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What Does a Philosopher Actually Do? With Tamler Sommers



Welcome to Episode 45 of Products of the Mind. On this episode, I speak with University of Houston philosophy professor and author Tamler Sommers.

“People within honor cultures are very concerned about how they’re perceived within their group…They have certain emotions like pride and shame, that are more highly attuned to the perceptions of other people and where they stand.”

Today we get philosophical with Tamler Sommers. Tamler is Associate Professor of Philosophy at University of Houston, specializing in moral philosophy. Tamler also hosts the podcast Very Bad Wizards, a psychological and philosophical discussion of human nature (and other interesting topics)(with a lot of dirty jokes, if you’re into that kind of thing.) And, finally, he’s the author of A Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the Curtain, a collection of interviews Tamler did with philosophers and psychologists. If you like this episode, the book will be right up your alley.

Today’s episode takes us to the philosophic discussion of free will and moral responsibility. What kind of creatures must we be in order to be fully responsible for our actions? Does the ability to deliberate, plan, and act make us morally responsible? Is there a non-material “will” that governs our actions, or is everything in the universe made of physical “stuff?”

We’ll also talk about Tamler’s current research topic: honor culture. Here we’ll learn about the role of honor in shaping particular cultures, as well as how honor is less revered in some cultures (like the U.S.). Do cultures suffer from a lack of honor? Can the value and importance of honor help shape a culture or society in a more positive way? How can these lessons be applied to businesses operating in the real world?

We’ll also talk about modern academia; analytic philosophy versus continental philosophy; religion, and Orthodox Judaism.

Links from today’s episode:

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The Credits

Products of the Mind is produced by Mana Monzavi.

The illustration accompanying these show notes is by Whit Harris.

The theme music for this episode was provided by Le Chateau. The track name is “Bury You.” Go buy it on Soundcloud!

This episode and these show notes © 2016 David Lizerbram

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