#14: I'm Not a Masturbation Couch

José is troubled by his sexual fantasies of women because it objectifies them. Danielle and José consider: Does sexual desire always or necessarily involve the dehumanizing objectification of others? Is it morally acceptable to objectify someone in the privacy of your own mind or will that objectification always spill out into the way you interact with others? Is it possible to keep sexual fantasies completely separate from workplace relationships? Are there solutions to the social problems in which people are forced to navigate their sexual desires along with their desires to see others in their full humanity?

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#41: Re-cognizing Gratitude

During this (past) holiday season, Danielle and José explored why cultivating gratitude may lead to increased well being, happiness, and richness of meaning. They suggest that gratitude is an achieved mental state that involves a re-cognition of our lives into a narrative of growth and positivity.

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#52: Flip Flop

José hates casual clothes: jeans, cargo shorts, sweat pants, and the dreaded flip flops. He argues that the excuse many people give that these clothes are “comfortable” is really just a band-aid, and will never get to the real underlying source of discomfort that people feel. Danielle is not so sure.

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Danielle LaSusa
#50: Of Heroes and (Epistemological) Hostages

José and Danielle discuss conspiracy theories. Why is it that some, otherwise rational, people get hooked into crazy conspiracy theories like the anti-vax or flat earth movements? José suggests that perhaps it’s because they’re tired of feeling like alienated sheep and want to start feeling like heroes in their own lives—and, he adds, we are all susceptible to this pitfall.

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#48: Why Shouldn't I Punch a Chimpanzee?

We welcome special guest Paul Waldau, recently retired Professor in the Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation Department and Director of the graduate program in Anthrozoology at Canisius College and author of Animal Rights, to talk about the relationships we humans have with non-human animals. How has viewing humans as special or distinct from other animals damaged our world? Should we view animals as having some of the same rights that we humans have, and if so, why?

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#46: Hush! I’m Committing Cultural Violence

Museums are weird, or so says Danielle. In fact, she thinks that they are glaring evidence of the racist imperialist history of the West, and because of that, she finds it hard to find the serenity and aesthetic transcendence that we have all been trained to expect there. José thinks that we have a chance to define ourselves and connect with others by engaging (quietly, please!) with these very same objects. They fight it out.

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#25: On Racist Jokes (Funny Ones)

Is it ok to laugh at racist jokes? Does it make you racist? Does it matter who is telling the joke? José tries to stake a position between calling out racist jokes as harmful, and not becoming so politically correct that we take ourselves too seriously. Also, Danielle and José each tell—and laugh at—some racist jokes.

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EpisodesDanielle LaSusa
#44: Change Like a Mother

Special guest Lucy Collins joins Danielle and José to talk about motherhood and death. They explore the idea that motherhood allows women to be uniquely in touch with death, aging, and change. This experience is full of vulnerability and a confrontation with one’s life experience that cannot be ignored.

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#43: If My Therapist Could See Me Now

This episode, José and Danielle talk about how to have difficult conversations. José suggests that the classic way of thinking about conversations—as the communication of information or beliefs—does not actually get the best results. Instead, if we are to find truth, connection, and a shared public life, we need to learn to identify and communicate emotional feelings, a much more difficult task.

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#42: I’m Not Sure What I Think

It’s our annual Year in Review show, and we welcome our audio editor and engineer, Dan Short, as our special guest. José, Danielle, and Dan reflect on how Think Hard has grown in the last year, what we’ve learned, and what our favorite episodes are. We also discuss some goals for the future of Think Hard in the year to come. (Spoiler: We want to connect more with you, our listeners!)

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EpisodesJosé Muñiz
#40: The Handmaid’s Fail?

José thinks all television shows are bad because they share in two fatal flaws: the problem of overlapping narrative arcs and the limitation of outsider influence. After going back-and-forth, Danielle argues that newer television shows successfully manage these limitations, and José agrees to watch suggested shows and report back in a future episode.

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#12: Is it Morally Wrong to Believe in God?

Danielle is an atheist and José is a theist, but he feels bad about believing in something for which he does not have evidence. Given all of the warfare and destruction in the name of God, is it morally wrong to hold this belief without sufficient evidence? José outlines an argument by William James, which attempts to justify belief in God as a special and specific kind of belief that one can hold by pure will. Is it enough to convince Danielle?

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#38: Does the truth matter? Did it ever?

Danielle and José wonder if the truth matters. Why do we (including your hosts!) often believe things in the face of contrary evidence? What separates us from those who endanger themselves (and the world) by refusing to acknowledge the truth, and acting out of what they want to be true. After considering how enmeshed our beliefs, desires, and wills are, they turn to some practical solutions for saving ourselves (and the world) from this danger.

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#37: Vision Bored

Danielle and José assess whether or not the Law of Attraction is total bullshit. After careful consideration, we’ve determined that although there are lots of ways in which the Law of Attraction might be helpful, it also can be politically dangerous and, at times, utter nonsense.

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