Philosophy Talk


Hosted by John Perry and Ken Taylor

Guests: Emiliana Simon-Thomas and Larissa MacFarquhar

January 31, 2016 | Berkeley
Sunday 12pm & 3pm


“Philosophy Talk is as accessible as it is thoughtful…” — Los Angeles Times

“An American radio show, ‘Philosophy Talk,’ could teach British broadcasting a thing or two about quality intellectual debate…one of the great joys of American radio. It’s radio that knows how to talk.” — The Guardian UK

PHILOSOPHY TALK is a weekly, one-hour public radio series that originates from San Francisco’s KALW 91.7fm, Sunday mornings at 10am. With a down-to-earth, no nonsense approach, the program brings the richness of philosophic thought to everyday subjects. Topics are lofty (Truth, Beauty, Justice), arresting (Terrorism, Intelligent Design, Suicide), and engaging (Baseball, Love, Happiness). Not a lecture or a college course, it’s philosophy in action! Philosophy Talk gives its audience the opportunity to explore issues of importance in a thoughtful, friendly fashion where thinking is encouraged.

12:00pm – “The Science of Happiness” with Emiliana Simon Thomas
Positive psychology is an emerging science that investigates the qualities, attitudes, and practices that enable people to thrive and be happy. So what does this research reveal about human happiness? Are some of us just born with happier dispositions than others? How (if at all) do health, wealth, family relations, and community ties affect our happiness? Do happy people have a better or worse grip on reality than unhappy people? And is happiness something really worth pursuing? John and Ken get happy (scientifically) with Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Science Director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

3:00pm – “Extreme Altruism” with Larissa MacFarguhar
We can all agree that helping others is great, a deed worth doing. But devoting too much to helping others — too much time, too many resources — may get you labelled an oddity, a freak. How much can morality demand of us? Is it good to live as moral a life as possible, or do we lose something — devotion to one’s family, for example — by adhering to extreme moral principles? Can somebody be both fully rational and also a saintly type? John and Ken lend a hand to New Yorker staff writer Larissa MacFarquhar, author of “Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help.”

Artist Biography

John Perry is Distinguished Professor of philosophy at the University of California at Riverside, and Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Stanford University. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and recipient of many honors and awards, including the Nicod and Humboldt Prizes. A popular lecturer, in 1990 he was awarded the Dinkelspiel Award for undergraduate teaching. He is the author of over 100 articles and books, including “A Dialogue on Personal identity” and “Immorality, Knowledge, Possibility, and Consciousness,” and “Reference and Reflexivity.” He also has the internet’s most popular essay on procrastination.

Ken Taylor is the current Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University. He is also director of Stanford’s interdisciplinary program in Symbolic Systems. His work lies at the intersection of the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind, with an occasional foray into the history of philosophy. He is the author of many books and articles, including “Truth and meaning, reference and the Rational Mind,” and the forthcoming “Referring to the World.” He is hard at work on his magnum opus book long in the making called “A Natural History of Normativity,” which he reduces all things normative to something merely natural.

Show Info

Tickets: Open Seating $15 in advance | $20 at the door | $50 and $100 Reserved Seating
Sunday, January 31, 2016 at 12pm and 3pm
75 minutes |No intermission | No age limit
Please do not bring infants to the show

For more information on the sliding scale ticketing policy, late seating and reserved seating please click here.