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Exploring Minds

Exploring Minds

By Bobby Mack
The object of this philosophy podcast will be to invite on other deep thinkers as we tackle questions of economics, ethics, epistemology, and life experience.
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Currently playing episode

Episode #006- Joseph Nelson: "Hedonism"

Exploring Minds

Episode #040 - Angel DeSantis: The Family International Cult
Angel was born and raised in a cult called The Family International which she left the age of 23. She shares her experiences living and growing up in a cult, how she was able to get out of it and live a normal life, and her process of recovery from religious trauma.  Her YouTube channel can be found here, which has more information on her experiences in the cult and subsequent recovery.
May 02, 2021
Episode #039 - Tim Burkhardt (Part 2): Is Abortion Immoral?
Tim returns in this episode to criticize the argument in favor of abortion that he built up in part 1 (episode 36). He argues that Marquis' argument against abortion results in contraception also being classified as immoral. 
January 24, 2021
Episode #038 - Tim Rice & Hans Becklin: Why Esperanto?
Tim & Hans are board members of Esperanto USA.  Esperanto is a language created in 1887 by Polish opthamologist LL Zamenhof with the goal being to facilitate international communication between nations. They describe the history and advantages of the language of Esperanto, their reasons for learning Esperanto and later becoming fully fluent, as well as their vision for its future. 
January 17, 2021
Episode #037- Tim Burkhardt: Why Abortion is Immoral
Tim Burkhardt returns for a talk on Don Marquis's essay, "Why Abortion is Immoral." This famous philosophy paper argues that abortion is, except in unusual circumstances, seriously morally wrong. Tim has since earned his Ph.D from Duke University, having successfully defended his dissertation on Epicureanism. He is now the Scholar in Residence at the Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization at UC Boulder.
January 11, 2021
Episode #035 - Francesca Minerva: The Journal of Controversial Ideas
Dr. Francesca Minerva is a philosopher who has recently founded the Journal of Controversial Ideas. We discuss her motivations for founding the journal, her views on the ethics of anonymous publishing and engaging with dangerous ideas, and her perspective on the role of a philosopher in our society. We also talk about her work in lookism (discrimination against unattractive peope), plastic surgery, and representations of unrealistic beauty standards in the media. Here's a link to the journal:
December 22, 2020
Episode #034 - Nathan Nguyen: Voting and Meta-ethics
Nathan is a philosophy friend of Katelyn's. On voting, he defends the position that most people should not vote. On meta-ethics, we consider whether moral claims are objective facts that can be evaluted as true or false, or if they're just expressions of emotional dispositions towards certain practices (e.g. "Boo murder!"). At the beginning of the episode Katelyn said that he was currently a grad student in psychology, but he actually recently graduated. 
November 09, 2020
Episode #033 - Miles Hentrup: Teaching Philosophy and Hegelian Marxism
Miles is a philosophy professor at Florida Gulf Coast University who shares his perspective on how to teach philosophy and create an atmosphere where students feel comfortable with having their views challenged. He also describes some of his ethical, political, and epistemological positions relating to Hegelian Marxism and Pyrrhonian skepticism. His introductory course at Stony Brook University ultimately inspired Bobby to pursue a degree in philosophy. 
November 01, 2020
Episode #32 - Brandon Smoke: The Opioid Epidemic
Brandon is a former heroin addict who lives in rural Ohio. He shares what it feels like to do heroin, stories about developing and living with an addiction as a teenager, and how he ultimately overcame his addiction 7 years ago. He describes the medical, financial, and mental health barriers he continues to face as he strives to put the past behind him. He also paints a picture of what the opioid epidemic currently looks like in his small town and speculates about why so many people are driven to abuse opioids.   If you're currently struggling with addiction and would like to talk directly to Brandon about getting help, please contact us and we'd be happy to put you in touch with him.
October 25, 2020
Episode #31 Malachi Mansfield: Left-Libertarianism
Malachi talks about his experiences being raised as a Jehovah witness and his political philosophy as a left-leaning libertarian. He has a dicussion podcast called Honest For Goodness, which you can check out here:
October 20, 2020
Episode #030 - Mark Sargent: Flat Earth Theory
Mark Sargent, a prominent Flat Earther, believes that the Earth is a flat disk covered by a dome, physical phenomena and human behavior within the dome are determined by simulations created by unknown actors,  and a small group of elites are aware of these facts but keep it hidden to stay powerful. He rejects mainstream established scientific facts such as gravity, heliocentrism, and the existence of a universe.
September 13, 2020
Episode #028 - Ellen Weiss: A Secular Jew's Journey to Faith
Ellen is a biology professor at UNC. She tells about her research on the human eye and about her experiences with exploring different faiths throughout her life. 
September 06, 2020
Episode #027 - Thomas Byrne: The Trolley Problem and the Definition of Killing
MIT Philosophy PhD student Thomas Byrne argues that the bystander who pulls the lever in the trolley problem doesn't actually 'kill' anyone under most of definitions of killing and further argues that most definitions of killing are inadequate and inconsistent. 
August 31, 2020
Episode #026 - Elder Skidmore & Elder Johnson: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Mormon missionaries Elder Skimore & Elder Johnston share their reasons for becoming missionaries and their opinions on controversial topics related to Mormonism such as gay marriage, traditional gender roles, and polygamy. They've asked us to clarify that the views expressed here are their personal views and are not necessarily the official beliefs of the Mormon church. 
August 21, 2020
Episode #025- Magnus Vinding: Suffering-Focused Ethics
Magnus Vinding is the author of Why We Should Go Vegan, You Are Them, and Suffering-Focused Ethics: Defense and Implications. He argues that the problem of extreme suffering is the greatest problem of all. He holds the view that not only it is the moral obligation of humans to minimize inflicting suffering on one another, but there is also a moral obligation to reduce suffering amongst animals in nature.
August 15, 2020
Episode #024 - Will Wagner: 90's Vintage and MTV Reality TV
Will describes owns a vintage 90's clothing store in NYC that was frequented by celebrities like Aziz Ansari. He also talks about his experiences being on the MTV reality show '90s House' and describes the strategies they used to instigate drama between participants. His store is now exclusively online due to covid, and can be found at
July 17, 2020
Episode #023 - Nadir Ahmed: Science and Islam
Nadir is an Islamic apologist who argues that the Qur'an makes numerous accurate scientific predictions, and these "scientific miracles" support the credibility of the Qur'an in areas that cannot be verified. He further argues that there are no scientific errors in the Qur'an, and he believes this distinguishes it from other religious texts. Here is a link to Nadir's youtube channel for a more in depth look on his perspective:
May 31, 2020
Episode #022- Glen Cotten: "What Is the Baha'i Faith? (Part 2)"
Glen Cotten and his wife Isik have been prominent members of the Baha'i Faith and community for over three decades. With a lifetime of pursuing the mission of justice and unity of humanity, Glen lives and breathes the principles of the Faith every day. We discuss Glen's upbringing, how it affected his look on the world, his time serving in Haifa at the Baha'i World Center, and how he met and married his wife.
May 24, 2020
Episode #021 - Ian Scheffler: Speedcubing
Ian shares his experiences delving into the hypercompetitive (but surprisingly wholesome) world of speedsolving Rubik's cubes whilst writing book on the topic. Currently an English teacher, he also shares his perspectives on ways that teaching and testing can be improved. His book is called Cracking the Cube: Going Slow to Go Fast and Other Unexpected Turns in the World of Competitive Rubik's Cube Solving.
May 17, 2020
Episode #020- Caroline Mack: 32 Years of Nursing
Caroline is a 32-year veteran nurse. In this episode, Bobby and Caroline talk about some of the highlights and lowlights of being a medical professional for over three decades, and what Caroline has learned from her experiences in the hospital.
May 10, 2020
Episode #019 - Angela Bischof: Animal cognition and moral agency
Angela is a Duke philosophy grad student who argues that some species of animals  (and theoretically even plants and bacteria) can be considered moral agents. We also explore methods for studying animal cognition, personhood, and the nature of our ethical obligations towards other animals. 
May 03, 2020
Episode #017 - John McGlone
Formerly a Sanders-supporting San Francisco liberal, John's views have shifted in favor of conservatism, Donald Trump, and traditional values. He shares his perspectives on gender roles, gay marriage, adoption, and abortion. He is a programmer and the leader of the local Jordan Peterson meetup group. 
April 26, 2020
Episode #016 - Bobby Bingle: Buddhism, Anger, and Blame
Bobby is a Duke Philosophy PhD student.  He argues that Buddhist perspectives on "no-self" and anger are not mutually exclusive with blame and moral responsibility. 
April 19, 2020
Episode #015 - Songyao Ren: Zhuangist Perspectives on Emotions
Songyao is a Duke Philosophy PhD student. She advocates for a Zhuangist perspective on a good life, which is characterized openness to different paths (daos) and the absence of strong emotional responses such as anger, sadness, and even certain forms of happiness. 
April 12, 2020
Episode #014- Amanda "Oldphan" Sukenick: Antinatalism
Amanda is the host of the "Exploring Antinatalism" Podcast. She subscribes to the philosophy of Antinatalism as well as EFILism (Life backwards), both of which advocate for the end of all sentient life in the universe by ceasing to procreate.
April 05, 2020
Episode #013- Andy Smith
Math prodigy. 2013 US National Rubik's Cube Champion. Algorithmic trader.
March 29, 2020
Episode #012- Sarah Mack: A Conversation with My Sister
Our host Bobby Mack's sister, Sarah.
March 24, 2020
Episode #011- Will Fullwood: "Black Lives Matter and Police Brutality"
Will is a lawyer and teacher at Wake Tech. Will, Katelyn and Bobby discuss education, as well as the problem of racism in America, and potential solutions.
March 17, 2020
Episode #010- Vicki Tompkins: To Serve and Protect
Vicki is a veteran of the US Navy and New York Police Department. She was head of the Hate Crimes Division and was a dedicated worker at Ground Zero post-9/11. 
March 08, 2020
Episode #009- Tim Burkhardt: "Epicureanism and the Wrongness of Killing"
Tim is a Duke Philosophy Ph.D Student. He is currently writing his dissertation on "Epicureanism and the Wrongness of Killing." He argues that killing may still be morally wrong, even if death may not be bad for you.
February 27, 2020
Episode #008- Carson Claud- Christian Apologetics
Carson is a Christian evangelist studying Christian Apologetics.
February 21, 2020
Episode #007- Matthew Brulhardt
Statistician. Mathematician. Data scientist.
February 14, 2020
Episode #006- Joseph Nelson: "Hedonism"
Duke Philosophy Ph.D student. Hedonist utilitarian.
February 08, 2020
Episode #005- Thomas Sheedy: "The Death of the Atheist Movement"
Former President of Long Island Atheists, and political activist.
February 01, 2020
Episode #004- Solomon Gibson: "How to Be A Successful Parent"
Solomon is an actor, public speaker, daycare worker, and parent.
January 25, 2020
Episode #003- Isik Cotten: "What is the Baha'i Faith?"
Isik is a Turkish-American Baha'i and community organizer who uses the principles of her faith to foster worldwide unity.
January 18, 2020
Episode #001- Katelyn Bryant: A Modern Day Socrates
Katelyn Bryant is a biomedical engineer and true-to-life philosopher.
January 15, 2020