show episodes
 
On Wisdom features a social and cognitive scientist in Toronto and an educator in London discussing the latest empirical science regarding the nature of wisdom. Igor Grossmann runs the Wisdom & Culture Lab at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Charles Cassidy runs the Evidence-Based Wisdom project in London, UK. The podcast thrives on a diet of freewheeling conversation on wisdom, decision-making, wellbeing, and society and includes regular guests spots with leading behavioral scientists ...
 
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show series
 
Igor Grossmann, social psychologist and one-time lover of dance, joins me to talk about his youth in the downfall of the Soviet Union, the nature of wisdom, and resolving binary problems by jumping up a level. Want to help Cassettes grow? Become a patron at patreon.com/cassettespodcast and get full-length episodes with double the content, 48 hours …
 
Phil Doyle, parkour O.G. and lovable rogue, joins me to talk about almost dying in Miami, the joy of balding, and starting his own clothing brand. Want to help Cassettes grow? Become a patron at patreon.com/cassettespodcast and get full-length episodes with double the content, 48 hours early. Follow Cassettes on... Instagram: @cassettespodcast Twit…
 
What kind of wisdom will people need to capitalize on the positive societal and/or psychological change after the pandemic? Igor and Charles share and discuss responses from 57 of the world's leading behavioral and social scientists, collected as part of the World After Covid project. Each episode, four responses are selected. This time, the conver…
 
Ron Chau, budding existential psychotherapist and human anomaly, joins me to talk about Irvin Yalom's ultimate concerns, The Brothers Karamazov, and accepting the universe as it is. Is this an interview podcast? I talk a lot in this one. Want to help Cassettes grow? Become a patron at patreon.com/cassettespodcast and get full-length episodes with d…
 
Alex Schnell, comparative psychologist and cuttlefish enthusiast, joins me to talk about cephalopod intelligence, animal sentience, and the emerging science of magical illusion. Want to help Cassettes grow? Become a patron at patreon.com/cassettespodcast and get full-length episodes with double the content, 48 hours early. Follow Cassettes on... In…
 
Jens Notroff, archaeologist and prolific tweeter, joins me to talk about the fascinating site known as Göbekli Tepe, the recurring act of monument destruction, and the relationship between truth and history. Want to help Cassettes grow? Become a patron at patreon.com/cassettespodcast and get full-length episodes with double the content, 48 hours ea…
 
Which domain or aspect of social life will show the most significant positive societal and/or psychological change in response to the pandemic? Igor and Charles share and discuss responses given to the question about positive change in response to the pandemic by 57 of the world's leading behavioral and social scientists, collected as part of the W…
 
Dan Nicholson, molecular biologist-turned-process philosopher and future Bond villain, joins me to talk about everything flowing, spacetime worms, and what it would be like to be a molecule. Want to help Cassettes grow? Become a patron at patreon.com/cassettespodcast and get full-length episodes with double the content, 48 hours early. Follow Casse…
 
Eleanor Michalka, art director and master of shapes, joins me to talk about her career in animation, seeing things as they really are, the nature of God, and transcendent experiences. This one went off the rails. Want to help Cassettes grow? Become a patron at patreon.com/cassettespodcast and get full-length episodes with double the content, 48 hou…
 
Which domain or aspect of social life will show the most significant positive societal and/or psychological change in response to the pandemic? Igor and Charles share and discuss responses given to the question about positive change in response to the pandemic by 57 of the world's leading behavioral and social scientists, collected as part of the W…
 
What one piece of wisdom is important to give to people now to help them make it through the pandemic? Igor and Charles share and discuss responses given to this critical question by 57 of the world's leading behavioral and social scientists, collected as part of the World After Covid project. Each episode, four responses are selected. This time, t…
 
What one piece of wisdom is important to give to people now to help them make it through the pandemic? Igor and Charles share and discuss responses given to this critical question by 57 of the world's leading behavioral and social scientists, collected as part of the World After Covid project. Each episode, four responses are selected. This time, t…
 
Chris Maier, musical genius, joins me to talk to about incorporating Joseph Campbell's monomyth into his music, his fascination with evolutionary biology, his love of fishing, and the popular obsession with simulation theory. Want to help Cassettes grow? Become a patron at patreon.com/cassettespodcast and get full-length episodes with double the co…
 
Pace Davis, real-life Cormac McCarthy character, joins me to talk about having a con-man dad, his experience with Spanish dumpster riots, the essays of James Baldwin vs George Orwell, and the joy of canoeing. Want to help Cassettes grow? Become a patron at patreon.com/cassettespodcast and get full-length episodes with double the content, 48 hours e…
 
Soo Jong, the aunt we all need but don't deserve, joins me to talk about Buddhism, music, and death. Want to help Cassettes grow? Become a patron at patreon.com/cassettespodcast and get full-length episodes with double the content, 48 hours early. Follow Cassettes on... Instagram: @cassettespodcast Twitter: @cassettes_pod Special thanks to Chris Ma…
 
Does wisdom reside in particular persons, or is wisdom more about what happens between people? And if wisdom does require a social context, what are the implications of our new social distancing habits since the rise of the pandemic? Ricca Edmondson joins Igor and Charles to discuss novel ethnographic approaches to the study of wisdom, the signific…
 
Can the fact that something is morally wrong to believe affect whether the evidence you have justifies that belief? In her paper, Georgi Gardiner argues that the answer is "no". We should follow the evidence where it leads and align our beliefs with the evidence. And if we do that, she argues, we’ll discover that morally wrong beliefs—such as racis…
 
You've heard about "social-distancing" but what about emotional "self-distancing", can that help make you wiser? Are different people wiser than others and why? Is wisdom a stable trait and if so how should we measure it? In recent years there's been an explosion of research in cognitive science into answering these questions. But along with this t…
 
Despite the common stereotype of ‘older and crankier,’ psychologists suggest we become more positive as we age. Why? Do our aging brains become worse at detecting threats in the environment? Do we choose to focus on more positive aspects of our experience as we age? And what does the latest scientific research say about one of the major dangers of …
 
What is the value of wisdom in the time of the global pandemic? Does the community of behavioural scientists studying wisdom agree on anything about the nature of wisdom? Can we say what we now know about wisdom and, conversely, what do we know we don’t yet know? Howard Nusbaum joins Igor and Charles to discuss the recently assembled Toronto Wisdom…
 
Complaining about our pains is often viewed as weak or soft. Kant and Aristotle went so far as to say that it should never be done. And they say it's something a real man would never do. But could complaining actually be a virtue, even when you can't fix the thing that makes you sad or mad? When done well, complaining can expose our vulnerabilities…
 
There is often resistance to the claim from feminist philosophy that knowledge is somehow "socially constructed", but what does that actually mean and is it really all that radical? Sometimes, our social situations or experiences dictate the kind of evidence we are likely to encounter and put us in a better position than others to know what's going…
 
Is happiness research even relevant in such times of crisis, or is focusing on our happiness simply a luxury we can no longer afford? And, while effective for many people, why does the cultivation of gratitude sometimes result in unexpectedly negative consequences? Sonja Lyubomirsky joins Igor and Charles to discuss the key components of happiness,…
 
Are games art and if so, why? Are they important or valuable and if so, how? A lot of work tries to answer these questions in aesthetics by comparing games to various properties of traditionally acknowledged works that scholars already agree are art. But does this obscure basic features of what games are all about? Unlike most fictions, game design…
 
How well do you know your own feelings? Is our ability to know this about ourselves less reliable than what we know about the outside world around us? Is there anything we can do to make ourselves less "naive" and improve the reliability of introspection about conscious experiences? Links and Resources Eric Schwitzgebel The Paper The Splintered Min…
 
Though there is a lot of talk about diversity in the workplace, “age diversity” is often overlooked. Might there even be an emerging mission-critical role for wise elders in the world’s most cutting-edge tech companies? Hospitality maverick and Airbnb Strategic Advisor Chip Conley joins Igor and Charles to discuss the U-Curve of happiness, the surp…
 
Are decisions made by scientists one century ago still with us and weigh down science? One decision involves the rules scientists play by when it comes to statistical significance, and more specifically, the rule that results fall below a .05 threshold to count as significant. The point of this threshold is to help minimize false positives. But .05…
 
What, if anything, does "fake news" or "post truth" actually mean? Are they thinly veiled political strategies that do as much harm to democracy as the things they attempt to describe? And if so why did so many academics and philosophers get caught up in using a series of terms with such serious problems? Links and Resources Joshua Habgood-Coote Th…
 
"Nietzsche was friends with Wagner, Copperfield with Steerforth, Rick Blaine with Louis Renault...one who enters into a friendship with a bad person very much seems to have gone wrong somewhere," writes Isserow. But what is wrong, exactly, with choosing to make friends with bad people? Does it tell us something important about ourselves and could t…
 
Can the absense of something ever be a cause? For example, image you forget to water your plants and your plants all die. Did your failure to water them cause the plants to die? Many people report the intuition you obviously have caused your plants to die, but shocking as it may at first seem, could this intuition actually be wrong? Links and Resou…
 
Bad things happen to all of us. But why do some people grow wiser, while others simply grow bitter? What do scientists do to reliably measure wisdom in the laboratory? And might this research suggest solutions to some of the most pressing problems of our time? Igor and Charles welcome one of today's leading wisdom scientists - Judith Glück, who dis…
 
Is the “business-as-usual” approach to science in crisis? Does the public have a good grasp of how scientific knowledge is really generated? And might scientists be as much prey to self-serving biases as the rest of us mortals? Simine Vazire joins Igor and Charles to discuss the thorny complexity of seeking reliable knowledge about the world and ab…
 
Are people being reasonable when they act irrationally? Doesn’t rationality and reasonableness mean the same thing? Charles and Igor kick of the new decade by diving into a messy mix of behavioral economics, nudges, moral philosophy and legal studies, to examine what standards guide people’s decisions. Charles asks Igor about core standards that gu…
 
Does that which doesn’t kill you make you weaker? Should we always follow our emotions? Is life a battle between good people and bad people? And critically, what might the adoption of these three popular, but unwise, ideas be doing to a rising generation of young adults? Jonathan Haidt joins Igor and Charles to discuss the three great untruths of m…
 
Patients always receive treatment in agreement with the best scientific evidence available, right? Well, no. Not really. Clinical practitioners seem to suffer from many of the cognitive biases that affect the rest of us, and treatment decisions are often much less science-based that we might like to think. Scott Lilienfeld joins Igor and Charles to…
 
We live in confusing times. Politics is polarizing. Opinions clash on many topics leading to heated discussions. Take environmental change and what to do about it, the best ways to achieve prosperity, or the threats and opportunities of our globalized economy. Are we ready to admit that we often actually don’t understand what’s going on? Mark Alfan…
 
What exactly is ‘awe’ and does it bring us, as individuals or as a society, any benefit? Dacher Keltner joins Igor and Charles to discuss why Canadians feel differently about awe than the Chinese, how to take an ‘awe walk’, why emotions vary across historical time, and the importance of experiencing diverse emotions and how to balance them, while t…
 
Can an individual really change a culture? Adam Grant joins Igor and Charles to discuss cultures of non-conformity and giving in the workplace, the perils of cognitive entrenchment, the critical role of culture carriers, and why we should be managing our attention rather than our time. Igor delights in learning of the astoundingly high frequency of…
 
How did politics get so damn polarised? Jay Van Bavel joins Igor and Charles to discuss political polarisation, the partisan brain, the inexorable rise of superheroes in dark times, the misperceptions of polarisation levels, and how to reach out to other tribes. Igor highlights the partisanship-transcending benefits of a Watchmen-style alien invasi…
 
Our current productivity culture appears to peddle a false promise: If we can just get better organised, we really can do everything - no tough life choices or trade-offs need to be made! Guardian journalist and author Oliver Burkeman joins Igor and Charles to discuss the ironic effects of the pursuit of productivity, the inbox zero phenomenon, the…
 
Do highly intelligent people actually take better decisions in their daily lives than everyone else? And if not, what’s missing from our picture of what it means to be ‘smart’? Can you be highly intelligent, yet flunk a rationality test? And rather than noise to be ignored, might our emotions help us make decisions that are actually more rational? …
 
‘Wholeness quiets infinite phenomena?’ Does it, really?! Why do some people fall for pseudo-profound bullshit and others don’t? When we share fake news stories, is this because we're motivated to think they're real, or because we don't bother to think at all? And why do scientists fight tooth-and-nail over the mechanisms involved, such as “System I…
 
Is it wiser for a society to be ‘tight’ – strictly enforcing social rules, or ‘loose’ – in which social rule-breaking barely raise an eyebrow? What do social norms have to do with a sense of threat? And might wise leaders have worked out how to dynamically calibrate the tightness or looseness of their organisations as the situation demands? Michele…
 
Can, or even should wisdom be taught at school? Would teaching about wisdom in the classroom even translate into wiser behaviour? And might learning about wise historical figures in school actually decrease the likelihood of students behaving more wisely? Igor and Charles tinker with the nuts and bolts of a speculative wisdom curriculum, discussing…
 
Life expectancy increased more in the 20th century than in the entire prior history of humanity combined. With many more of us now getting the opportunity to live into old age, what do we have to look forward to? Do our social and emotional lives degrade in step with our physical bodies as we age, or do we in fact get much happier as we get older? …
 
Can we design our workplaces to generate wiser behaviour? Why do we work anyway, and would we still work if we didn’t get paid? Do employers even want their employees to develop wisdom? Barry Schwartz joins Igor and Charles to discuss how Aristotle’s Practical Wisdom applies in the 21st Century, the reasons why we work, idea technology, the uninten…
 
Is our capacity for wise behaviour determined not just by our psychology but also by our physiology? Is there such a thing as ‘good stress’, and how might our assessment of a situation reduce the chances of us 'choking'? And can our own bodies actually be physically affected by other people's emotions? Wendy Berry Mendes joins Igor and Charles to d…
 
Can philosophers and psychologists work together to guide us towards living wisely? In pursuing the good life, can too much reflection be dangerous? Might philosophers have downplayed the importance of getting lost in experience? Valerie Tiberius joins Igor and Charles to discuss positive illusions, values integration, bearing our own reflective su…
 
One thing we all seem to agree on is that empathy is an unmitigated good. But what if we are wrong? Might some forms of empathy actually be dangerous for society, biasing preferences towards those that look like us, or even those we find attractive? And even when our closest companions are in pain, is ‘feeling what they feel’ really the best way to…
 
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