Dr. Lawrence Torcello is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Micah and I learned about him through his article “Is The State Endorsement of Any Marriage Justifiable?” in Public Affairs Quarterly. Having said that, we barely touched the idea of marriage privatization. Lawrence had listened to the entirety of The Conversation before we spoke, so this is the first meta-conversation in the project: we spent much of our time discussing how one can bring conversation about in a pluralistic world. To tackle the idea, Lawrence takes us through the thought of John Rawls, Enlightenment liberalism, and his own argument that “coercion demands justification” is the transcendental idea beneath rationality itself. There’s a lot more in here, but you get the idea.
This was an incredibly fun conversation to record and a tremendously frustrating one to edit. Because Lawrence knew the project so well, our conversation covered more diverse themes than I could fluidly integrate into a single episode and a lot of material hit the editing room floor. To keep the discussion manageable, I have focused our conversation narrowly on liberalism and education. I made this choice for obvious reasons: liberalism hasn’t appeared in the series yet and it opens up new ideas about conversation and diversity, while education has been woefully under-discussed. Listen for a memorable response to Andrew Keen.
While I feel that this episode works as a coherent unit, there is more I want to include and I may post a few short MP3s on the site for those of you who are curious to hear our discussion of scientism, transhumanism, and climate-denialism. Since you’re already here, I suspect you’re the kind of person who, like us, wants to geek out more.