“How do Philosophers Talk About Sex, Love, and Desire?” with guest Sarah LaChance Adams

Discussing sex can be quite difficult, even embarrassing, but philosophers have been doing it for thousands of years. We love questioning how culture and biology combine to establish what’s normal, and examining the various justifications for transgression. Now, with mainstream acknowledgment of pornography, marginalized sexual identities and orientations, and newfound openness to kinky play, it’sContinue reading “How do Philosophers Talk About Sex, Love, and Desire?” with guest Sarah LaChance Adams

Danielle LaSusa

“A Philosophy of Motherhood” with Guest Danielle Lasusa

Motherhood. It seems both complicated and simple. The most natural thing in the world, but also the biggest responsibility one can imagine. The history of philosophy has largely ignored motherhood, so where does one start, and what does it look like under a philosophical lens? Can a philosopher help coach and guide mothers in their journeys? Can they work together to find meaning and commonality in the more difficult aspects of parenting?Continue reading “A Philosophy of Motherhood” with Guest Danielle Lasusa

“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

“Feminism as Philosophy, Politics, and Friendship” with guests Gloria Steinem and Suzanne Braun Levine

It is Why? Radio’s 100th episode; a powerful milestone for a monthly show. To help us celebrate, we are joined by writers, activists, and feminist icons Gloria Steinem and Suzanne Braun Levine. As the founder and the first editor of Ms. Magazine, Gloria and Suzanne left an indelible mark on the American consciousness, but they weren’t with stopping there. They have spent almost a half century fighting for political, social, and even philosophical equality, and did so as friends with a joint mission.Continue reading “Feminism as Philosophy, Politics, and Friendship” with guests Gloria Steinem and Suzanne Braun Levine

“Philosophy and Disability” with Anita Silvers

In 2003 there was a fire at a Russian boarding school, 28 deaf children were killed. In a published analysis, two philosophers claimed that it was their deafness that caused their death. They had to be woken up individually and they couldn’t hear instructions to run. The rest was inevitable. Anita Silvers not only takes issue with this interpretation, but describes this analysis as emblematic of everything wrong about our thinking on disability. On this episode of Why? we talk with her about the philosophical errors in our discussions about the disabled and how to learn from these mistakes.Continue reading “Philosophy and Disability” with Anita Silvers

“Women and Men: Talking, Arguing, Loving, and Politicking” with guest Deborah Tannen

Sixteen years ago, Deborah Tannen published the bestselling You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, a book that ushered in a very public face to a prolific scholarly career. Her work on gender and communication has expanded to focus on romantic and work life, relations between mothers and daughters, siblings, and the role of argument in talking, all through the lens of gender. On this episode of Why? we look at her work over the last couple of decades and explore what it can tell us about our lives, our relationships, and our politics.Continue reading “Women and Men: Talking, Arguing, Loving, and Politicking” with guest Deborah Tannen

“Should Prostitution Be Legal?” with Peter de Marneffe

We can all agree that forced prostitution is morally repugnant, but does it become more acceptable when it is voluntary? Many countries have legalized prostitution and many people think that the freedom to do what one wants with one’s own body should include the freedom to sell sex. But many others don’t, suggesting that no one can consent to sell their body, no matter how it might seem. Join Why? Radio for this controversial and interesting discussion.
Continue reading “Should Prostitution Be Legal?” with Peter de Marneffe

“A Secular Theory of Evil” with Claudia Card

Years ago, Alan Bloom wrote that Hitler was the worst thing that ever happened to ethics classes, because when philosophers asked their students for an example of evil, they would just say “Hitler” and never actually have to think about the question. He may have had a point. We all use the word evil as if we know what it means, and more often than not, we use it in a religious context. On this episode of WHY? we’ll examine the concept of evil and ask, not just what how to define it, but how we think about it as philosophers and outside religion. Continue reading “A Secular Theory of Evil” with Claudia Card

“WHY? Goes to China: Young, Female, and Upwardly Mobile in Shanghai.” with Catherine Gao and Sheryl Jiang

Catherine and Sheryl are in the early twenties, studying at a major university, and are ready to take on the world. They are two Chinese women with every opportunity in the world, and they, like everyone their age, want to know how to proceed. How does it feel to be the hope of a nation, the first generation to experience economic security and freedom of movement? Join WHY? as we ask what it’s like to grow up amidst the fastest changes in Chinese history.Continue reading “WHY? Goes to China: Young, Female, and Upwardly Mobile in Shanghai.” with Catherine Gao and Sheryl Jiang

“Should the Government Care About You?” with Virgina Held

Does the government have the responsibility to care about its citizens? Does it have an obligation to think of each of us as people, as individuals, and not just as interchangeable? Join WHY? as we talk with influential and ground-breaking philosopher Virginia Held about the ethics of care and how her approach change the way we think about the government, the law, and justice itself. Continue reading “Should the Government Care About You?” with Virgina Held

“Marriage and the Family” Stephanie Coontz

Is the “traditional” marriage between one man and one woman really the most preferred form of marriage? History suggests it is not. In addition to polygamy (the most valued, historically), there is also polyandry (one woman, many husbands), ghost marriages, “female husbands,” and many others, and almost none of them had anything to do with love. Join WHY? as we talk with Stephanie Coontz about her research on the history of marriage, family, and the moral systems that justify the choices. Continue reading “Marriage and the Family” Stephanie Coontz

“In A Different Voice and After” with Carol Gilligan

Do men think differently than women? Is moral reasoning inherently male? Is psychology biased against relationships and the women who value them? Thirty years ago, Carol Gilligan asked these questions and shook the foundations of philosophy, psychology, and feminism. This month on WHY?, we revisit Gilligan’s classic study In A Different Voice and ask whether her answers still hold true. How was the classic text received? How is it viewed now? And, what does it (and Gilligan) still have to teach us? Join us for a challenging and important conversation that may be as powerful today as it was when the book was first released. Continue reading “In A Different Voice and After” with Carol Gilligan

“Domestic Violence and the Law: China vs. the U.S.A.” with Robin Runge

In March of 2010, Robin Runge traveled to Beijing to train Chinese judges to better deal with issues of domestic violence in the law; this was her second such visit. In comparing the Chinese and American systems, she has able to see those areas in which American law better responds to the needs of the community and those areas in which the Chinese system does. In this episode of Why? we will discuss her experiences and address central questions in the philosophy of law. What counts as evidence? How ought the court deal with a he said/she said situation? In what ways can judges work with the police to promote better investigations? How do cultural differences affect legal frameworks, and to what extent is domestic violence a violation of human rights? Continue reading “Domestic Violence and the Law: China vs. the U.S.A.” with Robin Runge

“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