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Playlist: Questioning America

Compiled By: Philosophy Talk

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The Separation of Powers

From Philosophy Talk | 53:59

What are the philosophical arguments behind the separation of powers in the US constitution?

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John Locke

From Philosophy Talk | 53:58

What made Locke the Founding Fathers' favorite philosopher?

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Thomas Jefferson identified John Locke as one of “the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception.” Many debates in modern political theory have their roots in the writings of John Locke, and Locke’s work on other philosophical issues, particularly identity and selfhood, have also influenced generations of philosophers. What was Locke’s influence on contemporary political theory and our understanding of the purpose of government?  John and Ken derive their power from the consent of their guest, William Uzgalis from Oregon State University, author of Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding: A Reader’s Guide.

Lincoln as a Philosopher

From Philosophy Talk | 53:58

What was Lincoln's basic philosophy, and did it change over the course of his Presidency?

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More than any other President, Abraham Lincoln is known for his words, from the Lincoln-Douglass debates to the second inaugural address, as well as his deeds.  What was Lincoln's basic philosophy, and did it change over the course of his Presidency?  Ken and John welcome back Chicago Public Radio's Resident Philosopher, Al Gini, to celebrate the bicentennial of Lincoln, the man and his ideas.

John Dewey and the Ideal of Democracy

From Philosophy Talk | 53:59

What made Dewey the quintessential American philosopher?

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John Dewey is regarded by some as the American philosopher. In the first half of the 20th century, he stood as the most prominent public intellectual whose influence reached into intellectual movements in China, Japan, and India. Although we hear less of Dewey nowadays, his pragmatic political philosophy has influenced the likes of Richard Rorty and other political thinkers. What were the basic ideas in his philosophy of democracy? Does America have a public sphere? If not, how might we recreate a public necessary for democracy? And does the rise of the internet and social media fit into Dewey’s ideal democracy? John and Ken idealize a conversation with Melvin Rogers from UCLA, author of The Undiscovered Dewey: Religion, Morality, and the Ethos of Democracy.

Corporations and the Future of Democracy

From Philosophy Talk | 53:59

Can money really be a form of speech?

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The US prides itself on the strength of its democratic institutions and considers itself a leader in the promotion of democratic values around the globe. But can we consistently maintain this self-image in the face of the growing power of corporations? Are capitalism and globalization subverting the interests of democracy at home and abroad? If so, does the problem stem from fundamental inconsistencies between global capitalism and national democracy? Can regulations provide a solution, and if so, who has the authority to create and enforce these regulations? John and Ken welcome former US Senator Russell Feingold, author of While America Sleeps: A Wake-up Call for the Post-9/11 Era.