Culture and Value

Cultural traditions of various kinds shape us as individuals. Taking a personal approach, but with historical and global factors also in mind, Mark English discusses a range of topics based around the general theme of ...more

Latest Episodes

March 17, 2022 00:08:47
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Nationalism

Gottlob Frege's organicism and his (surprisingly strong) patriotic commitments were mentioned in a previous episode of Culture and Value. In this episode, Mark English offers a culture-based perspective on the topics of nationalism and political myth, highlighting the tensions between political and more organic cultural elements, and recommending a pragmatic and strictly utilitarian approach to foreign policy. ...

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February 19, 2022 00:13:30
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Frege's View of the World

Gottlob Frege was a mathematician with strong philosophical interests and preoccupations. In an attempt to discover and make explicit the logical foundations of mathematics he developed -- almost singlehandedly -- the basic ideas of the predicate calculus. But he also had deep and compelling views on language and an appreciation of the complexities of ordinary thinking, including the role that feelings and emotions play in human life and decision-making. ...

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January 20, 2022 00:07:24
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Individualism and Cultural Embeddedness

Mark English talks about his general goal of presenting and defending a form of individualism which takes seriously our cultural embeddedness, noting that universal political prescriptions – to the extent that they can be applied at all – are rarely successful. He refers to the surprising origins of neo-liberalism in Europe in the 1930s. The European neo-liberals were keen to distance themselves from earlier, laissez-faire approaches to economics and emphasized the importance of cultural factors. ...

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December 20, 2021 00:08:25
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Close Reading

Young children are notoriously bad liars, but even mature and sophisticated users of language reveal themselves in ways of which they are all too often unaware. Listeners and readers inevitably make judgments based not so much on the literal meaning of what we say as on what they perceive to be our purpose or motivation for saying it. This is a well-known and universal phenomenon. But there are strands of thinking, in both Western and Eastern traditions, which take these ideas a bit further and see the analysis of linguistic style as potentially revealing the moral qualities of the speaker or writer. ...

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December 04, 2021 00:15:50
Politics and personal values; Taiwan and U.S. interventionism

Politics and personal values; Taiwan and U.S. interventionism

Personal and political values can be intertwined in complicated ways and, even within close families, there are often serious, politically-driven divides. Mark English talks about the way his own foreign policy views and attitudes have changed. He refers to the influence of his father on his own views and also to bitter, politically-driven personal rifts which existed at one time within his father's family. The latter part of this episode is devoted to a review of a recent discussion about China's regional ambitions and the role that the United States is currently playing in the Western Pacific, especially in relation to Taiwan. ...

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November 25, 2021 00:12:51
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The Curious Persistence of Cold War Thinking

Great powers in decline are often more dangerous than rising powers. The leaders of such countries (today's United States?) may be tempted to take drastic action in an attempt to stem perceived decline and restore the status quo ante or simply to distract from domestic problems. Mark English argues that, though changes in the geopolitical landscape make the relatively clear ideological dichotomies of the Cold War era impossible to maintain, new and dangerous forms of neoconservatism – founded on the myth of American exceptionalism – continue to influence foreign policy and media reporting. ...

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