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What on Earth is Going on? is a podcast for the curious, where small talk is banned and tangents are prized. Strap yourself in for genuine dialogues with people who think deeply and are ready to tackle the big questions, such as broadcaster Terry O'Reilly, economist Miles Corak and journalist Sally Armstrong.

Join Ben Charland to peel back the headlines and ask, what are the forces, people and ideas that shape the human story today? Have things always been this nuts, or are they getting crazier by the day? From the Mafia to the Beavertonwomen in politics to women in leadershiphistory to artificial intelligence, and entrepreneurship in the digital age to the art of wheelchair fencing, just what on Earth is going on?

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Feb 21, 2020

Humans are living longer, delaying disease and decay later and later. It's conceivable that we could eradicate the big killers and attain a certain kind of infinite postponement of death. But what would this mean for our humanity? What does philosophy have to say about this, and about the state of our ongoing social experiment with democracy?

Ben sits down to chat about all this and much more with Queen's University political philosopher and National Scholar, Colin Farrelly.

About the Guest

Colin received his PhD from the University of Bristol in England in 1999. Over his 20 year academic career he has held academic appointments in 10 different departments in Political Science, Philosophy and Public Policy in England, Scotland, the United States and Canada. Previous appointments include Visiting Professor in UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at the University of Manoa in Hawaii, Research Fellow in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford University, Visitor in Oxford’s Program on Ethics and the New Biosciences, as well as permanent academic appointments at Waterloo University, Manchester University and the University of Birmingham. For the past 5 years Colin has been involved in teaching philosophy to male inmates.

The author and editor of 6 books and approximately 50 journal articles, Colin’s publications include articles in journals in political science, philosophy, feminism, law, science and medicine. He has published on a diverse array of topics, including the health challenges posed by population aging, the creation and evolution of patriarchy, virtue ethics, virtue epistemology, virtue jurisprudence, play and politics, freedom of expression, judicial review, non-ideal theory, gene patents, deliberative democracy, nanotechnology, sex selection, toleration, a citizen’s basic income, enhancing soldiers and economic incentives.

Colin’s next major research project explores the idea of the “playful” society as a realistic utopia and draws on empirical insights from evolutionary biology and positive psychology.

Learn more about Colin, watch his TED Talk and check out his blog, In Search of Enlightenment.

Mentioned in this Episode

The Quote of the Week

"Questions you cannot answer are usually far better for you than answers you cannot question."
- Yuval Noah Harari