In episode 22, I am joined by the philosopher David McPherson, of Creighton University, to discuss Huxley’s famous sci-fi dystopia, “Brave New World.” We discuss how technological progress can accelerate processes of dehumanization and how the loss of piety transforms how we experience love and desire. Along the way, we bring in help from Nietzsche, Alasdair MacIntyre, Cora Diamond, Michael Sandel, and of course, Leon Kass. As always, I hope you enjoy our conversation.
David McPherson is associate professor of philosophy at Creighton University. He is the author of Virtue and Meaning: A Neo-Aristotelian Perspective and editor of Spirituality and the Good Life: Philosophical Approaches. He is currently working on a book that addresses alienation.
Jennifer A. Frey is assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina. Prior to joining the philosophy faculty at USC, she was a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she was a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and an affiliated faculty in the philosophy department. She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, and her B.A. in Philosophy and Medieval Studies (with Classics minor) at Indiana University-Bloomington. She has published widely on action, virtue, practical reason, and meta-ethics, and has recently co-edited an interdisciplinary volume, Self-Transcendence and Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and Psychology.
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Sacred and Profane Love is a podcast in which philosophers, theologians, and literary critics discuss some of their favorite works of literature, and how these works have shaped their own ideas about love, happiness, and meaning in human life. Host Jennifer A. Frey is assistant professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina. The podcast is generously supported by The Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America and edited by William Deatherage.
Music credits, “Help me Somebody,” by Brian Eno and David Byrne, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.5.
Like everyone else, my life has been upended by the global pandemic. I have five kids in public schools here in South Carolina (plus one very rambunctious and ornery toddler), so I am now a homeschooling Mom in addition to being a professor, podcaster, and writer. I am sleep deprived and each day I fall further and further behind were I’d like to be. My priority right now is my family.
However, I’m still trying to put up content on the podcast, because I believe that now, more than ever, we need time and space for reflection and contemplation. We need art, friends, and I desperately need the sort of conversation I just had for this episode. I am not as prepared for these podcasts as I’d normally be, but I hope that this pandemic content still inspires you to pick up a great book and think about what really matters.
I was genuinely thrilled to discover that Phil Klay, national book award winning author of Redeployment and Iraq war veteran, not only knew who I was but was endorsing my humble podcast on Twitter! Let me return the favor: Phil has a podcast of his own, with Jacob Siegal, which, like mine, tries to model the art of great conversation about art and ideas. If you don’t know about Manifesto pod, have a listen and consider subscribing! I think you will not be disappointed.
Episode 21 is a discussion about Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim. Phil and I discuss narrative identity and self-knowledge, the perils we encounter in our search for truth, and the nature of the absurd. As always, I hope you enjoy our conversation.