Theory of Constructed Emotion

Jared and Todd discuss the theory of constructed emotion and the work of Lisa Feldman Barrett. In contrast to a location-based understanding, in which discrete emotion categories consistently and specifically correspond to distinct brain regions, constructionism proposes that such emotion categories are constructed of more general brain networks not specific to those categories. We discuss degeneracy, the difference between affect and emotion, different forms of dualism, affinities to the philosophies of Kant and Wittgenstein, and the ways concepts and words have meaning.

The Gospel According to Flannery O’Connor

Rachel and Todd talk about Flannery O’Connor. We discuss the unusual way that O’Connor developed Christian themes in her stories making use of violence and the grotesque. We look closely at four of her stories in particular, at her Southern regional style and humor as well as common themes like intergenerational conflict, urban and rural culture clashes, and racial tension as well as religious themes like depravity, redemption, grace, revelation, and the Holy Spirit.

Star Trek

Rick and Todd talk about Star Trek: an overview of the series, timeline continuity, development of the Klingons, the philosophy of Star Trek, genetic engineering, diversity, the Prime Directive and non-intervention, the secular values of Star Trek, the religious beliefs of other species and their productive tension with the secular Federation.

Set Theory

Jakob and Todd talk about set theory, its historical origins, Georg Cantor, trigonometric series, cardinalities of number systems, the continuum hypothesis, cardinalities of infinite sets, set theory as a foundation for mathematics, Cantor’s paradox, Russell’s paradox, axiomatization, the Zermelo–Fraenkel axiomatic system, the axiom of choice, and the understanding of mathematical objects as “sets with structure”.