Who Shaves the Barber? – A new weekly philosophy podcast

Achilles and the tortoise
Almost passed him!

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve heard me go on about a philosophy podcast I’m launching any moment now. Well, today’s the day. Concurrent with this post, I’m officially releasing episode one of Who Shaves the Barber? I’ll pretend you have questions and answer them:

What?

It’s a weekly podcast – new episodes every Tuesday. Episodes will range anywhere from 40 – 90 mins (I’ll try to keep ’em short, but I’m a naturally long-winded fella). For some episodes (I’m aiming for about half-ish), I’ll interview philosophers. For the others, I’ll do my own presentation on a topic.

Oh, cool. Is there a more specific focus than just all philosophy?

The tagline is “Exploring paradoxes, thought experiments, and other pointless problems.” That doesn’t really answer your question, but it’s kinda relevant and I wanted to share it. (By the way, I don’t really think philosophy is pointless, I just like piss off people who take it very seriously [unless they’re my guests].)

The useless but most accurate answer is that I’ll be talking about whatever topics interest me. The more useful answer is that I’m most interested in paradoxes, philosophy of logic, philosophy of language, epistemology, skepticism, ontology, and metaphilosophy. In terms of focus and style, my presentation will tend to mesh most with the “analytic” tradition (although, as the scare quotes indicate, I’m skeptical of the premise behind the “split.” But that’s a topic for another day).

I’m not super knowledgeable. How much background knowledge are you assuming?

None!

Slightly more honest answer: when I do my own presentations, I’ll do my best to assume almost none (I’ll assume really basic things, like that you know what “epistemology” means). When I interview philosophers, my aim will be to go in as deeply into their ideas as possible within this kind of format. I will do my best to fulfill that aim in a manner that is accessible and jargon-free. Alas, that involves a balancing act. Again, I’ll do my best, but if faced with an unavoidable accessibility/depth tradeoff during an interview, I will likely lean depth.

There are tons of philosophy podcasts out there. Why should I listen to you? Do you even have a Ph.D.?

How very forward of you. No, I don’t have a Ph.D. I’m just a dude who really loves this stuff and has spent an embarrassing amount of time reading and talking about it. I’m not an expert and I don’t pretend to be.

Here’s what makes this podcast special – you decide if sounds like something you’d like to hear:

  • Deep. I’m not here to give quick, surface-level overviews. I want to really dive into the nitty-gritty of the ideas. The focus will always be on the arguments and not on their history or broader significance.
  • Accessible. Despite the depth, I’ll won’t use jargon without first introducing it. Clarity will be my #1 focus. That may sometimes mean longer durations. That’s a tradeoff I’ll take.
  • Original. I’m not just explaining generally-accepted concepts. For solo episodes, I’ll bring together the material to argue for my own conclusions. When interviewing guests, l aim to bring out the controversial in their views, and challenge them with my own objections. Detached objectivity is boring.
  • Educational. Despite the originality, I’m not reinventing the wheel. Fact: the great thinkers of the tradition are more insightful than I am. Most episodes will focus on explaining the ideas of great philosophers, even if I end up using them to make some larger arguments of my own.

Where do I find it?

Here’s the link to the RSS feed: https://williamnava.podbean.com/feed/

It’s also available on iTunes. I’ll also post episodes on this site as they come out.

I’ll post video versions on this YouTube playlist every week, roughly at the same time as the podcast. These come with the bonus of faces.

What’s with the title?

It’s a reference to the kinda-paradox of the barber: imagine a town with a barber who shaves all and only those in the town that do not shave themselves. Does this barber shave himself?

If it’s immediately clear why this scenario is interesting, this podcast’s for you.

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