The Ralston College Podcast

The Ralston College Podcast


Latest Episodes

Ep. 18 – Andrew Doyle on Free Speech and Why It Matters
March 30, 2021

Ralston College presents a lecture with Andrew Doyle followed by a discussion and audience Q & A with Stephen Blackwood. Doyle discusses his new book, ‘Free Speech and Why it Matters,’ and offers trenchant examples of recent curtailment of the...

Ep. 17 - Alexander Stoddart: A Conversation in His Studio
March 16, 2021

Should art be beautiful? This forbidden question guides Stephen’s conversation with eminent sculptor and aesthetic luminary, Alexander Stoddart. Stoddart describes, in his usual incandescent fashion, his aesthetic awakening and his views on the...

Ep. 16 - Harry Lewis and Stephen Blackwood: What's an Education For?
February 05, 2021

Stephen Blackwood speaks with Harry Lewis, legendary Professor of Computer Science at Harvard University (where he taught both Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg). They discuss the tragic limits of narrowly vocational approaches to education—with which...

Ep. 15 – Theodore Dalrymple on Turgenev’s “Fathers and Sons”
January 29, 2021

Ralston College presents a lecture by Dr Anthony Daniels (aka Theodore Dalrymple) on Ivan Turgenev’s 1862 “Fathers and Sons”, followed by a conversation about the novel with Dr Stephen Blackwood. Daniels illuminates the depth of Turgenev’s...

Ep. 14 - The Morality of Satire: Andrew Doyle and Stephen Blackwood
January 06, 2021

How does humor work and why is it needed more than ever? Stephen Blackwood talks with comedian and political satirist Andrew Doyle (aka, Titania McGrath) as they explore the sovereignty of truth, the metaphysical implications of satire, the role of...

Ep. 13 - On the Freedom of Thought and Nature: Freeman Dyson and Stephen Blackwood
December 07, 2020

Stephen speaks with Freeman Dyson, the late mathematical-physicist and renowned free thinker. They begin with a discussion of education and of the formative experiences that inspired Dyson's intellectual curiosity and courage. The conversation then...

Ep. 12 - A Discussion of 'Ivan Ilyich:' Donna Orwin and Stephen Blackwood
October 24, 2020

In this complementary episode to the reading of ‘The Death of Ivan Ilyich,’ Stephen speaks with Dr Donna Orwin, professor of Russian literature at the University of Toronto. Dr Orwin provides context for Tolstoy and his world, and the two discuss...

Ep. 11 - Tolstoy: The Death of Ivan Ilyich
October 15, 2020

In this first episode of a new series, Stephen reads Leo Tolstoy’s classic novella, ‘The Death of Ivan Ilyich.’ A masterful text from one of history’s great writers, it tells the story of a man whose fatal illness forces him to confront the...

Ep. 10 - Independence in an Age of Conformity: Stephen Wolfram & Stephen Blackwood
August 30, 2020

How does one cultivate creativity and independence of mind? Stephen talks to physicist and entrepreneur Stephen Wolfram about his precocious and largely self-educated early life and his ascent to become a world-class scientist, an innovator in...

Ep. 9 - Deep Thinking in a Distracted World: Cal Newport and Stephen Blackwood
August 03, 2020

Stephen talks with Cal Newport, writer and professor of computer science. They begin by reflecting on the historically unparalleled challenges and distractions of the digital age. They then discuss strategies to reclaim our mental autonomy, the...