“Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason” with Professor Justin Smith

In his new book, “Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason” philosopher Justin Smith presents a fascinating narrative that reveals the ways in which the pursuit of rationality often leads to an explosion of irrationality. Smith, a professor of the history and philosophy of science at the University of Paris, acknowledges that we are living in an era when nothing seems to make sense. Populism is on the rise, pseudoscience is still around and there is no shortage of of conspiracy theories. Smith discusses the core of the problem that the rational gives birth to the irrational and vice versa in an endless cycle, and any effort to permanently set things in order sooner or later ends in an explosion of unreason. He notes that despite the fact logic and reason are well understood, methods and practises that were supposed to have been setup to counter irrationality, ended up mired in the very problem that they were meant to solve, and that is irrationality.

“Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason” is rich and ambitious and ranges across philosophy, politics and current events. It challenges conventional thinking about logic, natural reason, dreams, art and science, pseudoscience, the Enlightenment, the internet, jokes and lies and death and shows how history reveals that any triumph of reason is temporary and reversible, and that rational schemes often result in their polar opposite. Smith argues that it is irrational to try to eliminate irrationality and describes irrationality an ineradicable feature of life. It has been an absolute pleasure speaking with Professor Justin Smith in this episode of Bridging the Gaps. This has been a fascinating conversation.

By |June 16th, 2019|Knowledge, Philosophy, Podcasts|

Robots, Artificial Life and Technology Imagined by the Ancients with Adrienne Mayor

Adrienne Mayor is an author and historian of ancient science and human curiosity. She is a research scholar at Stanford University who investigates natural knowledge contained in pre-scientific myths and traditions. In this podcast Adrienne Mayor discusses the fascinating research that she presents in her book “Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines and Ancient Dreams of Technology”.

This is a captivating account of the earliest expressions of the enduring urge to create machines that imitate life. Adrienne Mayor presents ancient Greek, Roman, Indian and Chinese myths and traditions that envisioned artificial life, robots and self moving contraptions. It is interesting to observe that some of today’s most advanced innovations in robotics and artificial intelligence were envisaged and imagined in ancient myths and traditions. After discussing a number of myths and traditions, Adrienne Mayor presents stories of a number of real machines and innovations that were developed long before the age of modern science and technology. This book is an account of ingenuity and creativity, and that how science has always been driven by imagination.

By |December 17th, 2018|Podcasts|