Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas
Sean Carroll, scientist and author
Sean Carroll hosts conversations with the world's most interesting thinkers. Science, society, philosophy, culture, arts, and ideas.
Alan Lightman on Transcendence, Science, and a Naturalist’s Sense of Meaning
Is there still a place for atheists to talk about transcendence, the sacred, and meaning in life? Alan Lightman brings a unique perspective to these questions, as someone who has worked within both the sciences and the humanities at the highest level. In his most recent book, Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine, makes the case that naturalists should take transcendence seriously. We talk about the implications that the finitude of our lives has for our search for meaning.
Episode 37: Edward Watts on the End of the Roman Republic and Lessons for Democracy
The Roman Empire was preceded by the Roman Republic, which flourished for a full five centuries. Why, after such a long and prosperous run, would an essentially democratic form of government change — with a good deal of approval from its citizens — into an autocracy? That’s the question I discuss with today’s guest, historian Edward Watts. It’s a fascinating story with many contemporary resonances, especially how reformers choose to balance working within the system to overthrowing it entirely.
Episode 36: David Albert on Quantum Measurement and the Problems with Many-Worlds
Quantum mechanics is our best theory of how reality works at a fundamental level, yet physicists still can’t agree on what the theory actually says. David Albert is one of the leading figures in the foundations of quantum mechanics today, and we discuss the measurement problem and why it’s so puzzling. Then we dive into the Many-Worlds version of quantum mechanics, which is my favorite. It is not David’s favorite, so he presents the case as to why you should be skeptical of Many-Worlds.
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