The Wheat and Chaff — Obsessions, Compulsions, Disorders


Interview with Philosopher Todd May Published at The Believer
by MATT B.
Recently, I got the chance to interview Todd May about his book on death and immortality. The folks over at The Believer were kind enough to publish our conversation.

Marxist Army Officer Chris Helali on Buddhism, Marx, and the Democratic Left
by MATT B. on
Christopher Helali – Marxist, U.S. Army Officer, community college professor, and graduate student at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology – has some things to say. In what follows, we discuss Buddhism, Marxism, Carl Sagan, the Acropolis, Keynesian economics, Ayn Rand, intersubjectivity, Bill Clinton, John Locke, and Slavoj Žižek. MATT BIEBER: You describe yourself as a

Teaching Marx at Harvard: An Interview with Steven Jungkeit
by MATT B. on
Steve Jungkeit is a Lecturer on Ethics at Harvard Divinity School. He holds a PhD in Modern Christian Thought from Yale, and he is the author of Spaces of Modern Theology: Geography and Power in Schleiermacher’s World. Jungkeit is also an ordained Presbyterian minister and a father of three. This semester, Jungkeit is teaching the only course

Education and “The Public Promotion of Moral Genius”: An Interview with Peter Hershock
by MATT B.
Peter Hershock is the author of Buddhism in the Public Sphere, one of the most interesting books about public policy that I have ever read. The book presents a set of Buddhist perspectives on a series of political and policy challenges. Each chapter – which cover issues as varied as the environment and terrorism –

Buddhist Activism and Public Policy: An Interview with Jonathan Watts of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists
by MATT B.
Jonathan Watts is a member of the executive board of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB). He is also the coordinator of Think Sangha, a Buddhist think tank affiliated with INEB. In addition, he is a fellow at the Jodo Shu Research Institute in Tokyo, a fellow at the International Buddhist Exchange Center in

“President Obama is a Screen Onto Which We Project our Most Intimate Affinities and Intense Anxieties”: Harvard’s Tim McCarthy on the Cult of Consensus, President Obama’s Cognitive Dissonance, and How American Can Avoid Ending Up Like the Roman Empire
Timothy Patrick McCarthy is core faculty and director of the Sexuality, Gender, and Human Rights Program at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. He also served as a founding member of Barack Obama’s National LGBT Leadership Council. This interview took place in March, when Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were

What is College For? An Interview with The New Yorker’s Louis Menand
by MATT B.
Louis Menand is a Pulitzer Prize-winning professor of English at Harvard and a staff writer for the New Yorker. His most recent book, The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University, traces the rise of the modern university system and asks hard questions about whether higher education’s historical goals and structures are

An Interview with Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, US Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council
by MATT B. on APRIL 27, 2012
I recently had the chance to interview Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe for Harvard Divinity School’s alumni publication. The piece is here.

“We’re Not Going to Have Better Public Conversations Unless People Want It, So It’s Figuring Out How to Get People to Want It”: Philosopher Christopher Robichaud on Truth and Knowledge in the American Political Context
by MATT B. on MARCH 4, 2012
Christopher Robichaud’s office at Harvard Kennedy School is filled with role-playing board games, at least one giant John F. Kennedy action figure, and hundreds upon hundreds of books. Most are standard philosophy volumes, but several shelves are devoted to his other passion: horror. Robichaud’s penchant for the dark side also colors the title of the

“By the Time I Left Congress, There Was No Significant Bipartisan Legislative Activity – None.” Artur Davis on Life in a Fiercely Partisan House, and Why it Might Not Get Better Any Time Soon
by MATT B.
Beginning in 2003, Democrat Artur Davis represented Alabama’s 7th District for four terms in Congress. Following a defeat in Alabama’s 2010 gubernatorial primary, he retired from politics. Late last year, Davis left the Democratic Party and became an independent. Davis is currently a Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics. This conversation took place in his