Podcast Brunch Club

Free Will: November 2019 Podcast Listening List

Odd Ball: A podcast series from wjct

Support for this month’s PBC palylist is provided by Odd Ball from WJCT.

Odd Ball is a new podcast series about a UFO investigation, a mansion in the woods and how one shiny object sent a Jacksonville, Florida family into hiding.

Podcast Brunch Club theme: Free Will
We decided to choose Free Will as the theme for this month. Or did we? We go through our daily lives making many choices. What to eat, what to wear, who to talk to, what to say, and so on. Do we make these choices or are they completely predetermined given our genetics, upbringing, environment, and chemical makeup of our brains? Philosophers and scientists have grappled with the issue of free will for centuries, and recent advances in neuroscience have brought to light unprecedented challenges to the concept that we design our own destiny. In this podcast playlist, we will explore free will through various lenses, including science, philosophy, religion, and stories. You are free to choose what to believe. Maybe.

(This playlist was curated by three members of our San Francisco chapter. Thanks to Alexandra, Joe, and Jamie).

Podcast Listening List on FREE WILL

Download the complete playlist to your podcast player of choice:
Listen Notes | Podyssey | Podchaser 

Podcast: TED Radio Hour
Episode: Hardwired (March 2019, 52 min)
Listen: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Other apps (via Podchaser or Podyssey)
How much of who we are is biology? How much is learned? And how much can we change? This hour, TED speakers on how genes and experience collaborate — and compete — to make us who we are.

Podcast: In Our Time
Episode: Free Will (September 2019, 43 min)
Listen: Apple PodcastsSpotify | Other apps (via Podchaser or Podyssey)
Free will – the extent to which we are free to choose our own actions – is one of the most absorbing philosophical problems, debated by almost every great thinker of the last two thousand years. In a universe apparently governed by physical laws, is it possible for individuals to be responsible for their own actions? Or are our lives simply proceeding along preordained paths? Determinism – the doctrine that every event is the inevitable consequence of what goes before – seems to suggest so.

Podcast: The Truth
Episode: The Decider (October 2017, 16 min)
Listen: Apple PodcastsSpotify | Other apps (via Podchaser or Podyssey)
What if a device could tell you exactly how satisfied you’d be with any decision? What if you could carry the future around in your pocket? What if you never had to say “what if” again?

Podcast: On Being with Krista Tippett
Episode: Leonard Mlodinow — Randomness and Choice (October 2016, 51 min)
Listen: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Other apps (via Podchaser or Podyssey)
Fundamental forces of physics somehow determine everything that happens, “from the birth of a child to the birth of a galaxy.” Yet physicist Leonard Mlodinow has an intriguing perspective on the gap between theory and reality — and the fascinating interplay between a life in science and life in the world. As the child of two Holocaust survivors, he asks questions about our capacity to create our lives, while reflecting on extreme human cruelty — and courage.

PBC Podcast episodes covering Free Will

  • Free Will Roundup
    Zachary Davis, president of Lyceum, joins Adela as guest co-host on the roundup of the Free Will podcast playlist we listened to this month.

Conversation Starter Questions

  1. Is there a middle ground between pure free will and determinism? Are there degrees of free will?
  2. Does the debate over free will’s existence impact individual responsibility for our actions? E.g. Legally, morally, etc.
  3. How do external technological, political, and societal factors put boundaries on our freedom of choice?
  4. In which areas of your life do you have more or less freedom to choose?
  5. Can the belief in a deterministic world be reconciled with one’s religious / spiritual beliefs?
  6. If you were to decide that free will does not exist, does that change anything about how you approach life? Is it important to continue operating as if free will exists?
  7. Does your belief in free will (one way or the other) impact how you live on a day-to-day basis?

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