“A Passion for Ignorance” and for Denials and Negations with Professor Renata Salecl

Ignorance, denials and negations have always been part of human experience. In this post-truth, post-industrial world, we often feel overwhelmed by the information and misinformation overload. Although we claim to live in an information age, consciously or unconsciously, actively or passively more and more we are choosing to ignore, deny and negate facts and valid opinions. In this episode of Bridging the Gaps, I speak with philosopher and sociologist Professor Renata Salecl and we this discuss this “passion for ignorance”. In her recent book “A Passion for Ignorance: What We Choose Not to Know and Why” Renata Salecl explores how the passion for ignorance plays out in many different aspects of life today.

Renata Salecl is professor at the School of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London and senior researcher at the Institute of Criminology at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

I open our discussion by asking Professor Salecl to unpack and explain various faces of ignorance that she outlines at the start of the book. We discuss the transformation of the knowledge economy to ignorance economy as she reports in the book. This book is organised very well; most chapters in the book start by outlining some kind of ignorance, this could be an active or passive ignorance, conscious or unconscious ignorance, and then Salecl discusses underlying reasons and possible impact of these denials and negations. In this discussion we touch upon a variety of denials and negations and forms of ignorance. We start with an important form of negation which is “choosing to ignore scientific evidence”. We also discuss the emergence of new forms of denials and ignorance in this age of Big Data. Drawing on philosophy, social and psychoanalytic theory, popular culture, and her own experience, Salecl explains that ignorance is a complex phenomenon that can, on occasion, benefit individuals and society as a whole.

Complement this discussion with Professor Justin Smith’s “Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason”
And then listen to Professor Luciano Floridi’s thoughts on “Philosophy of Information” and “Ethics of Information”

By |October 26th, 2020|Information, Philosophy, Podcasts|

Intriguing Science of Sense of Smell with Professor Matthew Cobb

Sense of smell is the process of creating the perception of smell. Animals use smell for a range of essential functions such as to find food or a mate, to sense danger and to send and receive signals and complex messages with other members of a species. Despite being so fundamental for all animals, including us, the sense of smell remains mysterious. We understand far less about this sense than we know about other senses. In this episode of Bridging the Gaps I speak with Professor Matthew Cobb and we explore this fascinating topic. In his recent book “Smell: Very Short Introduction”, Matthew Cobb describes the latest scientific research on sense of smell in humans, other mammals and in insects.

Matthew Cobb is a professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Manchester, where he studies sense of smell – or olfaction as it is technically known; he also studies insect behaviour, and the history of science.

I open the discussion by posing the question that why did sense of smell emerge and evolve so early in the history of species. The sense of smell is a fundamental sense for animals, and is perhaps the oldest of all other senses, but we know far less about this sense than what we know about vision, touch, taste or hearing. We discuss our lack of understanding of the sense of smell and the reasons why olfaction is so complex to study and understand as compared to the other senses. We then discuss in detail what exactly is “smell” and talk about the composition and structure of smell carrying molecules. We touch upon smell detection and perception mechanisms and relevant functions of the brain. Animals use their sense of smell to interact with other animals and to interact with the environment they live in, to convey and to receive various messages; it seems that all life forms on earth live in an ecosystem of smells. Matthew Cobb explains this ecology of smells. We discuss the role of smell and scents in human culture. This has been an informative, enlightening and educative discussion.

By |October 12th, 2020|Podcasts|