Very Bad Wizards

a philosopher and a psychologist ponder human morality

About the show

Very Bad Wizards is a podcast featuring a philosopher (Tamler Sommers) and a psychologist (David Pizarro), who share a love for ethics, pop culture, and cognitive science, and who have a marked inability to distinguish sacred from profane. Each podcast includes discussions of moral philosophy, recent work on moral psychology and neuroscience, and the overlap between the two.

Very Bad Wizards on social media

Episodes

  • Episode 7: Psychopaths and Utilitarians Pt. 2 (Now with more poo poo)

    November 4th, 2012  |  1 hr 7 mins

    Tamler and David continue their discussion of utilitarian psychopaths (and psychopathic utilitarians), then broaden the discussion to include disgust and empathy. In the end, they resolve all questions about the proper role of emotions in moral judgment.

  • Episode 6: Trolleys, Utilitarians, and Psychopaths (Part 1)

    October 20th, 2012  |  1 hr 1 min

    Tamler contemplates ending it all because he can't get 'Call Me Maybe' out of his head, and Dave doesn't try to talk him out of it. This is followed by a discussion about drones, psychopaths, Canadians, Elle Fanning, horrible moral dilemmas, and the biggest rivalry in Ethics: utilitarians vs. Kantians.

  • Episode 5: Revenge, Pt. 2: The Revenge

    October 8th, 2012  |  1 hr 5 mins

    Dave and Tamler continue their discussion about their favorite topic. They talk about the evolutionary origins of
    retributive behavior, cross-cultural differences in revenge norms, and the proportionate punishment for someone who gives your wife a foot massage. They also play a clip from an interview they conducted in Nosara with local attorney Andres Gonzalez
    about the Costa Rican treatment of the criminals they call ‘pobrecitos.’

  • Episode 4: Revenge, Pt. 1

    September 20th, 2012  |  51 mins 34 secs

    Dave allows Tamler to rant about Sam Harris’s straw man attacks on moral relativism before launching into discussion about revenge, justice, "True Grit," and Michael Dukakis. Though they differ on many issues, Tamler and Dave agree that it’s hard to satirize a
    guy with shiny boots.

  • Episode 3: "We believe in nothing!" (Cultural diversity, relativism, and moral truth)

    September 8th, 2012  |  1 hr 1 min

    Tamler and Dave discuss recent work in philosophy and psychology about the differences in moral values and practices across cultures.

  • Episode 2: The "Dangerous Truth" about Free Will (Free Will and Morality, Pt. 2)

    August 31st, 2012  |  1 hr 13 mins

    Tamler and David discuss whether giving up our belief in free will makes us more likely to abandon our moral standards.

  • Episode 1: Brains, Robots, and Free Will (Free Will and Morality Pt. 1)

    August 30th, 2012  |  1 hr 10 mins

    Dave and Tamler talk about the new wave of skepticism about free will and moral responsibility in the popular press from people like Sam Harris and Jerry Coyne, and argue that neuroscientific data adds little of substance to the case other than telling us what we already know: human beings are natural biological entities. Dave comes out as a Star Trek nerd and asks whether we're all, in the end, like Data the android. They also wonder whether a belief in free will is all that's keeping us from having sex with our dogs. Finally, Dave grills Tamler about his new book on the differences in attitudes about free will and moral responsibility across cultures.