Public Life of the Mind interview

Ciaran Cummins of the London Public Philosophy Club just published an interview with me about Hi-Phi Nation, public philosophy, and the philosophy profession at The Public Life of the Mind here. An excerpt:

Ciaran: So everything we’ve been talking about so far is premised on you being a philosopher and you engaging in this public philosophical project. But I’d like to know whether, through doing Hi-Phi Nation, has it changed you? Some people I speak to, for example, have talked about how doing what they’ve done has made them a better listener. Thankfully no one so far has said it’s brought out something really awful!

Barry: Yeah, absolutely. So one thing that you know philosophers don’t get to do is to sit down, as part of the job, one-on-one with lots of different people and have a conversation for an hour, hour-and-a-half. Every interview that you hear, even if it’s a one-minute clip or a 10 minute clip or something, came out of an hour, hour-and-a-half interview. So every person that I’ve ever had on the show I’ve sat down and spoken to. These have run the gamut from all of the different philosophers who I would never otherwise meet or speak to because the field is large enough, to the person who’s the reincarnation of Anne Frank! Or, you know, the guy who makes the annual pop music mashups. The same goes for the people I work with through Hi-Phi Nation, like my editor at Slate. These are interactions that you don’t have as an academic and so playing journalist is an interesting experience that most other philosophers don’t have. I mean some have, some have actually been journalists. So that’s one thing. It’s something that I didn’t know was going to benefit me positively, but it really has. It’s helped me come out of my shell a little bit and it’s also helped me learn to, yeah, be a better listener and to talk. I’ve learned a lot of skills, like an enormous amount of skills, from interviewing skills, to audio editing skills, to music making and so on.

I guess, gosh, it’s changed me a lot. Weirdly though, one thing I’ve noticed is it hasn’t changed this aspect of me which I’d like changed….. (read more at the Public Life of the Mind).

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