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Twenty-eight years ago me and my horrible hair graduated @sunyplattsburgh, thanks to the mentorship of Professor David Mowry. We lost him yesterday. Read my very emotional tribute to him at #philosophy #collegife Hi listeners! Do you want to see our host Jack Russell Weinstein (@diasporajack) in person as he deejays fun and exciting music? Come down to @ojatadogmahal records this Saturday for the fourth installment of Ska and Waffles! Rehearsing for Tuesday night! Want to hear #Klezmer music live? Come to Why? Radio’s 10th anniversary party, Tuesday at 6:30. Details at @prairiepublic @diasporajack @empireartscenter Above two folds! Thanks @gfherald @prairiepublic ❓📩❓📩❓📩❓📩❓📩
#philosophy #ask #morals #advice #questions #help #curious #hardquestions #anything #podcast #discussion #currentevents #philosophyiseverywhere #whynot #politics #ethics #art #metaphysical #religion  #myund #questionoftheday WHY? Philosophical Discussions About Everyday Life, the Prairie Public radio show is celebrating its 10th birthday and we’re all invited to think philosophically about music with them!

Join the party for food, an interview with legendary Jazz flutist Mark Weinstein, and live Klezmer music! All for free!

For more information, visit or go to
Award winning Jazz Flutist Mark Weinstein plays World Jazz and Straight-Ahead with world-class musicians rooted in the music of Cuba, Brazil, Africa, Argentina and his Jewish heritage. A Latin Jazz innovator, Mark was among the first jazz musicians to record with traditional Cuban rhythm sections in an epic album, Cuban Roots, released in 1967 with Chick Corea on piano. He also has a Ph.D. in philosophy and is a professor of Education at Montclair State University, in New Jersey. His music is the soundtrack to Why? Radio. You can learn more about him at 
Stay after the recording for a live concert, as Mark joins the Balkansi Klezmer Band for a jazz-infused exploration of the classic Jewish folk music, Klezmer. Balkansi is an ensemble based in Grand Forks that specializes in traditional music from one of the richest and most diverse musical regions in the world. The members of the band include Tamara Auer on violin, Haley Ellis on clarinet, Edward Morris on guitar, Zephaniah Pearlstein on cello, Michael Ferrick on bass, Rachel Agan Muniz on percussion.

And then stay even longer for an informal Q&A with Why? Radio host, Jack Russell Weinstein. 🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼🎼
@prairiepublic @whyradioshow @diasporajack @empireartscenter #logic #philosophy #podcast #jazz #flute #grandforks #music #event #klezmer #northdakota #philosophyiseverywhere #birthday #10 #markweinstein #jackweinstein #jackrussellweinstein #free #concert #interview

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What is Philosophy?


This is the monologue for the most recent episode of Why? Radio. The topic was “How should we think about dance?” with our guest Helanius Wilkins. To listen, click here. 
I suppose I ought to begin today’s show by admitting I know very little about dance. I enjoy watching it, but I only have emotional reactions. I rarely understand what the choreographer intended, and I’d be hard pressed to offer any kind of philosophical explanation for what makes one performance better or more interesting than another.

Well, I suppose that’s not true. Like many, I can tell a good dancer from a bad one. I can see who has control over their bodies and who moves naturally. I can observe which of the dancers is out of sync and which most demands our attention. What I can’t identify is the difference between a good dancer and an excellent one, or between hackneyed choreography and innovative developments. I can take my general understanding of the arts and apply it to a performance, but I don’t know enough to truly appreciate dance in and of itself, on its own terms, with an eye towards its history and controversies.

Frankly, this ignorance is weird because dance has so many things I like. I enjoy watching people. I am attentive to bodies and movement, clothes, and physical communication. I can navigate a crowd, predicting people’s trajectories, and I find the natural unspoken coordination of large numbers of people walking on the same street mesmerizing. I love music and am also a fundamentally visual person. All of this prefigures dance: bodies moving, framed by costumes, in a well-defined space, to prescribed sound, choreographed to be seen by others. And while each of these items are negotiable—some dance alone, some in silence, some dance nude, and others focus on stillness rather than movement—each of these variations is a response to an already existing tradition. Dance, like philosophy, is a millennial-long conversation, and my goal for today’s show is to find a way to enter into this discussion myself, and to find ways to articulate the experience of watching something I admire, but don’t understand.

With that said, here are some things I do know: almost all dance, like almost all art, is constructed for an audience, yet the dancers and choreographers value the process of creation as much as any painter, musician, or author. They do it so they themselves can dance, not just so others can watch. To truly understand it, then, we have to emphasize the relationship between process and product, between the creators’ experiences of making art and the audience’s interaction with what they’ve made.

Dance is ephemeral. It exists only at the time it is performed and any recording of it is a historical document. To truly witness dance one has to be in the moment. The dancers have to be in a flow state—“in the zone,” as sports fans like to call it—and this means that their whole art is immersed in Descartes’s mind/body divide. Intellectually, they have to know choreography, meaning, and their place in the artwork, but their bodies must move automatically, like a pianist’s fingers or a quarterback’s arm. Their minds command their movements, but their bodies define the limitations of these commands. A body can only do what it can do, so to get dance, we have to ask what it means to be a physical person, a thinking thing subject to the laws of biology and physics.

And, of course, dancers’ physiques are themselves crafted, intentionally, through schooling, practice, and will-power. As an audience, we are expected—in fact, we are encouraged—to look at their bodies, but Americans in particular are bad at this. It is hard for us to look without considering them sexually, and so to understand what we see, we have to ask about what the body means in our culture and history. This means that we also have to encounter sex and gender, race, disability, weight, age. Dance is an occasion to see the world we have all inherited, and to engage with the cultures we assent to and modify.

And finally, behind all of this is the choreographer, the mind who tries to realize a vision. The person who creates something from nothing, and who trusts in the performers to understand and communicate on his or her terms. Can a work of art every truly be realized? Does a performance ever meet the standards we create in our imagination? And how do we, as an audience, become aware of the choreography? It is so easy to be impressed by the bodies on stage, but it takes great practice to contemplate the whole work. Choreographers are continually overshadowed by their dancers because the dance is immediate, but the composition is buried under technique, expression, and individual capabilities.

How then should we think about dance and who do we credit for a performance that has so many co-creators? These are the questions of a beginner. Today on Why?, we have the good fortune of exploring their answers with an expert.

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