The Gray Area with Sean Illing
The Gray Area with Sean Illing
via Podcasts
I am not a weirdo
I really do like this podcast and I listen all the time BUT … I have actively done everything I could to NOT be on any social media platform. Social media is a cancer
Keep it up!
Im a subscriber from the Vox Conversations days, and for a while I kept this podcast in my feed without really listening to it, but I have to comment because the topics recently have been amazing—fascinating, big picture but relevant, and very compelling. And thank you Sean for getting personal with Dr. Mate without backing away or shame spiraling!
Always want more.
Love your topics, guests, and discussions. Makes me think and want more. Thank you!
Great Courses, only a podcast
These conversations are part of my mental health regimen while driving around hither and yon. Excellent guests, curious and well-informed host. Here’s a way to understand specific things about BIG ideas. Brad DeLong omygod what a brilliant episode❣️👏🏼👏🏼🙏🏼
Brian Muraresku 🙌🏻
I love Sean Illing’s interview style and this episode harkens back to his phenomenal Future Perfect work. I’m so glad Brian popped onto my radar through this feed. I can’t wait to read his book. Thank you Vox! Sean - I’ve loved you a long time as my first review suggests. Your interview with Gabor Mate is one of your best. Huge thanks from one struggling (but learning) parent to another.
cappy trish
James Carville
Listen up Dems! An outstanding discussion in this recent show.
Union St
Thanks for that fascinating discussion. It really got me curious to learn more about economic history and theory. I just downloaded a sample of the guest’s book. I look forward to the next episode of your show.
the only sonya h.
Slouching toward Utopia
What a fantastic ride through modern economics. Great, stimulating discussion, to put it very mildly.
Gregory Burns
A brilliant episode that really helped illuminate the limits of our understanding of consciousness, while showing what we can understand and thereby thereby gain the ability to choose how to conceive of ourselves. Loved it when Mr. Burns said something along the lines of “enabling us to tell better stories about ourselves.”
Thought Provoking
This podcast is quickly becoming one of my favorite listens each week. Highly recommend!
The Inevitable: Dispatches on the right to die
This episode on the thorny, difficult issues on decisions about one’s own death is sensitive, thorough, and helpful. As the daughter of a loving mother who died of Alzheimer’s after many years spent with no memory of yesterday or tomorrow, I know that I do not want to live like that. But most states that allow residents to choose to end their life require that the person be mentally competent when they make that decision. I would like to know more about that aspect of my right to die, while I still have the cognitive abilities to make that decision for my future self. I will start with this book. Thank you .
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Love it
Insightful, philosophical , it will make you question your world view !
Glace cakes
A must listen for anyone trying to make sense of America
I found the episode with Dr. Peniel Joseph absolutely illuminating. I am going to buy his book now! I also find the questions on target in every interview, what I am wondering gets asked each time. And answered.
Nickie DM
great show, but. . .
Sean, I have been listening to your interviews for some time and have become a true fan, so I was happy to see you get your own show. My only complaint is that your theme music is pretty awful. It doesn’t do you justice. It’s super bland. Maybe you just haven’t found the right tune yet—keep searching.
sherry fields
A good, thought-provoking show with one predictable flaw…
So far I’ve enjoyed this podcast. Sean facilitates each conversation well and the guests have been engaging and topically wide-ranging. The premise of the show (as I understand it) - that philosophy is anything but esoteric, that it effects our lives in important and immediate ways everyday - is spot on. There’s only one problem: While the guests so far have discussed diverse topics based on varied secondary worldviews, the underlying philosophy that is common to all of them is secular humanism. Some have been optimistic humanists, some pessimistic; some have been agnostic, some atheist, some maybe even “religious”; but what they all seem to have in common is fundamental presuppositions that: 1) serious belief in a personal, immanent, knowable God is antiquated and unproductive, and 2) human reason (or imagination) must be the beginning and end of all truth/meaning. This narrow consideration results in the naïveté and incoherence that many of the guests so far have exhibited. Most secular Westerners today believe that the majority of religious people are either fanatic, afraid, angry, or dumb. For the majority of human history, the men and women who have shaped philosophy, culture, politics, etc., have at least been open to the possibility that a real, personal God exists, and that the assertions of a religion might be objectively true and useful. I’m biased, but I’d love to see an intelligent, compassionate Christian philosopher - someone in the intellectual heritage of Cornelius Van Til or Alvin Plantinga - come on and discuss the possibility of faith in the objective truth of Christianity in the (post-)modern world. I’ll continue to listen to this podcast, but I suspect that, as is often the case with narrowly secular projects like this, conversation about the “big questions” of philosophy will eventually become redundant, predictable, and unsatisfying.
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Hannah Arendt episode
Sean Illing’s interview with Prof. Lyndsey Stonebridge on Hannah Arendt, posted on April 25, 2020, is worth giving Conversations 5-stars regardless of any other episode. This interview is a lucid introduction to ideas that are essential now. Thank you so much. I will listen a second time and take notes and send it to friends as well.
A death with dignity is a life with dignity
As a cancer survivor (three times), a stroke survivor, a suicide researcher, and mental health clinician of 26 years, I was thrilled to hear a nuanced, engaging, and existential exploration of death, the meanings of dignity, and the American culture of death denialism. While I don’t share Sean’s concerns about “slippery slopes,” I appreciate his desire to offer a counterbalance to a “death by demand” ethos.
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Exhale and breathe fresh air.
Worthy of your time to listen and recognize the opportunity to learn the dynamic processes of truth…. And people who think and live within these truths.
I’ve listened to first 3 and they are all excellent. This podcast is up there with Ezra Klein’s podcasts.
wsg eugene
Invitation to Reflective Thinking
The Gray Area is an outstanding Vox philosopher series. Sean and the team offer an outstanding invitation to reflective thinking that seems to move public philosophy forward in the service of helping listeners make sense of the world around us. Well done Sean and Vox
Thoughtful and intelligent
I just listened to your podcast on religion in America, and found it very interesting. This is the 2nd one I’ve listened to, the first being the one with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Also very interesting. Your comments about what religion is and it’s purpose among humans is insightful and something I realized a long time ago. Religion has always been about power. Belief is another thing entirely, and speaks to a deeply human need, or perhaps needs. And I agree that the trend is to distance from organised religion, but I’m not sure the heavy emphasis on the “refusal” to identify with a religion or religious category ( like “Christian”) is accurate. You make it sound like an angry choice, which is not necessarily the case. Personally, I simply don’t need to be told what to believe. I’m quite capable of figuring that out for myself. Ditto for how to live my life, and the value of other beings, human and otherwise. I also don’t like being manipulated, and religion does that in spades. For me, the choice is more positive, to explore various ideas, and work with the ones that resonate with me. And my claimed identity as “spiritual but not religious” is quite literal. I particularly like the Dalai Lama’s statement, “My religion is kindness.” There was a great deal more to your ideas than I have addressed here, but it was all good. Thank you for a refreshingly intelligent discussion.
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Thought provoking
With all of the noise online, this podcast stands out as one of the best! The topics are relevant and guests share their perspectives clearly! I love it!
This shalom show pushes hate and intolerance.
J Weiner
If you want good listening
You’re not going to do much better than a Sean Illing interview.
Simplistic, elitist just-so stories
Interesting topics…but I keep finding myself disappointed with the host. The episodes often involve compelling guests, many whom are interviewed about thought provoking books they recently wrote on various topics…but then the host spins their otherwise thoughtful conclusions into elitist just-so stories that reduce complex social phenomena to the stupidity/delusions of one’s political opponents. January 6th, for instance? A politics driven by delusions and coded racial resentments. That isn’t totally false…but there is obviously a lot more going on here than delusional people presumably less intelligent than the host or his listeners. To get at that unexplained thing, at that more interesting question, we need to ask questions about context. How is Facebook involved? What is it like for people to pay taxes? What is ‘the state’ for conservative believers of the Great Lie? How do revolutions in the media (Star Wars, the Hunger Games, etc) shape how these people understand themselves and what they are doing? We need to ask and ask and ask until we understand how WE would behave as these people did, given the same information, in the same context, under the same circumstances. Concluding—as he so often does—that there is something wrong with those people, some mistake they made that WE wouldn’t make, something about them that makes them inferior to US is just intellectual laziness; it demonstrates a preference for sloppy, progressive identity affirming just-so stories rather than genuine empathy or a real curiosity about what the world looks like from someone else’s shoes. I think this show would be a lot more interesting if the host was more humble and willing to take on the work in his questions and interviews of understanding contexts in ways that don’t reduce them to the misguided mistakes of wrong, inferior Others.
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Generally 2 bros who like hearing their voices
Maybe reduce the egocentric stances and vapid bloviation (referring to the religion in America podcast). The religious zealot was particularly grating. Sorry. But the good news for us all? I won’t be returning.
Resa Aslan is such a weasel
And the host is too.
Loving the Gray Area
These last two episodes. Just wow.
The smartest podcast on the air
I love Ezra's intellectual sharpness, interview questions and depth of understanding. Great guests. I could listen to the podcast all day long.
Skilled discussion leader, intelligent perspectives
i’ve just listened to the episode with Neil Degrasse Tyson - and what a perfect subject when evaluating a show! i mean, any fan of mr tyson will be familiar with dozens of interviews conducted over the years, not to mention his books and other popular publications. So, getting something “new,” setting apart your interview over all those others, that’s a trick that reflects almost entirely on the quality of the host/interviewer. and here, with this show, that role is flawlessly filled - terrific skills as an interviewer, thoughtful commentary and an interesting personal perspective, compelling conversation. i will be looking forward to this podcast, i can tell right now.
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Insight & Intelligent
Great show on topics and guests, the balance brought by Sean during his interviews are breath of fresh air. Thank you for the intelectual quality of the show.
The Gray Area Neil deGrasse Tyson
What a wonderful conversation!! So nice to hear the obvious pointed out…there is such a thing as an objective fact. Feels like our world is losing sight of that, Neil sounds like he is trying to pull is back into that reality. Love it!
The Gray Area
The new podcast theme at the intersection of science politics and philosophy is a joy to me
Vox: please don’t abandon your best Conversations content
Disappointing to think Vox might pull the plug on the interesting bits of this podcast, and amplify the most pedantic. Conversations output thus far, deeply inconsistent: half the episodes hosted by rotating contributors frequently provide intellectually scintillating content. Da'Shaun Harrison  Anna North; Emily St. James Chase Strangio; Fabiola Cineas Anita Hill; Constance Grady Lauren Groff; Jamil Smith  Kiese Laymon—all brilliant, FIVE STARS. Made numerous purchase requests at local public library based on those Vox interviews. Other half: hosted by Sean Illing, TWO STARS. Illing’s prosaic misogyny, so tedious—as is his overwhelming amount of White dude-bro content. Given his eargerness to make snarky side comments about feminists and un-ironic, disparaging refs to "identity politics" or "wokeness," seems evident that Illing's pretty invested in upholding his own low-key bigotry as essential aspect of himself. Like adult version of THAT GUY in Philosophy 101, who hasn't really developed emotionally or intellectually since. There's a big difference between acknowledging one's own subjectivity
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Excellent, thoughtful discussion
One of the best discussions I’ve heard or read on the matter. Thank you!
19 September 2022. 😉💙🙃
Age appropriate skills for a three year old? Work on counting, the alphabet, both recital and physical identification. Color recognition, read to your child, to show your love for learning and to boost theirs. Name recognition of items in their environment, positional words (over, under, within, above). Music, singing together and listening to music. There is so much to focus on, Google it… Good luck, Cynthia Davis Child developed specialist, Regular Education Teacher, Special Education professional. 😉
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More Critical Based Views on Race, Class & Gender
Adolph Reed should concentrate on the short comings of the Labor Movement (especially the AFL-CIO work with The National Institute For Democracy—-CIA Funded), among other entities to see that Racism and White Supremacy has been an is an integral part of the Super Structure (values, beliefs, views, etc) of America. In that building coalition without being cognizant of these factors leaves African People (diaspora and continual in vulnerable states. KWAKU
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Clarence Thomas
Loved this conversation. I really appreciate the deep dive into Clarence’s worldview.
Middlemen in the economy
This interview missed the most obvious candidates for unnecessary status which are university lecturers, esp law professors. A good lecture on contracts or taxation or whatever is readily available on the internet or could be. A $300k education for a law license makes a real estate commission look like small potatoes.
Sean Illing is an A++ Host
Sean’s conversations are consistently insightful and thought provoking. This show explores topics that are far ranging yet always fascinating. Hands down my favorite podcast!
Workplace equality 2.0
Loved the conversation between Julia and Minda, both ladies are insightful, clever and honest. Can’t wait to read Minda’s latest book.
“Your gut instinct is usually wrong…”
Speak for yourselves, men!!
The Gift of Fear
The classic listen to your gut guide.
Ginagina Smith
So tiresome
No one is recognized in the work place environment. It’s not a racial issue.
Post-modernism and Stuart Jeffries
Appreciated this deep conversation which made connections to decades of my own perceptions on the world we live in—but Jeffries did the research! I look for this kind of sky-high view to make sense of things. Looking forward to reading Jeffries’ book. Illing jumped fully in on this one and the engagement of the participants was warming.
Low quality Marxist propaganda
I try to listen to different perspectives and have been a listener for a few years, and have gradually heard the quality decrease. Nowadays it's just unchallenged marxist talking points.
I am going to save this episode…
Because it helps bring a calm perspective to reflecting on the world’s past two years of anxious worry. Well done - both of you gentlemen did an amazing job! This was tremendously needed!
false psychology
Mind Boggling Bad
I usually love Vox Conversations, but the Racist Origins of Fatphobia was a doozy…. One softball question after another, none of the guest’s views were challenged AT ALL. Challenging guests is good, it allows them to back up their statements! Sean Illing is really good at this. With Harrison, I keep thinking, really? Are you sure? Was Tamir Rice fat? In no photo of him is that apparent. How was he lumped in with fat discrimination in policing? There are no health risks to being overweight at all? So that’s just a complete lie by the medical community? Body positivity only means you’re good as long as you lose the weight in the future? This episode was just embarrassing.
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The anti-fatness/anti-blackness episode is embarrassing for Vox as an organization. It’s bad enough that the right wing of this country is anti-science. Liberals need to stop tolerating this nonsense.
David Spitz
“Racist Origins of Fat Phobia” nonsense…
Vox is mostly pretty good at finding the right voices for the right conversations, but this was utterly baffling. No evidence for the positions which weren’t logically argued either, rather barely juxtaposed together (anti-fatness comes from anti-blackness….no it don’t). All premises easily debunked, like being fat is actually healthy. We can and do measure health as an objective, not subjective, and it’s demonstrably linked to obesity. Do better. This author, this topic is not worthy of prime time and does the other excellent pieces on your network a great disservice.
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