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Very Bad Wizards

Brought to you by, Tamler Sommers & David Pizarro

https://skillpiper.com/share/557975157

Very Bad Wizards

Very Bad Wizards is a podcast featuring a philosopher (Tamler Sommers) and a psychologist (David Pizarro), who share a love for ethics, pop culture, and cognitive science, and who have a marked inability to distinguish sacred from profane. Each podcast includes discussions of moral philosophy, recent work on moral psychology and neuroscience, and the overlap between the two.

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Recent Episodes of Very Bad Wizards


Episode 285: On Culture and Agriculture

Episode 285: On Culture and Agriculture

It’s an old-school episode as David and Tamler dive into some intriguing research on the origins of cultural differences. Two neighboring communities in communist China were assigned to be wheat farmers and rice farmers. Seventy years later, the people in the rice farming communities showed signs of being more collectivist, relational, and holistic than the people in the wheat farming communities. Plus, we have some questions about a new study on censorship and self-censorship among social psychologists.

Links:

Clark CJ, Fjeldmark M, Lu L, Baumeister RF, Ceci S, Frey K, Miller G, Reilly W, Tice...

Episode 285 28 May 2024 1h, 25m and 44s


Episode 284: Reel Choices

Episode 284: Reel Choices

David and Tamler choose an episode topic that will define the identity and meaning of the Very Bad Wizards podcast going forward – our top 3 existentialist movies. Plus, you’re gonna be shocked to hear this, you might want to sit down, but there has been surprisingly little research on the metaphysics of puns. We look at a recent paper that remedies this appalling gap in the literature – and maybe the biggest surprise of all, Tamler has some nice things to say about it.

Episode 284 15 May 2024 1h, 22m and 34s


Episode 283: When Elephants Podcast

Episode 283: When Elephants Podcast

David and Tamler talk about Caitrin Keiper’s wonderful sprawling essay on elephant life and society and the many philosophical questions surrounding these extraordinary creatures. What kind of mental states can we attribute to them? Do they have a kind of language? Are they moral? What are our moral duties to them? What accounts for the long-standing taboo against ‘anthropomorphizing’ elephants and other complex non-human animals? And lots more.

Plus, a new segment “there should be a German word for this” - we come up with new German words for common phenomena or experiences. And a big announcement...

Episode 283 30 April 2024 1h, 23m and 53s


Episode 282: Fearful Symmetry (Borges' "Death and the Compass")

Episode 282: Fearful Symmetry (Borges' "Death and the Compass")

A Rabbi is found dead in a hotel room, stabbed in the chest. The room is filled with Kabbalah texts and a single page in an typewriter that reads “The first letter of the name has been written.” The celebrated detective and “reasoning machine” Erik Lönnrot suspects a rabbinical explanation but is he seeing patterns that may not be there? David and Tamler get out their pipes, magnifying glasses, and deerstalker hats to unravel another Borges mystery: “Death and the Compass.”

Plus a new study on why men make errors about whether women are flirting with them, the latest in...

Episode 282 16 April 2024 1h, 25m and 12s


Episode 281: Choose Your Fighter

Episode 281: Choose Your Fighter

We dig into the biggest rivalry in Tamler’s profession, analytic vs. continental philosophy. Are analytic philosophers truly the rigorous, precise, clear thinkers they take themselves to be? And is continental philosophy really just a bunch pretentious charlatans spouting French and German gibberish and writing obscure prose to mask the incoherence of their ideas? We look at a nice paper by Neil Levy that goes beyond the stereotypes and tries to describe and explain the differences between the two schools.

Plus, The University of Austin (sic) is back in the news and we have a report from someone wh...

Episode 281 26 March 2024 1h, 22m and 42s


Episode 280: Mad Masque (with Phil Ford and J.F. Martel)

Episode 280: Mad Masque (with Phil Ford and J.F. Martel)

Phil Ford and J.F. Martel from the great "Weird Studies" podcast join us for a whirling discussion of Edgar Allan Poe’s mesmerizing tale of decadence and disease “The Masque of the Red Death." We also talk about weird fiction more generally, why it’s so suited to the short story genre, how it creates a mood that drips and bursts from the seam of the page.

Plus David and Tamler in the opening segment talk about Aella’s data-driven, chart and graph filled birthday orgy. Is she the sex symbol for our times?

Links: 

Episode 280 12 March 2024 1h, 39m and 37s


Episode 279: The Greenhouses We Burned Along the Way (Lee Chang-dong's "Burning" Pt. 2)

Episode 279: The Greenhouses We Burned Along the Way (Lee Chang-dong's "Burning" Pt. 2)

David and Tamler conclude their discussion of Lee Chang-dong’s "Burning" – we talk about the hunger dance at twilight, Ben’s greenhouse burning habit, Shin Hae-mi’s mysterious disappearance, Lee Jong-su’s clumsy and doomed quest to find out what really happened, and what to make of that final scene. Plus we choose the finalists for our Patreon listener selected episode.

Episode 279 27 February 2024 1h, 9m and 58s


Episode 278: Schrödinger's Everything (Lee Chang-dong's "Burning" Pt. 1)

Episode 278: Schrödinger's Everything (Lee Chang-dong's "Burning" Pt. 1)

David and Tamler fall under the spell of Lee Chang-dong’s 2018 masterpiece Burning, a movie where nothing is what it seems, or maybe it is. An alienated young man meets what seems like his dream girl from his small town, but she’s about to leave for Africa. Will he take care of her cat? Is there a cat? When she comes back she’s attached (maybe) to a slick rich guy played by Steven Yeun and then she disappears. What happened? What’s real and what’s a pantomime? Adapted from a Murakami short story that’s adapted from a Faulkner sho...

Episode 278 13 February 2024 1h, 32m and 17s


Episode 277: The Merits of Buggery (Nagel's "Sexual Perversion")

Episode 277: The Merits of Buggery (Nagel's "Sexual Perversion")

David and Tamler play the old hits – Thomas Nagel and sex robots. In the main segment we talk about Nagel’s essay “Sexual Perversion”, a surprising essay on many fronts (Sartre, erotic fiction, conceptual analysis, much more). What’s the nature of sexual desires? Can we say that some sexual interactions are perversions? Which ones? Can we have a perverse form of a hunger? Plus, a new study examines attitudes about sexual assault by probing for intuitions on assaulting sex robots. It gets more confusing from there.

Links:

Grigoreva, A. D., Rottman, J., & Tasimi, A. (2024). When does...

Episode 30 January 2024 1h, 35m and 32s


Episode 276: Attention Please

Episode 276: Attention Please

David and Tamler are back for the new year and one of our resolutions was to do more episodes on William James. Today we talk about his account of ‘Attention’ from his 1890 volume The Principles of Psychology – another remarkably prescient chapter that still feels more than relevant today. What is attention and how does it function in the mind? What accounts for the different ways that we attend to things? Does attention help to shape or construct our reality? What is attention’s connection to the will? Does James anticipate predictive coding theory?

Plus we discuss the removal o...

Episode 276 16 January 2024 1h, 27m and 24s

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