By Max Benabou
“Philosophy Talk,” a radio show produced by KALW on behalf of Stanford University, was named a finalist in the “Documentary: Social Issues” category of the 2021 New York Festivals Radio Awards on July 29.
The Radio Awards specifically recognized three episodes of the show: “The 2020 Dionysus Awards,” “Covid Conundrums and Moral Dilemmas” and “Time for Summer Reading.” “Philosophy Talk” is co-hosted by French and comparative literature professor Joshua Landy and philosophy professor Ray Briggs.
Each episode consists of a conversation between the co-hosts on a variety of philosophical topics.
“We make sure that the topics we discuss are relevant to the real world and everyday concerns,” Landy said.
Briggs joined “Philosophy Talk” in 2019 after the passing of philosophy professor Ken Taylor, the show’s co-founder and previous co-host. “I loved the show, and I love what Ken did for the show, and I was really happy to be able to continue this show that I thought was really valuable,” Briggs said.
Although Landy and Briggs encountered difficulties producing their show during the pandemic, they were able to navigate through them and find success. “We had to overcome the obstacles of the pandemic and the loss of Ken who was an amazing friend, colleague and teacher,” Landy said.
Stanford partners with “Philosophy Talk” through its Changing Human Experience (CHE) Initiative, which provides grants to humanities faculty seeking to explore the relationship between humans and our ever-changing world. Stanford literature professor Blakey Vermuele, co-director of the Public Humanities branch of CHE, praised the show.
“They are doing what we want a lot of Stanford faculty to do,” Vermuele said, adding that the initiative seeks to support “Philosophy Talk” as much as possible through the partnership.
“It’s just a magical thing when really brilliant people find a way to take what they know and communicate that into the world,” Vermuele said.
Landy and Briggs attribute much of the success of the show to previous co-hosts John Perry, a retired Stanford philosophy professor, and Ken Taylor.
“The success of the show is due to the format that they created that makes sometimes quite abstruse issues really accessible and relevant and engaging for people to listen to,” Landy said.