18Forty Podcast
18Forty Podcast
May 22, 2023
Samuel Lebens: The Hard Problem of Prayer [Prayer & Humanity 1/5]
Play • 1 hr 4 min
In this episode of the 18Forty Podcast, we talk to Samuel Lebens—a philosophy professor, rabbi, and Jewish educator—about the nature of consciousness.

At a time when artificial intelligence can make us question what it even is that makes humans unique, we look deeply into our ability to have personal experiences and turn them into new ideas. In this episode, we discuss with Sam:

  • Why do we each have a subjective consciousness?
  • What is the relationship between prayer and our lives?
  • What is the “Turing test,” and how does it relate to prayer?
Tune in to hear a conversation about how consciousness gives us the ability to transform words into prayer, to “sing a new song.”

Interview begins at 31:28.

Rabbi Dr. Samuel Lebens is an associate professor in the philosophy department at the University of Haifa, as well as a rabbi and Jewish educator. Samuel holds a PhD in philosophy from Birkbeck College (University of London), and his academic interests cover the philosophy of religion, metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophy of language. Samuel teaches at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education and the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies. Samuel’s most recent book, of several, is A Guide for the Jewish Undecided, groundbreaking work has an engaging style that makes it accessible to all readers, while not losing the clarity and rigor characteristic of analytic philosophy. Samuel’s first book was a study of Bertrand Russell’s dynamic theories about the nature of meaning. Samuel previously joined us to talk about rationality and mysticism.


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Galileo's Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness by Philip Goff

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


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Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris

Rupture and Reconstruction: The Transformation of Contemporary Orthodoxy by Haym Soloveitchik

God and his imaginary friends: a Hassidic metaphysics” by Samuel Lebens

2001: A Space Odyssey

A Conversation With Bing’s Chatbot Left Me Deeply Unsettled” by Kevin Roose

The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive by Brian Christian

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