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Seize the Moment Podcast

Dec 5, 2021

On episode 111, we welcome back philosopher Helen De Cruz to discuss the significance of illustrating thought experiments, using them to illicit and explore our intuitive beliefs, the extended mind hypothesis and whether our cell phones are part of us, the nature of dreams, if created identical, lookalikes would be us, whether humans only behave ethically for selfish reasons, The Matrix and why some people prefer living in simulations, Paris Hilton’s virtual reality club and her preference for it over performing in real venues, what Plato’s Cave teaches us about true happiness, and what people would gain from more engagement with thought experiments.

Helen De Cruz is a professor of philosophy and Danforth Chair of Philosophy at Saint Louis University who specializes in philosophy of religion, experimental philosophy, and philosophy of cognitive science. Her latest book, which she edited and illustrated, is called Philosophy Illustrated: 42 Thought Experiments to Broaden Your Mind.

Thought experiments are tools philosophers and scientists use to investigate how things are, without actually having to go out and experiment in the real world. This book presents forty-two philosophical thought experiments. Each thought experiment is illustrated by De Cruz (who is an illustrator as well as a philosopher), and is summarized in one or two paragraphs, which is followed by a brief exploration of its significance. Each thought experiment also includes a longer (approximately 2-page) reflection, written by a philosopher who is a specialist in the field. De Cruz's unique illustrations serve as visual and accessible starting points for classroom discussions in Intro to Philosophy courses.

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