In this show’s first episode, David Krakauer explained how art and science live along an axis of explanatory depth: science strives to find the simplest adequate abstractions to explain the world we observe, where art’s devotion is to the incompressible — the one-offs that resist abstraction and attempts to write a unifying framework. Between the random and the regular, amidst the ligaments that bind our scientific and artistic inquiries, we find a huge swath of the world that we struggle to articulate in formal quantitative terms, but that rewards our curiosity and offers us profound insights regardless. Here lives the open question of what we can learn from history — specifically, the histories of other people’s lives. Why do we love biographies? What can the stories of the lives of others teach us about both situational and common truths of being? This is a different kind of episode and conversation, one living at the intersection of philosophy and history and science…
This week’s episode features guest interviewer, SFI President David Krakauer, in conversation with philosopher and biographer Ray Monk. Monk teaches at the University of Southhampton and was SFI’s 2017 Miller Scholar, a position that he earned for his biographies of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, and J. Robert Oppenheimer — three mavericks whose legacies are lessons for contemporary leaders.
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Podcast Theme Music by Mitch Mignano.
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