Launching SuchThatCast – Philosophers’ podcast

SuchThatCast - Philosophers' podcast (Episode 1, with Luciano Floridi)
SuchThatCast – Philosophers’ podcast (Episode 1, with Luciano Floridi)

I haven’t updated this blog in a while, mostly because of simply being to busy with all kinds of tenure requirements and other stuff. One of the things that have taken much of my time recently is a Podcast I’ve just started, and which I will launch in about a week’s time. The podcast is called SuchThatCast – Philosophers’ podcast, and it’s an idea I’ve been toying around with for quite some time. SuchThatCast is a podcast dedicated to getting to know some of the most influential philosophers (broadly speaking) of today. It seeks to provide an alternative to most other philosophy podcasts (many of which are excellent), by taking the form of a face-to-face conversation (I will never do a phone/skype interview) where the guest is free (and encouraged) to share information about themselves that may not be appropriate in other forums: this includes stories about their unique and often unconventional career paths, seminal events and figures in their lives, undeveloped ideas and generally whatever they are passionate about.

The inspiration for the podcast comes from having attended numerous conference pub crawls, which is when the outrageous stories and philosophies often come out – and I just felt that it was a shame that these incredible stories would be restrained to these events. I remember, in particular, at the IACAP conference in Aarhus Denmark 2011, I was in a pub late at night, conversing with the very grandfather of computer ethics, Terrell Ward Bynum. At some point, he recounts the story of when he met Bertrand Russel at his home, being allowed to read through the letter sent him from Frege. These are typically stories that never make it into books and articles, and are only brought into the light of day, as it were, in the dark of a pub. That’s when I started thinking that we need a medium for these amazing stories, and the idea of a podcast dedicated to informal, face-to-face conversations with philosophers was born in my mind (I really hope to document Bynum’s stories on the podcast one day as well).

The podcast is also inspired by some of the early pioneers of this medium, in particular Kevin Smith’s SmodCast, and Marc Maron’s WTF. Their style of podcasting does not only place the guest in the foreground, but also (over time) creates a relationship between the host and the listener that is rarely found in more “serious” podcasts. This is certainly something I want to try to capture in this podcast series as well, and I hope to get to “know” my listeners as we move along.

The name of the podcast may sounds obscure at first, but it is inspired by the way in which logicians bind variables, to entities (what is unique about you) and domains (what do we have in common) — which is often expressed in the form of “there is an x such that x is y” or “For every x there is a y such that x loves y”. Basically, the title expresses my hope of binding stories, properties and opinions to these individuals. Please stay tuned and check suchthatcast.com on August 27, stay in touch, and (especially if the podcast is launched by the time you read this) subscribe through your favorite podcast app (currently available on iTunes and Stitcher).

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