“How do the arts contribute to capitalism and economic development?” with guest Patrick Kabanda

Famous paintings sell for hundreds of millions of dollars. The most popular musicians become rich off of their fame. Is the only way to value art as investments or commodities, or can they be useful on other ways? Is art a product to sell, or are the arts as a whole, a way of developing human capabilities, skills, and even empathy? Can the arts promote equality, help developing countries, or bring about peace and social cohesion? On this episode, we examine these and other questions, looking at creativity through the lenses of economics and public policy.Continue reading “How do the arts contribute to capitalism and economic development?” with guest Patrick Kabanda

“What Does it Mean to Keep The Internet Free?” with guest Cory Doctorow

The internet has become central to our way of life, but how much do we know about it? Is it really the free-for-all we claim it is, or is it actually dominated by a few voices? Is the Web just a vehicle for commerce or is it the most innovate platform for art every created? In this wide-ranging discussion Why? Radio host Jack Russell Weinstein and his guest Cory Doctorow investigate the economics, politics, technology, and future of the internet. From Marxian analyses to a discussion of the predictability of science fiction, this conversation will change the way you think about the internet. It will inspire you to ask whether the internet is really different from what has come before it or if it’s just another vehicle for the same human problems we’ve had all along.Continue reading “What Does it Mean to Keep The Internet Free?” with guest Cory Doctorow

“Requiem for A Philosophy Professor: Remembering David N. Mowry”

Host Jack Russell Weinstein remembers his professor and mentor, David N. Mowry who passed away on April 23, 2019, at the age of 78. In a powerful and emotional tribute to their relationship, Jack reflects both on David’s career and his own life. David was a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh, and the founding director of their university’s honors program. Jack graduated from Plattsburgh State in 1991, with a B.A. in philosophy.Continue reading “Requiem for A Philosophy Professor: Remembering David N. Mowry”

“The Logic of Jazz” with guest Mark Weinstein

This episode celebrates Why? Radio’s tenth birthday with a musical exploration of the origins, meaning, experience, and, of course, music of jazz. How do newcomers start listening to the music? How do musicians discover new ways to play? And, what makes the best jazz tracks important and enjoyable? Join us as Mark Weinstein, jazz flutist, philosopher, and our host’s father, explores America’s music, explaining music theory, improvisation, and whether music is discovered or invented.Continue reading “The Logic of Jazz” with guest Mark Weinstein

“What is Literacy?” with guest Kim Donehower

When people think of literacy, they usually refer to simple reading and writing. They regard it as a mechanical skill that is mostly about deciphering letters on a page. But, in fact, literacy is a lot more complicated than that. It involves culture, power, and the opinion of others. It is defined by communities and can be used as a weapon to disregard the marginalized. On this episode of Why? Radio, we’ll discuss what literacy means, investigate it’s many competing definitions, and explore how it plays into stereotypes. Continue reading “What is Literacy?” with guest Kim Donehower

“Is Shakespeare Still Relevant?” with guest Adam Kitzes

Should we still read Shakespeare? That is a harder question than one might think. As universities focus on diversity, marginalized writers, and widening literary traditions, the so-called “dead-white man” becomes the symbol of everything unjust. Is this fair in Shakespeare’s case and does he still have stuff to teach us? And, how should we read him anyway? How do we approach someone whose work is so vast and so intimidating?Continue reading “Is Shakespeare Still Relevant?” with guest Adam Kitzes

“How To Read A Comic Book” with guest Scott McCloud

Comic books are much more than the silly distraction they are often thought to be. They are part of an art from with many sub-genres at the height of their  maturity. Comics have become diverse, literary, sophisticated, adult-oriented, and in many cases, high-art, and they’re only getting better. On this episode, we ask how and why this happened, and explore how to recognize comics for the art they are. Continue reading “How To Read A Comic Book” with guest Scott McCloud

“Why We Need More Jokes In Our Lives” with guest Al Gini

Human beings are joke tellers. We take great satisfaction in making people laugh and have warm feelings for those who we think are funny. But what makes a joke work and why can only some people tell them? Are there subjects we shouldn’t joke about and is it true that humor is dangerous? On this episode of Why? Radio, we ask these questions, examining the philosophy of jokes, and host Jack Russell Weinstein and his guest Al Gini even get to swap some of their favorites (and some that might be a bit controversial). Continue reading “Why We Need More Jokes In Our Lives” with guest Al Gini

“Why Did Homo Sapiens Evolve Into Artists?” with guest Valerius Geist

Many people regard art as a luxury. They think of it as fancy paintings, abstract installations, or the fashion that changes every few months. What few of us ever attend to is that fact that art is as old as humanity itself. It started with homo sapiens and developed alongside every other human ability. This episode of Why? Radio looks at  art from an evolutionary perspective and ask what necessary purpose it served.Continue reading “Why Did Homo Sapiens Evolve Into Artists?” with guest Valerius Geist

“What a food magazine tells us about the world” with guest Kerry Diamond

Food is more than just sustenance. It is a culture unto itself. It is our identity and our aspirations, pleasure and a tool. Members of the food industry know this and make money bringing us both the food we want and the food they want us to want. On this episode we examine it all through the perspective of a food magazine, Cherry Bombe. We’ll look at how the restaurant industry change when it magnifies the voices of women and what happens to culture when we embrace trends along side the classics.Continue reading “What a food magazine tells us about the world” with guest Kerry Diamond

“The Rise of Writing: What happens when people write more than they read?” with Deborah Brandt

Have you noticed how much you’ve been writing lately? How many emails, texts, and Facebook posts you compose on any given day? Have you realized how much more you write than you read? Deb Brandt has and she wants us to all understand that we are experiencing a mass-writing revolution that will change our culture forever. On this episode we discuss the shift of focus from reading to writing and look at how it has changed both the workplace and the ways in which people express themselves.Continue reading “The Rise of Writing: What happens when people write more than they read?” with Deborah Brandt

“The Intelligence in Everyday Work” with Guest Mike Rose

Mike Rose’s mother was a waitress. She worked for years negotiating the complex world of planning around, strategizing about, delivering to, and socializing with customers. She had to master timing, memory, efficiency, and psychology, but if you asked just about anyone, they would have said her work involved no deep thought at all. She had to master timing, memory, efficiency, and psychology, but if you asked just about anyone, they would have said her work involved no deep thought at all. In his important book The Mind at Work. Mike challenges the idea that waitressing is thoughtless, while also looking at the complex intellect of hairdressers, electricians, carpenters, and others in similar professions. This episode of Why? asks us to relearn everything we claim to know about manual laborers and reexamine our assumptions about the role of thinking in jobs. Continue reading “The Intelligence in Everyday Work” with Guest Mike Rose

Alex Schweder

“What is Performance Architecture” with guest Alex Schweder

Alex Schweder spent a week living with six other people, in a 24-inch wide apartment, to see what that experience would tell him living spaces. And he did it in a gallery in front of a live audience. He wasn’t just doing performance art. He’s an architect interested in learning about the relationships between psychology and the structures we build. Tonight on Why? we’ll talk with Alex about his experiments and what he calls performance architecture Continue reading “What is Performance Architecture” with guest Alex Schweder

“The Urbanization of Happiness” with Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman

Think about those that work and those that are falling apart. What influences their character, and, perhaps, more importantly, why do some succeed and others fail? On today’s episode of Why? we are going to ask these question and take a special look at how design creates urban problems, how what and where they build encourages violence, poverty, and unhappiness. Continue reading “The Urbanization of Happiness” with Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman

“How to Tell the Story of Art” with Guest Ross King

When Ross Kind decided to tell the story of Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel, he didn’t start with the paint colors or brushes; he started with politics, gossip, power and intrigue. When he told the story of Brunelleschi’s dome for the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, he started with competition and rivalry. Is this how we should tell the story or art? Is one painting or one building so complex, that he needs hundreds of pages to prepare the audience? Ross King thinks so and we’re going to find out why. Continue reading “How to Tell the Story of Art” with Guest Ross King

“A Conversation with a Playwright” with Tony Kushner

Tony Kushner is probably the most important and most influential living American playwright. At this year’s UND Writers Conference, WHY?’s host Jack Russell Weinstein had the pleasure and honor of talking to him about the Pulitzer Prize winning play Angels in America, his movie Lincoln, and writing for the theater in general. It was a remarkable conversation in front of a very large appreciative audience. Continue reading “A Conversation with a Playwright” with Tony Kushner

“The Philosophy of Poetry” with Mary Jo Bang

Almost seven hundred years ago Dante Alieghieri took us on a terrifying and mesmerizing journey through the nine circles of hell. He could never have predicted that today, in that same poem, the sin of gluttony would be represented by the South Park Character Eric Cartman. This isn’t a joke, but a way of modernizing Dante’s epic, and of showing that it still speaks to us as a serious work of art. On this episode of WHY?, we’re going to take our own journey, not through hell, but through the nature and limits of poetry, of what it means, and how it speaks to us Continue reading “The Philosophy of Poetry” with Mary Jo Bang

“The Public Philosophy Experiment” Guest Clay Jenkinson interviews host Jack Russell Weinstein

The next episode of Why? is a special one–our 50th–and to celebrate we’re changing things around. Our most frequent guest Clay Jenkinson interviews host Jack Russell Weinstein. That’s right, after almost four years of asking other people about their research, it’s his turn on the hot seat. So tune in for a s spirited and spontaneous discussion. Continue reading “The Public Philosophy Experiment” Guest Clay Jenkinson interviews host Jack Russell Weinstein

“Is Ghostwriting Ethical?” with Deborah Brandt

Everyday, politicians publish books telling the stories of their lives and their political views. But more often than not these “autobiographies” are written by ghost writers, unnamed people who imitate the voice of the author for money and a brief acknowledgement in the introduction. Is this lying? Is this ethical? Should it diminish the politician’s credibility. Join WHY? as we examine this complicated issue with one of America’s foremost experts on literacy and its connection to politics. Continue reading “Is Ghostwriting Ethical?” with Deborah Brandt

“Art and Philosophy” with Arthur C. Danto

What is art? What is beauty? How are they related to truth? These questions lay at the core of philosophical inquiry, and few have been more baffling – and more enriching – to philosophers. Combine these issues with the fact that art is an inherently intimate experience for viewers and you get the recipe for deep controversy and exciting debate. Join WHY? as we delve deep into aesthetics, the philosophy of art, with one of its most respected and influential practitioners: Arthur Danto. Continue reading “Art and Philosophy” with Arthur C. Danto

“Fiction as Philosophy” with Rebecca Goldstein

Philosophy tries to discover Truth, but more often than not it tells stories, relying on allegories, parables, and dialogues at key moments. What happens when a professional philosopher decides to embrace this method, and how does it affect the philosophy at the core of the story? Join WHY? as we interview Rebecca Goldstein, author of such novels as 36 Arguments for the Existence of God, The Mind-Body Problem, Mazel, and Strange Attractors. How do truth and fiction relate? How does one move back and forth from scholarly research to popular fiction, and, most of all, how does fiction relate to discovery? Continue reading “Fiction as Philosophy” with Rebecca Goldstein