Twitter: @ADigressions • @SpencerJayCase (@ADigressions followed by 133 philosophers)
2020 to present
Average episode: 80 minutes
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Podcaster's summary: Philosophical excursions into interesting, and often controversial, topics.
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|2022-Nov-30 • 72 minutes|
Black Friday Special episode: Famine, Affluence and Morality, Part 1
The first of a two-part series on Peter Singer's famous argument that we must give our expendable income to highly effective charities. This episode features guest Travis Timmerman of Seton Hall University. (Note: Jim Skidmore participated in the first part of this conversation, but his audio wasn't useable due to technical difficulties. That explains a few references to a third participant. Skidmore will appear in part 2).
|2022-Oct-27 • 113 minutes|
Realism, idealism, and the War in Ukraine
Philippe Lemoine returns to Micro-Digressions to talk about the difference between realism and idealism in foreign policy thinking, and why he thinks excessive idealism led to the ongoing Russo-Ukraine war.
|2022-Sep-17 • 77 minutes|
Self-Contempt and the Decline of Civilizations
Benedict Beckeld joins Spencer Case to talk about his new book Western Self-Contempt: Oikophobia in the Decline of Civilizations. They discuss the phenomenon of oikophobia, which is roughly contempt for one's home country or culture, the decline of philosophy of history, and other topics.
|2022-Aug-21 • 81 minutes|
Parenting and Philosophy
Big news: Spencer is a father! Jessica Flanigan, mother of four and philosopher, is this episode's guest. The topics they cover include: what are babies' minds like? Do we have good reasons to become parents (or to avoid becoming parents)? Do we have any special duties toward our offspring? Special appearance by new mother Han Ruimei, Spencer's wife. The picture is of their son, Elijah Han Case (Han Yilai).
|2022-Aug-03 • 64 minutes|
Is everything becoming political? (Remastered)
This first recorded episode of Micro-Digressions has been re-edited for improved sound quality and flow. Justin Kalef and Spencer Case discuss their worries about hyper-politicization, and together develop a case that society requires politically neutral ground.
|2022-Jul-18 • 103 minutes|
Let's talk about Socialism
Ben Burgis joins Spencer to discuss G.A. Cohen's defense of socialism, and objections to it. They also discuss the difference between Marxism and utopian socialism, different conceptions of political freedom, and other topics.
|2022-Jun-10 • 87 minutes|
The University Disaster
Jason Brennan joins Spencer to discuss the many problems that afflict the university as an institution, all of which stem from bad incentives. They also discuss the psychology of extremism and bad faith engagement. This intro and outro music is "Eddie's Twister" by Eddie Lang (1927).
|2022-May-19 • 111 minutes|
SPECIAL EPISODE: Moral Experts
This episode is a companion to the recent moral experts roundtable article in Quillette. Oliver Traldi rejoins Spencer, along with first-time guests Bo Winegard and Geoffrey Miller, to discuss the philosophical and social problems of moral expertise. Over the course of the episode, they touch on the concept of expertise, the moral realism/anti-realism debate, and the extent to which values do (and should) influence scientific research.
|2022-Apr-21 • 91 minutes|
The Problem of Induction and the Uniformity of Nature
Matt Lutz returns to the podcast to explain his (in his opinion, very neglected) solution to the "counter-induction parody" argument, which is used to bolster Hume's notorious argument for inductive skepticism. Spencer makes a big personal announcement.
|2022-Mar-14 • 87 minutes|
Hypocrisy and Bad Intentions
What's so bad about hypocrisy? What difference does an agent's intentions make to the morality of his or her action? Craig White joins Spencer Case to discuss these questions, and to register his objections to the unrealistic thought experiments that some moral philosophers deploy.
|2022-Feb-20 • 80 minutes|
Mark Oppenheimer and Jason Werbeloff, the two South African hosts of the irreverent and fearless Brain in a Vat podcast, join Spencer to discuss the uses of philosophy its role in a flourishing human life. Along the way, they also discuss the permissibility of outsourcing your religious duties to an AI and other surprising topics.
|2022-Jan-26 • 92 minutes|
Killing in War
Jeff McMahan, White's professor of philosophy at Oxford University and author of Killing in War and other books, joins Spencer to talk about the ethics of participating in wars and other topics.
|2021-Dec-31 • 106 minutes|
Should borders be open?
Peter Jaworski, a philosophy professor at the Georgetown University McDonough school of business, and Rob Gressis, a philosophy professor at California State University Northridge, join Spencer to debate the pros and cons of open borders.
|2021-Nov-30 • 98 minutes|
Beauty, Ugliness and Morality: Some moral quandaries of art
Mary Beth ("no hyphen") Willard of Weber State University joins Spencer and his wife, May to discuss the relationship between beauty and moral goodness. They pay particular attention to the question of whether an artist's moral character can ever affect the aesthetic or moral qualities of his or her art. Subjects include Bill Cosby and the blues artist Louisiana Red .
|2021-Nov-01 • 97 minutes|
SPECIAL EPISODE: Debating abortion
Two guests, Nathan Nobis and Christopher Kaczor, join Spencer to discuss the ethics of abortion.
|2021-Oct-13 • 66 minutes|
The Dark Side of Morality
Is there something bad about being too good? Might belief in objective morality distort our moral behavior? Marcus Arvan joins Spencer Case to discuss.
|2021-Sep-23 • 117 minutes|
Discriminating for the greater good
Stephen Kershnar joins Spencer Case to discuss the moral quandaries surrounding affirmative action and other forms of discrimination on the basis of race and gender.
|2021-Aug-30 • 73 minutes|
Religious and atheistic experience
Many people claim to have experiences of God. Others have experiences that cause them to lose faith. What is the significance of these experiences? Chad McIntosh and Spencer Case discuss.
|2021-Jul-13 • 104 minutes|
SPECIAL EPISODE: What's the Deal with Critical Race Theory?
What is Critical Race Theory and why is it evil (if it is in fact evil)? Sam Hoadley-Brill and Oliver Traldi join Spencer Case to discuss the culture war controversy surrounding CRT. They discuss the proper way of defining CRT, the relationship between CRT and figures like Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo, and the pros and cons of the anti-"CRT" bills.
|2021-Jun-13 • 74 minutes|
The metaphysics of bitcoin
What is Bitcoin, anyway? Craig Warmke joins Spencer Case to discuss his view that Bitcoin is a kind of fictional substance that nonetheless has real economic value.
|2021-Apr-28 • 56 minutes|
Dangerous ideas: an interview with Francesca Minerva
Francesca Minerva joins Spencer Case to discuss the launch of the new Journal of Controversial Ideas, which allows scholars to publish peer reviewed research anonymously to avoid backlash.
|2021-Apr-01 • 82 minutes|
Some conflict, she says: An interview with Holly Lawford-Smith
Holly Lawford-Smith joins Spencer to defend her website, No Conflict They Said (.org). This collects anonymous stories from women who say they have been negatively affected by the intrusion of biological males into what have been female only spaces. Critics allege that this website is transphobic. Spencer and Holly discuss these criticism, the extent to which trans-activism is influencing academic philosophy, and some potential downsides to anti-"conversion therapy" laws.
|2021-Mar-30 • 71 minutes|
What is knowledge (and who cares)?
Crispin Sartwell joins Spencer Case to discuss the nature of knowledge, the relationship between aesthetics and knowledge, and other themes.
|2021-Jan-26 • 89 minutes|
Thinking about Disagreement
Matt Lutz, an associate professor of philosophy at Wuhan University, joins Spencer Case to discuss philosophical conundrums about disagreement. Must we alter our beliefs in the face of disagreement? If so, then how much and in what circumstances? Along the way, they discuss the Wuhan lockdown -- which Matt experienced firsthand -- conspiracy theories, and something called "explanationism."
|2020-Dec-25 • 66 minutes|
Conquering Anger and Fear
Tyler Paytas rejoins Spencer Case on Micro-Digressions to discuss the irrationality of anger and fear. They also touch on retributivism and strategies for overcoming anger and fear.
|2020-Oct-06 • 79 minutes|
The Limits of Scientific Authority
Philosophers of science disagree about what, if anything, distinguishes science from other bodies of knowledge, and other areas of inquiry. It's clear science commands a great deal of authority. But is this authority always a good thing? Spencer Case and Philippe Lemoine discuss the ways in which that authority can be misused and corrupted.
|2020-Aug-31 • 77 minutes|
Has liberalism failed?
Liberalism has recently been subjected to criticisms from both the political left and the right. But what is liberalism, anyway? Do these recent arguments against it carry any weight? Spencer Case discusses these and other questions with Prof. Patrick Lee Miller of Duquesne University.
|2020-Aug-07 • 69 minutes|
The Virtue Illusion: Are you as good as you think you are?
You probably think of yourself as a good person. But how sure are you that, if faced with certain sorts of social pressures, you wouldn't do something really terrible? There is, unfortunately, a evidence that most people aren't nearly as good as they believe themselves to be. Christian Miller, author of The Character Gap, discusses some of this evidence and why it matters.
|2020-Jul-18 • 65 minutes|
Guest Oliver Traldi and Spencer Case discuss the phenomenon of so-called "cancel culture."
|2020-Jul-06 • 68 minutes|
Spencer Case and Dan Kaufman discuss the importance of disposition to philosophy, and the difference between wisdom and knowledge.
|2020-Jun-06 • 61 minutes|
What's the deal with relativism?
Relativism about some domain is the rejection of truth standards independent of some perspective or standpoint. It may be implied in the slogan: "What's true for me may not be true for you." Should we accept relativism about morality or anything else? Spencer Case discusses with Robert Gressis, who teaches philosophy at California State University, Northridge. Follow
|2020-May-19 • 62 minutes|
Compassion and Rationality: An interview with Jacy Reese Anthis
Spencer Case and Jacy Reese Anthis, a co-founder of the Sentience Institute, discuss effective altruism, vegan activism and debate whether strong moral convictions presuppose moral realism.
|2020-May-07 • 67 minutes|
Is Everything Becoming Political?
It seems like our lives are more and more consumed with politics. Is that true? Is that a bad thing if it is true? Spencer Case and Justin Kalef, a philosophy professor at Rutgers University, discuss.
|2020-Apr-21 • 59 minutes|
Do you have a right to your opinion? Clifford, James and the ethics of belief
May we believe whatever we like? Philosopher Tyler Paytas and Spencer Case discuss.
|2020-Mar-29 • 63 minutes|
What good is free speech?
Inspired by J.S. Mill, philosophy professor Daniel Jacobson presses the case for free speech.
|2020-Mar-25 • 54 minutes|
The dark side of technology
What could go wrong? Ryan Jenkins, an associate professor of philosophy at Cal Poly San Louis Obispo, discusses some of the dangers of technological advancement. (Note that this was recorded in August 2019, before the COVID-19 crisis).