E20 The Philosophy of Time Travel

Causal loops, the grandfather paradox, closed timelike curves, and much more!

Back to the Future, Interstellar, The Terminator - we've all been guilty of enjoying a good time travel flick at one point or another. But more recently, time travel has been taken out of Hollywood and placed under the inquisitive philosophers' lens. Stepping beyond science fiction and fantasy, philosophers have uncovered a hidden trove of tantalising thought experiments and mind-bending paradoxes.

Tune into this episode to learn about causal loops, the Grandfather Paradox, closed timelike curves, and to investigate whether time travel really is a possibility.

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E19 Peter Singer on Morality, Meaning, and Cancel Culture

A special guest appearance from "the most influential ethicist alive"

Peter Singer is an Australian philosopher who has dedicated his life and his career to reducing the suffering of animals and tackling global poverty. In 2005 Singer was listed as one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People, and by 2014 Singer had encouraged more than 17,000 people to publicly pledge a percentage of their income to effective charities. Why, then, has Singer been derided as a 'Nazi', and spent decades facing protests and cancelled talks across the world?

In this special guest appearance, Peter and I will discuss the moral obligations that we face to give money to effective charities, the backlash that Peter has faced to his work, and the state of cancel culture in 2020. We'll also talk about Peter's recent research into the oldest novel ever written, and his support for the animal rights movement.

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E18 Life Extension: Cryonics and Mind Uploading

Who wants to live forever?

Ancient civilizations all across the world have spent centuries searching for the secret to immortality, launching quests to seek the elixir of life and the philosopher's stone. While their efforts proved unfruitful, advances in modern-day science are illuminating new and exciting pathways towards life-extension. But, as companies emerge pledging to raise the dead through cryonics and mind uploading, we find ourselves faced with fundamental philosophical questions regarding the nature of consciousness and the concept of personal identity. Tune in to dive deep into these philosophical mysteries and discover whether life extension is truly as enticing as it appears.

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E17 The Fermi Paradox

"The only thing that scares me more than aliens is the idea that there aren't any aliens"

According to scientists' best estimates, there are likely a great number of intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy, and many more throughout the rest of the observable universe. But if that's the case, where is everybody?

Maybe homo sapiens are the first of many intelligent civilizations that will one day explore the universe. Maybe intelligent life is more improbable than we'd thought. Or maybe aliens are really out there, but we haven't found them just yet.

Scientists and big thinkers have spent decades trying to get to the bottom of the Fermi Paradox, but they're yet to get to the bottom of this cosmic mystery. In this episode, we'll find out why many scientists predict that the universe is teeming with intelligent life, why we're still waiting for contact, and the ways in which our answers might radically alter the long-term prospects of the human race.

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E16 Why We Are Living Inside a Simulation and Why We Should Care

The blue pill or the red pill?

The idea that we are living inside a simulation used to be little more than the brainwave of pot-smoking teenagers and people who took The Matrix a bit too seriously. But since the early 2000s, the tide has started to change.

In 2003, Nick Bostrom published a paper arguing that if we accept a reasonable set of assumptions, we are almost certainly living in a simulation. To this day, philosophers and physicists alike have failed to find a good reason to reject this staggering conclusion. Could it really be the case that our universe is no more than code in the computer of some highly advanced civilization? And, if Bostrom is right, what effect might this discovery have upon our lives?

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E15 The Pessimism of Schopenhauer

The cause of suffering and the path to salvation

"Happiness lies always in the future, or else in the past, and the present may be compared to a small, dark cloud driven by the wind over the sunny plain; in front of and behind the cloud everything is bright, only it itself always casts a shadow. Consequently, the present is always inadequate, but the future uncertain, and the past irrecoverable.”

Schopenhauer paints a bleak, unforgiving picture of the human condition. Yet, Schopenhauer identifies a path away from the relentless suffering that consumes us all, and towards salvation. In this episode, we'll explore why Schopenhauer is so disillusioned by our very existence, and whether a better life is within our grasp.

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E14 Buddhism: Meditation and Mindfulness

Using meditation to open up the doors of perception

Meditation is sometimes thought to be a relaxation or an anti-stress technique - a get-out-of-jail-free card to play when you're not feeling your best. But that's just one small part of what meditation can do.

Last month, we saw how following the Buddhist path can lead us to Nirvana: a state beyond suffering and of pure contentment. In this episode, we'll explore how Vipassana meditation can be used to radically alter our worldview and discover the kinds of insights necessary for attaining Nirvana.

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E13 Buddhism: The Path to Nirvana

This episode has nothing to do with Kurt Cobain

Relative to our ancestors, we live in a very strange world. Food, sex, a holiday for 2 to Timbuktu - our every desire is available at the click of a button. But are we any happier than we were before?

Right at the other end of the spectrum, Buddhism offers us a path away from desire and towards contentment and tranquility. This episode will try to answer: how do Buddhists understand human nature? What is their alternative to the hedonic treadmill? And how can we attain Nirvana?

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E12 Anti-Natalism: Why Having Children Is Wrong

Better never to have been born at all?

Searching For It explores philosophies, ideas, and ways of life that can provide our lives with an overarching sense of purpose. But if anti-natalists had their way, we'd euthanize the human race as soon as possible because life is simply not worth living. In this episode, we'll investigate this provocative philosophy and try to understand why anti-natalists think it would be better never to have been born at all.

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E11 Sartre and Existentialism

Radical freedom, authenticity, and edgy Frenchmen in turtleneck sweaters

Communist, womanizer, and intellectual rebel: Jean-Paul Sartre wasn't just another grey, ageing philosopher, trudging his way through the academic establishment. Sartre was an existentialist, a fierce political campaigner, and he lived the philosophy he preached. In this episode, we'll be getting to grips with Sartre's brand of existentialism and discovering what it means to live as an authentic, radically free being.

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