A podcast is a series of audio or video files that are released periodically and can be downloaded by web syndication through applications such as iTunes. Users can either download specific podcast episodes or subscribe to automatically receive new episodes as they are released. The downloaded files are stored on the local computer and are easily transferred to other offline devices, such as mp3 players.
Many ethics podcasts involve discussion and debates that explore ethical topics from multiple perspectives, often in a short format designed to introduce listeners/viewers to the general features of a problem – often by experts in the field. This often stands in contrast with reading assignments, which are usually longer, more technical, and the product of just one author or opinion.
Using podcasts also adds a multimedia component to the classroom, which may motivate students to engage more with the material. In addition, the portability of the information conveyed may be attractive to students who find it much more convenient to listen to a podcast episode on the go than to sit down and read a paper.
You can use podcasts as part of a class assignment in the same way a reading assignment would be -- as “additional resource(s)” you make available to students wishing to explore ethical issues on their own, and to help inspire your own lectures on particular ethical topics.
Below are a selected list of podcasts addressing various ethical topics. Click on the podcast link to see a list of the topics addressed by the podcast’s episodes.
Ethics Bites is a fascinating and absorbing series of interviews covering topics such as animal rights, euthanasia, censorship and fertility treatment. The interviews are introduced by David Edmonds, while Open University philsosopher and best-selling author, Nigel Warburton asks the questions, rooting every subject in everyday dilemmas about how we should live. Many eminent academics have participated in this 14-part series such as a star trio of American-based professors: Michael Sandel, Thomas Scanlon and Peter Singer.
Podcasts: 15-20 minutes
Audio podcasts of events at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. Speakers included distinguished authors, government and UN officials, economists, and policy makers. Also featured are in-depth interviews, conducted by CBS journalist Jere Van Dyk. Topics range from the ethics of war and peace, to the place of religion in politics, to issues at the forefront of global social justice. The podcasts are supported with additional resources at the Carnegie council website.
Podcasts: length varies
Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly is a national PBS series that covers religion and ethics at home and abroad with a depth and insight rarely seen on American television. This unique weekly newsmagazine reports on people, events, trends, beliefs, practices and the many stories behind the headlines about religion, ethics, and all expressions of faith. It brings to the public the most important voices, issues, and perspectives on such themes as world religions, bioethics, war and peace, church and state, God and politics, and much more.
Public Ethics Radio features scholars and thinkers who engage with ethics in public life. Each show connects vibrant debates in philosophy with real-world politics, on issues such as military intervention, international trade, and political corruption. This podcast is a production of the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics.
Podcasts: length varies
Socrates said that talking about virtue and the good life is one of the most important things a human being can do. That’s where “Ethics-Talk” fits in. Housed in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Central Michigan University (CMU), the Center for Professional and Personal Ethics brings you discussisons about ethical issues, both pure and applied. Students working with the Center discuss ethics- related topics that pertain to student life such as academic integrity, intrinsic motivation, procrastination, and cultivating self-regulation and powerful habits. Additionally, we discuss study and motivational strategies related to intimidating endeavors such as studying for the bar exam. In addition to our student produced show, scholars, authors, and practitioners discuss ethics related issues with the Center’s Director.
A podcast produced by the Center for Practical Bioethics. Each episode provides a forum to discuss issues of bioethics, including end of life, medical and research ethics. The bioethics Channel features Center professional and national experts as guests.
Podcasts: most episodes are 15 minutes
This podcast features lectures presented by the Center for Practical Bioethics about issues in medical ethics and bioethics.
Podcasts: length varies
Housed in the Center Bioethics and Human Dignity at Trinity College, the Bioethics Podcast’s archives include over 100 audio podcasts on topics in bioethics, some of which reflect on the relationship between problems of bioethics and Christianity
The podcast comprises the recorded lectures of Philosophy 3140 Environmental Ethics taught by instructor Dan Sturgis in the Fall of 2006 on the CU Boulder’s Independent Learning Program, Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies.
Living on Earth with Steve Curwood is the weekly environmental news and information program distributed by Public Radio International.
One Planet looks at how we use our planet, and how what we do affects our lives.
Podcast Episodes - 18 minutes