The Really Big Questions

A podcast I would recommend to all viewers of this blog is “The Really Big Questions,” sponsored by Public Radio International. The focus is on questions surrounding what it is that makes us human – death, love, why music moves us, or why we share – for example. The audio series is funded by a National Science Foundation grant and produced in partnership with the Exploratorium, a San Francisco science museum. Currently, there are only five episodes in the series, but rumors indicate there are plans to extend the series’ production past the initial five pilots.

As a means of introducing the type of content in the series, I’d like to give a short description of one of the recent episodes in the series, titled, “Why do We Share?” This episode served as a discourse about the foundational ontological assumption of whether human beings are selfish or giving. The episode explores this question from an interdisciplinary perspective, speaking with academics from a wide variety of disciplines included cultural anthropology, evolutionary biology, psycholohy, and primatology. It provides a good primer for anyone that does not have experience in the literature surrounding the subject matter (for example, those unfamiliar with the term “homo economicus”), but is also informative and thought-provoking for those who do.

For more information, visit the series website:


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