Episode 102: Our Political-Epistemological Crisis (interview with Steven Nadler & Lawrence Shapiro)

Brendan and Andrew interview Steven Nadler and Lawrence Shapiro, philosophers at the University of Wisconsin—Madison and co-authors of When Bad Thinking Happens to Good People: How Philosophy Can Save Us from Ourselves. Steven and Lawrence discuss why multiple political crises we face today (election denial, anti-vaxx thinking, birtherism, and so on) induced them to write a book about bad thinking for the general public. They explain why they contend that bad thinking is often wrong, not only logically, but morally as well; why they nonetheless describe those who engage in it as “good people”; and why they uphold Socrates’ dictum that the “unexamined life is not worth living” as a model for today. They and the co-hosts discuss the “base-rate fallacy” and how conspiracy theorists fall prey to (or exploit) this error in reasoning. Later in the segment, the discussion turns to whether, and in what senses, crazy and demonstrably false things are widely “believed,” and whether believing things without sufficient evidence is always—not just often—morally wrong.

The episode’s current-events segment is on the Israel-Hamas war. Zack Beauchamp’s Benjamin Netanyahu failed Israel is cited.

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Brendan Cooney and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks. Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the co-hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI.

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October 21, 2023

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