it/BrainAmazonShop |
2022-Jun-26 • 56 minutes
Lionel Shriver on Should We Stay or Should We Go
When is death preferable to living?  Are there fates worse than death? And what sort of future society should we build? | Lionel Shriver discusses her latest novel, Should We Stay or Should We Go | | Hosted by Mark Oppenheimer and Jason Werbeloff | Edited and Produced by James Mullen
2022-Jun-19 • 61 minutes
The Philosophy of Severance | Travis Timmerman
Ben Stiller's superb series, Severance, raises fascinating questions about the nature of personal identity. Are we minds or brains? Is it possible for two persons to inhabit the same body? And can a person survive gaps in their existence? | | Hosted by Mark Oppenheimer and Jason Werbeloff | Edited and Produced by James Mullen
2022-Jun-12 • 58 minutes
The Ethics of Killing in War | Jeff McMahan
As Russia wages an unjust war against Ukraine, questions around the ethics of war abound. Are soldiers fighting for the wrong side ever justified in killing? Should we punish these soldiers even if they were coerced by their State to fight? And is it ever justified to kill civilians? | Read Jeff's book here: amazon.com/Killing-War-Uehiro... | | Hosted by Mark Oppenheimer and Jason Werbeloff | Edited and Produced by James Mullen
2022-Jun-05 • 58 minutes
Eureka! Why epiphanies matter | Sophie Grace Chappell
What is an "Aha" moment, and why does it matter for our lives? Sophie Grace Chappel argues that our ethics and value system should be formed around our epiphanies. | | Hosted by Mark Oppenheimer and Jason Werbeloff | Edited and Produced by James Mullen | | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Shopify): https://smarturl.it/BrainShop | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Amazon): https://smarturl.it/BrainAmazonShop | | Podcast: https://anchor.fm/braininavat | Contact us: Mark.Oppenheimer[at]gmail and Jwerbe[at]gmail |
2022-May-29 • 63 minutes
David Chalmers on Virtual Reality and The Simulation Argument
Could you be a brain in a vat, or be living in a simulated or virtual reality? Could you live a meaningful, valuable existence even if you were? | | Presenters: Mark Oppenheimer and Jason Werbeloff | Editor and Producer: Jimmy Mullen
2022-May-22 • 69 minutes
The Value of Truth | Simon Blackburn
Why is the truth important? Who decides what the truth is? Is there such a thing as objective, eternal truth, or is truth simply a matter of perspective, of linguistic or cultural vantage point?   | Simon's Book: https://www.amazon.com/Truth-Simon-Blackburn/dp/0190867213... | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Shopify): https://smarturl.it/BrainShop | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Amazon): https://smarturl.it/BrainAmazonShop ... | Mark.Oppenheimer[at]gmail and Jwerbe[at]gmail
2022-May-15 • 45 minutes
The Creative Life | Theresa Hardman
What is creativity and how does it work? Is all creativity valuable? What are the pre-conditions for creativity, and how should Jason overcome his writer's block?
2022-May-09 • 65 minutes
The Kalam Cosmological Argument | Majesty of Reason
If everything was created by a cause, is God the creator of the Universe? Is God an uncaused cause? Could God have abandoned his creation?   | Majesty of Reason: https://www.youtube.com/c/MajestyofReason... | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Shopify): https://smarturl.it/BrainShop | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Amazon): https://smarturl.it/BrainAmazonShop
2022-May-01 • 74 minutes
Trans women in sport: Is it fair? | Stephen Kershnar
Lia Thomas, a trans woman, has sparked controversy by competing in and winning women’s collegiate swimming events. Should Thomas and other trans athletes be allowed to compete in the gendered competition of their choice?
2022-Apr-24 • 54 minutes
Evolutionary Psychology | Justin Garson
Is evolution the root cause of racism, rape, and disgust? Are differences between men and women a result of both nature and nurture? Are some forms of scientific inquiry too dangerous to allow?   | Justin's Book: https://www.amazon.com/Biological-Mind-Philosophical-Introduction/dp/0367466317&... | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Shopify): https://smarturl.it/BrainShop | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Amazon): https://smarturl.it/BrainAmazonShop
2022-Apr-17 • 48 minutes
The Philosophy of Dune | Adam Taylor
Dune contains a sophisticated moral dilemma - should Paul Atreides sacrifice billions of lives to avoid humanity's extinction? The answer echoes through the way we should deal with global climate change today. | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Shopify): https://smarturl.it/BrainShop | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Amazon): https://smarturl.it/BrainAmazonShop ... | Contact us: Mark.Oppenheimer[at]gmail and Jwerbe[at]gmail
2022-Apr-10 • 47 minutes
How to discover TRUTH | Galen Barry
Some of the world's greatest discoveries were made by those on the fringe. Should scientists be encouraged to explore crazy ideas? Does the search for truth depend more on geniuses or a social butterflies?    | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Shopify): https://smarturl.it/BrainShop | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Amazon): https://smarturl.it/BrainAmazonShop ... | Contact us: Mark.Oppenheimer[at]gmail and Jwerbe[at]gmail
2022-Apr-03 • 60 minutes
Sex, Gender and Sexual Orientation | Raja Halwani
Is your sexual orientation determined by the sex or the gender of the person you’re attracted to? How does gender fluidity impact sexual orientation? Are there other sexual orientations like demisexuality, sapiosexuality and more?
2022-Mar-20 • 43 minutes
Hidden Motives| Elena Garadja
Are Jean Jacques Rousseau's confessions trustworthy? Can we consciously decide to forget our sins? Should we be held accountable for all of our actions, including the ones we don't intend?
2022-Mar-20 • 64 minutes
Dignity and Society | Colin Bird
How important is it to treat people with dignity, or respect? Do institutions and groups, rather than individuals, owe us dignity? And if we have to choose, should we strive for a society that is dignified or a society that is happy? | Colin’s book: https://www.amazon.com/Human-Dignity-Political-Criticism-Colin/dp/1108832024...
2022-Mar-13 • 54 minutes
Gun Control | Eric Sampson
Should citizens have the right to bear arms? Are guns necessary to defend yourself from criminals, invading militants, and your own government? Should guns be banned because of school shootings, suicides, and accidental deaths? 
2022-Mar-06 • 58 minutes
Should we save animals? | Jeffrey Sebo
Should we sacrifice our time and convenience to save animals? Jeff Sebo argues we must, but more than that, it's in our self-interest to do so.  | Jeff's book: https://www.amazon.com/Saving-Animals-Ourselves-Pandemics-Catastrophes-ebook/dp/... | | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Shopify): https://smarturl.it/BrainShop | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Amazon): https://smarturl.it/BrainAmazonShop
2022-Feb-27 • 65 minutes
Near-Death Experiences | John Martin Fischer
Is there life after death? Are near-death experiences meaningful? Are they similar to other altered states like meditation and drug induced hallucinations?    | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Shopify): https://smarturl.it/BrainShop  | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Amazon): https://smarturl.it/BrainAmazonShop
2022-Feb-20 • 57 minutes
The Philosophy of Squid Game | Travis Timmerman
Travis Timmerman shows us what can we learn about morality, democracy, and exploitation from Squid Game. | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Shopify): https://smarturl.it/BrainShop | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Amazon): https://smarturl.it/BrainAmazonShop
2022-Feb-13 • 54 minutes
Free Will and Moral Responsibility | John Fischer
Is it possible to be morally responsible for a choice even if you could not have chosen otherwise? Can you have free will even if God knows ahead of time what you are about to choose? John Fischer argues the answer is yes.
2022-Feb-06 • 59 minutes
Abortion | Stephen Kershnar
Does a fetus have a right to its mother's womb? Are we obligated to have as many children as possible? And must pro-lifers assassinate abortion doctors?
2022-Feb-03 • 7 minutes
The Kershnar Controversy | Brain in a Vat
We recently aired an episode with Stephen Kershnar on sexual taboos. A clip from that episode has been viewed over a million times on Twitter, and on many news channels. We address the controversy surrounding Stephen's position.
2022-Jan-30 • 58 minutes
Sexual Taboos | Stephen Kershnar
Should there be an age of consent? Is it wrong to fantasize about someone against their will? Is it wrong to lust after someone because of their race?    | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Shopify): https://smarturl.it/BrainShop | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Amazon): https://smarturl.it/BrainAmazonShop
2022-Jan-25 • 59 minutes
Parfit's view of personal identity | Jeff McMahan
What makes the 'you' of yesterday the same 'you' today? Should we care about future people who don't yet exist, and should we prevent climate change if it means preventing people from coming into existence?
2022-Jan-16 • 57 minutes
Do you have a character? | Iskra Fileva
Is there a core to who we are that is unchanging or unique? Do people have characters, personalities, or neither? | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Shopify): https://smarturl.it/BrainShop | Brain in a Vat bookshop (Amazon): https://smarturl.it/BrainAmazonShop
2021-Dec-13 • 7 minutes
End of Year Surprise
In our final episode for 2021, we reveal a surprise we've been working on all year, and tell you about the exciting episodes planned for 2022.
2021-Dec-05 • 54 minutes
The Fall of UCT | David Benatar
Destructive forces have been eroding the University of Cape Town, Africa’s leading university. David Benatar tells the sad, true tale of what has been transpiring. It is a saga of lunacy, criminality, pandering, and identity politics. The mad and the bad – the deranged, deluded, the depraved – have been granted endless latitude in bullying and abusing others.
2021-Nov-28 • 52 minutes
The Possible Worlds of David Lewis | Barry Lam
What are possible worlds? Could you have been born to different parents, and could the laws of physics be different? Barry Lam explains how David Lewis’s views on possible worlds can help us understand everything from the nature of time to free will. | Listen to more of Barry’s episodes on David Lewis on Hi-Phi nation here: https://hiphination.org/season-5/
2021-Nov-21 • 38 minutes
Can Hope Save Your Life? | Jack Kwong
Is it possible to hope for something good, but feel despair that it won't happen? Is it virtuous to feel hopeful? Can hoping make you act recklessly? 
2021-Nov-14 • 54 minutes
Moral Disagreement | Eric Sampson
In a world where we disagree about pretty much everything - about borders and abortion, marriage and monogamy, wars and meat-eating - how do you maintain confidence in your own moral position? And can you convince the moral nihilist you're right?
2021-Nov-07 • 61 minutes
Ballenesque | Roger Ballen
Marginalized people, animals, found objects, wires and childlike drawings inhabit the unlocatable worlds presented in Ballen's artworks. Ballen describes his works as existential psychodramas that touch the subconscious mind and evoke the underbelly of the human condition. They aim to break through the repressed thoughts and feelings by engaging him in themes of chaos and order, madness or unruly states of being, the human relationship to the animal world, life and death, universal archetypes of the psyche ...
2021-Oct-31 • 75 minutes
Pandemic Ethics | Peter Singer
Rebecca Tuvel, Dan Cullen and Eric Samson interview Peter Singer about pandemic ethics. Are lockdowns and mandatory vaccines morally justified? What should governments have done differently? Why were there calls to cancel this lecture?   | https://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2021/09/peter-singer-invited-to-give-a-zo... | https://dailynous.com/2021/09/28/faculty-at-rhodes-college-urge-cancellation-of-...
2021-Oct-24 • 52 minutes
Michael Huemer on Disobeying the Law
Should you disobey the law, at least some of the time? If justice isn’t simply enforcing the law, then what is it? And what sorts of laws would we have in a just society?
2021-Oct-17 • 53 minutes
Is Nuclear War Ever Justified? | Eron Fasser
Should certain weapons be banned from use in war? Are there limits on the amount of force countries should use to protect their citizens? Is it ever justified to kill innocent civilians to end a war? | ICJ Advisory Opinion: https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/95
2021-Oct-10 • 50 minutes
Plato’s problem with Democracy | Clif Mark
Is Democracy the best political system? Plato thought not. But what is the best alternative? Clif Mark, from the podcast Good in Theory, joins us this week to discuss Plato’s Republic. | https://goodintheorypod.com/
2021-Oct-03 • 59 minutes
Is it wrong to enjoy good films made by bad people? | Travis Timmerman
Is the art separate from the artist? Can a moral defect in a film undermine its aesthetic quality?
2021-Sep-26 • 53 minutes
The Power of Imagination | Amy Kind
What would a world without imagination be like? Why do we feel sympathy, fear or excitement for fictional characters? And can imaginary actions be morally wrong?
2021-Sep-19 • 56 minutes
Where is my mind? | Shaun Stanley
Are human being merely sophisticated robots? Do we have mental states or can we be understood only through our behavior?
2021-Sep-12 • 57 minutes
Should You Trust Experts? | Oliver Traldi
There's a growing trend to distrust scientists. Sometimes they get the facts wrong, or align with a political party. What should we do in the face of conflicting expertise? Who should we trust?
2021-Sep-05 • 57 minutes
How To End Global Poverty | Andy Kuper
Andy Kuper, the founder and CEO of LeapFrog Investments, tells us how his PHD in philosophy led him to marry profit with purpose, by creating investment funds with deep impact on the lives of 200 million low-income people worldwide, while generating strong returns for its investors and the companies in which it invests. | https://leapfroginvest.com   | Andy's Book Democracy Beyond Borders: https://www.amazon.com/Democracy-Beyond-Borders-Representation-Institutions-eboo...   | Contact us: Mark.Oppe...
2021-Aug-29 • 46 minutes
Cryonics: who wants to live forever? | Francesca Minerva
Is cryonics a viable route to immortality? Is immortality desirable, or would it present us with endless boredom and meaninglessness?
2021-Aug-22 • 65 minutes
Addiction | Daniel Hochman
Is being addicted to love or chocolate the same as being addicted to cocaine?
2021-Aug-15 • 57 minutes
Death | Travis Timmerman
Would it be better to live forever than to die? Is the goodness or badness of death dependent on the future quality of our lives? Is death so bad that it would be better never to have been born?     | Travis' Book: Exploring the Philosophy of Death and Dying https://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Philosophy-Death-Dying-Contemporary/dp/11383935... | Contact us: Mark.Oppenheimer[at]gmail and Jwerbe[at]gmail
2021-Aug-08 • 64 minutes
When should you forgive? | Brandon Warmke
What is forgiveness, and when is it appropriate? What does it mean to apologize to a group of people, and for that group to forgive? Is forgiveness ever obligatory, or is forgiveness irrational or even immoral?
2021-Aug-01 • 57 minutes
John Rawls: Justice as Fairness | Paul Weithman
John Rawls is widely regarded as the greatest modern liberal philosopher. Does his theory of justice lead to a fair society?    | Contact us: Mark.Oppenheimer[at]gmail and Jwerbe[at]gmail
2021-Jul-25 • 80 minutes
Do the ends justify the means? | Alastair Norcross
Should you sacrifice one innocent person to save many? Can you justify killing one annoying politician to save millions of people from suffering a minor headache? And is morality a matter of degree rather than a clear distinction between right and wrong?
2021-Jul-18 • 53 minutes
What Is Madness? | Justin Garson
Is 'mental disorder' purely a dysfunction, or are there important advantages to being psychologically different? Do depression and anxiety serve a vital role in healing and bettering one's life?
2021-Jul-11 • 56 minutes
Is it okay to be a slacker? | Alison Suen
What makes Hollywood slackers like The Dude so enchanting? Are slackers the unsung heroes of the pandemic, or a bunch of useless bums?    | Read Alison's Book: https://www.amazon.com/Why-Its-OK-Be-Slacker/dp/0367338181...   | Contact us: Mark.Oppenheimer[at]gmail and Jwerbe[at]gmail
2021-Jul-04 • 52 minutes
What Offends You? | Mark Oppenheimer
Should we ban offensive speech? Should we tolerate racism and transphobia? Should everything that is immoral also be illegal?
2021-Jun-27 • 48 minutes
Is evil real? | Spencer Case
Is murder wrong? Can evolution fully explain why we think certain actions are immoral? And can we believe moral truths with even greater certainty than truths about the physical world? | Spencer Case offers objections to Shaun Stanley, a moral anti-realist who appeared previously on our show.
2021-Jun-20 • 54 minutes
What if? | Peg Tittle
What if you navigated the world through echo location instead of sight? What if cats could gain all of the traits of humans? What if you were a brain in a vat trying to solve a difficult moral problem.   | To learn more about Peg's work check out: https://www.pegtittle.com https://www.jassrichards.com     | Special offer to podcast listeners:  For any title with an on-site purchase option, Peg is happy to send a complimentary copy (epub or pdf).  No strings attached.  Plea...
2021-Jun-13 • 59 minutes
What Is Happiness? | Shane Gronholz
What makes your life go well? Can you be wrong about whether you are happy? And can happiness be bad for you?
2021-Jun-06 • 66 minutes
Trans, Sex, and Gender | Kathleen Stock
Is sex only a matter of biology? Are there conflicts between trans rights, women's rights, and gay rights? Is it possible to change genders?   | Buy Kathleen's Book: Material Girls https://www.amazon.com/Material-Girls-Reality-Matters-Feminism-ebook/dp/B08LK8TY...
2021-May-30 • 66 minutes
Do Social Groups Exist? | Jason Werbeloff
What transforms a collection of individuals into a social group? Jason Werbeloff argues the answer is: nothing. There are no social groups. No countries, political parties, marriages, or sports clubs. There are only individuals.
2021-May-23 • 29 minutes
12 Mind Blowing Thought Experiments
What can a runaway train, a patient wrapped head to toe in bandages, and man condemned by the gods to roll a rock for eternity teach us about leading a good life? If you enjoy stories that tickle your brain, this episode is for you.
2021-May-16 • 46 minutes
The Dangers of Thought Experiments | Roy Sorensen
Are thought experiments useful for telling us about the nature of reality? What are the limitations of thought experiments, and should we trust them in discussions of morality and science?
2021-May-09 • 64 minutes
Is Morality Real? | Shaun Stanley
Should we care whether we cause others suffering? Do we have duties or obligations to others? Shaun Stanley thinks there are no moral reasons for action. Do you think morality is real?
2021-May-02 • 55 minutes
The Danger of Wokeness | Helen Zille
Many believe Woke ideology to be a source of positive change in society. Helen Zille thinks otherwise. Could Wokeness be dangerous?  | You can find Helen's book, #StayWoke: Go Broke, on Amazon and Takealot. | Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/StayWoke-Africa-survive-Americas-culture-ebook/dp/B091BB1... | Takealot: https://www.takealot.com/staywoke-go-broke/PLID72165371...
2021-Apr-25 • 61 minutes
The Second Sexism | David Benatar
Are there some areas of life where men are worse off than women? Are these disadvantages always the product of sexism? If we recognize a second sexism against men, what effect would this have on women?   | Prof Benatar's Book: https://www.amazon.com/Second-Sexism-Discrimination-Against-Boys-ebook-dp-B007VJ... | Contact us: Mark.Oppenheimer[at]gmail and Jwerbe[at]gmail
2021-Apr-18 • 44 minutes
Wittgenstein's Poker | David Edmonds
David Edmonds of Philosophy Bites fame regales us with a fiery story about Ludwig Wittgenstein's only meeting with Karl Popper. David also gives us a behind the scenes tour of the world's best loved philosophy show.     | David's Book: https://www.amazon.com/Wittgensteins-Poker-Ten-Minute-Argument-Philosophers/dp/0... | Contact us: Mark.Oppenheimer[at]gmail and Jwerbe[at]gmail
2021-Apr-11 • 61 minutes
Hate Speech and Pornography | Mari Mikkola
What is hate speech, and what are the limits of free speech? Should pornography be censored in the same way we censor speech?   | Mari's Book: https://www.amazon.com/Pornography-Philosophical-Introduction-Mari-Mikkola-ebook... | Contact us: Mark.Oppenheimer[at]gmail and Jwerbe[at]gmail
2021-Apr-04 • 55 minutes
Animal Welfare | Bob Fischer
Are some animals more equal than others? Do zoos protect animals or are they solely designed for our amusement? Should we test medicines on animals?
2021-Mar-28 • 54 minutes
Who should you believe? | Chris Ranalli
In a polarized world where everyone is certain, who should you believe? Are certain beliefs immoral? And how seriously should we take conspiracy theories?    | Mark.Oppenheimer[at]gmail and Jwerbe[at]gmail
2021-Mar-21 • 63 minutes
Can God Right Past Wrongs? | Sam Lebens
Would a just God allow us to suffer? Could God rewrite history to remove the bad bits?    | Contact us: Mark.Oppenheimer[at]gmail and Jwerbe[at]gmail
2021-Mar-14 • 62 minutes
Anarchy & Socialism | Mark Lance
Can we construct a society free of state coercion and inequality? Is there a place for Capitalism in that society?   | Contact us: Mark.Oppenheimer[at]gmail and Jwerbe[at]gmail
2021-Mar-07 • 49 minutes
What is the Value of Philosophy? | Justin Weinberg
Are there certain questions that should never be asked? Is Philosophy useful? And have philosophers made any progress in answering the BIG questions?  Justin's Daily Nous blog: https://dailynous.com/  Contact us: Mark.Oppenheimer[at]gmail and Jwerbe[at]gmail
2021-Feb-28 • 62 minutes
So You've Been Publicly Shamed | Rebecca Tuvel
What can we learn about public shaming from the Black Mirror episodes Hated in the Nation and Nosedive? Are there ever cases where someone deserves to be shamed? When should someone be forgiven for doing something shameful?   | Contact us: Mark.Oppenheimer[at]gmail and Jwerbe[at]gmail
2021-Feb-21 • 52 minutes
Nietzsche: Morality is Dead | Brian Leiter
If God is dead, did morality die with him? Are artists, writers and lovers more valuable than the rest of us mere mortals? Find out what Friedrich Nietzsche thought in our new series on great philosophers.   | Brian's Book: https://www.amazon.com/Moral-Psychology-Nietzsche-Brian-Leiter-ebook-dp-B07QD6V9... | Contact Us: Mark.Oppenheimer[at]gmail and Jwerbe[at]gmail
2021-Feb-14 • 54 minutes
Stephen King and Philosophy | Jacob Held
What is horror, and why do some of us willingly terrify ourselves by watching or reading the genre? Is horror poor quality fiction, or can it offer us a unique opportunity for empathy and moral growth?   | Jacob's book: https://www.amazon.com/Stephen-King-Philosophy-Great-Authors/dp/1442253843...
2021-Feb-07 • 47 minutes
Is Academic Freedom Under Threat? | Spencer Case
Are universities a safe space for dangerous ideas? Does a right to academic freedom guarantee a culture that tolerates controversial views? Should universities limit the research fields of professors? | Micro Digressions Podcast: https://www.buzzsprout.com/956725  | Spencer's Blog: https://www.spencercasephilosophy.com/
2021-Jan-31 • 64 minutes
Which God Should You Believe in? | Eron Fasser
Are all Gods created equal? Are certain divine attributes less likely to be real given that multiples faiths exist?  Are religions like different paths leading to the same destination?
2021-Jan-24 • 52 minutes
Is Abortion Immoral? | Nathan Nobis
Does a fetus have a right to life? Should there be any limitations on the choices that a woman makes over her own body?    | Nathan's book: https://www.abortionarguments.com/p/this-book-introduces-readers-to-many.html&nb... | Thomson's violinist: https://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil160,Fall02/thomson.htm...
2021-Jan-17 • 66 minutes
The Argument for Anarchism
Anarchism, or the view that we should not have a government, seems impractical. But Michael Huemer believes there is a way to understand Anarchism that not only resolves these impracticalities - it may provide a better society than the one we have now.  Michael Huemer's book, 'The Problem of Political Authority': https://www.amazon.com/Problem-Political-Authority-Examination-Coerce/dp/1137281...
2021-Jan-10 • 67 minutes
Face Blindness with Jeff Waters
What's it like to be unable to recognize faces? 2% of the population have a neurological condition called prosopagnosia, or face blindness - including this week's guest, and one of our hosts.  Listen to Jeff's Face Blind podcast here: https://faceblindpodcast.com/
2021-Jan-03 • 51 minutes
Tenet Explained
Christopher Nolan's Tenet is a visual feast, but does it make any sense? Eron Fasser explains if you can you time travel to change the past and if Neil and Protagonist have free will?  Brain in a Vat Book:  www.smarturl.it/lockdownbook
2020-Dec-07 • 17 minutes
The Future of Brain in a Vat
A round up of our favorite episodes and some insight into how we make the show. We will be on a hiatus until January. Let us know in the YouTube comments who you want to see us interview in the coming year.
2020-Nov-29 • 66 minutes
Brian Leiter: The Supreme Court
Is the Supreme Court merely a political body made up of warring liberals and conservatives? Should Judges apply laws that are unjust? Will the Supreme Court declare Trump the winner of the election? | Leiter Report: https://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/
2020-Nov-22 • 57 minutes
Thad Metz: Meaning in Life
What makes life worth living? How valuable are truth, beauty and morality? If life is ultimately meaningless from the perspective of the universe is none the less better to have been born?  Thad on the Meaning of Life :https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/life...
2020-Nov-15 • 49 minutes
Do You Have Free Will? With Mark Leon
Is it possible for your actions to be free, even if they are determined? And would an indeterministic universe make us any freer? If we don't have free will, should we be held accountable for our actions?
2020-Nov-05 • 61 minutes
Does Your Vote Count? With Jacob Bauer
If your vote has only a tiny chance of influencing the outcome of an election, is it irrational to vote? Does voting grant legitimacy to repugnant candidates? Is voting always an obligation, or are there situations that require you not to vote? | Philosopher Games on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/PhilosopherGames/... | Philosopher Games on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PhilosopherGames...
2020-Nov-01 • 64 minutes
Black Mirror, Virtual Sex and Trans with Rebecca Tuvel
Is virtual sex outside of a relationship cheating? How should we determine a person's gender? Should the same rules apply to race?  Rebecca's article: In Defense of Transracialism https://cryptome.org/2017/05/in-defense-of-transracialism.pdf... Hypatia transracialism controversy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypatia_transracialism_controversy...
2020-Oct-25 • 36 minutes
#2000andlate in 2020 Hindsight
We have a philosophical conversation with an artist about her latest exhibition. Dom's paintings explore the social and sexual mores of the last twenty years through the lens of our current values.
2020-Oct-18 • 48 minutes
Do You Have a Soul? With Tyron Goldschmidt
Are you just a physical body? If you have a brain transplant do you stay with your original body or move with your brain? Could the existence of an immaterial soul solve the mind body problem?   | Tyron's Books: The Puzzle of Existence: Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?  Idealism: New Essays in Metaphysics | Thumbnail Art: Lateralus Album Cover by Alex Grey
2020-Oct-11 • 70 minutes
Should Robots Have Rights? With Rob Sparrow
Is it wrong to destroy an AI if it can have a conversation with a human being? If a robot expresses suffering is it wrong to torture it? Should we mourn the death of a robot lover?  | Sparrow, R. 2004. The Turing triage test. Ethics and Information Technology 6(4): 203-213. | Sparrow, R. 2007. Killer robots. Journal of Applied Philosophy 24(1): 62-77, March. | Sparrow, R. 2020. Virtue and vice in our relationships with robots: Is there an asymmetry and how might it be explained...
2020-Oct-04 • 54 minutes
Should We Save The Polar Bears? With Yolandi Coetzee
Are some animals more equal than others? Are game reserves a part of nature if they are man made?  Is global warming universally bad or does it benefit some species? | Brain in a Vat Store: smarturl.it/Lockdownbook | Thumbnail Art: Peace by Lynn Bywaters
2020-Sep-27 • 63 minutes
Mark Oppenheimer²: The Limits Of Free Speech?
Is cancel culture destroying our institutions? Should Holocaust deniers have the right to speak? What is hate speech, and should it be illegal? | Brain in a Vat Store: smarturl.it/Lockdownbook | Harpers Letter: https://harpers.org/a-letter-on-justice-and-open-debate/...
2020-Sep-27 • 8 minutes
[Bonus] Mark Oppenheimer²
Atom bombs, diamond billionaires, and hate mail have a special role to play in this bonus episode.   Brain in a Vat Store: smarturl.it/Lockdownbook 
2020-Sep-20 • 59 minutes
Let's Talk About Sex With Raja Halwani
Is it wrong to only have a sexual preference for certain races? Can you have sex without being objectified? Is there a moral limit on our sexual fantasies?   | Store: http://smarturl.it/LockdownBook | Thumbnail Art: The Yoshiwara Prostitute by Kikugawa Eizan 
2020-Sep-13 • 64 minutes
David Benatar: The Meaning of Life
What does it all mean? If we live on a pail blue dot in a vast and uncaring universe can our lives have cosmic meaning? Is it better never to have been born?
2020-Sep-06 • 52 minutes
Should You Volunteer To Get Covid? With Dustin Crummett
Could purposely infecting volunteers with the Coronavirus help us reach herd immunity or develop a vaccine more rapidly? Is it wrong to expose people to the risk of death, even if they consent?  Thumbnail Art: Hold Your Breath Paulina Siniatkina
2020-Sep-02 • 68 minutes
Gorgeous or Grotesque? With Amanda Ballen
Can you be revolted and attracted to the same person? Can concepts be beautiful? Does art need to create sensations to be enjoyed?   IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12490350/ Thumbnail Art: A Grotesque Old Woman by Quentin Matsys
2020-Aug-23 • 64 minutes
Crime and Punishment With Doug Husak
Who deserves to be punished? Should the State kill killers and rape rapists?  Should we abolish the police and the prison system?   | Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/braininavat... IMDB:  | https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12490350/
2020-Aug-16 • 50 minutes
Is Cultural Relativism Racist? With Justin Kalef
Culturals groups have different beliefs about what is morally right and wrong. Does a tolerant outlook mean that we should accept these different beliefs as correct? What if those beliefs are discriminatory?    | Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/braininavat ... | IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12490350/ ... | Thumbnail Art: The Dinner Party by Sam Walsh
2020-Aug-09 • 65 minutes
What is Love? With Raja Halwani
Is love everlasting? Can we love more than one person at the same time?   | Do we choose our lovers for the wrong reasons? | http://rajasmusingsconfusings.blogspot.com/ ... | Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/braininavat ... | IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12490350/ ... | Thumbnail Art: The Lovers by Rene Magritte
2020-Aug-02 • 58 minutes
Are You Evil?
Is it wrong to root for the bad guy in a horror movie? Is evil a matter of who you are or what you do? What makes an action supremely evil? | Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/braininavat ... | IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12490350/ ... | Thumbnail Art: The number of the beast is 666 by William Blake
2020-Jul-26 • 63 minutes
What's Wrong with Moral Grandstanding? With Brandon Warmke
What do Greta Thunberg, #BLM and #Metoo have in common? Are these moralising quests to end climate change, racism and sexism motivated by the will to do good, or merely the will to look good?   | Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk https://www.amazon.com/Grandstanding-Use-Abuse-Moral-Talk-ebook/dp/B0851PR3DB/...    | Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/braininavat ... | IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12490350/ ... | Thumbnail Art: J. C. Leyendecker The Pol...
2020-Jul-19 • 79 minutes
Is it wrong to eat meat? With Dustin Crummet
Were you outraged when Cecil the lion was killed by a hunter? Are you against rhino poaching? Do you order extra bacon with your cheese burger? Are some animals more equal than others? | Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/braininavat ... | IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12490350/ ... | Thumbnail Art: Jeff Lemire from Sweet Tooth
2020-Jul-12 • 76 minutes
Graham Oppy: Does God Exist?
Can God exist if the world is filled with suffering? And are there compelling arguments for or against God's existence? Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/braininavat... IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12490350/ Thumbnail... Art: Terry Gilliam from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
2020-Jul-05 • 56 minutes
Should Offensive Art be Banned? With Elisa Galgut
What is art? Why is art valuable? If enough people feel hurt by a piece of art or public monument, should we hide or destroy the work? | Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/braininavat ... | IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12490350/   | Thumbnail Art: Octavia Roodt http://www.octaviaroodt.com/
2020-Jun-28 • 66 minutes
Peter Boghossian: How to Have Impossible Conversations
"Defund the police. Violent protests are justified. Anyone against Black Lives Matter is a Nazi." How would you engage with these views? We ask Peter Boghossian how to have impossible conversations.   | Peter's Book: http://bit.ly/ConversationsBook  | New Discourses: https://newdiscourses.com/translations-from-the-wokish/...     | Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/braininavat ... | IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12490350/ Animation by Laurynne Gouws: https://w...
2020-Jun-21 • 58 minutes
Do You Live in a Simulation? With Kenny Pearce
Do you live in a simulation? And if you do, could you live a valuable life?   We talk with Kenny Pearce this week to find out.  | Read Kenny's Berkeley book here: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/language-and-the-structure-of-berkeleys-...   | And his book about Idealism here: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/idealism-9780198746973...   | Podcast: https://anchor.fm/braininavat  | Facebook Discussion Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/braininavat ... | Ani...
2020-Jun-14 • 59 minutes
Does Race Exist? With Shaun Stanley
Does the colour of your skin, the texture of your hair, or the shape of your nose make you part of a racial group? Is race a social construct based on collective perception? Do the members of a race share beliefs, cultures and attitudes?  | Facebook Discussion Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/braininavat ... | Thumbnail art: By Amazing Ameziane from Muhammad Ali Graphic Novel
2020-Jun-07 • 60 minutes
Does Tuvix Deserve to Die?
When Tuvok and Neelix accidentally merge into a single man in a transporter accident, Captain Janeway has to make a tough decision: Should she kill Tuvix to restore Tuvok and Neelix? We discuss the philosophy of Star Trek, transporters, and personal identity.
2020-May-31 • 56 minutes
Is the Lockdown Lawful? With Martin van Staden
Are lockdown regulations lawful? Do we have a duty to obey the law? What if the law is immoral, contradictory or unknowable? The famous philosopher Lon Fuller wrote a thought experiment about King Rex who failed to make law in eight different ways. 1) A failure to achieve rules at, all so that every issue must be decided on an ad hoc basis. 2)A failure to publicize, or at least make available to the affected party, the rules he is expected to observe. 3)The abuse of retrospective legislation, which not o...
2020-May-24 • 63 minutes
Time Travel and The Grandfather Paradox with Helen Robertson
Imagine you build a time machine. Is it possible for you to travel back in time, meet your grandfather before he produces any children, and kill him?  Time travel is a sci-fi staple. Is Back to the Future philosophically accurate? Did J.K Rowling crack the secret of time travel in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? As a bonus we explain why Rick and Morty's The Vat of Acid Episode isn't about time travel.
2020-May-17 • 61 minutes
Belief, Faith, and Hope with Liz Jackson
Your brother has been missing for months and there is mounting evidence that he is dead. Is it rational to hope that he is alive and keep searching for him?   | Is it rational to have faith in the existence of God because, if he turns out to exist, your faith may let you into heaven while a lack of faith could condemn you to hell?   | Liz Jackson's public interviews: http://liz-jackson.com/public-philosophy/ ... | Her paper on Belief, Faith and Hope: https://philpapers.org/archive/JACBFA.pdf....
2020-May-10 • 57 minutes
Lost in Translation with Shaun Stanley
Language is ambiguous at the best of times, think about how much gets lost in translation. Imagine hearing a tribesman in a remote land utter the word "gavagai" upon seeing a rabbit. A speaker of English could do what seems natural and translate this as "Lo, a rabbit."   But other translations would be compatible with all the evidence she has: "Lo, food"; "Let's go hunting"; "There will be a storm tonight" (he may be superstitious).
2020-May-03 • 61 minutes
The Value of Human Life with Eron Fasser
What can eating Marilyn Monroe's thigh and the pain of teenage heartbreak tell us about the value of human life? We discuss what makes life worth living and ending.
2020-Apr-26 • 59 minutes
The Veil of Ignorance and Justice in a Lockdown
John Rawls thought we needed to wear a veil of ignorance to remove our biases before deciding on the rules of a just society. Are his ideas useful in a world where the elderly and the vulnerable are exposed to higher risks? Should the healthy and the well off accept limits on their freedom?
2020-Apr-22 • 61 minutes
Lockdown: A Trolley Problem
An out-of-control trolley is rumbling toward five innocent people trapped on a track. You can divert the trolley onto another track by pulling a switch, but the other track has one person on it. Do you pull the switch?  Governments around the world have used lockdowns to save lives, but this choice has had severe economic consequences. Did they pull the right switch? Hosted by Dr Jason Werbeloff and Mark Oppenheimer.