Very Bad Wizards
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.
Episode 73: Authentic Apes and Infinite Torture
August 11th, 2015 | 1 hr 8 mins
In what is possibly our most repugnant first segment ever, David and Tamler break down the ethics of zoophilia and investigate the true nature of consent. In the second segment we answer some listener emails and address our first question in our new capacity as International Ethics Experts.
Episode 72: Tweenie Turing Tests, AI, and Ex Machina (with Joshua Weisberg)
July 28th, 2015 | 1 hr 32 mins
It finally happened: David and Tamler welcome special guest Joshua Weisberg to the podcast to talk about Turing machines, Chinese Rooms, and AI. Plus, a spoiler-filled discussion of the recent movie "Ex Machina."
Episode 71: The Murky Morals and Mysterious Metaphysics of "Mr. Robot"
July 14th, 2015 | 1 hr 6 mins
David and Tamler go deep into the best TV show of the summer, "Mr. Robot."
Episode 70: Some Favorite Things
June 28th, 2015 | 1 hr 34 mins
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, papers by Williams and movies from Sweden. Long graphic novels that celebrate being. These are a few of our favorite things.
Episode 69: CHiPs on Our Shoulders (Lessons in Objectivity)
June 17th, 2015 | 1 hr 33 mins
Dave and Tamler try to figure out what we talk about when we talk about objectivity.
Episode 68: Risky, Reckless, and Regretful
June 1st, 2015 | 1 hr 14 mins
Dave drags Tamler into the nerd abyss by making him watch an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (“Tapestry,” from the 6th season). We talk about the themes of the episode: regret, risk aversion, the arrogance of hindsight, and the dream of living your past “knowing what you know now.”
Episode 67: Funny How?
May 18th, 2015 | 1 hr 17 mins
Dave and Tamler break the cardinal rule of comedy by trying to analyze it. What are the origins and functions of humor? Can a theory explain what makes us laugh? Is humor entirely subjective?
Episode 66: Übermensch at Work
April 20th, 2015 | 1 hr 24 mins
Special guest Yoel Inbar joins us to talk about Hitchcock’s masterpiece/gimmick "Rope."
Episode 65: Philocalypse Now
April 6th, 2015 | 1 hr 19 mins
Holy crap, it's the apocalypse!!!!...for philosophy. Maybe.
Episode 64: Believing in a Just World
March 19th, 2015 | 1 hr 13 mins
Dave and Tamler talk about the human tendency to believe in a just world. Why do we have the belief? Does it make us less motivated to fight injustice? How does it connect to our beliefs about free will and punishment?
Episode 63: Stalemates and Closets (with Sam Harris)
February 27th, 2015 | 2 hrs 46 mins
Sam Harris gets back in the VBW ring for another round on moral responsibility, ethical theories, and the grounds for our obligations to other people.
Episode 62: Brain Jizz and "Black Mirror"
February 9th, 2015 | 1 hr 1 min
Dave and Tamler discuss a new study that, according to Tamler, offers decisive support for restorative approaches to criminal punishment (the only problem is he didn't read past the introduction). And speaking of justice, we talk about "White Bear"--the most disturbing episode of the UK series Black Mirror that doesn’t involve sex with a non-kosher animal.
Episode 61: Putting a Little Meaning in Your Life
January 19th, 2015 | 1 hr 15 mins
Dave and Tamler take a break from blame and responsibility to tackle a much easier subject: meaning in life.
Episode 60: Drunk on Intuitions
January 1st, 2015 | 1 hr 12 mins
Dave and Tamler argue some more about the role of emotion and intuition in blame judgments, and then offer some moral psychology-related recommendations for your New Year’s viewing and reading pleasure.