About Carrie Figdor

Carrie Figdor is professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa.

NBN Episodes hosted by Carrie:

Cameron J. Buckner, "From Deep Learning to Rational Machines: What the History of Philosophy Can Teach Us about the Future of Artificial Intelligence" (Oxford UP, 2023)

June 10, 2024

From Deep Learning to Rational Machines

Cameron J. Buckner
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

Artificial intelligence started with programmed computers, where programmers would manually program human expert knowledge into the systems. In sharp …

Luis H. H. Favela, "The Ecological Brain: Unifying the Sciences of Brain, Body, and Environment" (Routledge, 2024)

May 10, 2024

The Ecological Brain

Luis H. H. Favela
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

Ecological psychology holds that perception and action are best explained in terms of dynamic interactions between brain, body, and environment, not i…

Eric Schwitzgebel, "The Weirdness of the World" (Princeton UP, 2024)

April 10, 2024

The Weirdness of the World

Eric Schwitzgebel
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

"What's life for if there's no time to play and explore?" In The Weirdness of the World (Princeton UP, 2024), Eric Schwitzgebel invites the reader to…

Jon Robson, "Aesthetic Testimony: An Optimistic Approach" (Oxford UP, 2022)

March 10, 2024

Aesthetic Testimony

Jon Robson
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

A lot of what we claim to know we learn from other people's testimony: they tell us, and in many ordinary contexts that is enough to gain knowledge. B…

Michael Devitt, "Biological Essentialism" (Oxford UP, 2023)

February 10, 2024

Biological Essentialism

Michael Devitt
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

What makes a species a species? Aristotle answered the species question by positing unchanging essences, properties that all and only members of a spe…

Krista K. Thomason, "Dancing with the Devil: Why Bad Feelings Make Life Good" (Oxford UP, 2023)

January 10, 2024

Dancing with the Devil

Krista K. Thomason
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

How could a good life include one with anger, or jealousy, or spite? In Dancing with the Devil: Why Bad Feelings Make Life Good (Oxford UP, 2023), Kri…

Philip Goff, "Why? The Purpose of the Universe" (Oxford UP, 2023)

December 10, 2023

Why? The Purpose of the Universe

Philip Goff
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

Does the universe have a purpose? If it does, how is this connected to the meaningfulness that we seek in our lives? In Why? The Purpose of the Univer…

Fabrizio Cariani, "The Modal Future: A Theory of Future-Directed Thought and Talk" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

November 10, 2023

The Modal Future

Fabrizio Cariani
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

What does “will” mean? A standard view is that it is a tensed mirror-image of “was”, and that the truth-conditions of past and future sentences – “He …

Adam Toon, "Mind As Metaphor: A Defence of Mental Fictionalism" (Oxford UP, 2023)

September 12, 2023

Mind As Metaphor

Adam Toon
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

Folk psychology (on a standard reading) is the way we attribute contentful mental states to others in order to explain and predict their behavior – fo…

Berislav Marusić, "On the Temporality of Emotions: An Essay on Grief, Anger, and Love" (Oxford UP, 2022)

August 10, 2023

On the Temporality of Emotions

Berislav Marusić
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

When someone close to us dies, intense grief is an expected and reasonable response. But while the reason for our grief – the loss of the person who i…

Torin Alter, "The Matter of Consciousness: From the Knowledge Argument to Russellian Monism" (Oxford UP, 2023)

July 10, 2023

The Matter of Consciousness

Torin Alter
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

Frank Jackson’s "Knowledge Argument" introduced the philosophical world to Mary the brilliant neuroscientist, who knows everything there is to know ab…

Michael B. Gill, "A Philosophy of Beauty: Shaftesbury on Nature, Virtue, and Art" (Princeton UP, 2022)

June 14, 2023

A Philosophy of Beauty

Michael B. Gill
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

The third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713) was a troubled soul – negative, misanthropic, and deeply troubled by his negativity and misanthropy. In A Ph…

Hasok Chang, "Realism for Realistic People: A New Pragmatist Philosophy of Science (Cambridge UP, 2022)

May 10, 2023

Realism for Realistic People

Hasok Chang
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

For a certain kind of standard realist, science aims at getting the absolute truth about the universe. For Hasok Chang, this view is unrealistic becau…

Tiger C. Roholt, "Distracted from Meaning: A Philosophy of Smartphones" (Bloomsbury, 2022)

April 10, 2023

Distracted from Meaning

Tiger C. Roholt
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

Social scientists have long studied the ways in which smartphone use can distract us from the proper performance of means-ends tasks, such as driving …

Matthew Ratcliffe, "Grief Worlds: A Study of Emotional Experience" (MIT Press, 2022)

March 10, 2023

Grief Worlds

Matthew Ratcliffe
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

The grief we feel when someone close to us dies is characterized by a complex and profound experience of loss. But what is this experience? In Grief W…

Timothy Cleveland, "Beyond Words: Philosophy, Fiction, and the Unsayable" (Lexington Books, 2022)

February 10, 2023

Beyond Words

Timothy Cleveland
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

It seems undeniable that language has limits in what it can express – among other philosophers, Wittgenstein famously drew a line of this sort in his …

Oana Serban, "After Thomas Kuhn: The Structure of Aesthetic Revolutions" (de Gruyter, 2022)

January 12, 2023

After Thomas Kuhn

Oana Serban
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions revolutionized the way philosophers and historians of science thought about science, scientific …

Nancy J. Nersessian, "Interdisciplinarity in the Making: Models and Methods in Frontier Science" (MIT Press, 2022)

December 10, 2022

Interdisciplinarity in the Making

Nancy J. Nersessian
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

Based on examining physics and the practices of physicists, philosophers of science often see models in science as representational intermediaries bet…

Tristan Grøtvedt Haze, "Meaning and Metaphysical Necessity" (Routledge, 2022)

November 10, 2022

Meaning and Metaphysical Necessity

Tristan Grøtvedt Haze
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

In 1980, the philosopher and logician Saul Kripke published a small but hugely influential book, Naming and Necessity, in which he argued that some cl…

Neil Levy, "Bad Beliefs: Why They Happen to Good People" (Oxford UP, 2021)

October 10, 2022

Bad Beliefs

Neil Levy
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

Misinformation, disinformation, fake news, alternative facts: we are awash in a vast sea of epistemically questionable, not to mention false, testimon…

Igor Douven, "The Art of Abduction" (MIT Press, 2022)

August 10, 2022

The Art of Abduction

Igor Douven
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

How should we form new beliefs? In particular, what inferential strategies are epistemically justified for forming new beliefs? Nowadays the dominant …

Michela Massimi, "Perspectival Realism" (Oxford UP, 2022)

July 11, 2022

Perspectival Realism

Michela Massimi
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

For many philosophers, the fact that scientists take different perspectives on the world is an obstacle to being a realist about the world. In Perspec…

Sherri Irvin, "Immaterial: Rules in Contemporary Art" (Oxford UP, 2022)

June 10, 2022


Sherri Irvin
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

Art forms have rules, usually implicit, that govern the experiences that artists want their audiences to have: for example, a representational paintin…

Jessica M. Wilson, "Metaphysical Emergence" (Oxford UP, 2021)

May 20, 2022

Metaphysical Emergence

Jessica M. Wilson
Hosted by Carrie Figdor

Is a tree nothing but its material makeup, or does reality include trees above and beyond what they are made of? How about consciousness – nothing but…