Why? Radio episode

Episode 23
"Fiction as Philosophy"
Rebecca Goldstein

Originally broadcast: December 12, 2010


Philosophy tries to discover Truth, but more often than not it tells stories, relying on allegories, parables, and dialogues at key moments. What happens when a professional philosopher decides to embrace this method, and how does it affect the philosophy at the core of the story? Join WHY? as we interview Rebecca Goldstein, author of such novels as 36 Arguments for the Existence of God, The Mind-Body Problem, Mazel, and Strange Attractors. How do truth and fiction relate? How does one move back and forth from scholarly research to popular fiction, and, most of all, how does fiction relate to discovery?

Rebecca Goldstein has taught at Barnard and Trinity Colleges, and Rutgers, Columbia, Brandeis, and Harvard University. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles, two non-fiction books on Gödel and Spinoza, seven novels, and numerous short stories. She has been a MacArthur Fellow.

Why’s host Jack Russell Weinstein says, “I am tremendously impressed by how Rebecca straddles the literary and philosophical world. I think few philosophers today have her capacity to go so deep into the rabbit hole, and I’m anxiously awaiting the opportunity to go in there with her.”

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