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 57: Free Willie
November 17th, 2014 | 45 mins 38 secs
David and Tamler talk about a new study that links your belief in free will to the fullness of your bladder. How do our bodily states influence our metaphysical commitments? What's the best way to measure beliefs about free will? Can you get your prostate checked without having someone stick something in your private areas? Plus, an exclusive look at the shocking truth about social psychology experiments.
Episode 55: Rooting for Evil (With Paul Bloom)
October 20th, 2014 | 1 hr 18 mins
Paul Bloom joins us to talk all things villainous -why we sometimes root for the bad guys, why we admire them even when we don't, why they are much more compelling than some of our heroes.
Episode 54: Pooping on Ecstasy (Pain, Pleasure, and the Ethics of Breeding)
September 24th, 2014 | 1 hr 17 mins
Tamler and David get bullied into talking about "anti-natalism," (the view that it is unethical to bring a being into existence), and to defend our ethical position as "breeders." Well, one of us defends it, at least. The other one? Well, you'll have to judge for yourself...
Episode 53: The Psychology People Love to Hate (Evolutionary Psychology Pt.1)
September 8th, 2014 | 1 hr 15 mins
Dave and Tamler take a shot at answering the question: what is an evolutionary psychologist?
Episode 52: Thought Experiments (Huh!) What Are They Good For? (Part 2)
August 25th, 2014 | 1 hr 16 mins
Experience Machines, Chinese Rooms, Original Positions, and Ice Buckets ("I don't know what you have in mind for this evening Homer, but count me out!") Dave and Tamler continue their discussion on thought experiments--how they can be effective, the difference between their use in philosophy and psychology, and how they can spin out of control like deadly viruses and become the disease they were trying to cure.
Episode 51: Zombies, Trolleys, and Galileo's Balls
August 11th, 2014 | 1 hr 18 mins
Dave and Tamler talk about the value and purposes of thought experiments in philosophy and science.
Episode 50: Keeping it Unreal
July 14th, 2014 | 1 hr 27 mins
We honestly can't believe we made it to 50 episodes, so we must be brains in a vat. But we play along and celebrate with...a movie episode! We list our five favorite films about the subjective or questionable nature of reality. Our only rule: we couldn't choose The Matrix.
Episode 49: Psychopaths and Contrastivizzzzzzzz (With Walter Sinnott-Armstrong)
June 23rd, 2014 | 1 hr 43 mins
Special guest Walter Sinnott-Armstrong joins the podcast to explain how his theory which desperately needs a new name ("contrastivism") can dissolve most of the fundamental problems and paradoxes in philosophy.
Episode 48: Restorative Circle Jerk
June 9th, 2014 | 1 hr 8 mins
Dave and Tamler take a mulligan and try to resolve their conflict about restorative justice. Do restorative processes lead to more just outcomes than other approaches? Is it more vulnerable to instances of prejudice and bias? Is revenge a form of restorative justice?
Episode 47: Schooled By Our Listeners
May 22nd, 2014 | 1 hr 2 mins
Tamler and David leech off of their listeners and dedicate an episode to their favorite comments, questions, and criticisms from the past few weeks (but not before Tamler goes on a rant about bicycle helmets).
Episode 46: The Real Josh Knobe
May 4th, 2014 | 1 hr 4 mins
May I have your attention please? Will the real Josh Knobe please stand up? Will the real... [you know what, screw this--we're just dating ourselves.] X-phi phenom Josh Knobe rejoins the podcast to talk about the true self, naked people, gay preachers, and the Talmud.
Episode 45: Rounded Brains and Balanced "Play Diets"
April 20th, 2014 | 1 hr 8 mins
A British tabloid article about kids, brains, and spatial skills somehow provokes the biggest argument ever on the podcast. Dave and Tamler get into it about gender, toys, properly rounded brains, and balanced "play diets."
Episode 43: The Nature of Nudges
March 17th, 2014 | 50 mins 3 secs
Dave and Tamler talk about a recent study that seems to support the view that "justice is what the judge had for breakfast" (or at least how long ago the parole board had breakfast), and we discuss the ethics of "nudges" in government and consumer marketing.