University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Lives of Creative and Thoughtful People

Viewing and discussion of The Bat of Minerva, a long-running cable and internet interview show created by Peter Shea.

As the Bat gathers clusters of interviews in areas (Minnesota theater, electronic music, design) and also sequences of interviews with guests over time (Susan Webster, J.B. Shank, Leigh Fondakowski, Katrina Vandenberg), the archive of Bats becomes interesting as a resource for historians.

Most of the historically interesting Batguests have projects and talk about those projects. In the May 14 meeting of “Lives of Creative and Thoughtful People,” we will consider some research by Daniel Kahneman that suggests that, with respect to one major human project, being happy, people’s sincere and serious accounts of their own experience are systematically wrong (or at least predictably inadequate) with respect to the past, the present, and anticipated future. If these results transfer to other projects, then why do interviews? The Bat should fold up its wings.

Another response to this challenge is to say that, if the Bat is to be useful for a certain kind of history, questions need to be crafted so that the responses are not heavily influenced by predictable illusions. That’s what we’ll talk about on the 14th.

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