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Jack Chuter
Writer/Podcaster

Co-host of the Episode Party podcast, author of Storm Static Sleep: A Pathway Through Post-rock, editor at ATTN:Magazine.

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piqer: Jack Chuter
Thursday, 04 April 2019

Very Bad Wizards: Morality And The Power Of The Argument

For a show about morality and ethics, the hosts of Very Bad Wizards make for a formidable team. Tamler Sommers is an associate professor of philosophy with a focus on moral responsibility; David Pizarro is an associate professor of psychology whose primary concern is how and why we make moral judgements. Credentials aside, they’re also strong advocates for the value of arguments – not as fruitless altercations between two stubborn parties, but as a means of fortifying reasoning through constructive and spirited critique. Very Bad Wizards is one of those rare instances where two friends clash over the most fundamental proponents of what constitutes “right” and “wrong”, without bringing irreparable damage to the friendship they’ve accrued over six years of podcasting together.

Key to the podcast’s success is that it never takes itself too seriously. The show is peppered with humour that sounds like the overheard remarks of snickering teenagers (penis jokes abound), yet when placed alongside a debate about why we heap less scorn on serial killers than we do on murderous politicians, this levity starts to feel like an essential release valve: a sudden rattle of juvenile joviality amidst a discussion that could quickly turn sombre and stuffy. It also speaks to the anxiety that often plagues discussions on topics of potential controversy, as our concerns over saying the “right” thing regularly paralyse debate on important and sensitive topics. By stirring stupid humour into their spirited arguments, Sommers and Pizarro make the point that we shouldn’t let the severity of these discussions prevent us from having them in the first place.

Very Bad Wizards: Morality And The Power Of The Argument
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