Interesting to see two shows about philosophy on network TV: The Good Place and A.P. Bio (CBS Thursday night). Scanlon and Dancy mentioned in the former, also Bentham and Kant. These are prime time shows and both quite funny (A.P. Bio just started last night so I don’t know how it will work out). I wonder whether philosophers being in the news in the last couple of years brought this attention about. Such popular presentations can have a massive impact and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a cultural uptick of interest in philosophy. Both shows treat philosophers with respect as well as humor. They follow a favorite show of mine, Superstore, with its cast of “oddballs” with more reality in them than you usually see on American TV.
Not a patch on Bryan Magee’s marvelous series I presume. Recently his dialogue with Isaiah Berlin was uploaded on Utube. I wonder what you think about the thesis he presents in that programme: that philosophical problems, historically , have either eventually turned into empirical problems( to be dealt with by the scientists), or turned into questions of some formal discipline like mathematics and logic. Isn’t his scheme too neat?
All the best ,
It was a marvelous series, which seems to belong to a bygone age. I think his thesis is completely wrong: no philosophical problem has ever turned into a scientific or mathematical/logical problem. All that is true in this is that the word “philosophy” used to be used more broadly. Questions of astronomy, say, were never philosophical problems, though they might have been called “philosophy”.
We also have “Here and Now” on HBO with Tim Robbins as a philosophy professor. In both this show and A.P. Bio the philosophical content is dreadful, and in much the same way (vaguely having to do with Marxism and social theory). It is much better on “The Good Place”, which is also funnier. I detect no serious effort on the other two shows to find out what a philosopher actually does.