Philosophy Talk asks about the changing face of feminism

Sep 20, 2015

What are the basic tenets of the most recent wave of feminism, and how does it differ from the previous waves?

The Upshot: Fire on the 57 Bus in Oakland

Jun 16, 2015
Katy Grannan for The New York Times

In November 2013, agender teenager Sasha Fleischman was riding the 57 bus home from school when teenager Richard Thomas set Fleischman’s skirt on fire. Fleischman went to the hospital for 23 days; Thomas went to prison for 7 years. In a recent New York Times magazine article, journalist Dashka Slater explores the lives and motivations of both these teenagers.

The ideal of science is objectivity in the service of advancing knowledge. We tend to assume that to be objective, scientists must keep their politics from influencing their work. But time and time again we see that science, even some of our best science, is awash in political influences. Could politics sometimes have a positive effect on objectivity in science? If so, which kinds of politics might have a positive effect and which might not? What criteria could we use to make the distinction? And does 'objectivity' still have meaning in this context?

Philosophy Talk asks: Should hurtful words be forbidden?

Mar 14, 2015

Some words, like n****r, ch*nk, and c*nt, are so forbidden that we won't even spell them out here. Decent people simply don't use these words to refer to others; they are intrinsically disrespectful. But aren't words just strings of sounds or letters? Words have life because they express ideas. But in a free society, how can we prohibit the expression of ideas? How can we forbid words? Where does the strange power of curses, epithets, and scatological terms come from?

Staying in the Gray

Jan 27, 2015


Many spaces are designated for either men or women: bathrooms, clothing stores, hair salons. But some people don’t subscribe to being a man or a woman. This is true for Clem Breslin, who identifies as being genderqueer. 

Whether for counterterrorism measures, street level crime, or immigration, racial profiling of minorities occurs frequently. However, racial profiling is illegal under many jurisdictions and many might say ineffective. Is racial profiling ever moral or is it always an unjustified form of racism? Is there any evidence that certain races or ethnic groups have a tendency to behave in particular ways? Or is racial stereotyping a result of deeply-held biases we're not even aware of?

Angela Johnston

Skylar Crownover is walking me through the lush tree lined streets of Mills College, and through buildings with red clay roofs.

Students constantly wave hello as we make our way to the center of campus. Crownover is a junior this year, and the current student body president.

This week on KALW's showcase for the best in public radio podcasts:

Youth Radio Podcast: “Prescription Drug Abuse In College”  Correspondent Cyrus Abusaba explores the lethal trend of recreational prescription pill usage among college students.

Your Call: How can men oppose misogyny?

Jun 5, 2014

Simone de Beauvoir is often cast as only a novelist or a mere echo of Jean-Paul Sartre. But she authored many philosophical texts beyond The Second Sex, and the letters between her and Sartre reveal that both were equally concerned with existentialist questions of radical ontological freedom, the issue of self-deception, and the dynamics of desire. This episode explores the evolution of de Beauvoir's existential-ethical thinking. In what sense did she find that we are all radically free? Are we always to blame for our self-deception or can social institutions be at fault?

What does gender have to do with science? The obvious answer is ‘nothing.’ Science is the epitome of an objective, rational, and disinterested enterprise. But has male dominance in science contributed certain unfounded assumptions or cognitive biases to the ‘objectivity’ of scientific inquiry? Is there any possibility of achieving a gender-neutral science, and if so, what would that look like?

Philosophy Talk Live at the Marsh Berkeley 2/16

Feb 14, 2014

This Sunday, join John Perry and Ken Taylor, along with Ian Shoales the Sixty-Second Philosopher, the Roving Philosophical Reporter, and musical guests The Plāto'nes, for two brand-new live recordings of Philosophy Talk.

A Eulogy for He and She

Jun 5, 2013

Award winning Indian Filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh died suddenly at the age of 49 last week. At a time when rising acceptance of alternative sexuality in India has meant increasingly hard-coded labels — lesbian, gay, MSM, bisexual, transgender — Rituparno blurred all the boundaries with his androgyny. “It is for me to decide whether I will stand in the queue for men or for women or neither of the two,” he once said.

Irina Slutsky's Flickr Photostream

Figuring out one’s identity can be a life-altering process. Mills College student Skylar Crownover sent us this commentary about how the way people perceive gender affects a very basic part of their day.

On today's Your Call, we’re talking about the trans* movement for social and legal equality. Thirty-four states can still deny employment, housing, or education to those who identify as transgender. What are the realities of those who live under the trans* label? Where are we seeing positives in education in activism? Join us at 10 or leave a comment at What role should the government play in protecting trans* people? How far has society come in terms of accepting gender variance? It’s Your Call, with Rose Aguilar and you.


On today's Your Call, we’ll talk about why women submit fewer op-eds than men and how it affects public discourse. Katie Orenstein, founder of the OpEd Project, laments that we’re hearing from only a small fraction of the world’s best minds. What keeps women from writing op-eds and taking part in our public discourse? Join us at 10am PST or leave a comment here. Who are the female opinion writers you value --  and what do they offer? It’s Your Call with Rose Aguilar and you.


Katie Orenstein, founder of the OpEd Project