Invisibilia – "Emotions"
How much power do we have over our emotions? As conventional wisdom would have us believe, very little. Emotions are those uncontrollable feelings, our hardwired reactions to things that happen to us—right? In this episode of Invisibilia, neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett presents a revolutionary—and controversial—theory of emotions. As Barrett claims, our emotions are more than just pre-programmed reactions; we actually have a surprising level of command over them. This theory has powerful implications. With this newfound sense of empowerment in an area previously seen as being outside our control comes the disconcerting burden of wondering how much responsibility we want to have for our feelings. In a thoughtful, captivating discussion, this episode brings up remarkable and at times unsettling conclusions, weaving through difficult questions. Intensely thought-provoking, this carefully crafted episode will push you to think hard about what you feel.
Elucidations – Episode 102: "Josh Knobe discusses the true self "
We’ve all heard it: “Just be yourself.” “Follow your heart.” The stay-true-to-yourself class of inspirational phrases has rightfully won a spot among sayings overused to the point of genericism. But what exactly does it mean to be true to yourself? Are we ourselves when we follow our emotions, or are we more ourselves when we think long and hard about our choices? In this episode of Elucidations, a monthly philosophy podcast from the University of Chicago, Josh Knobe and host Matt Teichman shed light on the convictions we share about our true selves. Knobe presents startling, delightful findings from his own research in cognitive science and moral philosophy, peeling away the casual contradictions in popular perceptions of the self, whether it’s our idea of authenticity, untapped potential, or expression of self in art and poetry.
Elucidations – Episode 100: "Agnes Callard discusses aspiration"
Aspiration is typically seen as an affirmation of values, the pursuit of a goal reflecting the things that matter to you. But is it possible to value something that you’ve never experienced? Does a person who has just signed up for music-appreciation lessons value the act of music appreciation before having learned to do so? In this episode of Elucidations, philosopher Agnes Callard leads a provocative discussion that seeks to reimagine aspiration as the process of acquiring a value, rather than a reflection of an existing value. As Callard explains, we adopt new values as we retroactively assign value to past experiences. In other words, one acquires values only by doing. We constantly replace old values and create new ones, rattling our value framework with each new endeavor. This episode will upend your perceptions of values, goals, and ambition, leaving you with an intriguing perspective on imposter syndrome and a fresh framework for aspiration.
This American Life – "Gardens of Branching Paths"
Stories of alternate universes, the best coffee in town, twins switched at the birth of Pampers, sexual relations that were not had, and an almost-lived life. This American Life does what This American Life always does, bringing together a delightfully unexpected collection of heartwarming, sometimes heartbreaking stories. This episode features stories about paths taken, almost taken, and paths freshly paved. Listen in for a wild ride in and out of the worlds of strangers, and into the physics of alternate universes. Find out whether host Ira Glass decides to shave his beard. Ira of this universe, that is.