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This is a podcast for the curious. 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, fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay, 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? 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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Sep 20, 2019

What is consciousness? Where does the mind reside? Can we create artificial intelligence that can fake intelligence, or maybe just have it? What happened in 17th century Europe that led to such a fascinating time for deep thinkers? And are we going through a similar period of churn today?

Ben has a fascinating and wide-ranging chat about these big questions with University of Alberta professor of philosophy Amy Schmitter.

About the Guest


Besides her position as Professor of Philosophy, Amy is an Executive Editor and Board Secretary for the Canadian Journal of Philosophy.She is also involved in the project “New Narratives in the History of Philosophy,” supported by a Partnership Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. In April 2016, she was a Visiting Professor in the Facultad de Filosof Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, where she lectured and held several seminar sessions. Before coming to the University of Alberta, Amy taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Hamilton College in New York, and the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She has also been a Visiting Scholar at the University of California at Berkeley and at New York University, and during 2002-03, held a Fellowship at the Stanford Humanities Center, Stanford University. She has received several awards for Summer Institutes and Seminars from the National Endowment for the Humanities (U.S.A.) and two Standard Research Grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She also serves on various committees, including the Religious Studies Advisory Council for the U of A, the Program Committee for the Pacific Northwest-Western Canada Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, and review committees for several grant organizations. 

Amy's main areas of research and writing are the history of early modern philosophy and philosophy of art. But those are broad and eclectic areas that (necessarily) take her into many different topics, historical periods and approaches to philosophy. Her teaching interests and educational history cover yet further fields. The result is that she knows a little bit about many different things. 

Mentioned in this Episode

The Quote of the Week

"One cannot conceive anything so strange and so implausible that it has not already been said by one philosopher or another."

- René Descartes