Exploring the intersection where theory meets life.


Beyond the Conjunction

Further thoughts from the ‘cast

My message to you is this: pretend that you have free will. It’s essential that you behave as if your decisions matter, even though you know they don’t. The reality isn’t important: what’s important is your belief, and believing the lie is the only way to avoid a waking coma. Civilization now depends on self-deception. Perhaps it always has.
— Ted Chiang

Did you miss Free Will and Determinism since our last episode in Metaphysics?! How could you not. Here we are, at it again, this time with more ethics. (And only one Kant joke!) Read more…


To exchange all the goodness and grace of every life in Omelas for that single, small improvement: to throw away the happiness of thousands for the chance of the happiness of one: that would be to let guilt within the walls indeed.
— Ursula K. Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

Ah, utilitarianism. Such a robotic way of saying “maybe we should consider the effects of our actions on others when talking about ethics?!” Read more…


It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.
— Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Confession: my first entry into philosophy was via literature. Specifically, Hegel in modern literature, then I rapidly moved on to Schopenhauer in Wagner. So can you blame me for getting a wee bit excited about Jane Austen’s Aristotelian ethics?! It’s a true party! Read more…


Without ethics, man has no future. This is to say, mankind without them cannot be itself. Ethics determine choices and actions and suggest difficult priorities.
— John Berger

It's fascinating to think about humans as essentially ethical creatures, as a species that is defined by its ability to be ethical, or perhaps by the very fact that it is ethical. And yet, as Hume shows, our ethics are not grounded in reality as definitively as we would hope. Read more…


Do you ever look at someone and wonder, what is going on inside their head?
— Joy, Inside Out

While it feels like the right time to finish our season on Emotions and dive into something new, I do feel like we’ve left so many great emotions unexplored! So many emotions untouched, so many central to the human experience. Ah, regrets. I have a few. Read more…


To err is human, to forgive, divine.
— Alexander Pope

Do you forgive me for my absence these last couple of weeks? How about if I tell you that we made it up to you by talking about KEANU REEVES?! Read more…


Let’s face it. We’re undone by each other. And if we’re not, we’re missing something.
— Judith Butler

We all thought that the ultimate cage match was between David Hume and Thomas Aquinas. Turns out, that was just the warm up. Read more…


Comparison is the thief of joy.
— Theodore Roosevelt

It’s our 1-year podiversary! Pop the nice champagne! But don’t post it on Insta, because do you really want to be the source of bad envy for your friends and family? Read more…


There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. ‘Good pride’ represents our dignity and self-respect. ‘Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.
— John C. Maxwell

Maxwell seems to have read up on his Hume and Aquinas. Did we do a good job of convincing you that pride is different from pride?! Read more…


One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.
— Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Are you ready for some positively-valenced chat? We were. And then realized we weren’t. Happiness turns out to be harder to talk about than we thought. Read more…


If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.
— Brené Brown

We decided to go a little obscure for this week’s episode! Have you heard of this great researcher and presenter, Brené Brown? She’s fabu. Read more…


[T]o be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not easy.
— Aristotle

I’m currently irked by the expression “feel better.” Join me, won’t you?! Read more…


The story of an emotion [...] is the story of judgements about important things, judgements in which we acknowledge our neediness and incompleteness before those elements that we do not fully control.
— Martha Nussbaum

It’s a new year and a new season here at A/O/V! We kick off our inaugural 2019 podcasting with an exploration of Emotions, starting with the fabulous Martha Nussbaum who shows us that, far from being divorced fro rationality, our emotions are constituted, in part, by reasons. Spoiler alert: I LOVE THIS. Read more…


And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.
— Rainer Maria Rilke

It’s that time of year! An opportunity to look back at the previous 12 months of life (no small amount of time) and think about what we’d like the next 12 to look like. As Diane said, how great would it be to make all our intentions positive rather than punitive? Read more…


We can be redeemed only to the extent to which we see ourselves.
— Martin Buber

It’s the holidays! We are getting into the spirit with Charles Dickens, and his namesake, Charles Duckens, III. Just like a certain man in a red suit with a reindeer hoarding problem, HE REALLY DOES EXIST! Read more…



Dec. 5, 2018

At some point, I don’t want to have any obligations. And just chill out.
— Charles Barkley

Leave it to Derrida to show how complicated something as simple and sweet as gift-giving can actually be! But at least there’s always hummus. Read more…



Nov. 20, 2018

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
— Marcel Proust

WE ARE SO EXCITED FOR THANKSGIVING. Can you feel our waistlines expanding with pie? (Pie we've eaten, not pie we've stuffed down our pants.). Read more…


Imagine you’re a fish, swimming in a pond. You can move forward and back, side to side, but never up out of the water. [...] To you, that little pond is an entire universe. Now imagine that someone reaches down and lifts you out of the pond. You see that what you thought was the entire world is only a small pool. You see other ponds. Trees. The sky above. You realize you’re a part of a much larger and more mysterious reality than you had ever dreamed of.
— Blake Crouch, Dark Matter

This reality that we’ve talked about for our season on Metaphysics is the only reality we know, but that doesn’t mean it’s the whole of reality. How trippy is it to think there is a reality out there, totally out of reach?! Spooooooooky….


Beyond the conjunction: MIND/BODY

Oct. 17, 2018

How does the water of the brain turn into the wine of consciousness?
— David Chalmers

It’s that time of year: Pumpkin Spice Lattes and… zombies. Just when you thought it was safe to philosophize... Read more…


Beyond the conjunction: Space/Time

Oct. 3, 2018

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
— Albert Einstein

We had our first guest on the pod! And, if I (Jana) may say so, we started off with the best. Read more…