“A Philosophy of Consulting” with Guest Bob Colleran

It seems like every business in the world uses consultants, but what do they really do and what makes one better than another? Are their overarching ethical standards that guide the industry or is the ultimate motivation profit? On this episode of Why? Radio we ask what makes a good consultant. We come face-to-face with the inherent conflict-of-interest in the industry, and examine the pros and cons of business education.Continue reading “A Philosophy of Consulting” with Guest Bob Colleran

“Is Free Speech worth it?” with guest Thane Rosenbaum

Free speech is probably the most valued and cited right in the U.S. Constitution, yet it faces a tremendous backlash from the younger generation. The Supreme Court has expanded free speech to include almost all forms of expression just as the internet makes it virtually impossible to distinguish truth from lies. And, as we face powerful protests from Black Lives Matter, white supremacists, and people who oppose wearing masks in public, we’re forced to ask, if one of these groups has the freedom to express themselves, must they all?Continue reading “Is Free Speech worth it?” with guest Thane Rosenbaum

“What’s it like to be a University President?” with guest John Ettling

Why? Radio host Jack Russell Weinstein has been a faculty member at the University of North Dakota for almost nineteen years, yet he can’t remember a single moment when the school has not been the subject of criticism or controversy. As he explains it, “I can’t imagine what it’s like to be the voice of the university in the face of this disagreement. I can’t fathom how it feels to have every word and gesture represent your institution, and not your own life and work.” Yet, this is exactly what this episode is inspiring people to do, imagine what it’s like to be in charge. So, join Jack and his guest, John Ettling, the recently-retired President of the State University of New York, Plattsburgh for a discussion about university leadership in the modern age. Continue reading “What’s it like to be a University President?” with guest John Ettling

“What does wellness mean and how do we get there?” with guest John Ratey

Our culture has shifted from talking about health to seeking wellness, but what does that entail? How should we understand what it means to be healthy holistically and what are the consequences for our culture’s commitment to the separation of mind and body? On this episode of Why? Radio, we examine wellness from a neurological perspective, looking at the relationship between exercise and brain activity, while also discovering what we can learn from prehistoric humans about how to heal ourselves.Continue reading “What does wellness mean and how do we get there?” with guest John Ratey

“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”

“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 There A Right to Education and Literacy?” with guest Derek W. Black

Is there a right to education? Do all students have a right to literacy and other basic knowledge, regardless of who they are or even how hard they work? And, do zero-tolerance policies undermine kids’ access to schools? Is suspending and expelling students violations of their rights, even with due process? These are the questions that focus this episode of Why? Radio. In it, we ask both whether there is a constitutional right to an education and whether there is a moral right to one.Continue reading “Is There A Right to Education and Literacy?” with guest Derek W. Black

“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

“Living Authentically in an Inauthentic Age” with guest Gordon Marino

One in six Americans take psychiatric drugs, yet the country is becoming less happy. As a people, we are angry, suspicious, and alienated, but we are not the first generation to feel this way. The existentialists got there first. On this episode of Why? Radio, we look at this 19th and 20th century philosophical movement to consider what its adherents might have to say about Facebook, happiness, and integrity. We consider the meaning of freedom, agency, success, and even boxing, to explore what it means to live full, honest lives in an age of social networks and materialism. Continue reading “Living Authentically in an Inauthentic Age” with guest Gordon Marino

“Equality and Dialogue in American High Schools” with Nel Noddings

If you believe the news, you would think that American children are stupid and that schools only make them worse. Is this true? And, more importantly, what should learning look like? Do we continue to teach a specialized and standardized program or can we find a more integrated way to teach students about home and family, their future occupation, and civic life, all at the same time? On this episode of Why?, we discuss the future of education and what High Schools can do to education the whole person. Continue reading “Equality and Dialogue in American High Schools” with Nel Noddings

“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

“Should there be a national standard for education?” with Michael Apple

Education in the United States has changed radically in the last twenty years – standardized tests and the new Common Core goals have changed the way students are taught. At the heart of the debate is a complex philosophical question: should there be national standards for education or should educational goals be determined on the local level? Does the federal government have the best idea of what students should learn, or do local school boards, towns, cities, and counties? Should politicians and policy makers determine standards, or should teachers and parents? On this episode we discuss the Common Core, the purpose and nature of education, necessary educational goals, and Michael Apple’s new book “Can Education Change Society?” Continue reading “Should there be a national standard for education?” with Michael Apple

“Reinventing Government: Twenty Years Later” David Osborne

The American Government is a large. Many claim it is also slow to move and wasteful. In 1993, the book Reinventing Government took this monolith as its target and offered up a way to change it, to make government nimble, responsive, and efficient. In doing so, it brought the ideas of privatization and entrepreneurship out of the business world and into Democratic public policy. The Clinton Administration was one of the books most enthusiastic supporters and Vice President Gore spearheaded a reinventing government commission. On this episode, we revisit that book to ask about its solutions and its legacy. Continue reading “Reinventing Government: Twenty Years Later” David Osborne

“The NCAA and its Universities” with Taylor Branch

The college sports industry is worth fifty to seventy billion dollars annually and is governed by a single organization, the National Collegiate Athletics Association. What happens if they’re not fair? What happens if there are deep systematic problems that no one has the power to fix and they won’t budge? Taylor Branch noted civil-rights historian, claims that the NCAA is immoral, that it’s racist, and that it has, the “unmistakable whiff of plantation on it.” On this episode of WHY? we’ll talk about the philosophy of college sports and the controversial agency that governs how college athletes live their lives. Continue reading “The NCAA and its Universities” with Taylor Branch

“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

“WHY? Goes to China: The View from a Private High School” with Yuyan Liu

Is Chinese education a mindless brainwashing free of critical thinking or is it a modern, pragmatic, well-rounded experience preparing world leaders for the future? Is it a single-monolithic entity treating all citizens alike, or is it more like America where people can choose their own way? Join WHY? and our guest Dr. Yuyan Liu, principal of the Camford Royal School in Beijing, China, as we look at Chinese education from the perspective of the reformer.Continue reading “WHY? Goes to China: The View from a Private High School” with Yuyan Liu

“Lies My Teacher Told Me” with James W. Loewen

In 1995, James Lowen published Lies My Teacher Told Me, a powerful critique of how American history is taught in schools. He surveyed twelve leading textbooks and found, in his words, ”an embarrassing amalgam of bland optimism, blind patriotism, and misinformation pure and simple, weighing in at an average of four-and-a-half pounds and 888 pages.” His book won the American Book Award, the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship, and the AESA Critics’ Choice Award. The book has sold over 1,250,000 copies. Continue reading “Lies My Teacher Told Me” with James W. Loewen

“Teaching Philosophy for Children” with Maughn Gregory

How young can children learn philosophy? How should it be taught in the schools? What does philosophy offer that other curricula do not? For decades, the international movement known as “philosophy for children” has had tremendous success teaching in both public and private schools. Emphasizing moral education, critical thinking, and concept development, P4C, as it is know, has inspired even the youngest children to speak out in class, think about the most difficult subjects, and come to their own conclusions about controversial issues. Join WHY? as we examine this fascinating topic and ask whether a subject like philosophy is compatible with schooling built on standardized testing. Continue reading “Teaching Philosophy for Children” with Maughn Gregory

“The Profession of Philosophy Redux” with Brian Leiter

Brian Leiter joined Why? in April but technical difficulties prevented us have having anything but a short conversation. In this episode, he generously returns to try again.
What is the difference between a philosopher and a philosophy professor? What does the world think a philosopher is and how does this square with the philosopher’s own self-image? The next episode of Why? looks closely at the philosopher’s job, exploring both the perennial question of its relevance and the tremendously competitive hiring process that almost every professional philosopher must endure. Join guest Brian Leiter for an insider’s look at the profession of philosophy, and a discussion about the future of the discipline: where is philosophy now, how has it changed, and how will it evolve over the next decades? Continue reading “The Profession of Philosophy Redux” with Brian Leiter

“Ideology and Curriculum: 30 Years of a Discussion” with Michael W. Apple

What political and economic forces affect teachers as they write their lesson plans? How does socialization create the kind of education we give our children? Why isn’t school politically neutral? In our next episode of Why? we will ask these questions and more, focusing on Michal Apple’s influential book Ideology and Curriculum. For thirty years, the book has challenge educators, directed policy conversations, and inspired those who want to think differently about schools and their roles in a democracy. Continue reading “Ideology and Curriculum: 30 Years of a Discussion” with Michael W. Apple

“What is Critical Thinking?” with Harvey Siegel

Is it ever possible to actually persuade anybody? How do we best critically analyze our own opinions? Is human rationality really that which lies at our decision making process? Is there a right answer and how do modern diversity considerations interfere with arguments seeking the Truth? These questions mark only the beginning of discussions regarding critical thinking and the role of informal logic in people’s day to day life. Join Harvey Siegel for a discussion on how people think, whether thinking skills can actually be improved, and coping with relativism in an argument. Continue reading “What is Critical Thinking?” with Harvey Siegel

“Justice, Caring, and the Mentally Disabled” with Eva Feder Kittay

Modern political philosophy has argued that justice requires full equality for those who can both carry the burdens and get the benefits from participating in social cooperation. But what about those who cannot fulfill these obligations because of limited mental capacities? Are these people still due justice, and if so, what sort of equality could we expect to grant them? In other words, what do we owe to those among us who are not capable of participating in society in typical ways because of their cognitive limitations? These and other questions will focus the discussion with Eva Kittay, author of the highly influential book Love’s Labor: Essays on Women, Equality, and Dependency. Does justice presuppose participation, and what happens when we shift the obligation from duty to caring for others? This discussion will get to the core of what we believe we owe others and what it means to live in a society where difference means more than just religious, ethnic, or political difference. It goes to the heart of what it means to be human in society. Continue reading “Justice, Caring, and the Mentally Disabled” with Eva Feder Kittay