Fifteen years of thoughtful, non-adversarial, accessible, and welcoming philosophy.

Sometimes it feels like there isn’t any intelligent debate left in the world. All we hear is fighting: irresponsible, loud-mouthed partisanship disguised as information. For 2500 years, philosophers have tried to cut through the rhetoric, the infighting, and the abuse, but they forgot that everyone doesn’t speak in the same technicalities.

It’s time for accessible and fun philosophy. It’s time for Why? Philosophical Discussions About Everyday Life.

Join us each month as we engage in philosophical discussions about the most commonplace topics. From explorations of hunting to discussions about domestic violence, from classic works of art to the most cutting-edge digital media, from the American prairie to the heart of post-communist Romania, Why? Radio takes you on a journey through the great questions, the puzzling answers, and the deepest recesses of your mind.

We’re not just a podcast. We’re part of National Public Radio, so you know we have the highest standards and have earned our reputation.

Why? Radio is a partnership between Prairie Public Radio and The University of North Dakota’s College of Arts & Sciences. Our mission is to entertain while we inform and educate. Our host and guests translates even the most obscure philosophy into a language that anyone can understand. We want to convince all of our listeners that philosophy is relevant to our daily lives and that everyone is doing philosophy all the time, most people just don’t know it.

Our host

Host Dr. Jack Russell Weinstein is a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and the Director of the Institute for Philosophy in Public Life at the University of North Dakota. He is an award winning teacher, author of three books and dozens of academic and popular articles, and has edited six collections for both academics and general audiences. He is an amateur triathlete and a hobbyist baker.

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Our latest episode:

“Why do we Dehumanize People? with guest David Livingstone Smith

The history of humanity is an endless cycle of identifying us versus them: of violence between people who look down on one another as subhuman and monsters; of not just killing, but brutalizing, maiming and massacring in the name of superiority. On this episode, we explore the philosophical foundations of this phenomenon and its roots in culture, ideology, psychology, and history. We ask who makes these monsters and how they are made.

“Easily the Best I’ve encountered ★★★★★

The only problem with this podcast is that there are not enough of them. Jack Russell Weinstein is first, brilliant and second, as unbiased as a human could be. The problem i have with nearly every other philosophy podcast is the systemic negativity. I understand it is in a philosophers blood to find the failings of any affirmative position, but it gets tiring when hosts don’t even attempt to present the position being torn down fairly. J.R.W. will argue brilliantly for one side as he inhales then exhales, just as brilliantly the opposing position; all the while keeping in mind the whole point of the podcast, which is to answer the question ‘why?’”

Veritruviann iTunes. 6/4/2016

“Great Show About Ideas ★★★★★

At first glance, I wouldn’t think a public radio show about philosophical ideas would make it. I say this and I’m a philosopher by trade. Jack Weinstein makes it work wot a great combination of good guests, interesting topics, and great conversation. One of the marks of a great conversation is that you don’t usually notice the wheels turning. Good conversations can sound easy and effortless, but they take really good listening and thoughtfulness. Three thumbs up for this show, and I’m glad a show like this really can make it in the United States. Wahoo for Why?”

Tony Cunningham
iTunes Review, 6/9/2016

The Best Philosophy Podcast★★★★★

I’ve listened to a lot of philosophy podcasts, but this one takes the cake. Jack does an outstanding job at facilitating fascinating conversations while still being accessible and easily digestible. The guests are always a delight, and you can tell that everyone is invested in the project. Highly recommend for anyone that’s intellectually curious and wants to hear genuine conversations between genuine people! <3

— Anna478,
iTunes, 9/23/20


Open to anyone of any age. Just bring your curiosity.

Philsophical Currents: A Philosopher’s Exploration of This Month’s Most Intriguing News Stories:

“Justice: Historical and Personal Experiences”

A North Dakota representative is accused of sex tourism. How can his reputation recover if he is found innocent and how can his victim recover if he actually did it? These two questions start Jack and Ashley on a philosophical exploration of the many meanings of Justice. What do we mean by Justice, capital J and how does it differ from the justice system? Can the justice system stand alone? These and other questions feature prominently in this month’s Philosophical Currents.