Why We Argue

Hosted by political philosopher and Vanderbilt University professor Robert Talisse, Why We Argue is an interview podcast that brings in academics, philosophers, historians, journalists, politicians, and other notable public figures to think about the state of American political discourse and the roll intellectual humility can play in public conversation. Created by Humility & Conviction in Public Life a project of the University of Connecticut's Humanities Institute and funded by the John Templeton Foundation.
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Why We Argue



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Now displaying: 2018
Jun 7, 2018

Steven Kull is a Senior Research Associate and director of the Program for Public Consultation at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. He is also the Founder and Director of the nonpartisan organization Voice of the People, which is working to create structures and institutions that would enrich the channels of communication between Congress and citizens. Steven is a political psychologist who studies a range of phenomena from public political ignorance and popular attitudes about climate change to congressional decision-making and international attitudes towards religion.  

May 24, 2018

Ian James Kidd is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at University of Nottingham with research interests in epistemology, vices, epistemic justice, and illness. He is a co-author of the recently published The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Justice.

May 10, 2018

This episode will feature a conversation between former presidential advisor David Gergen, Rabbi Melissa Weintraub of Resetting the Table, and Eboo Patel of the Interfaith Youth Core, taken from Humility and Conviction in Public Life’s event Faith & Politics which was held on April 25, 2018 at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum in Hartford, Connecticut with the CT Forum. The conversation was moderated by John Dankosky of Connecticut public radio.

Apr 26, 2018

Michael Sandel is Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University.  Sandel is an internationally renowned political philosopher who Newsweek has lauded as “the world’s most relevant living philosopher.”  His latest project is a video series titled What Money Can’t Buy, which has Michael and an international group of college students exploring the question “What, if anything, is wrong with a

world in which everything is for sale?”  You can view the series for free at

Apr 12, 2018

This episode is a collection of segments from papers given at Humility and Conviction in Public Life’s workshop on Political Polarization and Epistemic Arrogance. On this episode you will hear short selections from talks given by Jennifer Saul, Lani Watson, Michael Lynch, Alessandra Tanesini, Elizabeth Krumrei Mancuso, Steven Sloman, and Heather Battaly.

Mar 22, 2018

Shanto Iyengar is Professor of Political Science at Stanford University.  He has written extensively on news media and political communication in contemporary democracy.  His most recent book is titled Media Politics: A Citizen’s Guide (W. W. Norton, 2015); new edition is forthcoming this year.  His current research focuses on political polarization, framing effects, and political affect.

Mar 8, 2018

Alex Vitale is a Professor of Sociology and coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College. He has written for a number of popular publications including the New York Times, New York Daily News, USA Today, and the Nation. His newest book The End of Policing is out now from Verso press.

Feb 22, 2018

Myisha Cherry is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and next year will be Assistant Professor of Philosophy at University of California, Riverside. She is co-editor of the volume, The Moral Psychology of Anger.  Her work is focused on the nature of anger and forgiveness, especially in the context of racial injustice.  Cherry is also the host and creator of the UnMute Podcast.

Feb 8, 2018

Quassim Cassam is Professor of Philosophy at University of Warwick in the UK.  His academic work resides at the intersection of epistemology and philosophy of mind, where he explores topics pertaining to self-knowledge, self-deception, and epistemic virtue and vice.  His forthcoming book is titled Vices of the Mind, and it will be published this year with Oxford University Press.

Jan 25, 2018

John Corvino is  Professor of Philosophy at the Wayne State University in Detroit.  His academic work focuses on topics in moral, social, and legal philosophy surrounding sexuality, gender, marriage, religious conviction, and discrimination.  But John is also an active public philosopher who frequently participates in public debates over these topics. He produces and appears in a popular YouTube series of short videos devoted to the philosophical discussion of controversial topics.  He is the author of What’s Wrong with Homosexuality?, co-author (with Maggie Ghallagher) of Debating Same Sex Marriage, (with Ryan Anderson and Sherif Girgis) of Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination, all published with Oxford University Press.

Jan 11, 2018

Jon Olafsson is Professor in the n the department of Comparative and Cultural Studies at the University of Iceland.  His research is focused on democracy, political participation, dissent, reconciliation, and social criticism.  Jon has written extensively about the efforts in Iceland – from roughly 2010 to 2013 - to revise the nation’s constitution.