Erratic Thinking was a radio show and podcast that each week discussed contemporary philosophical issues with prominent philosophers. It was broadcast in 2010, but there are plans to update the website and do a new series of the show in the future.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hegel and Nietzsche

For our last show we have possibly our most ambitious and difficult topic. Dr Dom Smith is joining me to discuss the contrasting thoughts and methods of two of the most important and influential thinkers in western philosophy; G. W. F Hegel and Friedrich Nietzsche. Both of these thinkers can be seen to be picking up the critical project that Kant started, but both in radically different ways. In his, notoriously convoluted, texts Hegel attempts to build up an understanding of reality that allows for dialectical progress towards the ends of absolute knowledge and a perfectly rational society. Nietzsche on the other hand in his much more poetic and comedic style attempts to undermine the whole schema of modern western society progressing towards a point. In order to get a grip on the two thinkers' ideas in our short show we compare there contrasting conceptions of the master/slave relation.

To listen to/download the show go to the following link:

Hegel and Nietzsche Show

So, that was the last show; thank you to everyone who listened, thank you to everyone who took part and thank you to the shows producer Max King.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Foucault and Power

Michel Foucault was one of the most important philosophers/social theorists of the twentieth century. In this weeks Erratic Thinking we will be discussing how he conceives of power relations within society; how he advocates a move away from a conception of power in terms of sovereignty to a conception of power as all pervasive and totalizing within society.

Joining me to discuss Foucaut's conception of power and how it impacts on other areas of philosophy and social theory is special guest presenter Ivan Korolev and Lecturer of Social History at Edinburgh University Dr Louise Jackson.

You can download/listen to the show by clicking on the link below:

Foucault and Power Show

If you want know any more about the subject Dr Jackson has kindly recommended the following reading:

Foucault, M. (1977) Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison

Foucault, M. (1980) 'The Eye of Power' in C. Gordon ed. Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writing by Michel Foucault

Foucault, M. (1978) The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1

Also if you have access to a University of Edinburgh 'EASE' account you might also find the following documetry on Fouacult's life interesting:

The Late Show: Michael Foucault: Beyond Good and Evil
(broadcast 29/06/93 at 23.15 - 23.55pm)

Ivan has also recommended this more lighthearted approach to thought on Foucault's life:

Kung Foucault

Next week is the last Erratic Thinking of the current series (and possibly ever); on it I will be comparing Hegel and Nietzsche's contrasting philosophical techniques and asking whether they start two irreconcilable methods of philosophy, joining me to discuss the issue will be Dr Dom Smith of Dundee University. If you have any questions for Dr Smith leave them below, if not you can listen live next Friday at 12 30 ( or download it, as always, from here.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Free Will and Neuroscience

On this weeks show we have Dr Tillmann Vierkant discussing the implications of Libet's famous and peculiar neuroscience experiment.

The experiment seemed to show that our brains instigate action before we consciously decide to act. If this is right it seems to show that our concious decisions actually have no power, and therefore, we do not have free will. If that doesn't sound right to you or it just confuses you listen to the show to find out more.

You can download the show by clicking on the title of this post or the link below:

Free Will and Neuroscience Show

Next week special guest presenter Ivan Korolev and I will be talking to Dr Louise Jackson about Foucault and his conception of power relations in society, if you have any questions for Dr Jackson leave them below.  You can listen live next Friday at 12 30 (, or download it, as always, from here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Aristotelian and Modern Virtue Ethics

"How should I live my life?" This is a question that many of us think to ourselves at some point. It was a question that the Ancient Greeks were obsessed with, and the field of Ethics has built up around it.

Aristotle thought an ethical life that of a virtuous person; this runs counter to our modern conception of ethics as centering on actions. Joining me this week to discuss Aristotelian Ethics and its modern form Virtue Ethics was Lecturer of Philosophy at Edinburgh and the Open Universities Dr Stephen Watt. You can download the episode here:

Virtue Ethics Show

If you would like to read any more about Virtue Ethics you can find Rosalind Hursthouse's Stanford Encyclopedia article on the subject here:

Virtue Ethics - Stanford Encyclopedia

And Richard Kraut's Stanford Encyclopedia article on Aristotle's Ethics here:

Aristotle's Ethics - Stanford Encyclopedia

Next week I will be talking to Dr Tillmann Vierkant about free will and the implications of modern neuroscience on how we conceive of it, if you have any questions for Dr Vierkant leave them below, if not you can listen live next Friday at 12 30 ( or download it as always from here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Extended Mind

Can the mind extend beyond the brain? Can our minds extend into some of the tools we use? The Extended Mind thesis thinks that in some cases it can.

With me to discuss the Extended Mind thesis this week was Prof Mike Wheeler (Stirling) and Dr Tom Roberts (Edinburgh). The show can be downloaded here:

The Extended Mind Show

Also if you would like any more information about the Extended Mind Mike has written brilliant paper "Defending Extended Functionalism":

Mike Wheeler - Defending Extended Functionalism

And a book, "Reconstructing the Cognitive World":

Mike Wheeler - Reconstructing the Cognitive World

Next week I will be talking to Dr Stephen Watt about ancient and modern virtue ethics, if you have any questions for Dr Watt leave them below, if not you can listen live next Friday at 12 30 ( or download it as always from here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Podcast Feed

If you click on the title to this post you'll go to the podcast feed that freshair have loving set up for us:

You can also click on the links above to go to the freshair websites of any of the episodes at any time.

Or you can go to the bottom this page and there you will find all the episodes.

Time Travel

Is time travel logically, ontologically and metaphysically possible. Is is some thing that scientists take seriously and is it something that we should take seriously.

For the first episode of Erratic Thinking I am joined by Dr Alasdair Richmond of Edinburgh University to discuss the philosophical implications of time travel. Click on the link below or the title of this post to download the episode.
Erratic Thinking - Time Travel

Thank you very much to Alasdair