Find Christoph on Twitter @Halalcoholism https://twitter.com/Halalcoholism?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
Johnathan Haidt on the podcast. https://www.stitcher.com/show/tea-for-two-with-iona-italia-and-helen-pluckrose/episode/06-jonathan-haidt-and-greg-lukianoff-the-coddling-of-the-american-mind-57029667
The Rise of Victimhood Culture by Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning. https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/9783319703282?gC=5a105e8b&gclid=CjwKCAiA3KefBhByEiwAi2LDHCYRp7wprYJObCLEvQSjckvGmR1-nEU52lW-n-_j6kurXNE3JhvSfRoCOcoQAvD_BwE
Campbell and Manning on the podcast. https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/04-bradley-campbell-and-jason-manning-victimhood-culture/id1417717946?i=1000421234132
Tomiwa Owolade in Unherd. https://unherd.com/2022/05/black-british-lives-dont-matter/
01.06 Introduction. Some descriptions of Christoph from Twitter. Iona and Christoph discuss how he moved from blogging, via Facebook to Twitter.
22.02 How online culture functions and the way in which extreme views can be the most visible.
25.23 Iona discusses her own behavior on Twitter and our impulse to protect our reputations.
40.10 Is “woke” still a useful term? Victimhood culture and the idea that disagreement is harmful.
52.12 How both the right and left wing behave online. The left’s obsession with managing speech instead of addressing more complex, meaningful problems.
1:00:01 Class, including the way it relates to Indian nationalism and the caste system. How the left is eating itself instead of fighting common enemies. The American-centric nature of online discourse. Modern British leftist distaste for the white working class.
1:15:20 How “woke” can get in the way of more meaningful change.
1:25:02 What are the positives of Twitter? Some iconic tweets.
1:33:30 Thanks and outro.
Sound engineering: Justin Ward
Shownotes: Nicola Muir
Riding Out the Media Storm: Claire Lehmann
Claire’s writing for Quillette: https://quillette.com/author/clairelehmann/
And for The Australian: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/author/claire-lehmann
Eoin Lenihan on Antifa: https://quillette.com/2019/05/29/its-not-your-imagination-the-journalists-writing-about-antifa-are-often-their-cheerleaders/
On the Weinsteins and Ivermectin: https://quillette.com/2022/03/22/on-darkhorse-ivermectin-and-vaccine-hesitancy/
Iona’s Substack: https://drionaitalia.substack.com/
Information on contributing to Quillette: https://quillette.com/contribute/
1:20 Introductions. Claire’s background studying forensic psychology and why she left academic life and founded Quillette.
5:12 The psychology of political views.
10:10 Quillette’s place in the political landscape. The publication’s most controversial pieces; Antifa, Ivermectin, the heritability of intelligence.
21:35 What happened to the Intellectual Dark Web?
30.28 The capture of the heterodox sphere by American culture and politics. How and why Australia, the UK and Canada differ from the US.
41:35 Claire’s pushback against the use of Australia’s covid policies as a political football in the American culture war.
47:22 Quillette’s controversial reporting on the role of genetics and intelligence.
53:52 Claire’s admiration of Paglia and critiques of post-structuralism.
57.12 The positives and negatives of Substack.
1:02:00 Claire’s decision to leave Twitter and how that has benefited her.
1:05:22 Summing up and outro.
Sound engineering by Justin Ward.
Shownotes by Nicola Muir.
Kat’s latest novel, You Must Remember This, from Harper Collins.
The novel will be released in the UK on the 2 March 2023 and can be pre-ordered here:
Kat’s website https://katrosenfield.com/
Kat’s novels available here https://katrosenfield.com/books/
Kat’s writing from Unherd https://unherd.com/author/kat-rosenfield/ and for Spectator World https://thespectator.com/author/kat-rosenfield/
Feminine Chaos podcast https://femchaospod.substack.com/
Iona’s guest appearance on Feminine Chaos https://femchaospod.substack.com/p/mad-about-the-boys#details
Kat’s previous appearances on Two For Tea:
The writer Rebeca Christiansen at Areo https://areomagazine.com/author/rachristiansen/ and her appearance on the podcast: https://soundcloud.com/twoforteapodcast/86-rebecca-christiansen-making-mayhem
00:00 Opening and introductions.
03.24 Iona reads a passage from Kat’s new novel.
15.14 Kat and Iona discuss what made Kat pivot to adult novels from her previous Young Adult titles. How Kat’s characters got older and their stories developed darker, more adult themes.
17.18 What led Kat to write for teenagers. Her work as a journalist for MTV and writing at the time of huge successes such as Twilight and The Hunger Games. She and Iona discuss what was available to younger readers in their own teens. The coming-of-age novels that felt more advisory than instructive, such as Judy Blume titles. Iona’s enjoyment of Austen, Tolkien, memoirs and diaries.
26.50 Iona and Kat talk about how women are drawn to reading and writing true crime and murder mystery. How murder mystery novels require the reader’s attention and allow us to experience danger at a safe distance.
36.00 The blandness and anachronism of some modern romance writing and screen writing.
38.00 The two timelines in Kat’s new novel; Miriam’s last Christmas, set in the present, and the other in her youth.
39.59 Iona reads a passage in which young Miriam plays hide and seek.
47.18 How Kat got into writing, 15 years ago.
49.08 Iona asks if the YA fiction scene became too restrictive in terms of social justice and the “own voices” movement. How YA publishing lends itself to moral panic. The way in which that can be misused for reasons of professional jealousy and how the phenomenon is hopefully on its way out.
55.00 Can reading be harmful? Kat relays a story of her own unpleasant experience reading Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. How conflating discomfort with harm shuts off the chance for growth and resilience.
1.03.24 Maine as a setting for Kat’s books. Her influences including Stephen King, Daphne Du Maurier and Shirley Jackson.
1.06.45 Thanks and outro.
Sound engineering by Justin Ward
Shownotes by Nicola Muir
Murder In Old Bombay. Captain Jim and Lady Diana Mysteries Book One. From Macmillan books. https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250269546/murderinoldbombay
And on audio https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Murder-in-Old-Bombay-Audiobook/1250775043?qid=1673616961&sr=1-2&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=c6e316b8-14da-418d-8f91-b3cad83c5183&pf_rd_r=YJ45A8E0Q4ZC1DX4Y7RN&pageLoadId=5U11lQEHJx2bK4W0&creativeId=41e85e98-10b8-40e2-907d-6b663f04a42d
Peril At the Exposition. Captain Jim and Lady Diana Mysteries Book Two. From MacMillan books https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250855046/perilattheexposition
And on audio https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Peril-at-the-Exposition-Audiobook/B09GC69JCB?qid=1673616961&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=c6e316b8-14da-418d-8f91-b3cad83c5183&pf_rd_r=YJ45A8E0Q4ZC1DX4Y7RN&pageLoadId=5U11lQEHJx2bK4W0&creativeId=41e85e98-10b8-40e2-907d-6b663f04a42dhttps://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250855060
The Spanish Diplomat’s Secret. Book Three in the series, to be released later this year:
Nev March’s website: https://nevmarch.com/
Follow Nev on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nevmarch
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NevMarch/
Nev’s previous appearance on the podcast https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/116-nev-march-murder-in-old-bombay/id1417717946?i=1000548023723
The Chicago World’s Fair legacy site https://worldsfairchicago1893.com/
John Mullan’s book on Dickens https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/artful-dickens-9781408866818/
John Mullan’s interview with Iona https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/136-john-mullan/id1417717946?i=1000587632804
Vaseem Khan’s website and books can be found at https://vaseemkhan.com/
1.01 Opening and introductions.
2.25 The Chicago World’s Fair 1893 as a setting for the novel. Nev describes how the events provide a background for the beginnings of the political polarization that we see today.
6.00 Iona alludes to the influences of writers such as Dickens and Wilkie Collins on the novels with additional reference to John Mullan’s work on Dickens.
14.08 Iona reads an excerpt from the book.
21.22 The real-life events featured in the book. The plight of poor and immigrant workers at the time and the complex morality of their employers in a precarious financial market. The way in which current situations across the world and within the USA itself are reflected in the challenges faced by the protagonists in the novel.
28.40 The immigrant experience in real life and for the protagonists, Diana and Jim.
32.55 Identity and belonging as separate. How the character Jim’s maturity is evident in this second novel when compared to the first.
44.06 Iona reads another passage.
47.51 Nev discusses her desire to portray Diana and Jim’s sex life through a historically accurate lens. The dangers of childbirth for women, both historically and in present day America and across the world.
57.20 How ahistorical representations of sexual relationships in novels and media produced today can be jarring. The way in which Jim’s background and experience as an illegitimate child informs his behavior around sex and demonstrates his moral character.
1.02.20 Nev’s third book of the series, The Spanish Diplomat’s Secret, will be released in Autumn / Winter 2023. This time, the couple will be on board a liner sailing across the Atlantic towards Liverpool.
1.07.02 Nev gives some advice for budding writers including reading a variety of genres and using lists to free up brain space, allowing room for joy in writing.
1.10.37 Final reading from Iona.
1.12.18 Thanks and outro.
Sound engineering by Justin Ward. Shownotes by Nicola Muir.
Podcast Notes: Alice DregerGeneral:The Index Case by Molly Macallen, the first novel in the Maddy Shanks series. Published on Lulu.Visit Alice’s website: https://alicedreger.com/ Follow:Follow Alice on Twitter https://twitter.com/AliceDreger?s=20&t=CDzQ-0LkFfFGhqph0trBOQArticles and books:Alice’s non-fiction books: https://alicedreger.com/books/Alice’s writing https://alicedreger.com/writing/References:Visiting Your Leg Alice’s essay on the politics of anatomy.One of Us Alice’s book on anatomy and political and social identity.Dr Oz can't afford me Alice’s essay on exploitation by the entertainment industry.Lavish Dwarf Entertainment Alice’s essay on the entertainment agency.The New England Journal of Medicine.Altered Carbon the novel by Richard Morgan.The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca SklootAlice's paper on the J Michael Bailey controversy. Alice and Colin Wright take part in a discussion about biological sex.Alice in Genderland by Richard Novic.Iona's essay on age gaps and relationships.Timestamps:00.00 Opening and introductions.4.17 Why a pseudonym for novel writing?7.56 The themes of the book.9.17 Alice reads the blurb from the novel.11.26 Iona reads an excerpt from the novel.16.46 Alice discusses how she and her protagonist’s areas of study echo each other; the politics of anatomy, how the body interacts with the world, the history of science and of medicine. How science has dealt with “interesting” bodies over the course of modern history.21.57 How power works in relationships between doctors and people with “interesting” bodies. Alice discusses how her non-fiction book One of Us addresses this, with reference to Eng and Chang Bunker, the original “Siamese twins”.26.58 Alice talks about the historical and contemporary exhibition of bodies; how some individuals are exhibited and exploited and how some with “unusual” bodies make money from their own bodies.30.13 Iona reads more. Alice discusses the shift of science away from storytelling to depersonalised, anonymised specimens.35.09 The New England Journal of Medicine as an outlier to this phenomenon. 36.55 Iona refers to Altered Carbon, the novel, and the ethical and philosophical questions about what it means to be a person and about bodily intergration.40.00 Iona and Alice talk about eugenics, disabilities and autism research and about anatomy and identity and what personhood is. How identity has changed over time away from the body and towards external signifiers. How this is explored in the novel. 43.16 Who has the right to use dead bodies? How the government may control bodies, eg: dying people isolated during the covid pandemic. 47.00 How the order of the books in the series came about. The Difficult Subject, book two, will be coming out soon. Themes around sexuality. 48.35 Alice’s enjoyment of fiction writing vs. enjoyment of non-fiction writing.51.13 Michael Bailey and his writing on autogynephilia and transgender identities. Do we have an innate sense of gender? Alice’s recent debate with Colin Wright. How The Difficult Subject relates to these themes.58.41 The unethical relationship in the novel. How power works in this relationship. Sex scenes and sexuality in the novels. 1.01.45 The abusive relationship in the series and Alice’s own experience. Controversy around the framing of trauma. 1.08.45 More on the development of the series. The Worst Thing will be book three. Reception of the first novel.1.15.00 Why self-publish? Published via Lulu.1.19.55 Summing up and outro.
137 - Akiva Cohen: The Great Chess Cheating Scandal by Iona Italia
Information about Rio:
Bi Foundation: https://www.bisexuality.org/
Queer Majority: https://www.queermajority.com/
Visit John’s academic webpage for more information on his publications:
John’s book ‘What Matters in Jane Austen: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved’:
Jane Austen’s books:
Iona’s Areo article ‘Writing Wrongs: Why Academics Write So Badly and How That Hurts Them’:
0:00 Opening and introduction, with some remarks on obscurity and lucidity in academic writing.
3:30 Austen as revolutionary literary stylist: Iona reads from John’s book on her.
8:15 Iona reads a passage from Austen’s ‘Persuasion’.
12:11 John discusses Austen’s techniques in this passage, particularly her innovation in creating free indirect style.
21:03 Iona reads the next couple of paragraphs of ‘Persuasion’; further discussion of Austen’s subtle techniques and themes follows.
30:20 The importance of male sexuality in Austen (“in want of a wife”).
38:46 Austen’s underrated comic genius.
47:00 More on Austen’s men: rakes, celibates, and premarital sex.
54:25 Marriage, sex, and finality in Austen (and marriage as permanent fate in literature more generally).
1:05:00 Idiolects and character in Austen (and the controversy over Austen on the ten pound note).
1:14:20 Austen’s writing is both very simple and richly complex.
1:18:31 The importance of “impossible!” in Austen.
1:19:21 John’s advice for re-reading Austen and some final reflections on her work.
1:23:11 Last words and outro.
GeneralVisit Brett’s website, where you can find his blog and much more:https://www.bretthall.org/Follow Brett on Twitter:https://twitter.com/TokteacherSubscribe to Brett’s YouTube channel:https://youtube.com/channel/UCmP5H2rF-ER33a58ZD5jCig?sub_confirmation=1ReferencesIona’s Substack essay, in which she previously described Brett as a philosopher—a description with which Brett disagreed:https://drionaitalia.substack.com/p/knots-gather-at-the-comb Karl Popper’s philosophy:https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/ Massimo Pigliucci’s Two for Tea appearance: https://m.soundcloud.com/twoforteapodcast/55-massimo-pigliucci David Deutsch’s ‘The Beginning of Infinity’:https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0143121359/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1658005291&sr=8-1 Daniel James Sharp’s Areo review of Ord’s ‘The Precipice’:https://areomagazine.com/2020/05/11/we-contain-multitudes-a-review-of-the-precipice-existential-risk-and-the-future-of-humanity-by-toby-ord/ David Hume and the problem of induction:https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/induction-problem/Natural selection and the Neo-Darwinian synthesis:https://www.britannica.com/science/neo-Darwinism Richard Dawkins’s ‘The Extended Selfish Gene’:https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01MYDYR6N/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1658008393&sr=8-3 Theory-ladenness:https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory-ladenness Ursula K. Le Guin’s ‘The Left Hand of Darkness’:https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1473221625/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1658010065&sr=8-1 The Popperian ‘paradox of tolerance’ cartoon:https://images.app.goo.gl/MEbujAKv2VSp1m4B8 For the Steven Pinker Two for Tea interview on ‘Rationality’, stay tuned to the Two for Tea podcast feed as it’s coming soon for public listening:https://m.soundcloud.com/twoforteapodcast Brett’s critique of Bayesianism:https://www.bretthall.org/bayesian-epistemology.html Brett on morality:https://www.bretthall.org/morality Steven Pinker’s book ‘Rationality’:https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0525561994/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1658012700&sr=8-1 Timestamps00:00 Opening and introduction. What, exactly, is Brett? What does he do?4:58 Free speech and Popperian thought (and what is Popperian thought, anyway?).12:24 Brett’s view on existential risk and the future; how he differs from the likes of Martin Rees and Toby Ord.22:38 How can we overcome ‘acts of God’? (With reference to Iona’s syphilitic friend.) The dangers of the unknown and the necessity of progress.26:50 The unpredictability of the nature of problems, with reference to fear of nuclear war and nuclear energy. The nature and history of problem solving, particularly as regards energy. 37:02 The Popperian/Deutschian theory of knowledge—guesswork, creativity, and the reduction of error.46:50 William Paley’s watch, Darwinism, selfish genes, and the embedding of knowledge into reality.54:15 On theory-ladenness, the necessity of error correction, the power of science, and the impossibility of a final theory—all is approximation and continual improvement. 1:01:10 The nature of good explanations, with reference to the invocation of gods vs scientific accounts and the nature of the atom. 1:07:24 How the principle of the difficulty of variability is important in art as well as science, with reference to Ursula K. Le Guin’s ‘The Left Hand of Darkness.’ ‘Aha’ vs ‘what the fuck?’ surprise. 1:15:30 The nature of critical thinking and Brett on education: the misconceptions inherent in the current fashion for teaching critical thinking. 1:26:10 A question for Brett from Twitter: what did Popper really think about tolerance and intolerance (see the famous cartoon on the paradox of tolerance)?1:36:24 Is there anything else Brett would like to add?
Visit Richard’s website to find out more about him and how to buy his books, including the main subject of this conversation, Richard’s award-winning 2002 novel ‘Altered Carbon’:
Ewan Morrison’s Areo article ‘Why We Must Walk Away from Omelas: The Problem with Utopias’:
0:00 Opening and introduction (and a confession from Iona): the great weight of ‘Altered Carbon’ in Richard’s career.
6:01 Iona reads a passage from ‘Altered Carbon’.
12:30 Richard and Iona discuss the passage, the underlying premises of the novel, and Richard’s visual imagination and writing style over the years.
27:30 ‘Re-sleeving’ and ‘download central’ in ‘Altered Carbon’ and the themes and inspirations behind them.
30:29 Iona’s ambiguity towards the Netflix adaptation of ‘Altered Carbon’: comparisons with the novel.
37:23 More on the ‘sleeves’ in ‘Altered Carbon’: how the rich and powerful get the best from the system and what this tells us about the nature of wealth and capitalism and the trajectory we’re on. “The endless co-option of life and all its pleasures” by the wealthy.
47:18 The theme of identity in ‘Altered Carbons’ (compared to Iain M. Banks’ treatment of it in his ‘Culture’ novels). Richard’s dystopian vision vs. Banks’s utopian vision. Can technology take us to the sunlit uplands or, as Richard says, does the fact that we will always ultimately be “violent apes” constrain the possibilities of progress? The need for eternal Enlightenment vigilance.
1:03:13 Arguing with a Buddhist about karmic balance: the origins of ‘Altered Carbon’.
1:06:31 Sci fi traditions: is ‘Altered Carbon’ genre fiction or literary fiction?
1:08:36 Which authors have most influenced Richard? Who are his favourites? Plus: Iona on what influences she saw in ‘Altered Carbon’ and some reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin.
1:25:02 Some more debate on optimism, the future, and human nature.
1:31:25 Is there anything Richard would have liked to discuss but didn’t get the chance to? The noir tradition, Richard’s argument with trans rights activists over ‘Altered Carbon’ and J.K. Rowling, the misunderstanding of his novel as championing essentialism/the existence of souls, and the death of the author.
1:37:25 Iona reads another passage from ‘Altered Carbon’.
1:40:42 Last words and outro.
Visit Louise’s website: https://www.louisemperry.co.uk/
Buy Louise’s book ‘The Case Against the Sexual Revolution: A New Guide to Sex in the 21st Century’: https://www.amazon.com/Case-Against-Sexual-Revolution/dp/1509549994
Follow Louise on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Louise_m_perry
‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ by Oscar Wilde:
Rachel Moran’s ‘Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution’:
‘Aella - Sex Work in the Digital Age’ Two for Tea episode:
0:00 Opening and introduction.
4:11 Iona reads a passage from Louise’s book ‘The Case Against the Sexual Revolution’.
9:33 Iona argues against the view that conservative mores protect women from harassment and rape better than liberal ones; discussion ensues on this, the promiscuity double standard, the Madonna/Whore complex, and more.
17:22 Does the sacralisation of sex protect women? Does desacralisation improve things for women? Is sex special? Plus: why women are choosier and the perils of prostitution.
27:40 The trouble with universalising, Gen Z’s (lack of?) sex lives, porn, and the rise of OnlyFans. How does this all tie into/effect Louise’s thesis?
34:32 Does a more public sexual culture help or hinder women? Does sexually violent porn make for sexually violent men?
42:17 Are some desires wrong? Why would anyone agree to or seek out, for example, sexual relationships involving subservient BDSM? Is liberalism enough to understand and resolve such issues?
53:00 Last words and outro.
Visit Andrew’s website: https://www.andrewscurran.com/
Find out more about Andrew’s books, including ‘The Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Age of Enlightenment’ and his co-edited, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., volume ‘Who’s Black and Why? A Hidden Chapter from the Eighteenth-Century Invention of Race’, which are the focus of this podcast: https://www.andrewscurran.com/books-gallerypage
Follow Andrew on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andrewscurran
Andrew’s previous appearance on Two for Tea discussing Diderot: https://soundcloud.com/twoforteapodcast/42-andy-curren-diderot-intellectual-libertine
Olaf Stapledon’s novel ‘Sirius’:
David Deutsch’s ‘The Beginning of Infinity’, in which he discusses theory-ladenness: https://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Infinity-Explanations-Transform-World/dp/0143121359
Coleman Hughes’s conversation with Charles Murray on race, science, and IQ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OE5QcD_12fQ
David Deutsch’s Edge essay on the link between the factual understanding of reality and morality: https://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Infinity-Explanations-Transform-World/dp/0143121359
Sunil Khilnani’s book ‘Incarnations: A History of India in Fifty Lives’: https://www.amazon.com/Incarnations-History-India-Fifty-Lives/dp/0374175497
00:00 Opening and introduction.
3:24 Andrew reads from the introduction to ‘Who’s Black and Why?’ on the Bordeaux Academy’s interest in African anatomy and ‘scientific’ race theorising.
9:08 Why did a focus on racial physiognomy arise in the middle of the 18th century? Plus background on the Enlightenment and the radical shift in ways of thinking about the world.
14:19 The Biblical narrative of the origins of race - Noah’s sons and the ‘snowflake’ Old Testament God - and 18th-century theories of degeneration. Monogenesis vs. polygenesis. Implications of these views and their place in the Enlightenment paradigm - the world is not fixed, but has a history of development and change.
23:38 ‘Theory-laden observations’ as related to 18th-century thinking about race and humanity.
26:30 Iona reads an excerpt about Diderot and Voltaire’s views on race and slavery from ‘Who’s Black and Why?’.
33:45 Continued discussion of the link between racial theorising and racism.
46:27 Iona on the instability of being anti-slavery while being racist, with reference to Olaf Stapledon’s novel ‘Sirius’. Ensuing discussion of this theme by Andrew as related to the 18th-century - the legal and then scientific reality of categorising people.
54:54 Iona’s relief that her Enlightenment hero Samuel Johnson is, as far as she knows, untainted by racial theorising.
1:03:02 The contemporary debate on race and IQ. Can we really divorce the is from the ought? Iona’s changing view on this after reading ‘Who’s Black and Why?’. Nature vs nurture and Charles Murray.
1:09:59 The Deutschian idea that a better understanding of reality is linked to better morality. 18th-century thinkers on race and their blindspots - many of their assertions could easily have been disproved just by looking - black blood, black semen, black brains.
1:15:35 The literal obsession with colour - skin colour must be reflected in interior anatomy. The disturbing and telling 18th-century view of albinism - ‘white negroes’ - and vitiligo and racial voyeurism.
1:23:30 Racial essentialism vs the many mixed-race people. Again - how close so many 18th-century thinkers got to the truth, yet how far.
1:26:52 Is there anything Andrew would like to say that hasn’t been covered in this conversation?
1:27:27 Andrew’s upcoming book - a biographical history of race.
1:33:11 Last words and outro.
Visit Steven’s website, which includes information about all his books, including his latest, ‘Rationality’, and how to purchase them:
Follow Steven on Twitter:
00:00 Opening and introduction.
2:17 The conventional wisdom that humans are irredeemably irrational is wrong: rationality is actually prevalent and innate. Iona reads passages from Steven’s newest book ‘Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters’ about the “scientific mindset” of hunter-gatherers.
8:09 The evolution of human rationality - our “environmental/ecological rationality.” The “premature consensus” that humans are fundamentally irrational. But why are we so bad at dealing with logical problems in the modern world? How to reconcile this apparent paradox - a new conceptualisation of human rationality: we become expert logicians when logical problems are presented in concrete, human-relevant ways and when we are pursuing goals.
18:32 William James’s example of Romeo and Juliet as rational actors pursuing a goal (as opposed to iron filings attracting each other).
21:05 An analogy with quantum theory’s unintuitiveness. The mismatch between our ancestral environment(s) and our modern environment(s): we didn’t evolve to apply the tools of science. The roots and varieties of irrationality.
25:16 How does ‘Rationality’ relate to Steven’s other work? What is the common thread throughout all of his work?
35:28 On lightly held irrational beliefs - distal vs. testable beliefs, the “willing suspension of disbelief”, and indulging in irrationality. Why do we hold such beliefs? Why does fiction appeal to us? The Enlightenment paradigm of verifying one’s beliefs - revolutionary and almost unique in history, a mindset that we are not adapted to.
46:45 The real meaning of David Hume’s famous statement that “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.”
48:55 How do we get an ought from an is? How can morality be derived from rationality? Iona reads a passage from ‘Rationality’ dealing with these questions. Steven explains his view of how reason relates to ethics.
54:53 How can reason be justified in the first place? Isn’t it circular to justify reason using reason?
59:17 Base rates and group differences - does a contradiction between rationality and morality lie here?
1:07:27 Difficulties in defining categories and the family resemblances solution. Iona reads a passage about pattern-finding, stereotypes, and fairness from ‘Rationality.’ Using abstract rules to set aside stereotypes for purposes of law, morality, etc. Logic vs. rationality.
1:13:46 Rationality’s relationship to progress. Many social justice movements have begun with appeals to rationality and logical coherence: how can a society claim, for example, to be against absolute monarchy yet allow men to have total power over their wives? How rationality is a good guide to which movements for change deserve support.
1:18:00 How highfalutin methods of logic and reasoning are in fact at the centre of our everyday lives - we just formalise them and we need to apply them more at all levels.
1:25:05 The current “pandemic of poppycock” - is Steven optimistic about the future of rationality?
1:28:16 Iona reads a passage from the end of ‘Rationality.’
1:28:55 Last words and outro.
Visit Mark’s website, where you can find out more information about his books, including how to purchase them: https://www.markschatzker.com/
Follow Mark on Twitter:
Mark’s paper, co-authored with Jeffrey Brunstrom, on micronutrients and food choice:
0:00 Opening and introduction.
2:02 Mark reads a passage from his book ‘The End of Craving: Recovering the Lost Wisdom of Eating Well’.
5:20 Pellagra and how it differently influenced American and Italian cuisine and understandings of food.
15:08 ‘Delicious’/‘hyper-palatable’ food v deeply pleasurable eating experiences.
20:00 Micronutrients, food choice, and our innate nutritional wisdom.
39:33 A critique of the keto diet.
42:33 The set point theory of weight: how the brain deals with food. And why it is perilous to meddle with this process.
50:43 If set point theory is correct, why don’t people stay in a certain weight range all their lives?
58:19 Does the example of northern Italian food culture really support Mark’s theory? Iona challenges Mark’s ideas further with counterexamples.
1:10:00 Mark’s response and further discussion.
1:23:28 The lingering ghost of behaviourism and why we require a more sophisticated approach to the brain and its relationship with food.
1:30:23 Last words and outro.
Follow Matt on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mattjj89
Some of Matt’s previous writing and speaking about Ukraine:
Two for Tea episode featuring Matt, Daniel, and Ben Burgis on Christopher Hitchens:
Some of Taras Bilous’s writings from the frontlines of the war:
00:00 Opening and introduction.
2:05 Iona reads a passage from Matt’s Areo essay ‘Putin’s Pointless War’ on the origins and causes of the Ukraine war.
5:00 Matt discusses the history and ideology behind the invasion of Ukraine.
7:10 Matt discusses the more immediate background to the Ukraine war, from 2013 on: Ukraine’s desire for closer relations with the EU, the Revolution of Dignity, the annexation of Crimea, and more. Why Putin is a 19th-century leader.
10:38 The religious aspect of the war and Putin’s warped view of history. Why so many fail to understand that Putin is just an imperialist and miss the mark by talking about Russian security interests and NATO expansion.
15:22 Wouldn’t the US be angry if Mexico joined a Chinese version of the Warsaw Pact? Why blaming NATO expansion for the war is wrong.
20:00 What the Glenn Greenwald-style anti-imperialist left and the Tucker Carlson-style isolationist right get wrong about Ukraine and why (and how they overlap).
25:44 Isn’t Ukraine corrupt and authoritarian? Aren’t Russia and Ukraine just as bad as each other? Isn’t Zelensky illiberal?
28:58 What about the Azov Battalion? Isn’t Ukraine riddled with fascism and neo-Nazism?
31:40 How the usual suspects on the anti-imperialist left deny agency to Ukrainians, who want arms. Plus: The Ukrainian socialist Taras Bilous, on the frontlines and for western arming of Ukraine. Could Ukraine be a turning point for the left?
38:01 The war and the news cycle. What’s actually happening on the ground now? What does the future of the war look like?
42:24 Has Putin lost his edge? Has the invasion backfired on him? Has he united the west again? And if so, how long will that unity last? Has the western reaction to Russian expansionism come too late? Should the west’s aim be to degrade Russia’s capability to wage such wars? Is a Ukrainian victory possible?
51:23 What should the west be doing about Ukraine? Will Europe put up with skyrocketing energy costs to help Ukraine? Will this lead to an upsurge in support for politicians like Le Pen?
53:31 Could Putin use nukes? Might he escalate the war?
58:18 A strange question about elites from Twitter for Matt.
1:03:08 The effects of the war on energy in Europe and attitudes to nuclear power. The war as an advertisement for nuclear power. Plus: the intransigence and greed of the oil companies and OPEC countries.
1:06:16 An aside: the grotesque mystery of America selling its soul to Saudi Arabia.
1:08:00 Is there anything Matt didn’t get the chance to say but wanted to? Yes! Matt on the flaws of realism in the study of international relations: why political culture matters.
1:12:10 Last words and outro.
Buy Katy and Jeremy’s book ‘Guilty Pigs: The Weird and Wonderful History of Animal Law’: https://www.amazon.com/Guilty-Pigs-Wonderful-History-Animal-ebook/dp/B09CGQDNGD
Katy’s academic webpage: https://law.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/katy-barnett
Follow Katy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrKatyBarnett
Jeremy’s academic webpage: https://law.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/jeremy-gans
Follow Jeremy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeremy_gans
Opinions on High, a legal blog that both Kate and Jeremy contribute to: https://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/opinionsonhigh/
Katy’s Areo article ‘Perverse Incentives in Academic Publishing’:
00.00 Opening and introductions (with a diversion on Katy’s “adventures in walking”).
5:24 Katy reads a passage from her and Jeremy’s book ‘Guilty Pigs: The Weird and Wonderful History of Animal Law’.
7:10 Jeremy reads a passage from ‘Guilty Pigs’.
9:46 How did Katy and Jeremy come to work together on this book and what initially sparked their interest in the subject?
13:21 How has the status of animals in law changed over time and in space and what does this tell us about our attitude to animals?
22:51 The Isbester dog case.
27:59 The ethical and legal issues raised by the Isbester case. Plus: other cases involving dogs.
35:08 Comparison of these cases with the Daniel Brighton case and discussion of the ethical/legal issues thrown up by it.
44:07 The 19th-century British case involving cattle that influenced the modern legal understanding of ‘animal cruelty’. Iona reads relevant parts of ‘Guilty Pigs’; discussion ensues.
48:50 The strange legal history of swans, queens, and nobles (and sturgeons).
53:07 On the legal eccentricties of bee-owning. Plus: Iona tells the Argentinian tomcat’s tale; and other troublesome felines.
1:01:14 Project Acoustic Kitty.
1:03:45 Crimesolving parrots?
1:06:13 Why you should never, ever pat a zebra.
1:07:35 The Toronto Ikea monkey.
1:11:20 The photographer octopus, the posing macaque and Happy the elephant.
1:19:43 How do Katy and Jeremy see animal law developing in the future and are there legal provisions that aren’t in place that they think should be (or provisions in place that should be abolished or altered)?
1:25:28 Closing words and outro.
Buy Arvid’s book ‘The Gene’s-Eye View of Evolution’:
Follow Arvid on Twitter:
Daniel’s Areo review of Arvid’s ‘The Gene’s-Eye View of Evolution’:
Two for Tea episode featuring Sean B. Carroll:
00.00 Opening and introductions.
4:59 Why Arvid wanted to write his book ‘The Gene’s-Eye View of Evolution’.
5:57 Daniel reads a passage from Arvid’s book.
9:00 The sociological aspects of the gene’s-eye view. How did Arvid become interested in evolutionary biology and the gene’s-eye view? Evolutionary biology’s links with history and philosophy.
13:50 Similarities between Richard Dawkins and Arvid’s background interest in evolutionary biology. Arvid outlines the selfish gene theory and its intellectual history.
18:47 Are some of the arguments over the gene’s-eye view terminological rather than substantial? What if ‘The Selfish Gene’ had been called ‘The Immortal Gene’?
19:58 Stephen Jay Gould vs. Dawkins: critiques of selfish genery. What questions were Gould and Dawkins separately interested in, and what does this tell us about their disagreements?
27:18 Evolutionary developmental (evo devo) biology and its relationship to selfish gene theory.
31:01 Is the evo devo/selfish gene binary really valid? E.g. Dawkins’ contributions to evo devo.
33:21 What are the most compelling critiques of the selfish gene view? What does Arvid think of the alternative ways - evo devo, the extended synthesis, etc - of looking at evolution? Why is the selfish gene view valuable? In which senses is the selfish gene view incomplete? Pluralism and preferences in science.
44:38 The empirical consequences of the gene’s-eye view: extended phenotypes and selfish genetic elements. Plus: Salman Rushdie and W.D. Hamilton’s “eternal disquiet within.”
58:40 Why should scientists study the history of ideas?
1:01:37 The role of metaphorical thinking in science.
1:06:32 The sociological reception of the selfish gene view.
1:10:04 What is the current standing and future of the gene’s-eye view?
1:14:30 The extended evolutionary synthesis: is the Modern Synthesis outdated?
1:19:32 Is there something Arvid would have liked to say but didn’t get the chance to?
1:20:31 Last words and outro.
Visit Simon’s website for information about him and to buy his book ‘SPEECH! How Language Made Us Human’:
Follow Simon on Twitter:
Two for Tea interview with Sean B. Carroll:
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (linguistic relativity):
Simon’s Areo article on Ukraine and the United Nations:
00.00 Opening and introduction.
2:25 Simon reads from his book ‘SPEECH! How Language Made Us Human’.
13:00 Animal sounds vs. human language. Simon’s theory of the key to and origins of language: the “digitisation of noise.”
17:25 The evidence for Simon’s theory.
22:07 Nature and language as digital; an analogy with DNA and evo devo.
26:04 The revolutionary power of language for humanity. Iona reads from Simon’s book—language as an act of transportation, both connecting us with others and distancing us from the immediate basis of experience. Plus: the dangers of being trapped by language (“the trap of identity”, “the trap of culture”, etc.) and a Babylonian diversion.
37:27 Japanese enka music and Jero, the black American enka singer: a cautionary tale against feeling one’s culture is special and unique. This is true at the individual level, too. This is an illusion caused by language. Further discussion and examples of this illusion and how it (sometimes dangerously) misleads and divides us. The artificiality of culture: our natures are all calibration, stemming from language and culture. Simon’s Japanese experience.
49:48 Simon’s views on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (linguistic relativity).
55:01 The power of music and its (lack of?) relation to language. Did language drive the growth of the brain?
1:04:36 Do books offer a kind of vicarious experience? Can we really communicate experience and thought to others via language? Is the world headed in the direction of a universal culture (but not a monoculture!)?
1:07:06 Using language and argument instead of violence. Is democracy an evolutionarily stable strategy? How do we apply this at the global level, not just the national level? Why the United Nations fails at this.
1:14:04 Last words and outro.
Follow Arjun on Twitter:
Matthew Walker’s ‘Why We Sleep’:
00.00 Opening and intro. The Factual: credibility grading of news articles/stories.
2:33 The Factual’s history, its mission and ethos, its process of evaluating articles/stories, and the technology behind it.
6:25 Iona on Areo and the foundation of all good commentary—the facts. Opinion/commentary vs. news reporting. Arjun: The Factual’s algorithm and AI tries to ensure that commentary is scored according to how well-grounded in fact it is.
9:00 How the technology behind The Factual works and the methodology of assigning rankings to the four different categories that The Factual rates to come up with an overall credibility score for a piece.
13:51 The conflation of credibility with popularity in science and news. The “herd mentality” in news. Plus: why The Factual’s algorithm can’t tell you if something is true or false, only if a piece has characteristics that mark it as credible and factual—it provides a rubric, with rules of thumb, applicable with or without the algorithm. Ultimately: no easy answers to big issues in the news.
19:59 A discussion of the adversarial nature of politics—does this give it an advantage over (mostly popular) science because everything is “subjected to a ferocious scrutiny” (Iona) by political opponents with vested interests? Pros and cons of this. Challenging popular narratives in science and politics. Adversarialism in politics and journalism.
24:49 Arjun’s father and the simple, core principle of The Factual’s algorithm: read multiple sources/viewpoints. Give people the tools to decide for themselves. The Factual’s commenting methodology. How to cure polarisation.
29:42 The perils of internet discourse in the social media age: Facebook comments and the end of friendships and the flaws of the Twitter algorithm. An age of polarisation and bitter division, online and offline. How can The Factual help us move beyond this?
34:20 Why are people interested in the news? Why is knowing the news and reading good journalism good for people? Where did Arjun’s interest in the news come from? Why reading the news should be enjoyable rather than anxiety/anger-inducing. Why news shouldn’t take over your life. The Factual’s business model.
41:23 Metric obsession and how The Factual is different.
45:21 Arjun’s colleague Alex and the importance of double-checking and questioning the algorithm.
47:07 The erosion of free speech—big tech algorithms, social media, and censorship. How we all engage in curation and why curation is better than censorship. How best to deal with cranks and mis/disinformation—and how the tech giants get it wrong. The poisoning of discourse by cancel culture and how social media enables cancel culture.
1:00:34 Polarisation and the continual subdivision of people into smaller and smaller groups and the effects of all this on public discourse. Twitter is NOT representative of the world. Why a multiplicity of platforms is good and why we must learn how to best use them.
1:04:43 How does Arjun think news might be consumed in the future, or how does he hope it will be consumed?
1:09:09 Last words and outro.
Visit Oliver’s website:
Follow Oliver on Twitter:
Oliver’s most recent book ‘Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals’:
Oliver’s book ‘The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking’:
Oliver’s book ‘HELP!: How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done’:
Samuel Johnson’s 1751 essay on procrastination, ‘Idleness and anxious and miserable state’:
Iona’s Letter correspondence with Nir Eyal on technology and distraction:
Nir’s book ‘Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life’:
Visakan Veeraswamy’s appearance on Two for Tea:
Ethan Strauss’s article ‘Pity the Zoomer Athlete’:
‘How to Live on 24 Hours a Day’ by Arnold Bennett:
The Pomodoro Technique:
00.00 Opening and introduction.
1:47 Iona reads from Samuel Johnson’s 1751 essay on procrastination, ‘Idleness and anxious and miserable state’. How it relates to Oliver’s book ‘Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals’.
8:45 Procrastination as a timeless phenomenon, though technology and social media make it worse. Our desire to “not focus”.
9:46 A précis of ‘Four Thousand Weeks’. What leads us astray in our relationship with time? Do we try to avoid the unpleasantness of “finitude” - the knowledge that our time is limited? Are we just trying to avoid discomfort?
14:15 The feeling of “irreparable loss” when we waste time - and the cycle of feeling guilt at this, thus leading to more avoidance and procrastination. How do we navigate this cycle of distraction?
20:53 What is the escape from this cycle? Is there one? Or must we just accept its absurdity to gain liberation?
24:29 The pleasures of doing versus the pleasures of having done (dance vs academia). Do we vacate value from the present to the future? And: a diversion on the proprietary and Nir Eyal on distraction. How has our attention changed over the decades and centuries - has it gotten better or worse?
39:01 Is the self a “road to hell”? Self-improvement and efficiency vs absorption in something larger. Is the self overrated?
44:00 The problem with productivity hacks and self-improvement. The real route to freedom. One of Iona’s mantras: you don’t have to wait until tomorrow.
50:10 On neglecting the right things.
52:24 On FOMO, being a generalist vs a specialist, and trade-offs.
1:01:35 More on procrastination and how to beat it: theory vs practice. The Pomodoro Technique, setting maximums, and more. But beware: never think of such exercises as allowing you to transcend limitation - this is impossible.
1:07:47 Oliver reads a passage from ‘Four Thousand Weeks’.
1:10:42 Last words and outro.