Thoughts: Philosophy Untangled

Glasgow University Philosophy Students

A Podcast Created by Glasgow University Philosophy Students. In every episode, we explore a different philosophical topic with the help of an expert. Whether you're new to philosophy or already love the subject, we look forward to embarking on this philosophical journey together!

Escaping the Ivory Tower - Trailer
Trailer 1 min 8 sec

All Episodes

During his lifetime, Ludwig Wittgenstein published only one book-length work of philosophy. Yet it remains one of the most influential philosophical works of the past 200 years. Jonah Woodward and Alexandros Constantinou sit down with PhD student Nick Purches-Knabb, to discuss the changing interpretations of Wittgenstein’s work and how it completely undermines our understanding of language, ethics, and philosophy. Did you ask yourself any of these questions while listening? Who is Frege? - Who is Russell? - Who is Flew? - What are Truth Tables? - What does “acting in bad faith” mean? - What is Cultural Relativism? - /

Nov 29

45 min 27 sec

The definition of art has been the subject of longstanding debate in aesthetics. In this episode, Katie and Hamish meet Jerrold Levinson, a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Maryland. They explore the different definitions on the market, and Levinson offers his own intentional-historical definition - that art is “something that has been intended by someone for regard or treatment in some overall way that some earlier or pre-existing artwork or artworks are or were correctly treated”. Levinson, Jerrold (1979). Defining art historically. _British Journal of Aesthetics_ 19 (3):21-33.

Nov 15

35 min 46 sec

Hamish Stewart and Alexandros Constantinou talk to Bjoern Freter, an independent Scholar from Knoxville Tennessee to understand how superiorism underpins our modern world. To find out more about Bjoern's work, visit:

Nov 1

43 min 1 sec

What really is ‘Nature’? Why should we care about preserving it? Jonah Woodward and Alexandros Constaninou are joined by Martin Bunzl, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University and author of the new book ‘Thinking While Walking: Reflections on the Pacific Crest Trail’. They discuss how the human conception of the natural world has changed over time, the difficulties we face in attempting to tackle climate change and environmental destruction, as well as possible solutions to these problems.

Oct 18

46 min 26 sec

Can Philosophy help you become a better person? Yes! But, also, no...In this episode our hosts, Arianna Clark and Jonah Woodward talk to Francis Brewer about his path to Veganism, the power and limitations of philosophy, aliens, robots, the neural networks of plants, and how he used to think his mum was crazy.

Sep 6

1 hr 8 min

Has Philosophy ever actually helped anyone? Yes, yes it has. This week our hosts, Arianna Clark and Alex Constantinou, talk to philosopher, novelist and therapist Dr Luis de Miranda - where he explains just how philosophy can help us, and how it helped him. From dissecting reality to RuPaul’s Drag Race, we just about scratch the surface of the theoretical underpinnings of Luis’ work – and, like us, we are sure you’ll want to find out more. So, if you want to find out more about Luis:

Aug 30

1 hr 5 min

If you’ve ever wondered what people actually do with philosophy, this is the episode for you. From miserable existentialism to ethics in the office - this week our host, Arianna Clark, talks to the resourceful writer and philosopher and communications expert, Ben Van Loon, about his life in Chicago and how he’s navigated it, using his philosophical training to carve a space in the world for him. You can see Ben’s writing at And more at: Instagram: LinkedIn: Music by Doo Dah Music, courtesy of Shutterstock

Aug 23

53 min 9 sec

Thoughts is excited to present Escaping the Ivory Tower, a brand new series in which our co-host Arianna Clark speaks to guests from all over the world about the impact that philosophy has made on their lives.

Aug 20

1 min 8 sec

In this episode, Katie and Ross chat to Dr. Ian Kidd about Misanthropy – the view that it is appropriate to morally condemn humanity.

May 21

40 min 5 sec

What are the abilities of self-regulation and self-control over our mental lives? What does it mean to say that we are at one with ourselves? Dr. Dorothea Debus, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Konstanz joins Alexandros Constantinou and Keir Aitken to discuss these questions and many more in this episode of Thoughts.

May 7

27 min 54 sec

How do you choose a dissertation topic? What are some common dissertation mishaps? In this episode, co-hosts Alex and Jasmine talk to Dr Emma Gordon, a research fellow in applied ethics and epistemology at the University of Glasgow who was voted Best Dissertation Supervisor at the University of Glasgow in 2020. They explore questions surrounding philosophy dissertations and discuss how to get around common hurdles that students face writing their dissertations.  If you found this episode useful, look out for our YouTube series coming soon where we speak to Philosophy students about their dissertation experiences. Follow us on social media to stay up to date with all of our new episodes!

May 3

25 min 38 sec

What’s so good about democracy? Is it really better than the alternatives? In this episode, co-hosts Katie and Keir talk to Dr Lewis Ross, a fellow in Philosophy and Public Policy at the London School of Economics. They explore the limits of democracy and some alternatives that have been proposed: Lottocracy, Epistocracy and Lewis’ favoured approach, Plato’s philosopher kings.

Apr 23

30 min 25 sec

In this episode, Keir and Jasmine explore Underdetermination and what it’s all about. Speaking to JB Manchak, from the University of California, Irvine, We discuss the limits of scientific research, conspiracy theories and time travel. We also discuss Buddhism and the idea of the non-self.

Apr 9

27 min 38 sec

In this episode Alex and Ross are joined by Dr. Simon Hope of Stirling University to discuss the role and scope of political philosophy; what do we do when we do political philosophy and whose viewpoint gets to count?

Mar 26

40 min 31 sec

In this episode co-hosts Alice and Katie delve into the complex nature of voting systems with senior lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, Dr Adam Rieger. The episode focuses on first past the post, preference voting, and the alternative voting method – with Adam helping us to untangle some of the key criticisms of each.

Mar 12

26 min 26 sec

Hamish and Alexandros delve deep into the world of Miracles with Timothy McGrew. They discuss Hume’s argument against Miracles. Join us in this discussion about human testimony, the limits of inquiry and bizarre animals.

Feb 26

19 min 39 sec

This is our second episode devoted to the philosophy of law. We discuss the function of law in our society and where our legal system is misaligned with our political and economic systems. We hear about when Coca Cola took on the Bolivian government, and won. Finally, Emilios gives us a brief history of our rights and we take a moment to think about what our rights may look like in the 22nd century.

Feb 12

19 min 8 sec

This episode is one of two which looks at the philosophy of law. We discuss 'what is the law?', we look at the connection between law and justice, and between law and morality (legal Positivism vs. Natural law). We visit the peculiarities of legal reasoning, the connection to rights and values, and with an emphasis on the philosophy of language also on how the law both abhors and deploys ambiguity.

Jan 29

18 min 18 sec

In this New Year’s special episode, Professor Ben Colburn joins Ross and Alexandros in an in-depth discussion of the meaning of autonomy in Moral and Political Philosophy. What does it mean to be autonomous and ultimately why is it a good thing? Join us in in contemplating these and many more questions in this special episode of Thoughts.

Jan 1

49 min 3 sec

What does it mean for a category to be socially constructed? Are we wronged when we are cast into a social category that doesn’t characterise us? How does Gender relate to all this? Dr. Katharine Jenkins, lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, joins Ross and Alexandros to discuss these questions and many more in this episode of Thoughts.

Dec 2020

21 min 59 sec

!Content Warning: Sexual Assault! Why do we believe what we are told? When should we believe what we are told? And why is it so often the case that we suspend our belief exactly when others need it the most? Dr Mona Simion – Deputy Director of COGITO (and so much more) – is going to dissect these questions for us and explain to Ruaridh and Arianna why she thinks that, when it comes to cases of sexual allegation, we should (most of the time) believe the victim.

Nov 2020

20 min 7 sec

In this episode co-hosts Katie and Hamish are joined by Charlotte Kleine and Belen De Bacco from the Glasgow University Art Appreciation Society (GUAAS). They find out about some of GUAAS’s upcoming events and discuss Walter Benjamin’s essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility”, and the body in modern and postmodern space.

Nov 2020

10 min 41 sec

Are borders always bad? Believe it or not, some philosophers think they are. Today we speak to Karl Martin Adam - a PhD candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - who argues that settler colonialism is a case where borders seem like quite a good thing.  Jasmine Hunt and Hamish Stewart join him in conversation.

Nov 2020

20 min 54 sec

Why do we think of some violent acts in video games as wrong, and others not? In this episode, Katie Moody speaks to Dr. Rebecca Davnall, a lecturer in philosophy and game design studies at the University of Liverpool, about whether actions in video games can be morally wrong.

Nov 2020

21 min 32 sec

Do we have obligations to future people? Would it be better to just nuke the world? In this episode Katie Moody and Ross Patrizio talk to Dr Joe Slater, a lecturer in moral philosophy at the University of St Andrews, about our moral obligations to people living in the future.

Nov 2020

18 min 24 sec

Buddhism, and its metaphysics, is not given much attention in Western philosophy. Fortunately, Pavel Nitchovski, a PhD candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was as annoyed as we were about this, and decided to teach the topic in the Summer of 2020. In this episode, Hamish Stewart and Keir Aitken quiz Pavel about Buddhism’s conception of the non-self.

Oct 2020

21 min 49 sec

What is disability? How does it relate to enhancement? Do enhancements promote equality, or inequality? In this episode, Jasmine Hunt and Keir Aitken discuss the relationship between disability and enhancement - and the social and philosophical relevance of each - with Lysette Chaproniere. 

Oct 2020

21 min 36 sec

Most of us probably think we know how causation works. If we flick the switch of the kettle, we will cause the kettle to boil. If we set up a line of dominoes, and knock over the first domino, we will have caused that domino to fall, which will cause the next domino to fall, and the next, and the next, and so on. In this episode, Dr Neil McDonnell – The Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Research Fellow of the University of Glasgow – discusses why talking about causation isn’t so simple, with Ruaridh Gilmartin and Arianna Clark.

Oct 2020

21 min 16 sec

Climate change is becoming an increasingly pressing issue in politics and in everyday life. On today’s episode Hamish Stewart talks to Quan Nguyen, a PhD candidate at the University of St. Andrews. In this episode Quan describes a public philosophy article he wrote following the school strikes for climate as well as his experience in Extinction Rebellion Scotland.

Oct 2020

22 min 8 sec

In this episode we discuss women’s place in the world and why its important to celebrate successful women. We talk about what SWAG is and its role in the Glasgow University community. We talk about inspirational philosophers, why it's important to celebrate women and what grinds Anna’s gears most.

Oct 2020

12 min 28 sec

Are we ever morally assessable for the things we do in our dreams? If we are, should we feel guilt, or pride, for our dreaming actions? Dr. Robert Cowan, lecturer in Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, joins Ross Patrizio and Alexandros Constantinou to discuss these questions and many more in this episode of Thoughts.

Oct 2020

21 min 3 sec

Why do we have a government? Why don’t we just ‘Lord of the Flies’ it? Do we really have to obey political authority? James Humphries, lecturer in Political Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, talks us through these questions and many more in this episode of Thoughts. Keir Aitken and Jasmine Hunt join him in discussion.

Sep 2020

19 min 58 sec

Derrida is a notoriously difficult philosopher to understand. Some love him, others loathe him, and everyone struggles to comprehend him. Today, we embark on a journey of discovery with Derridean thought and the wider Post-structuralist movement. Joining us again is David Baker, distinguished professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hamish Stewart and Max Forster speak with him.

Sep 2020

23 min 12 sec

On this episode Katie chats to Amelia about the GU Psychology podcast, Brainscape. Amelia gives some ‘speedy summaries’ of ‘Love is in the Air’ and ‘Storytime’ - two episodes on the podcast – and they discuss all things from how to stand out on Tinder, to representation in children’s books.

Sep 2020

10 min 50 sec

Have you ever wondered what Postmodernism is? A hugely influential movement during the second half of the 20th C, it has gone on to influence contemporary philosophy in countless ways. Today, David Baker, Professor of Comparative Literature at UNC, talks us through what Postmodernist philosophy looked like, and the difficulties inherent in defining anything Postmodern. Hamish Stewart and Max Forster join David in discussion.

Sep 2020

20 min 5 sec

What is pain? Is it physical, mental, or both? What are the real-world implications of research in the philosophy of pain? Dr. Jennifer Corns, lecturer in Philosophy of Mind at the University of Glasgow, joins Ross Patrizio and Alexandros Constantinou to discuss these questions and many more in this episode of Thoughts.

Sep 2020

24 min 4 sec

On this episode Jasmine and Arianna chat to Nathan, John, and Robbie about their History podcast “GUHS Podcast”. After discussing John’s latent carpentry ambitions, Arianna and Jasmine learn a lot of history in 5 minutes as the boys discuss their upcoming plans for future episodes, including one spawned by Robbie’s reading of George Orwell’s ‘Homage to Catalonia’.

Aug 2020

11 min 20 sec

Hello, and welcome to the first ever episode of Glasgow University's Philosophy Podcast, Thoughts! Today we’ll be discussing Time travel: an oft discussed, but rarely properly examined, topic. Joining us is Dr. Stephanie Rennick, Glasgow University researcher, and hosting today is Hamish Stewart. To view the full episode description, visit

Aug 2020

18 min 14 sec

Hello everyone, and welcome to Thoughts - a student-run podcast by the University of Glasgow Philosophy Department. Our first full-length episode on time travel will be released at the end of August so follow us so you don’t miss it! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be introducing our team on all our social media! The Thoughts podcast explores different philosophical topics with the help of an expert. Whether you are new to philosophy or already love the subject, we look forward to embarking on this philosophical journey together!!

Aug 2020

1 min 45 sec