The Partially Examined Life

The Partially Examined Life

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Strip Mining Classic Texts


Ep. 244: Camus on Strategies for Facing Plague (Part One)
May 25 • 47 min
On Albert Camus’ existentialist novel The Plague. How shall we face adversity? Camus gives us colorful characters that embody various approaches. Yes, the plague is an extreme situation, but we’re all dying all the time anyway, right? Join Mark, Wes,…
Pretty Much Pop #44: Local News w/ Deion Broxton
May 19 • 42 min
The recently NBC Montana reporter joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to discuss news as entertainment, local news consumption, its uses and abuses, reality vs. media portrayals of reporters, and more. For more, visit . Hear bonus content for this episode…
Ep. 243: Aristotle’s “Poetics” on Art and Tragedy (Part Two)
May 18 • 54 min
Continuing on the Poetics from around 335 BCE, on the structure of plot (every element must be essential!), the moral status of the heroes, Homeric poetry, the difference between tragedy and history, and how Aristotle’s formula may or may not apply to…
Pretty Much Pop #43: The Korean Wave w/ Suzie Oh
May 12 • 40 min
Parasite, K-Pop, and K-Dramas have reached the U.S. as part of Hallyu, an official Korean effort to expand cultural influence. Suzie Hyun-jung Oh joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to decode the zeitgeist in hopes of understanding films like Snowpiercer, A…
Ep. 243: Aristotle’s “Poetics” on Art and Tragedy (Part One)
May 11 • 50 min
These notes from 335 BCE are still used in screenwriting classes. Aristotle presents a formula for what will move us, derived from Sophocles’s tragedies. What is art? The text describes it as memesis (imitation), and tragedy imitates human action in a…
Pretty Much Pop #42: Star Trek Lives Long and Prospers (Intermittently)
May 6 • 56 min
In light of Star Trek: Picard, Brian, Erica, Mark, and discuss our most philosophical sci-fi franchise. What makes a Trek story? How do you world-build over generations? How did Picard measure up? Plus Trek vs. Wars and step-children like The Orville…
Ep. 242: Stanley Cavell on Tragedy via King Lear (Part Two)
May 4 • 45 min
Continuing on Cavell’s essay “The Avoidance of Love: A Reading of King Lear” (1969), shifting away from Lear in particular to a more general discussion of tragedy and Cavell’s psychological insights. Begin with or get the ad-free, unbroken . End…
Ep. 242: Stanley Cavell on Tragedy via King Lear (Part One)
Apr 27 • 43 min
On Cavell’s essay “The Avoidance of Love: A Reading of King Lear” (1969). Can money buy you love? What is tragedy? With guest . Don’t wait for part two; get the full now.
NEM#120: Steve Harley is Wiser and Less Hungry
Apr 24 • 68 min
Steve started fronting Cockney Rebel in the early ’70s and has released a dozen albums of of narrative-driven, tuneful songs. We discuss “Compared with You (Your Eyes Don’t Seem to Age)” and listen to “Only You,” his two originals from his new solo…
Pretty Much Pop #40: #MeToo Depictions in TV and Film
Apr 21 • 50 min
Heavily watched media like Bombshell, The Morning Show, Unbelievable, and 13 Reasons Why attempt to cover sexual assault and harassment while still entertaining. Does that work? Erica, Mark, and Brian consider what makes for a sensitive as opposed to…
Ep. 241: Political Philosophy and the Pandemic
Apr 20 • 65 min
How should we think politically about the current global crisis? Do extreme circumstances reveal truths of political philosophy or do they reinforce whatever it is we already believe? Mark, Wes, Seth, and Dylan talk about applying philosophical…
Ep. 240: David Lewis on Possible Worlds and Language Games (Part Two)
Apr 13 • 70 min
On “Scorekeeping in a Language Game” (1979) and “Truth in Fiction” (1978). Lewis’s account of possible worlds can be applied to conversation: As we speak, each sentence adds to the “conversational score” (the set of assumptions that enable us to…
NEM#119: Chris A. Maxwell: The Power of What You Don’t Fully Understand
Apr 10 • 59 min
Chris fronted Gunbunnies in the early ’90s and was then a member of Skeleton Key, but he’s best known for being half of the production team Elegant Too. Since 2014 he’s released two solo albums. We discuss two songs from 2012’s , the title track and…
Ep. 240: David Lewis on Possible Worlds and Language Games (Part One)
Apr 6 • 53 min
On Ch. 4 of Lewis’s book (1973) and the essays “Scorekeeping in a Language Game” (1979) and “Truth in Fiction” (1978). What makes a sentence about possibility true? Lewis things that we need possible worlds that really exist in order to make…
Ep. 239: Montesquieu Invents Political Science (Part Two)
Mar 30 • 52 min
Continuing on The Spirit of the Laws (1748) by Charles Louis de Secondat, aka Baron de Montesquieu. Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Seth talk more about the “motive force” behind each type of government and the separation of powers. Begin with or get the full,…
Pretty Much Pop #36: Criticism w/ Noah Berlatsky
Mar 25 • 43 min
Do we need professional critics regulating our entertainment intake? Noah writes for The Washington Post, NBC News, The Guardian, Slate, Vox, The Atlantic, etc., and he now joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about the function of criticism,…
Ep. 239: Montesquieu Invents Political Science (Part One)
Mar 23 • 45 min
On The Spirit of the Laws (1748) by Charles Louis de Secondat, aka Baron de Montesquieu. What keeps a society functioning? Montesquieu, though of course not the first political philosopher, was perhaps the first to systematically explore correlations…
Pretty Much Pop #35: Video Game Storytelling w/ Don Marshall
Mar 17 • 50 min
Do you play video games for the plot? Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by (current ) Donald E. Marshall to talk through types of video game narrative, ways of weaving story into a game, balancing gameplay and storytelling, and more. For more, visit…
Ep. 238: Lingering Questions
Mar 16 • 75 min
Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Seth summarize thoughts about our recent series on social construction, gender and sex, and Judith Butler’s notion of “grievable lives.” Should we stop covering so much contemporary work and/or political topics? End song: “The…
Ep. 237: Walter Benjamin Analyzes Violence (Part Two)
Mar 9 • 47 min
Continuing on Benjamin’s “Critique of Violence” (1921). Mark, Wes, and Seth keep trying to figure out this difficult essay. Is Benjamin really advocating a workers’ revolution to end the state, or just reflecting on a hypothetical to explore the…
Ep. 237: Walter Benjamin Analyzes Violence (Part One)
Mar 2 • 44 min
On “Critique of Violence” (1921). What is violence? Benjamin gives us a taxonomy: law-creating, law-preserving, mythological, and divine. Then he deconstructs his own distinctions to demonstrate that all state power is rotten through its being founded…
Pretty Much Pop #33: The Heroine’s Journey w/ Vi Burlew
Feb 27 • 50 min
How has Joseph Campbell’s “hero’s journey” as famously leveraged for Star Wars evolved with more female action heroes in film? Vi Burlew joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk not only about Rey, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Black Widow, and Mulan, but…
Ep. 236: Judith Butler Interview: “The Force of Nonviolence”
Feb 24 • 64 min
On The Force of Nonviolence: An Ethico-Political Bind (2020). What is it to be nonviolent in political activity? Most ethics allow for self-defense, but Judith has a problem with defining “self” as well as “violence,” and offers a full critique of the…
Pretty Much Pop #32: Judging “The Good Place”
Feb 19 • 45 min
Mark, Erica, and Brian discuss Michael Schur’s NBC TV show. Is it good? Does it actually teach moral philosophy? We talk sit-com tropes, TV finales, the show’s convoluted structure, the puzzle of heaven, and more. For more, visit . Hear bonus content…
Ep. 235: Judith Butler’s “Gender Trouble” (Part Three)
Feb 17 • 67 min
Concluding “Gender Trouble” (1990), with just Mark, Wes, and Seth going carefully through pt I, sec v: “Identity, Set, and the Metaphysics of Substance,” and pt III, sec iv: “Subversive Bodily Acts: Bodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions.”…
Ep. 235: Judith Butler’s “Gender Trouble” (Part Two)
Feb 10 • 68 min
More Gender Trouble (1990) with . We get into the metaphysics of substance (is gender an attribute that a person has, or is there a better way to describe the situation?), performatives, Beauvoir vs. Irigaray on femininity, and the available…
Ep. 235: Judith Butler’s “Gender Trouble” (Part One)
Feb 3 • 51 min
On Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990). Is gender socially constructed, and if so, how? Butler describes gender not as an essential quality of a person, but as “performed,” as habits of acting in certain ways in accordance…
Pretty Much Pop #29: Martin Scorsese the Auteur w/ Colin Marshall
Jan 29 • 55 min
We consider The Irishman in the context of Scorsese’s body of work and the styles and themes that his films tend to exhibit. Writer/podcaster joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about connecting with Scorsese’s sensibility and their status as “art…
Ep. 234: Beauvoir on Romance in “The Second Sex” (Part Two)
Jan 27 • 58 min
Concluding Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949): “The Woman in Love” and “Myths” with guest . We continue on the ailments of women under patriarchy as well as the existential problems that we’re all subject to. Are we doomed to isolation, or…
Ep. 234: Beauvoir on Romance in “The Second Sex” (Part One)
Jan 20 • 52 min
On Simone De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949): “The Woman in Love” and “Myths” with guest . What is love under patriarchy? We all want to achieve solidity in another’s eyes, but the Othered woman wants to live through the man, and the man sees the…
Pretty Much Pop #27: For the Love of Star Wars
Jan 15 • 47 min
Mark, Erica, and Brian talk about the unique place these films have in the brains of people of a certain age, how we grappled with the prequels, and why we feel the need to fill in and argue about the details. We focus primarily on The Mandalorian and…
Ep. 233: Plato’s “Protagoras” on Virtue (Part Two)
Jan 12 • 60 min
Continuing on the dialogue, where Socrates argues that Protagoras doesn’t actually know what virtue is, because he thinks that the various virtues (especially courage) are distinct, a claim that Socrates refutes in several (logically suspect) ways….
Pretty Much Pop #26: We Watch “Watchmen” w/ David Pizarro (Very Bad Wizards)
Jan 8 • 56 min
Covering Alan Moore’s 1986 graphic novel, the new HBO series and the 2009 film. Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by , psych prof at Cornell and host of . How does Moore’s style translate to the screen? How well did the show handle politics? Should…
Ep. 233: Plato’s “Protagoras” on Virtue (Part One)
Jan 6 • 53 min
On the Platonic dialogue written around 380 BCE about an encounter between Socrates and one of the leading Sophists of his day. What is virtue (“the political art” according to Protagoras), and can it be taught? What are the relations of the various…
Ep. 232: Simone De Beauvoir’s “The Second Sex” (Part Two)
Dec 29, 2019 • 64 min
Continuing Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949) with guest . How does one become a Subject and how do women traditionally get shut out of this process? We get into Vol. 2, “Lived Experience” where Beauvoir details how this drama unfolds in…
Ep. 232: Simone De Beauvoir’s “The Second Sex” (Part One)
Dec 22, 2019 • 57 min
On Simone De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949): the intro, conclusion, “Woman’s Situation and Character” and parts of “Lived Experience,” with guest . According to Beauvoir, Woman is historically conceived of by society (and herself) as…
Ep. 231: Descartes’s “Discourse” on Wisdom and Certainty (Part Two)
Dec 16, 2019 • 70 min
Continuing on Descartes’s Discourse on Method, looking closely at part 4 (his proto-Meditations) and his “provisional” Stoic ethics. Listen to first or get the full, ad-free . End song: “My Real Fantasy” By Joe Louis Walker, as interviewed on ….
Pretty Much Pop #22: Untangling Time Travel
Dec 10, 2019 • 46 min
Time travel rules in The Terminator franchise are notoriously inconsistent. Can we change the future or not? Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by to talk through time travel rules and plots, covering the randomness of Dr. Who, being your own…
Ep. 231: Descartes’s “Discourse” on Wisdom and Certainty (Part One)
Dec 9, 2019 • 45 min
On René Descartes’s Discourse on Method (1637), an overview of his work that distills his method, outlines his famous Meditations, presents a provisional (Stoic) ethics, and considers whether he wants to be a public intellectual. This is all meant…
(sub)Text: A Discussion of Todd Phillips’ Film “Joker”
Dec 6, 2019 • 73 min
Wes Alwan and William Sharp (psychoanalyst and ) discuss the film at the . Why has this film done so well? It offers no spectacle, and good doesn’t triumph. It is psychologically true and expertly performed. The audience can enjoy tragedy and…
Ep. 230: Bruno Latour on Science, Culture, and Modernity (Part Two)
Dec 1, 2019 • 61 min
Continuing on Latour’s We Have Never Been Modern (1993) with guest . Latour rejects the idea of objective truth totally apart from perceivers, so is he an idealist? We lay out the “Constitution” of modernity that keeps science and politics separate,…
Ep. 230: Bruno Latour on Science, Culture, and Modernity (Part One)
Nov 25, 2019 • 49 min
On Latour’s We Have Never Been Modern (1993) with guest . What’s the “modern” ideology of science, and is there something we should critique about it? Latour wants us to think about science not abstractly through the eternal truths it supposedly…
Ep. 229: Descartes’s Rules for Thinking (Part Three)
Nov 18, 2019 • 57 min
Concluding René Descartes’s Rules for Direction of the Mind (1628). We finish rule 12 through the end, talking about simples, the faculties of intuition and judgment, perception and imagination, necessary vs. contingent truths, and how to do…
Ep. 229: Descartes’s Rules for Thinking (Part Two)
Nov 11, 2019 • 53 min
Continuing on René Descartes’s Rules for Direction of the Mind (1628), covering rules 7 through the first part of the lengthy rule 12. We try to figure out what he means by “enumeration;” the faculties of imagination, sense and memory; the virtues of…
Pretty Much Pop #18: Stephen King’s Media Empire
Nov 8, 2019 • 54 min
Is the most popular writer of our time actually a good writer? Or maybe he used to be good? While you’ve been thinking about those questions, King already wrote another book, so ha! Mark, Erica, and Brian share their experiences with and opinions…
Ep. 229: Descartes’s Rules for Thinking (Part One)
Nov 4, 2019 • 50 min
On René Descartes’s Rules for Direction of the Mind (1628). Is there a careful way to approach problems that will ensure that you’ll always be right? What if you just never assert anything you can’t be sure of? This is Descartes’s strategy, modeled…
Pretty Much Pop #17: Comedy as Philosophy w/ Daniel Lobell
Oct 29, 2019 • 45 min
Are stand-up comedians the Modern Day Philosophers? This is the premise of , but really, only some comedians express original claims; many just tell jokes. Are those exceptional comics philosophizing? Does telling the whole, tragic truth rule out…
Ep. 228: Social Construction of Race (Appiah, Mills) (Part Two)
Oct 27, 2019 • 47 min
Continuing on Kwame Anthony Appiah’s “Race, Culture, Identity: Misunderstood Connections” (1994), Charles Mills’s “But What Are You Really?, The Metaphysics of Race” (1998), and Neven Sesardic’s “Race: A Social Destruction of a Biological Concept”…
Pretty Much Pop #16: 25 Years After FRIENDS
Oct 22, 2019 • 43 min
Mark, Erica, and Brian examine the conventions, techniques, and staying power of the beloved ’90s sitcom. Are we supposed to identify with, or idolize, or merely like these people? What makes the formula work, did it sustain itself over its…
Ep. 228: Social Construction of Race (Appiah, Mills) (Part One)
Oct 21, 2019 • 42 min
On Kwame Anthony Appiah’s “Race, Culture, Identity: Misunderstood Connections” (1994), Charles Mills’s “But What Are You Really?, The Metaphysics of Race” (1998), and Neven Sesardic’s “Race: A Social Destruction of a Biological Concept” (2010). With…
Ep. 227: What Is Social Construction? (Hacking, Berger) (Part Two)
Oct 14, 2019 • 66 min
Continuing Ian Hacking’s The Social Construction of What (1999) and Peter Berger’s “Religion and World Construction” (1967). We break down Hacking’s typology of construction arguments: Are they exploring where our ideas came from or trying to…
Ep. 227: What Is Social Construction? (Hacking, Berger) (Part One)
Oct 7, 2019 • 46 min
On Ian Hacking’s The Social Construction of What (1999) and Peter Berger’s “Religion and World Construction” (1967). Guest Coleman Hughes from joins us to survey the types of social construction arguments: the “culture wars” (e.g. race, gender)…
Ep. 226: Francis Bacon Invents Science (Part Two)
Sep 30, 2019 • 64 min
Continuing on Sir Francis Bacon’s New Organon (1620). We cover more of Bacon’s “idols” and how Bacon divides religion from science (and what this means politically). We then move on to book 2, including Bacon’s novel update of the term “form,” and…
Pretty Much Pop #12: Once Upon a Tarantino Film
Sep 24, 2019 • 47 min
joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to discuss Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood in the context of . We consider T’s strange sense of pacing, his comic violence, his historical revisionism, and casting choices. Is this a…
Ep. 226: Francis Bacon Invents Science (Part One)
Sep 23, 2019 • 43 min
On Sir Francis Bacon’s New Organon (1620). Bacon claims to have developed a new toolset that will open up nature to inquiry in a way that wasn’t possible for ancient and modern natural philosophy. Mark, Wes, and Dylan consider how much what Bacon…
Ep. 225: Simone Weil on War and Oppression (Part Two)
Sep 16, 2019 • 62 min
Continuing on Simone Weil’s essays “The Iliad, or the Poem of Force” (1939) and “Analysis of Oppression” (1934) with guest . We talk about the self-contradictions of power, why oppression and war are so intractable, and her positive solution (what…
Pretty Much Pop #10: The Handmaid’s Tale
Sep 10, 2019 • 46 min
Mark, Erica, and Brian take on both Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel plus the TV series, getting into the transition from page to screen, taking the work as political speech vs. art, Atwood’s phenomenology and neologisms (prayvaganza!), plus the roles of…
Ep. 225: Simone Weil on War and Oppression (Part One)
Sep 9, 2019 • 47 min
On Simone Weil’s essays “The Iliad, or the Poem of Force” (1939) and “Analysis of Oppression” (1934). How do circumstances oppress and dehumanize us? Weil describes the mechanisms that keep people at war and maintain oppression even through…
Pretty Much Pop #9: Cartoons with Dee Bradley Baker (Clone Wars, American Dad)
Sep 3, 2019 • 55 min
Are cartoons an inherently juvenile art form? A guilty pleasure when viewed by adults? , whose voice can be heard in substantial portion of today’s cartoons (especially animal/monster noises like Boots in the new big-screen adaptation of Dora the…
Ep. 224: Kierkegaard Critiques The Present Age (Part Two)
Sep 2, 2019 • 66 min
Continuing on “The Present Age” (1846), plus Hubert Dreyfus’s “Nihilism on the Information Highway: Anonymity vs. Commitment in the Present Age” (2004) with guest . Does K’s critique actually apply to our present age? We address K’s view of humor,…
Pretty Much Pop #8: Spider-Man: Far From Home (and Elsewhere)
Aug 27, 2019 • 49 min
Mark, Erica, and Brian discuss the function of super-hero films and how this new one fits in. Do we need “realism” in such stories? When does a premise like this get too old to keep recycling? For more, visit . Hear bonus content for this…
Ep. 224: Kierkegaard Critiques The Present Age (Part One)
Aug 26, 2019 • 48 min
On Soren Kierkegaard’s essay “The Present Age” (1846) and Hubert Dreyfus’s “Nihilism on the Information Highway: Anonymity vs. Commitment in the Present Age” (2004). What’s wrong with our society? Kierkegaard saw the advent of the press and gossip…
Ep. 223: Guest Ned Block on Consciousness (Part Two)
Aug 19, 2019 • 56 min
We talk with Ned about a second Blockheads (2019) article, Michael Tyle’s “Homunculi Heads and Silicon Chips: The Importance of History to Phenomenology,” which provides a variation off of the David Chalmers fading qualia argument, and then Mark,…
Ep. 223: Guest Ned Block on Consciousness (Part One)
Aug 12, 2019 • 51 min
The climax and denouement of our summer philosophy of mind series: Ned Block visits to fill in the gaps about functionalism and attributing consciousness to machines and discuss essays from Blockheads (2019), focusing here on Brian McLaughlin’s…
Pretty Much Pop #5: True Crime with Lucy Lawless
Aug 6, 2019 • 52 min
Lucy Lawless (Xena the Warrior Princess, currently starring in My Life Is Murder) joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to think about the true crime genre, of both the documentary and dramatized variety. What’s the appeal? Why do women in particular gravitate…
Ep. 222: Debating Functionalism (Block, Chalmers) (Part Two)
Aug 5, 2019 • 56 min
Continuing on Ned Block’s “Troubles with Functionalism” (1978) and David Chalmers’s “Absent Qualia, Fading Qualia, Dancing Qualia” (1995). What would it be like to be halfway between person and machine? If you think the machine can’t have…
Ep. 222: Debating Functionalism (Block, Chalmers) (Part One)
Jul 29, 2019 • 53 min
On Ned Block’s “Troubles with Functionalism” (1978) and David Chalmers’s “Absent Qualia, Fading Qualia, Dancing Qualia” (1995). If mental states are functional states, there couldn’t be zombies. Yet Block claims that there could be zombies: for…
Pretty Much Pop #3: CONFORM w/ Yakov Smirnoff
Jul 23, 2019 • 74 min
Is media trying to brainwash us into being ALL THE SAME? Are the excesses of the mob scaring us into conformity? Mark, Erica, and Brian muse on cultural homogenization and are joined by comedian Dr. Yakov Smirnoff to talk about growing up in a…
Ep. 221: Functionalist Theories of Mind (Putnam, Armstrong) (Part Two)
Jul 22, 2019 • 71 min
Continuing on functionalism with David M. Armstrong’s “The Causal Theory of the Mind” (1981). Your four hosts start afresh the day after on Putnam to discuss this version of functionalism that is supposed to clear the way for the scientific…
Ep. 221: Functionalist Theories of Mind (Putnam, Armstrong) (Part One)
Jul 15, 2019 • 53 min
On Hilary Putnam’s “The Nature of Mental States” (1973). What is the mind? Functionalist theories identify the mental with not with the brain exactly, but with something the brain does. So some other creature without a brain (maybe a computer) might…
Pretty Much Pop #1: Pop Culture vs. High Culture
Jul 9, 2019 • 43 min
What is pop culture? Does it make sense to distinguish it from high culture, or can something be both? Welcome to this new pop culture podcast hosted by Mark Linsenmayer, Erica Spyres, and Brian Hirt. This episode also features Tyler Hislop, our…
Ep. 220: 10-Year Retrospective of The Partially Examined Life
Jul 5, 2019 • 73 min
Mark, Seth, Dylan, and Wes reflect on the changing state of podcasting and public philosophy over the last decade, how our goals and interests have changed since we started we started. Why don’t colleges pay their faculty to educate the public through…
Ep. 219: The Harder Problem of Consciousness (Block & Papineau)
Jul 1, 2019 • 85 min
On Ned Block’s “The Harder Problem of Consciousness” (2002) and David Papineau’s “Could There Be a Science of Consciousness?” (2003). What would give us sufficient reason to believe that a non-human was conscious? Block thinks this is a harder problem…
Ep. 218: The Hard Problem of Consciousness (Chalmers et al) (Part Two)
Jun 24, 2019 • 53 min
Continuing on “Consciousness and Its Place in Nature” by David Chalmers (2003). We finish Chalmers’s account of the types of physicialism, then move on to dualism (including epiphenomenalism), and finally dally with panpsychism, the specialty of our…
Ep. 218: The Hard Problem of Consciousness (Chalmers et al) (Part One)
Jun 17, 2019 • 56 min
On “Consciousness and Its Place in Nature” by David Chalmers (2003), with special guest from . Can we explain human experience using the terms of brain physiology? Chalmers thinks not, and lays out the arguments against this and the range of…
(sub)Text #1: Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”: Poesis as Revenge Forsaken
Jun 8, 2019 • 70 min
At last, the full, public release of this discussion between Wes Alwan and Bill Youmans covering Shakespeare’s 1611 play about revenge, forgiveness, and authorship. Or maybe it’s about exploitation, or how we react to changes in status, or perhaps how…
Episode 217: Discussing Calderón’s “Life Is a Dream”
Jun 3, 2019 • 108 min
On the 1636 comedy by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, considering destiny (Christian vs. Ancient Greek), skepticism, meta-theater, and the ethic of honor. . With guests Bill Youmans and Erica Spyres. End song: “Pulling Apart” by . Hear him on . Please…
Glimpse: Machiavellian Politics (for Partially Examined Life #14)
Jun 2, 2019 • 8 min
Does politics have to be Machiavellian? Do you have to be ruthless to succeed? Given our treatment of and , and the way in which end-justifying-the-means logic plays endlessly in our real-life political situation, it’s time we looked back on . Mark…
PEL Audioplayers: “Life Is a Dream” by Pedro Calderón de la Barca
May 27, 2019 • 140 min
Your hosts are joined by real actors to do an unrehearsed read of Calderón’s 1636 comedy La Vida Es Sueño, using Stanley Appelbaum’s 2002 translation. Ep. 217 will cover the philosophical issues the play raises. Recorded in NYC on 4/7: Talene…
PREVIEW-Ep 216 Game of Thrones’ Fantasy Politics (Part Two)
May 23, 2019 • 4 min
Get teased re. Mark and Wes’s post-finale, spoiler-filled continuation of the discussion of the show. How does its conclusion affect its overall political message? Does it make sense to be performing feminist critiques on a show based on the premise…
Episode 216: Game of Thrones’ Fantasy Politics
May 20, 2019 • 85 min
Discussing the TV show (2011-2019) based on the books by George R.R. Martin. What’s the role of a mass-consumed fantasy series in today’s society? Is it our “fantasy” to have all these horrible things happen to us? Is this an edifying prompt to engage…
Episode 215: Brave New World: PEL Live 10th Anniversary Show
May 13, 2019 • 98 min
On Aldous Huxley’s 1932 dystopian novel, recorded at Manhattan’s Caveat on 4/6/19, with audience participation. If we harness the power of society to employ available technologies to really focus on making people happy, what would the result be?…
Episode 214: More Nietzsche’s Zarathustra (Part Two)
May 6, 2019 • 81 min
Concluding Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1885). What’s the wise way to live? We start in earnest into part three, treating the “spirit of gravity” where socially-imposed values cover over your uniqueness, omni-satisfaction vs. being…
Episode 214: More Nietzsche’s Zarathustra (Part One)
Apr 29, 2019 • 51 min
On the remainder of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1885). How can we keep our spirits up and avoid nihilism? We consider Nietzsche’s “solution” of eternal recurrence, why he uses a poetic, allegoric style, and more. Don’t wait for…
Glimpse: Nietzsche’s Last Man (for Partially Examined Life #213)
Apr 22, 2019 • 8 min
Is technology making us complacent? Are we in danger of becoming Nietzsche’s famed “last men” who are no longer capable of creativity and independent thought? Mark Linsenmayer from the Partially Examined Life philosophy podcast lays out Nietzsche’s…
Episode 213: Nietzsche’s Zarathustra (Part Two)
Apr 22, 2019 • 75 min
Continuing on Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, books 1 and 2 (1883). We talk through Nietzsche’s symbolism (tightrope walkers and gravediggers and snakes, oh my!), the path toward the overman, his screed against the state, the Will to…
PREVIEW-(sub)Text#6: Melanie Klein’s “Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms”
Apr 21, 2019 • 9 min
Wes Alwan is joined by Dr. Glenn Mobray to discuss this classic 1946 psychoanalytic text. This is a preview of a 63-minute discussion. You can listen to the whole thing by becoming a or . Visit to learn how. .
Episode 213: Nietzsche’s Zarathustra (Part One)
Apr 15, 2019 • 55 min
On Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, books 1 and 2 (1883). What is wisdom? In this text whose style parodies the Bible, we get pithy advice and allegorical imagery to guide us away from self-defeating, life-denying attitudes and orient…
Glimpse: Sartre on Literature (for Partially Examined Life #212)
Apr 11, 2019 • 8 min
Should literature be political? Jean-Paul Sartre thought that all literature is political, because of what literature is. That’s a very weird-sounding view. Mark Linsenmayer from the Partially Examined Life philosophy podcast tries to make it…
Episode 212: Sartre on Literature (Part Two)
Apr 8, 2019 • 62 min
Continuing on What is Literature? (1948). Sartre gives a phenomenology of reading and writing that makes reading into a creative act of completing the writer’s work, and calls this cooperation ethical: the work is an appeal to the reader’s freedom,…
Episode 212: Sartre on Literature (Part One)
Apr 1, 2019 • 53 min
On Jean-Paul Sartre’s What is Literature (1948), ch. 1 and 2. What’s the purpose of literature? Why write prose as opposed to poetry? Sartre argues that while poetry is about the words themselves, prose is about the ideas, so it’s necessarily…
PREVIEW-(sub)Text#5: Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya”
Apr 1, 2019 • 8 min
Wes Alwan is joined by Monica McCarthy of the to discuss Anton Chekhov’s 1898 play about family dysfunction and potentially wasting your life. This is a preview of a 54-minute discussion. You can listen to the whole thing by becoming a or . Visit …
Episode 211: Sartre on Racism and Authenticity (Part Three)
Mar 25, 2019 • 68 min
Moving finally on to Jean-Paul Sartre’s “Black Orpheus” (1948), where he introduces a book of black poetry by praising its revolutionary spirit as embodied in “negritude.” Is this a legitimate consciousness-raising exercise or a weird fetishization of…
Episode 211: Sartre on Racism and Authenticity (Part Two)
Mar 18, 2019 • 47 min
Continuing on Jean-Paul Sartre’s Anti-Semite and Jew: An Exploration of the Etiology of Hate (1946). Is there an “authentic” way to respond to persecution? As part of his critique of anti-semitism, Sartre criticized the responses of some Jews to this…
Episode 211: Sartre on Racism and Authenticity (Part One)
Mar 11, 2019 • 59 min
On Jean-Paul Sartre’s Anti-Semite and Jew: An Exploration of the Etiology of Hate (1946) and “Black Orpheus” (1948). How can we best understand the psychology of racism? Sartre condemns anti-Semitism as denying the facts of the human condition: the…
Constellary Tales #6: Philip K. Dick’s “Minority Report” (PEL Crossover Special)
Mar 10, 2019 • 59 min
PEL’s Mark Linsenmayer joins hosts Ken Gerber and Brian Hirt to weigh in on the philosophical implications of precognitive crime fighting in Philip K. Dick’s “The Minority Report.” Brian quizzes Mark and Ken on PKD movie trivia. Get more podcasts,…
Episode 210: Frantz Fanon’s Black Existentialism (Part Two)
Mar 4, 2019 • 63 min
Continuing on Black Skin White Masks (1952), starting with the influential ch. 4 “The Fact of Blackness.” Are the successive coping strategies to racism (including “anti-racist racism” and embrace of negritude) that Fanon describes necessary steps in…
Episode 210: Frantz Fanon’s Black Existentialism (Part One)
Feb 25, 2019 • 52 min
On Black Skin White Masks (1952). How does growing up in a racist society mess people up? Fanon’s “clinical study” includes phenomenology, poetry, and a lot of existentialism, which means that the “let’s embrace negritude in the face of bigotry”…
Podchaser Interview of Mark Linsenmayer: Partially Examined Life and Nakedly Examined Music
Feb 23, 2019 • 39 min
Morgan DeLisle, writer for the PodChaser “Behind the Streams Blog,” interviewed Mark for of our podcasts. Learn about the origins of PEL and NEM, how we make the shows, and what’s coming up. Listen to all of the PEL network podcasts at , or subscribe…
Episode 209: Francis Fukuyama on Identity Politics (Part Two: Discussion)
Feb 18, 2019 • 86 min
Continuing on Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment (2018). Fukuyama recommends a “creedal national identity” as a solution for tribalism; does this work? Is this “demand for recognition” that he describes foundational for…
Episode 209: Guest Francis Fukuyama on Identity Politics (Part One)
Feb 10, 2019 • 62 min
Talking to the author about Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment (2018). What motivates people? Frank points to thymos, the demand for recognition, as at the root of both the “end of history” (i.e., democracy as demand for…
Episode 208: Epicurus on Seeking Pleasure (Part Two)
Feb 4, 2019 • 57 min
More on the ethics-related fragments of Epicurus and accounts by Martha Nussbaum and Tim O’Keefe. What would a purely therapeutic philosophy consist of? Does philosophy as pursuit of pleasure mean that you eschew political action or other substantial…
Episode 208: Epicurus on Seeking Pleasure (Part One)
Jan 28, 2019 • 50 min
On the extant fragments of Epicurus (341–270 BCE) dealing with ethics, including his “Letter to Menoceus,” “The Principal Doctrines,” and “The Vatican Collection of Epicurean Sayings.” Plus Tim O’Keefe’s Epicureanism (2010) and Martha…
Episode 207: Herder on Art Appreciation (Part Two)
Jan 21, 2019 • 85 min
Continuing on Johann Gottfried von Herder’s “The Causes of Sunken Taste among the Different Peoples in Whom It Once Blossomed” (1775), then moving to “On the Influence of the Belles Lettres on the Higher Sciences” (1781), “Does Painting or…
Episode 207: Herder on Art Appreciation (Part One)
Jan 14, 2019 • 55 min
On Johann Gottfried von Herder’s “The Causes of Sunken Taste among the Different Peoples in Whom It Once Blossomed” (1775), “On the Influence of the Belles Lettres on the Higher Sciences” (1781), “Does Painting or Music Have a Greater…
PREVIEW-Ep 206 Lucretius’s Epicurean Physics (Part Three)
Jan 12, 2019 • 14 min
Mark and Wes go into more textual detail re. Lucretius’s take on atomism and the metaphysical and epistemological problems it entails. . This is a preview; become a PEL Citizen or $5 Patreon supporter to .
Episode 206: Lucretius’s Epicurean Physics (Part Two)
Jan 7, 2019 • 74 min
More on Lucretius’s poem about Epicurean science: On the Nature of Things from the first century BCE. We talk more about how macroscopic phenomena are supposed to come out of the interaction of atoms, including mind and its processes of knowledge…
NEM#89: Dusty Wright’s Metaphysical Americana
Jan 6, 2019 • 69 min
After starting in the ’80s with the Trolls and the Bastards of Execution, Dusty has released six albums as a solo artist since 1997. We discuss a new, unreleased song “Pardon My Love,” then “Man in the Mirror” from Gliding Toward Oblivion (2018) and…
Episode 206: Lucretius’s Epicurean Physics (Part One)
Dec 31, 2018 • 58 min
On Lucretius’s poem about Epicurean science: On the Nature of Things a.k.a. De Rerum Natura from the 1st century BC. How does the world work? Lucretius presents a system that is surprisingly modern, and raises philosophical issues that are still on…
PREVIEW-Ep 205 Durkheim et al on Suicide (Part Three)
Dec 31, 2018 • 19 min
Mark and Wes discuss Durkheim’s Suicide (1897), getting into more of the details of his account and exploring comparative modes of explanation: Are there really “sociological facts” distinct from mere generalizations about psychological facts? Get the…
Episode 205: Suicide with Dr. Drew (Durkheim et al) (Part Two)
Dec 22, 2018 • 54 min
More on philosophical and psychological interpretations of and judgments about suicide with guest Drew Pinsky. Is suicide an epidemic or a choice? Could it be both? Socrates didn’t fear death and inspired Stoics and others to see suicide in some…
Episode 205: Suicide with Dr. Drew (Durkheim et al) (Part One)
Dec 16, 2018 • 47 min
We are rejoined by Drew Pinsky to discuss philosophical and psychological readings by Seneca, Arthur Schopenhauer, Sigmund Freud, Emile Durkheim, Albert Camus, plus two 2017 survey papers on predictors of suicide. Is suicide ever morally permissible?…
Episode 204: The Bhagavad Gita’s Hindu Theology (Part Two)
Dec 10, 2018 • 61 min
More on this classic text by (perhaps) Vyasa, with guest Shaan Amin. Should we acquire good karma or behave “beyond good and evil”? How can everything be Krishna while Krishna is also the an element of virtue we’re supposed to pursue? How does this…
Episode 204: The Bhagavad Gita’s Hindu Theology (Part One)
Dec 3, 2018 • 59 min
On the classic Hindu text (ca. the 3rd century B.C.E.), part of the Indian Epic poem Mahabharata, attributed to Vyasa, using Keya Maitra’s 2018 translation/commentary. What is it to live wisely? What grounds duty? Listen as the supreme God Krishna…
Episode 203: Kristeva vs. Lovecraft on Horror and Abjection (Part Two)
Nov 25, 2018 • 70 min
Concluding on Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror (1980) and focusing on H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu” (1928). Does Lovecraft’s presentation of nameless terror capture (or improve upon) what Kristeva means by “abjection”? End song: “The…
Episode 203: Kristeva vs. Lovecraft on Horror and Abjection (Part One)
Nov 19, 2018 • 54 min
More on Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror (1980) plus H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu” (1928). What is the object of fear? Mark, Seth, and Dylan get clearer on Kristeva’s view of the establishment and loss of the integrity of the self, what the…
PREVIEW-Ep 202 Follow-Up: Close Reading of Kristeva’s “Approaching Abjection”
Nov 18, 2018 • 17 min
Mark takes a very close look at pages 1–4 of the first chapter of On Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (1980) as a supplement to . Get the full, 55-minute experience as a , or get it by for a mere $1!
Episode 202: Julia Kristeva on Disgust, Fear and the Self (Part Two)
Nov 12, 2018 • 79 min
Continuing on Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, ch. 1 and 2. We try to get clearer on Kristeva’s talk of “object,” the relationship between language and abjection, how Kristeva is advancing on Freud, how to be a mom that allows a kid to…
Episode 202: Julia Kristeva on Disgust, Fear and the Self (Part One)
Nov 5, 2018 • 46 min
On Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (1980), ch. 1 and 2. Kristeva writes about “abjection,” where we violently reject things like corpses, bodily wastes and other fluids, and the Lovecraftian unnameable that lurks at the edge of our awareness….
PREVIEW-Ep 201 Marcus Aurelius’s “Meditations” (Part Three)
Nov 5, 2018 • 13 min
Mark and Seth get further into the specifics of Marcus’s metaphysics and how this is supposed to relate to behavior. Can his directives really come solely “from reason” as he claims? How does this interact with the behaviors that we pursue “by…
Episode 201: Marcus Aurelius’s Stoicism with Ryan Holiday (Part Two)
Oct 29, 2018 • 60 min
More on The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (ca. 180 CE) plus Ryan’s The Daily Stoic (2016). We talk Stoicism as “pre-mourning,” love of fate, the divine plan, political ethics, ethical models, and overwriting your brain with the Stoic operating…
Episode 201: Marcus Aurelius’s Stoicism with Ryan Holiday (Part One)
Oct 22, 2018 • 59 min
On The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (ca. 180 C.E.) plus Ryan’s The Daily Stoic (2016). What does Stoicism look like in practice, in both ancient and modern contexts? You might think that eschewing the shallow, out-of-our-control trappings of fame…
Episode 200: Kant/Mendelssohn/Foucault on Enlightenment (Part Two)
Oct 15, 2018 • 68 min
Continuing on “What Is Enlightenment” by Immanuel Kant (1784), “On Enlightening the Mind” by Moses Mendelssohn (1784), and “What Is Enlightenment” by Michael Foucault (1984). We finish up Kant (the courage to know!) and lay out the Mendelssohn…
Episode 200: Kant/Mendelssohn/Foucault on Enlightenment (Part One)
Oct 8, 2018 • 47 min
On “What Is Enlightenment” by Immanuel Kant (1784), “On Enlightening the Mind” by Moses Mendelssohn (1784), and “What Is Enlightenment” by Michael Foucault (1984). At the end of the historical period known as The Enlightenment, a Berlin newspaper…
Bonus: (sub)Text#4: Freud’s “Mourning and Melancholia” (Part One)
Oct 8, 2018 • 35 min
Wes Alwan is joined by and Louis Scuderi to discuss Freud’s . Note: Part two will NOT be appearing on this feed. Become a PEL Citizen to get . Visit to learn how. .
Episode 199: Elizabeth Anderson on Equality (Part Three: Discussion)
Oct 1, 2018 • 66 min
Mark, Wes, Seth, and Dylan continue to discuss “What Is the Point of Equality?” (1999) and how it lays foundations for Private Government (2017). What is democratic equality, and can a Rawlsian/liberal/neutral-with-regard-to-defining-the-good…
Episode 199: Guest Elizabeth Anderson on Private Government (Part Two)
Sep 24, 2018 • 63 min
Continuing on Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (2017) and “What Is the Point of Equality?” (1999). Should the amount of respect that a worker gets be proportional to his or her market value? Our guest tells us more about how all…
Episode 199: Guest Elizabeth Anderson on Private Government (Part One)
Sep 17, 2018 • 55 min
The U. of Michigan prof joins us to discuss Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about It) (2017) and “What Is the Point of Equality?” (1999). What is a government? Liz argues that this includes companies, and…
PREVIEW-Ep 198 Plato’s “Parmenides” (Part Three)
Sep 13, 2018 • 11 min
http://partiallyexaminedlife.com
Episode 198: Plato’s Forms in the “Parmenides” (Part Two)
Sep 10, 2018 • 74 min
We get down to the specific questions considered this perplexing Platonic dialogue: Are there forms for all adjectives? Does the form of a property itself have that property? How do Forms connect with particulars? How can we mortals have any…
Episode 198: Plato’s Forms in the “Parmenides” (Part One)
Sep 3, 2018 • 46 min
On the most peculiar Platonic dialogue, from ca. 350 BCE. Are properties real things in the world, or just in the mind? Plato is known for claiming that these “Forms” are real, though otherworldly. Here, though, using Parmenides as a character talking…
Bonus: (sub)Text #3: Spielberg’s “AI: Artificial Intelligence”: What Is It to Be Human? (Part One)
Sep 2, 2018 • 34 min
Wes discusses the film by Steven Spielberg with philosophy professor David Kyle Johnson. What is there to fear in artificial intelligence? How does this shed light on what it means to be fully human? Note: Part two will NOT be appearing on this feed….
Episode 197: Parmenides on What There Is (Part Two)
Aug 27, 2018 • 53 min
Continuing with guest with “On Nature” (475 BCE). We finally get to fragment 8, which describes why Being must be singular and eternal, given that the notion of Non-Being is nonsense. But how could we as individuals be asking these questions then?…
Episode 197: Parmenides on What There Is (Part One)
Aug 20, 2018 • 60 min
On the fragments referred to as “On Nature” from ca. 475 BCE, featuring guest Peter Adamson from the . Parmenides gives “the Way of Truth,” which is that there is only Being, and talking of Non-Being is nonsense. So everything you experience is wrong!…
Bonus: (sub)Text #2: Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five”: Is There Such a Thing as a War Story? (Part One)
Aug 20, 2018 • 41 min
Episode 2 of Wes’s new podcasting endeavor, featuring Mary from the , who’s also the managing editor of the PEL blog. Note: Part two will NOT be appearing on this feed. Become a PEL Citizen to get . Visit to learn how.
Episode 196: Guest Simon Blackburn on Truth (Part Two)
Aug 13, 2018 • 67 min
Continuing with Simon on his book On Truth (2018). We move to part two of the book, where we get down to the procedures used to obtain truth in art, ethics, and science. Yes, truth is objective, but it’s not best described as correspondence, and in…
Episode 196: Guest Simon Blackburn on Truth (Part One)
Aug 6, 2018 • 52 min
The Cambridge/etc. prof joins Mark, Wes, and Dylan to discuss his book On Truth (2018). What is truth? Simon’s view synthesizes deflationism and pragmatism to avoid relativism by fixing on the domain-specific procedures we actually engage in to…
Episode 195: Truth-The Austin/Strawson Debate (Part Two)
Jul 29, 2018 • 61 min
Continuing on “Truth” by J.L. Austin and “Truth” by P.F. Strawson both from 1950. We proceed to the Strawson article, which critiques the notion of a “fact” as explaining why a sentence might be true. A “fact” is not a thing in the world! So what do…
Episode 195: Truth-The Austin/Strawson Debate (Part One)
Jul 23, 2018 • 61 min
On two articles in the “ordinary language” tradition of philosophy called “Truth” from 1950 by J.L. Austin and P.F. Strawson. Is truth a property of particular speech acts, or of the propositions expressed through speech acts? Does truth mean…
Bonus: (sub)Text #1: Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”: Poesis as Revenge Forsaken (Part One)
Jul 21, 2018 • 33 min
Wes Alwan and Bill Youmans discuss the 1611 play about revenge, forgiveness, and authorship. Or maybe it’s about exploitation, or how we react to changes in status, or perhaps how a liberal education can give you magical powers! Note: Part two will…
Episode 194: Alfred Tarski on Truth (Part Two)
Jul 16, 2018 • 72 min
Continuing on Tarski’s “The Semantic Conception of Truth and the Foundations of Semantics” (1944), Hartry Field’s “Tarski’s Theory of Truth” (1972), and Donald Davidson’s “The Folly of Trying to Define Truth” (1977). What was Tarski really…
Episode 194: Alfred Tarski on Truth (Part One)
Jul 8, 2018 • 54 min
On Tarski’s “The Semantic Conception of Truth and the Foundations of Semantics” (1944), Hartry Field’s “Tarski’s Theory of Truth” (1972), and Donald Davidson’s “The Folly of Trying to Define Truth” (1977). What is truth? Tarski gives a…
PREVIEWS-Eps 192-193 Allan Bloom & Liberal Education Follow-Ups
Jul 7, 2018 • 16 min
Hear highlights from two supporter-only discussions: and .
Episode 193: The Theory and Practice of Liberal Education (Part Two)
Jul 2, 2018 • 52 min
Continuing with Pano Kanelos on articles on liberal education by Jacob Klein, Sidney Hook, and Martha Nussbaum. What’s the practical application of a liberal education? Is it really liberating or indoctrinating? We continue discussion of the Great…
Episode 193: The Theory and Practice of Liberal Education (Part One)
Jun 25, 2018 • 50 min
Pano Kanelos, the president of St. John’s College, Annapolis joins us to discuss Jacob Klein’s “The Idea of a Liberal Education” (1960) and “On Liberal Education” (1965), plus Sidney Hook’s “A Critical Appraisal of the St. John’s College…
Episode 192: “The Closing of the American Mind”: Allan Bloom on Education (Part Two)
Jun 18, 2018 • 70 min
Continuing on Allan Bloom’s 1987 book critiquing the current fragmented structure of the university that promotes technical and professional education over the ability to think philosophically. Does Bloom’s vision require aristocracy, or can a Great…
Episode 192: “The Closing of the American Mind”: Allan Bloom on Education (Part One)
Jun 11, 2018 • 53 min
On Allan Bloom’s 1987 best-selleing polemic. What is the role of the university in our democracy? Bloom thinks that today’s students are conformist, relativistic, and nihilistic, and that great books and thinking for thinking’s sake are the cure….
Episode 191: Conceptual Schemes: Donald Davidson & Rudolf Carnap (Part Two)
Jun 4, 2018 • 69 min
Finishing Davidson’s “On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme” (1974) and moving on to Carnap’s “Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology” (1950). Carnap claims that we talk about mathematical objects or subatomic particles or whatever, we’re not really…
Episode 191: Conceptual Schemes: Donald Davidson & Rudolf Carnap (Part One)
May 28, 2018 • 56 min
On Davidson’s “On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme” (1974) and Carnap’s “Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology” (1950). What does it mean to say that we grasp the world through a conceptual scheme? Are schemes different between cultures or even…
PREVIEWS-Ep 189: Authorial Intent (Part Three) Plus Identity Politics
May 26, 2018 • 16 min
Listen here to a few highlights from two recent discussions between Mark and Wes: We chase down some issues from , relating authorial intent to philosophy of language more generally, then we have some preliminary discussion about the possibility of a…
Episode 190: Film Analysis: “mother!”
May 21, 2018 • 88 min
On Darren Aronofsky’s philosophical 2017 film about humanity’s relationship to nature. We discuss the philosophical content of the film (Gnosticism, anyone?) and explore the relation between meaning and the sensuous aspects of an artwork. Can a work…
Episode 189: Authorial Intent (Barthes, Foucault, Beardsley, et al) (Part Two)
May 14, 2018 • 79 min
Continuing on “The Death of the Author” by Roland Barthes (1967) and “What Is an Author?” by Michel Foucault (1969), and finally getting to “Against Theory” by Steven Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels (1982). What could it mean to say that a text,…
Episode 189: Authorial Intent (Barthes, Foucault, Beardsley, et al) (Part One)
May 7, 2018 • 57 min
On four essays about how to interpret artworks: “The Intentional Fallacy” by W. K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley (1946), “The Death of the Author” by Roland Barthes (1967), “What is an Author?” by Michel Foucault (1969), and “Against Theory” by…
Episode 188: Discussing “Lysistrata” and Politics with Lucy and Emily (Part Two)
Apr 30, 2018 • 59 min
Concluding our discussion of Aristophanes’s play with Lucy Lawless and Emily Perkins. We focus on trying to connect its lessons to the here and now: Is Lysistrata’s victory properly described as the ascension of some kind of “feminine spirit” over…
Episode 188: Discussing “Lysistrata” and Politics with Lucy and Emily (Part One)
Apr 23, 2018 • 53 min
We are rejoined by actresses Lucy Lawless and Emily Perkins to discuss Aristophanes’s bawdy play. . Supplementary readings included Jeffery Henderson’s introduction to his 1988 translation of the play; “Sexual Humor and Harmony in Lysistrata” by Jay…
“Lysistrata” w/ Lucy Lawless, Emily Perkins, Erica Spyres, Bill Youmans & Aaron Gleason
Apr 15, 2018 • 82 min
The PEL Players return to perform a “cold read” of Aristophanes’s play about using a sex strike to end war, first performed in 411 BCE. Jeffrey Henderson’s translation makes this very accessible, and it’s still really damn funny. Your hosts are joined…
PREVIEW-Episode 187: The Limits of Free Speech (Part Three)
Apr 13, 2018 • 13 min
Three substantial chunks of a follow-up conversation to our . Mark and Wes discuss Jordan Peterson on speech, organizations’ promoting certain speech (as opposed to restricting), insults vs. arguments, offense vs. harm, “incoherence” arguments like…
Episode 187: The Limits of Free Speech (Part Two)
Apr 9, 2018 • 64 min
Continuing our free form discussion, trying to make sense of Stanley Fish’s “” (1994) and other potential rationales for prohibiting hate speech. How might the same sentence or idea be used in different speech acts, some of which might be…
Episode 187: The Limits of Free Speech (Part One)
Mar 29, 2018 • 58 min
A free-form discussion drawing on Stanley Fish’s “There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech, and It’s a Good Thing, Too” (1994), Joel Feinberg’s “Limits to the Free Expression of Opinion” (1975), and other sources. What are the legitimate…
Episode 186: J.L. Austin on Doing Things with Words (Part Two)
Mar 26, 2018 • 72 min
Continuing on How to Do Things with Words (lectures from 1955), covering lectures 5-9. Austin tries and fails to come up with a way to grammatically distinguish performatives from other utterances, and so turns to his more complicated system of…
Episode 186: J.L. Austin on Doing Things with Words (Part One)
Mar 19, 2018 • 49 min
On How to Do Things with Words (lectures from 1955). What’s the relationship between language and the world? Austin says it’s not all about descriptive true-or-false statements, but also includes “performatives” like “I promise…” and “I do” (spoken…
Episode 185: Ethics in Homer’s “Odyssey” Feat. Translator Emily Wilson (Part Two)
Mar 12, 2018 • 73 min
Continuing with Emily Wilson on her translation of the Greek epic poem. We discuss the “oikos” or estate, built on violence, and its connection to “xenia,” or hospitality, which serves to forge military alliances. Also: status distinctions and the…
Episode 185: Ethics in Homer’s “Odyssey” Feat. Translator Emily Wilson (Part One)
Mar 5, 2018 • 50 min
On the classic Greek epic poem, written ca. 750 BC and translated by our guest in 2018. Does this story of “heroes” have anything to teach us about ethics? Wilson wrote an 80-page introduction to her new translation laying out the issues, including…
Episode 184: Pascal on Human Nature (Part Two)
Feb 25, 2018 • 69 min
Continuing on Pascal’s Pensées. More on our human desire and how God is supposed to address that, plus Pascal’s views on political philosophy, the relation between faith, reason, and custom… and finally the wager! Why not just be a skeptic? Is…
Episode 184: Pascal on Human Nature (Part One)
Feb 19, 2018 • 52 min
On Blaise Pascal’s Pensées (1670). Is it rational to have religious faith? You’re likely familiar with “Pascal’s Wager,” but our wretchedness is such that we can’t simply choose to believe and won’t be argued into it. Pascal thinks Christianity is…
Episode 183: Mill on Liberty (Part Two)
Feb 11, 2018 • 66 min
Continuing on John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty. We discuss “partial truths,” whether “truth will out,” whether we can discard some “experiments in living” as established failures, how Mill compares to Nietzsche, education, “barbarians,” and more. Listen…
Episode 183: Mill on Liberty (Part One)
Feb 4, 2018 • 60 min
Discussing John Stewart Mill’s On Liberty (1859). If we disapprove of certain behaviors, when is it okay to prohibit them legally? What about just shaming people? Mill’s “harm principle” says that we should permit anything (legally and socially)…
TEASER-Episode 182: Reflections on PEL 2017 (Part Two)
Feb 4, 2018 • 3 min
The PEL guys get personal and political and tell you in brief about things like Planet of the Apes, , and in the second half of our year-in-review discussion. Here you get a taste. You can only hear the meat with the full, ad-free episode, posted …
Episode 182: Reflections on PEL 2017 (Part One)
Jan 28, 2018 • 53 min
To what extent has our podcast changed in reaction to current politics? Mark, Seth, Wes, and Dylan reflect back on our year, discuss how we select texts, and give some thumbnail sketches of potential topics. Also, does authorial intent matter, and how…
Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part Two)
Jan 21, 2018 • 82 min
Continuing on Eichmann in Jerusalem, on how ordinary people can do—or acquiesce to—horrific things. How do people rationalize this? What can we apply from this to ourselves? Also, how was genocide a new type of crime, and what’s the best rationale…
Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
Jan 15, 2018 • 47 min
On Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (1963). Are we still morally culpable if our entire society is corrupt? Arendt definitely thinks so, but has a number of criticisms of the handling of the 1961 trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf…
Episode 180: More James’s Psychology: Self and Will (Part Two)
Jan 7, 2018 • 76 min
Concluding on William James’s Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892). We briefly cover emotions and spend the bulk of our time on will. James’s introspective method allows us to distinguish reflex or coerced actions from voluntary, free-seeming ones,…
Episode 180: More James’s Psychology: Self and Will (Part One)
Jan 1, 2018 • 61 min
On Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892), chapters on “The Self,” “Will,” and “Emotions.” Continuing from , we talk about the “Me” (the part of me that I know) vs. the “I” (the part of me that knows), including personal identity. James thinks that…
Episode 179: William James’s Psychology (Part Two)
Dec 25, 2017 • 61 min
Continuing on Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892), completing “The Stream of Thought” and covering the chapter on “Habit.” James thinks that psychologists focus too much on those parts of consciousness that get picked out by substantive words. He…
Episode 179: William James’s Introspective Psychology (Part One)
Dec 17, 2017 • 55 min
On The Principles of Psychology (1890) chapters 1 & 7, and Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892), the chapters on “The Stream of Thought,” “Habit,” and some of “The Self.” Can we talk about the mind in a way that is both scientific and also does…
NEM#61: Richard X. Heyman Is Incognito (Yet a Cornerstone)
Dec 11, 2017 • 77 min
Richard garnered early fame as drummer for -60s New Jersey garage band The Doughboys and has put out 11 albums, largely as a one-man band, since 1988. We discuss the title tracks from Incognito (2017) and Cornerstone (1998) and “Agnostic’s…
Episode 178: Nietzsche as Social Critic: Twilight of the Idols (Part Two)
Dec 10, 2017 • 69 min
Continuing on Nietzsche’s 1888 book. Is there any ground from which we could judge life as a whole to be good or bad? Is N. more about saying “yes” to life or saying “no” to all the numerous things that piss him off? We also talk Becoming, whether…
Episode 178: Nietzsche as Social Critic: “Twilight of the Idols” (Part One)
Dec 3, 2017 • 55 min
On Friedrich Nieztsche’s 1888 book summarizing his thought and critiquing the founding myths of his society. He defends “spiritualized” instinct and frenzied creativity, but also Napoleon and war. We try to figure out what kind of social critic he’d…
Episode 177: Guest Russ Roberts on Adam Smith and Libertarian Economics (Part Two)
Nov 26, 2017 • 76 min
Continuing with the host on the moral aspects of economics, focused by Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations and Theory of Moral Sentiments. Should we sacrifice ourselves to the machine of the economy? How does Smith’s idea of virtue and talk of…
Episode 177: Guest Russ Roberts on Adam Smith and Libertarian Economics (Part One)
Nov 20, 2017 • 55 min
The host of provides his take on our on The Wealth of Nations, and explores with us the idea of emergent economic order. Is the economy more like a machine or a garden or what? Don’t wait for part two! Get the full, ad-free, unbroken now! Visit …
Episode 176: Situationism in Psych: Milgram & Stanford Prison Experiments (Part Two)
Nov 13, 2017 • 60 min
Continuing with Dave Pizarro on articles by Stanley Milgram, Philip Zimbardo, and John Doris about situationism, which entails that people’s level of morality will vary by situation, as opposed to virtue ethics, which posits that how people will act…
Episode 176: Situationism in Psych: Milgram & Stanford Prison Experiments (Very Bad Wizards Crossover) (Part One)
Nov 6, 2017 • 50 min
On Stanley Milgram’s “Behavioral Study of Obedience” (1963), Philip Zimbardo’s “Interpersonal Dynamics in a Simulated Prison” (1973), and John Doris’s “Persons, Situations, and Virtue Ethics” (1998). Do difficult situations make good people act…
TEASER-Episode 175: Blade Runner (Part Two)
Nov 5, 2017 • 2 min
Do you want the WHOLE discussion on the new Blade Runner 2049, the original 1982 film, and the idea packed (1967) by Philip K. Dick? If you do, show your love to the podcast by signing up to be a supporter at the $1-or-higher level at , or better yet…
Episode 175: Blade Runner: Androids and Humanity (Part One)
Oct 30, 2017 • 48 min
On Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1967) and the films Blade Runner 2049 (2017) and Blade Runner (1982). What makes us human? Dick’s story about androids emphasized their lack of empathy, while the movie adaptations portrayed…
Episode 174: Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” (Part Two)
Oct 22, 2017 • 67 min
Continuing on the foundational text of economics. We talk “invisible hand,” “greed is good,” tariffs, unproductive labor, city vs. country, and the education racket. Listen to first or get the ad-free . End song: “With My Looks and Your Brains” by…
Episode 174: Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” (Part One)
Oct 15, 2017 • 57 min
On the foundational, 1776 text of modern economics. How does the division of labor and our instinct to exchange lead to the growth of wealth? Is the economy sufficiently machine-like to enable us to manipulate its output, or at least to tell us how…
Episode 173: Relating to American Indian Philosophy (Part Two)
Oct 9, 2017 • 62 min
We go further into “Philosophy of Native Science” by Gregory Cajete and “What Coyote and Thales Can Teach Us: An Outline of American Indian Epistemology” by Brian Yazzie Burkhart, plus process philosophy, propositional vs. procedural knowledge, and…
Episode 173: Relating to American Indian Philosophy (Part One)
Oct 2, 2017 • 52 min
What is wisdom? We discuss articles by Brian Burkhart, Gregory Cajete, and Anne Waters, plus Black Elk Speaks by John Neihardt (1932) and some traditional stories. With guest Jim Marunich; we read his master’s thesis, “Process Metaphysics in the Far…
Episode 172: Mind, Self, and Affect with Guest Dr. Drew (Part Two)
Sep 25, 2017 • 59 min
Continuing with Drew Pinsky on “Attachment and Reflective Function: Their Role in Self-organization” by Peter Fonagy and two articles by Allan Schore. Fonagy claims we gain the ability to emotionally self-regulate as a result of achieving secure…
Episode 172: Mind, Self, and Affect with Guest Dr. Drew (Part One)
Sep 18, 2017 • 45 min
Radio legend Dr. Drew Pinsky talks with us about “Attachment and Reflective Function: Their Role in Self-Organization” by Peter Fonagy and two articles by Allan Schore. The focus is “theory of mind”; how do we develop the ability to impute…
Episode 171: Buddhism vs. Evolution with Guest Robert Wright (Part Two)
Sep 10, 2017 • 71 min
Continuing on Why Buddhism Is True. We discuss the “no self” doctrine as articulated in Buddha’s Second Discourse and the modularity-of-mind theory that Bob claims supports it. What are the ethical implications, and do we really need meditation to…
Episode 171: Buddhism vs. Evolution with Guest Robert Wright (Part One)
Sep 4, 2017 • 55 min
Bob joins the PEL four to discuss his new book Why Buddhism Is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment. Bob applies his expertise in evolutionary psychology to corroborate Buddhism’s claims that we are deluded: about our…
Episode 170 Second Opinions: Leftists on “Society of the Spectacle”
Aug 28, 2017 • 71 min
Mark and Seth ask Doug Lain (Zero Squared), Brett O’Shea (Revolutionary Left Radio), and C. Derick Varn (Symptomatic Redness) what they think of Debord and PEL’s treatment of the book on . End song: “” from Tyler Hislop, interviewed on .
Episode 170 Second Opinions: Leftists on “Society of the Spectacle” (Citizen Edition)
Aug 28, 2017 • 67 min
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Episode 170: Guy Debord’s “Society of the Spectacle” (Part Two)
Aug 21, 2017 • 73 min
More on the 1967 Situtationist book. Do we buy Debord’s critique? Is any merely partial critique (i.e. no revolution) just more spectacle? Is technology inherently dehumanizing? Don’t these passivity/anti-technology arguments even apply to books?…
Episode 170: Guy Debord’s “Society of the Spectacle” (Part One)
Aug 14, 2017 • 55 min
What is culture? In modern capitalism, Debord’s 1967 book describes it as all about the economy. It’s not just our jobs that keep us trapped, but our life outside of working hours is also demanded by “the system” via our activity as consumers,…
PEL Special: Combat & Classics on Rousseau’s “Discourse on the Arts and Sciences”
Aug 7, 2017 • 53 min
A new podcast for the PEL Podcast Network! Meet Jeff, Lise, and Brian, who are joined by Wes and Dylan to discuss Rousseau’s claim that the arts and sciences lead to “moral corruption.” Get more C&C or at . to attend a C&C online seminar on …
Episode 169: Analyzing Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” (Part One)
Jul 31, 2017 • 48 min
On the 1958 film and articles including Laura Mulvey’s “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (1975) and Robin Wood’s “Vertigo” (1965). What’s the nature of love/lust? Are we really just loving an image we’ve built while remaining fundamentally…
Episode 168: Darwin’s “Origin of Species” (Part Two)
Jul 24, 2017 • 66 min
More on Darwin’s famous book. Why does it matter for philosophy, beyond providing an alternative to intelligent design? Is it really anti-religious? How can well tell if it’s really a scientific theory? Talking about a species evolving…
Episode 168: Darwin’s “Origin of Species” (Part One)
Jul 17, 2017 • 49 min
On Charles Darwin’s 1859 book, ch. 1-4, 6, and 14. What are the philosophical ramifications of Darwin’s theory of evolution? We go through Darwin’s arguments, compare his views to other theories of evolution like Lamarck’s, and talk about…
Episode 167: Hume on Intelligent Design (Part Two)
Jul 10, 2017 • 66 min
Continuing on David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779), with guest Stephen West. We get further into what’s wrong with the design argument and why Hume thinks that it’s merely a verbal dispute whether we want to say…
Episode 167: Hume on Intelligent Design (Philosophize This! Crossover) (Part One)
Jul 3, 2017 • 47 min
On David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779). How would a scientifically minded person argue for the existence of God? In Hume’s dialogue, a character named Cleanthes argues from this point of view for God’s existence based on…
Episode 166: Spinoza on Politics and Religion (Part Two)
Jun 26, 2017 • 95 min
Concluding on the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670) and Tractatus Politicus (1677). What’s the relationship between ethics, reason, and revelation? What could “faith” possibly mean to a hard-core rationalist like Spinoza? Is it possible to buy…
Episode 166: Spinoza on Politics and Religion (Part One)
Jun 19, 2017 • 54 min
On Benedict de Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670), ch. 12-20 and the Tractatus Politicus (1677). What’s the relationship between ethics and political power? Given that religious factions tend to create strife, what’s the optimal…
Episode 165: Spinoza on Biblical Criticism (Part Two)
Jun 12, 2017 • 68 min
Continuing on the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670), ch. 1–11. We go more into natural laws vs. ordinances; does it make sense to say that God makes rules for people? Also, how does Spinoza deal with alleged miracles given that natural laws are…
Episode 165: Spinoza on Biblical Criticism (Part One)
Jun 5, 2017 • 66 min
On Benedict de Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670), ch. 1–11. - For Spinoza, the Bible was a political issue, and he was interested in a way to read it that didn’t lead to people fighting wars and persecuting each other.
Nakedly Examined Music: Steve Hackett, Nik Kershaw, Ken Stringfellow, Robbie Fulks
May 26, 2017 • 74 min
PEL Network crossover magic, featuring clips (a full song plus explanation) from four recent episodes of Mark’s other podcast. Hear the full episodes and many more at nakedlyexaminedmusic.com. Steve was the guitarist for Genesis in the 70s,
Episode 164: Dostoyevsky’s “The Idiot” on Perfection (Part Two)
May 22, 2017 • 84 min
More on the novel with guest Corey Mohler, considering Dostoyevsky qua existentialist in terms of his analysis of the crisis of meaning and his consequent views on religion. - Listen to part 1 first, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition.
Episode 164: Dostoyevsky’s “The Idiot” on Perfection (Part One)
May 15, 2017 • 59 min
On Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s philosophical novel from 1869. Could a morally perfect person survive in the modern world? Is all this “modernity,” which so efficiently computes our desires and provides mechanisms to fulfill them,
Episode 163: Guest Stewart Umphrey on Natural Kinds (Part Two)
May 8, 2017 • 73 min
Continuing our interview about Natural Kinds and Genesis: The Classification of Material Entities. Buy Stewart’s book at www.rowman.com and use the code LEX30AUTH17 to get 30% off.
Episode 163: Guest Stewart Umphrey on Natural Kinds (Part One)
May 1, 2017 • 56 min
On Natural Kinds and Genesis: The Classification of Material Entities (2016). Are general terms like “water” or “dog” just things that we made up to order the world? Aristotle thought that some universals constitute natural kinds,
PEL Special: Phi Fic on James Baldwin’s Fiction
Apr 24, 2017 • 103 min
On the short stories “This Morning, This Evening, So Soon” (1960) and “Sonny’s Blues” (1957). - Mark joins the Phi Fic crew (go subscribe at phificpodcast.com!) to supplement PEL ep. 162 by delving into Baldwin’s fiction,
Episode 162: James Baldwin on Race in America (Part Two)
Apr 17, 2017 • 58 min
Continuing on I Am Not Your Negro, “Notes of a Native Son” (1955), and The Fire Next Time (1963). - We (and Law Ware) discuss Baldwin’s critique of the American dream, how to oppose the inhumanity of others without becoming inhuman yourself,
Episode 162: James Baldwin on Race in America (Part One)
Apr 10, 2017 • 47 min
On the film I Am Not Your Negro and the essays “Notes of a Native Son” (1955) and The Fire Next Time (1963). With guest Law Ware. - Baldwin diagnoses our racism-related psycho-social maladies, but how can we best translate his observations into genera…
Episode 161: White Privilege (Peggy McIntosh, Charles Mills, et al) (Part Two)
Apr 3, 2017 • 81 min
Continuing with guest Law Ware on the philosophical underpinnings of the rhetoric of white privilege, with readings as listed in part 1.
Episode 161: White Privilege (Peggy McIntosh, Charles Mills, et al) (Part One)
Mar 27, 2017 • 56 min
Is the rhetoric of “White Privilege” just the modern way of acknowledging historical and systemic truths of racism, or does it point to a novel way for acknowledging injustice, or does it on the contrary obscure these insights by involving confused cla…
Episode 160: Orwell on Totalitarianism and Language (Part Two)
Mar 20, 2017 • 75 min
Continuing with 1984. How does the book relate to real-world politics? Is this something that we should actually be afraid our society will turn into? Was he predicting history, or was it satire, or what? We discuss the the realms of intimacy vs.
Episode 160: Orwell on Totalitarianism and Language (Part One)
Mar 13, 2017 • 55 min
On the novel 1984 (1949) and the essays “Politics and the English Language” (1946) and “Notes on Nationalism” (1945). - What’s the relation between language and totalitarianism? Orwell shows us a society where the rulers have mastered the art of r
Episode 159: Confucius on Virtuous Conduct (Part Two)
Mar 6, 2017 • 81 min
Continuing on the Analects without our guest. We cover passages on glibness, using names properly, filial conduct, remonstrance, love of learning, places where he sounds like Socrates, and more!
Episode 159: Confucius on Virtuous Conduct (Part One)
Feb 27, 2017 • 54 min
On the Analects, compiled after 479 BCE. - How should we act? What’s the relation between ethics and politics? Can a bunch of aphorisms written in the distant past for an unapologetically hierarchical culture emphasizing traditional rituals actually …
Episode 158: Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy (Part Two)
Feb 20, 2017 • 72 min
Continuing on the Consolation, chiefly books 3 and 4, on virtue ethics (we all naturally aim at the good but can be mistaken about it or too weak to follow it), theodicy (even the apparent bad is actually good from God’s perspective),
Episode 158: Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy (Part One)
Feb 13, 2017 • 57 min
On the Consolation, written as he awaited execution in 524 CE. - Do bad things really happen to good people? Boethius, surprisingly, says no, for Stoic (anything that can be taken away can’t be of central importance; you can’t lose your virtue in thi…
Episode 157: Richard Rorty on Politics for the Left (Part Two)
Feb 6, 2017 • 67 min
Continuing on Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in 20th Century America (1998). We talk more about Rorty’s description of the conflict between the “reformist left” and the “cultural left.” Do political-comedy shows serve a a positive political pur…
Episode 157: Richard Rorty on Politics for the Left (Part One)
Jan 30, 2017 • 57 min
On Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in 20th Century America (1998). What makes for efficacious progressivism? Rorty argues that reformism went out of fashion in the ’60s in favor of a “cultural left” that merely critiques and spectates,
Episode 156: Philosophy and Politics Free-Form Discussion (Part Two)
Jan 23, 2017 • 64 min
Continuing our liberal bubble-bursting exercise, the core foursome address more directly the question of how philosophy is supposed to shape one’s political views and actions. On a non-partisan “public good” and rhetorical strategies in the face of an …
Episode 156: Philosophy and Politics Free-Form Discussion (Part One)
Jan 16, 2017 • 57 min
How does studying philosophy help you to make sense of the political landscape? Wes, Mark, Dylan, and Seth play pundit and reflect on political rhetoric, elitism, and much more. There is no text for this episode! Freedom!
Episode 155: Richard Rorty Against Epistemology
Jan 2, 2017 • 112 min
On Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Part II: “Mirroring.” - Is a “theory of knowledge” possible? Rorty thinks that any such account will be a fruitless search for foundations. Knowledge is really just a matter of social agreement,
Episode 154: Wilfrid Sellars on the Myth of the Given
Dec 19, 2016 • 103 min
On “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind” (1956). Is knowledge based on a “foundation,” as Descartes, Locke, et al. thought? Sellars says no: The allegedly basic elements upon which knowledge would be built either have to be propositions, in which…
Episode 153: Richard Rorty: There Is No Mind-Body Problem
Dec 5, 2016 • 112 min
On Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Part I: “Our Glassy Essence.” - “The mind” seems to be an unavoidable part of our basic conceptual vocabulary, but Rorty thinks not, and he wants to use the history of philosophy as a kind of therapy to s…
Episode 152: Alexis de Tocqueville on Democracy in America (PEL Live!)
Nov 21, 2016 • 87 min
Democracy is in peril! So said Tocqueville in 1835 and 1840 when Democracy is America was published, and it’s still true now. Democracy is always just one demagogue away from stripping us of our liberties, though certain structural and cultural feature…
Episode 151: Edmund Burke’s Conservatism
Nov 7, 2016 • 116 min
On Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790). What relevance do the concerns of a monarchy-defending aristocrat have for us today? Surprisingly, a lot! The full foursome discuss possible conflicts between freedom, rights, and well-being.
PEL Special: Bill Bruford on Nakedly Examined Music #25
Nov 5, 2016 • 78 min
NEM now features jazz, hip-hop, classical, folk, and more. Check out all the episodes at nakedlyexaminedmusic.com, where you can subscribe and follow on Facebook. - Bill was the original drummer for Yes, a default member of King Crimson,
Episode 150: Guest Peter Singer on Famine, Affluence, and Morality
Oct 24, 2016 • 127 min
What do we owe the poor? Mark and Wes interview perhaps the world’s most influential living philosopher. We discuss his ongoing work rooted in his 1971 essay “Famine, Affluence, and Morality,” about the warped priorities of our consumerist society: We …
Episode 149: Plato’s “Crito”: A Performance and Discussion
Oct 17, 2016 • 80 min
Broadway stars Walter Bobbie and Bill Youmans perform Plato’s dialogue in which Socrates awaits his execution. Should Socrates defy the verdict and try to escape the city? Socrates says no; that would be ungrateful to the city whose benefits he’s enjoy…
Episode 148: Aristotle on Friendship and Happiness
Oct 3, 2016 • 120 min
On the final books 8–10 of Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics. What does friendship have to do with ethics? With guest Ana Sandoiu.
Episode 147: Aristotle on Wisdom and Incontinence
Sep 19, 2016 • 119 min
On the Nichomachean Ethics (ca. 350 BCE), books 6–7. Is intelligence just one thing? Aristotle picks out a number of distinct faculties, some of which are relevant to ethics, and he uses these to explain Plato’s puzzle of how someone can clearly see wh.
Episode 146: Emmanuel Levinas on Overcoming Solitude
Sep 5, 2016 • 139 min
More Levinas, working this time through Time and the Other (1948). - What is it for a person to exist? What individuates one person from another, making us into selves instead of just part of the causal net of events?
Episode 145: Emmanuel Levinas: Why Be Ethical?
Aug 22, 2016 • 122 min
On “Ethics as First Philosophy” (1984). More existentialist ethics, with a Jewish twist this time! Seth returns to join Mark and Wes in figuring out how to best leave off all this aggressive “knowing” and other forms of individual self-assertion to gra…
Episode 144: Guest Martha Nussbaum on Anger
Aug 1, 2016 • 144 min
On Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice (2016). What role should we allow anger to play in our public life? Should systems of punishment be utilitarian, or should they be retributive? Nussbaum thinks that anger necessarily involves th…
Phi Fic #3 Frankenstein (PEL Crossover Special)
Jul 25, 2016 • 116 min
Guest Wes Alwan joins regulars Nathan Hanks, Mary Claire, Daniel St. Pierre, Laura Davis, and Cezary Baraniecki to discuss Mary Shelley’s classic novel in this special cross-post from the newest member of the Partially Examined Life podcast network.
Episode 143: Plato’s “Sophist” on Lies, Categorization, and Non-Being
Jul 11, 2016 • 106 min
On the later Platonic dialogue. What is a sophist? These were guys in Ancient Greece who taught young people the tools of philosophy and rhetoric. They claimed to teach virtue. In Sophist, “the Eleatic Stranger” (i.e.,
Episode 142: Plato’s “Phaedrus” on Love and Speechmaking
Jun 27, 2016 • 129 min
Socrates hangs out in the country flirting with his buddy Phaedrus. And what is this “Platonic” love? Using the enticement of desire not to rush toward fulfillment, but to get you all excited about talking philosophy.
Episode 141: De Beauvoir’s Existentialism: Moral and Political Dilemmas
Jun 13, 2016 • 109 min
More on The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947), this time on part III. ep. 140 laid out man’s “ambiguity,” but what does that mean in terms of practical decision making? De B. talks about the practical paradoxes of dealing with oppression and what it might mea…
Episode 140: De Beauvoir on the Ambiguous Human Condition
May 30, 2016 • 128 min
On The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947), parts I and II. We return to existentialism! Instead of describing our predicament as “absurd,” de Beauvoir prefers “ambiguous”: We are a biological organism in the world,
Episode 139: bell hooks on Racism/Sexism
May 9, 2016 • 114 min
On Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism (1981) and Black Looks: Race and Representation (1992, Intro, Ch. 3, 11). - How do these pernicious forces interact? hooks describes black women as having been excluded from both mainstream historical femin…
Episode 138: Guest John Searle on Perception
Apr 25, 2016 • 113 min
We interview John about Seeing Things As They Are (2015). What is perception? Searle says that it’s not a matter of seeing a representation, which is then related to things in the real world. We see the actual objects, with no mediation.
Episode 137: Bourdieu on the Tastes of Social Classes
Apr 11, 2016 • 129 min
On Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste (1979), introduction, ch 1 through p. 63, conclusion, and postscript. - How do our tastes in music, art, and everything else reflect our social position?
Episode 136: Adorno on the Culture Industry
Mar 28, 2016 • 127 min
On Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer’s “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception” from Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), plus Adorno’s “Culture Industry Reconsidered” (1963). - How does the entertainment industry affect us?
Episode 135: Hegel on the Logic of Basic Metaphysical Concepts
Mar 14, 2016 • 119 min
A whole second discussion on G.F.W. Hegel’s Encylopedia Logic, hitting sections 78–99 on the dialectic and Understanding vs. Reason. Hegel thinks we can use Reason to objectively come up with basic metaphysical categories, but can we really?
Episode 134: Hegel on Thought & World (or “Logic”)
Feb 29, 2016 • 118 min
On G.F.W. Hegel’s The Science of Logic (1812–1816), §1–§129 and The Encyclopaedia Logic (1817) §1–§25. “Logic” for Hegel isn’t about symbolic logic; it’s about how thought interacts with the world. Our thoughts about fundamental metaphysical cat
PEL Special: Nakedly Examined Music #1 with David Lowery
Feb 17, 2016 • 76 min
Welcome to Nakedly Examined Music, our first spin-off of PEL. Hear more at nakedlyexaminedmusic.com or find it via iTunes. Mark interviews songwriters about why and how they do what they do. Think of it as applied philosophy. -
Episode 133: Erich Fromm on Love as an Art
Feb 8, 2016 • 112 min
On Fromm’s The Art of Loving (1956). What is love, really? This psychoanalyst of the Frankfurt school thinks that real love is not something one “falls” into, but is an art, an activity, and doing it well requires a disciplined openness and psychologic…
Episode 132: Living Stoically with Seneca and Massimo
Jan 25, 2016 • 123 min
On selected “moral epistles” (from around 65 CE) by Lucius Annaeus Seneca: 4. On the Terrors of Death, 12. On Old Age, 49. On the Shortness of Life, 59. On Pleasure and Joy, 62. On Good Company, 92. On the Happy Life, 96. On Facing Hardship, and 116.
Episode 131: Aristotle’s “De Anima”: What Is the Mind?
Jan 11, 2016 • 119 min
Our second discussion of De Anima or On the Soul (350 BCE), this time on book 3. - What is the intellect? In ep. 130, we talked about Aristotle’s idea of the soul as the form of the body, and now we get to it’s highest part/function, nous! -
Episode 130: Aristotle’s “De Anima”: What Is Life?
Dec 28, 2015 • 117 min
On De Anima or On the Soul (350 BCE), books 1 and 2, after some listener mail. What can this ancient text tell us about biological life? What counts as a scientific explanation? A. describes life as “the first actuality of a natural body which has org…
Holiday Special 2015: Mark Lint’s “Songs from the Partially Examined Life” with Many Guest Greetings
Dec 24, 2015 • 126 min
Mark is joined by numerous previous guests to catch up and engage the musical part of PEL’s past episodes by introducing and playing the entirety of Mark Lint’s “Songs from the Partially Examined Life,” which you can own,
Episode 129: Is Faith Rational?
Dec 14, 2015 • 133 min
Nathan Gilmour (Christian Humanist podcast) and Rob Dyer (God Complex Radio) join Mark and Wes for to discuss the reasonableness of religious belief reading Antony Flew’s “The Presumption of Atheism,” Norwood Russell Hanson’s “The Agnostic’s Dilemma,
Episode 128: Hilary Putnam on Linguistic Meaning
Nov 30, 2015 • 123 min
On “The Meaning of Meaning” (1975). If meaning is not a matter of having a description in your head, then what is it? Hilary Putnam reformulates Kripke’s insight (from #126) in terms of Twin Earths: Earthers with H20 and Twin Earthers with a substance …
Episode 127: John Dewey on Experience and the World
Nov 16, 2015 • 139 min
On Experience and Nature (1925), through ch. 4. What’s the relationship between our experience and the world that science investigates? Dewey thinks that these are one and the same, and philosophies that call some part of it (like atoms or Platonic for…
Episode 126: Saul Kripke on Possibilities, Language & Science
Nov 2, 2015 • 138 min
On Naming and Necessity (1980). What’s the relationship between language and the world? Specifically, what makes a name or a class term (like “tiger”) pick out the person or things that it does? Saul Kripke wanted to correct the dominant view of his ti…
Not School Digest: Asimov, Camus, Jaspers, Brecht, Peirce, Historical Jesus
Oct 24, 2015 • 87 min
On Isaac Asimov’s “The Last Question,” Albert Camus’s “The Fall,” Karl Jaspers’s “Truth and Symbol,” C.S. Peirce’s “The Fixation of Belief,” Bertold Brecht’s “Theatre for Pleasure or Theatre for Instruction,” and Thomas Sheehan’s Stanford lectures on…
Episode 125: Hannah Arendt on the Political & Private
Oct 12, 2015 • 120 min
On The Human Condition (1958), Prologue and Sections 1 and 2. How has our distinction between the private and public evolved over time? Arendt uses this history, and chiefly the differences between our time and ancient Athens,
Q&A with the Partially Examined Life, Pittsburgh 9-25-15
Oct 5, 2015
What is it like to do philosophy in public? As prelude to our ep. 125 appearance at the Pittsburgh Continental Philosophy Network Conference on theory and public space, Mark, Seth, Wes, and Dylan sat down for questions by moderator Erica Freeman,
Episode 124: The Stoic Life with Epictetus
Sep 21, 2015 • 128 min
On the Manual of Epictetus, aka The Enchiridion (135 CE). What’s a wise strategy for life? Stoicism says that the secret is mastering yourself. If you let yourself be perturbed by things that happen to you,
Episode 123: Economics with Hayek and Sen (Intro by Seth Benzell)
Sep 7, 2015 • 135 min
On F.A. Hayek’s “The Use of Knowledge in Society” (1945) and Amartya Sen’s On Ethics and Economics (1987). Is economics a pseudoscience? Are its assumptions by necessity too over-simplifying? Hayek objects to the idea of planning an economy,
Ep 121/122 Aftershow on Augustine feat. James Wetzel
Sep 6, 2015 • 97 min
Haven’t had enough Augustine? Danny Lobell and Wes Alwan welcome Augustine scholar James Wetzel and PEL Citizens Terra Leigh Bell, Amogh Sahu, and Scott Anderson to discuss our Augustine episodes, covering humility, love, desire, grief, sex, misogyny,
Episode 122: Augustine on Mind and Metaphysics
Aug 24, 2015 • 134 min
Yet more on The Confessions, now on books 10–13. - What is memory and how does it relate to time and being? Augustine thinks that memory is a storehouse, but it contains not just the sensations we put in it,
Precognition of Ep. 123: Economics (F.A. Hayek and Amartya Sen)
Aug 19, 2015 • 12 min
Guest Seth Benzell outlines Hayek’s “The Use of Knowledge in Society” (1945) and Sen’s On Ethics and Economics (1987).
Episode 121: Augustine on Being Good
Aug 10, 2015 • 125 min
On The Confessions (400 CE), books 1–9. The question is not “What is virtue?” because knowing what virtue is isn’t enough. The problem, for Aurelius Augustinus, aka St. Augustine of Hippo, is doing what you know to be right. -
Ep. 119 Aftershow (Preview) on Nietzsche feat. Greg Sadler
Aug 7, 2015 • 17 min
Seth Paskin and Danny Lobell were joined by Dr. Gregory B. Sadler, David Buchanan, Erik Weissengruber, Tom Kirdas, Ken Presting, and Bill Coe. Recorded July 26, 2015. This is the first 15 minutes of a two-hour conversation,
Episode 120: A History of “Will” with Guest Eva Brann
Jul 27, 2015 • 100 min
We discuss Un-Willing: An Inquiry into the Rise of Will’s Power and an Attempt to Undo It (2014) with the author, covering Socrates, Augustine, Aquinas, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Sartre, compatibilism, the neurologists’ critque of free will, and more.
Ep. 118 Aftershow (Preview) on Songwriting feat. ex-Camper Chris Molla
Jul 24, 2015 • 18 min
A highlight from our musician-packed breakdown of our songwriting episode. Featuring a third (ex-) member of Camper Van Beethoven, plus Chase Fiorenza, Mike Wilson, Maxx Bartko, Danny Lobell, Mark Linsenmayer,
Episode 119: Nietzsche on Tragedy and the Psychology of Art
Jul 6, 2015 • 166 min
On Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy (1872). Nietzsche thought that you could tell how vital or decadent a civilization was by its art, and said that ancient Greek tragedy was so great because it was a perfect synthesis of something highly for…
Ep. 117 Aftershow (Preview) on Antigone with Danny Lobell
Jul 5, 2015 • 17 min
Listen to or watch the Aftershow for Episode 117 on Antigone, with Danny Lobell, Wes Alwan, and a bunch of PEL listeners like you. Also, learn about our new Citizen feed: get the full Aftershow delivered right to your smartphone!
Episode 118: The Musical Life with Guests from Camper van Beethoven
Jun 29, 2015 • 115 min
Victor Krummenacher and Jonathan Segel join Mark and Wes to discuss songwriting and authenticity in the age of Internet consumerism. - Join us for the Aftershow on Sunday 7/12 at 3pm Eastern time.
Episode 117: Discussing Sophocles’s “Antigone”
Jun 15, 2015 • 117 min
Philosophically considering the ancient Greek tragedy, which we also performed with Lucy Lawless and Paul Provenza.
“Antigone” Read by PEL with Lucy Lawless and Paul Provenza
Jun 8, 2015 • 85 min
An unrehearsed, fun read-through of the Greek Tragedy from 441 BCE, plus some discussion with the cast of Greek drama, our selected translation, and other stuff. Enjoy! - Read more about the topic. - PEL Citizens can get an ad-free,
Episode 116: Freud on Dreams
May 25, 2015 • 145 min
On Sigmund Freud’s On Dreams (1902) and other stuff. Are dreams just random, or our best key to understanding the mind? - Sponsors: St. John’s College Graduate Institute (partiallyexaminedlife.com/sjcgi), Squarespace.com (enter code PEL)
Episode 115: Schopenhauer on Music with Guest Jonathan Segel
May 11, 2015 • 135 min
The Camper Van Beethoven violinist/composer/multi-instrumentalist joins us to discuss The World as Will and Representation, book 3 selections.
Episode 114: Schopenhauer: “The World Is Will”
Apr 27, 2015 • 130 min
On The World As Will and Representation (1818), book 2. The world is a blind, striving force!
Episode 113: Jesus’s Parables
Apr 6, 2015 • 144 min
Interpreting the Parables using texts from Paul Ricoeur, John Dominic Crossan, Paul Tillich, et al, with guest Law Ware.
Episode 112: Ricoeur on Interpreting Religion
Mar 16, 2015 • 129 min
On Paul Ricoeur’s “The Critique of Religion” and “The Language of Faith” (1973), with guest Law Ware. How can we apply hermeneutics to the Bible?
Episode 111: Gadamer’s Hermeneutics: How to Interpret
Mar 2, 2015 • 141 min
On Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Truth and Method (1960, ch. 4), “Aesthetics and Hermeneutics” (1964), “The Universality of the Hermeneutical Problem” (1966), and “Hermeneutics as Practical Philosophy” (1972).
Close Reading (Preview) of Heidegger on Truth
Feb 23, 2015 • 16 min
Mark and Seth go line-by-line through the first half of “On the Essence of Truth” to help you understand Heidegger’s language. This is a 17-min preview of a 2 hr, 37-min bonus recording. Citizens, log in and listen now.
Ep. 110 Aftershow (Preview) with Stephen West
Feb 22, 2015 • 19 min
Stephen West returns: Citizens should log in and listen to the Aftershow on Whitehead featuring Dylan Casey and David Buchanan. Everyone can listen to the first chunk of the discussion now.
Close Reading (Preview) of Kant on the Sublime
Feb 16, 2015 • 13 min
Mark and Wes go line-by-line through a chunk of the Critique of Judgment to help you feel confident decoding Kant and other difficult texts. This is a 13-min preview of a 72-min bonus recording. Citizens, log in and listen now.
Episode 110: Alfred North Whitehead: What Is Nature?
Feb 2, 2015 • 137 min
On The Concept of Nature (1920). Nature, i.e. the object of our experience, is events, not things, ya dig?
Precognition of Ep. 110: Whitehead
Feb 1, 2015 • 13 min
Mark Linsenmayer outlines Alfred North Whitehead’s book The Concept of Nature (1920)
Ep. 109 Aftershow (Preview) with Stephen West
Jan 31, 2015 • 20 min
The first chunk of our new after-the-episode discussion, featuring Stephen West from Philosophize This! and Mark Linsenmayer. This is a 20-min preview of a 72-min discussion that can be found in full on our Free Stuff for Citizens page.
Episode 109: Jaspers’s Existentialism with Guest Paul Provenza
Jan 19, 2015 • 121 min
On Karl Jaspers’s “On My Philosophy” (1941), featuring comedian/actor/director/author Paul Provenza
Precognition of Ep. 109: Karl Jaspers
Jan 18, 2015 • 10 min
Mark Linsenmayer introduces Karl Jaspers’s existentialist tract, “On My Philosophy.” (1941)
Episode 108: Dangers of A.I. with Guest Nick Bostrom
Jan 6, 2015 • 102 min
On Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, and Strategies (2014) with the author. What can we predict about, and how can we control in advance, the motivations of the entity likely to result from eventual advances in machine learning?
Episode 107: Edmund Burke on the Sublime
Dec 19, 2014 • 135 min
On A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, where young Burke lays out our knee-jerk aesthetic reactions, including those to scary things at a safe distance. With guest Amir Zaki.
Not Ep. 107: The 12 Interminable Days of Xmas: A Musical Extravaganza
Dec 19, 2014 • 88 min
Mark Lint and the PEL Orchestra present the longest, slowest, biggest, fattest, most surreal Christmas carol ever.
Episode 106: Pyrrhonian Skepticism According to Sextus Empiricus
Dec 4, 2014 • 116 min
On “Outlines of Pyrrhonism” from 200 C.E. Can you live while suspending judgment about all non-everyday matters? WIth guest Jessica Berry.
Episode 105: Kant: What Is Beauty?
Nov 15, 2014 • 120 min
On Critique of Judgment (1790), Part I, Book I. What is beauty? Disinterested pleasure!
Episode 104: Robert Nozick’s Libertarianism
Oct 27, 2014 • 122 min
On Anarchy, State & Utopia (1974), ch. 1-3 and 7. What are the moral limits on government power? No redistributive taxation, suckah! With guest Stephen Metcalf.
Precognition of Ep. 104: Robert Nozick
Oct 26, 2014 • 11 min
Seth Paskin introduces Anarchy, State, and Utopia about libertarianism and the limits of legitimate government power.
Episode 103: Thoreau on Living Deliberately
Oct 14, 2014 • 17 min
On Henry David Thoreau’s Walden (1854). Should all true philosophers go live in the woods and seek Truth in nature? Probably YOU should.
Episode 102: Emerson on Wisdom and Individuality
Sep 19, 2014 • 126 min
On Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “The American Scholar” lecture (1837) and his essays “Self-Reliance” and “Circles” (1841). Be yourself! Don’t conform! Realize your oneness with the universe!
Episode 101: Maimonides on God
Sep 1, 2014 • 101 min
On Guide for the Perplexed about God’s lack of properties, featuring guest comedian Danny Lobell of the Modern Day Philosophers podcast.
Episode 100: Plato’s Symposium Live Celebration!
Aug 15, 2014 • 148 min
Our big live episode (also on video) about love, sex, self-improvement, and ancient Greek pederasty! Featuring a set by Mark Lint, plus Philosophy Bro on Plato’s “Apology.”
Episode 99: Looking Back on 100 Discussions and 5+ Years
Aug 11, 2014 • 109 min
What have we learned? How has our take on the PEL project changed? On the eve before our big ep. 100 live show, we sat down to reflect on what we’ve been doing here. With guest Daniel Horne.
Episode 98: Guest Michael Sandel Against Market Society
Jul 26, 2014 • 88 min
Interviewing him on his book “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets” and continuing the discussion of his first book, “Liberalism and the Limits of Justice.”
Episode 97: Michael Sandel on Social Justice and the Self
Jul 19, 2014 • 105 min
On “Liberalism and the Limits of Justice” (1982) where Sandel critiques Rawls’s version of liberalism as based on a bogus picture of us as purely choosing beings.
Episode 96: Oppenheimer and the Rhetoric of Science Advisers
Jul 1, 2014 • 125 min
Discussing Lynda Walsh’s book “Scientists as Prophets: A Rhetorical Genealogy” (2013) with the author, focusing on Robert J. Oppenheimer.
Precognition of Ep. 96: Oppenheimer’s Rhetoric
Jun 28, 2014 • 12 min
Guest Lynda Walsh describes her book Scientists as Prophets: A Rhetorical Genealogy, focusing on J. Robert Oppenheimer’s conflicted position after WWII as science advisor and anti-nuke spokesman.
Episode 95: Gödel on Math
Jun 16, 2014 • 110 min
On two unpublished essays considering the implications of Godel’s incompleteness theorems and asserting mathematical realism. With guest Adi Habbu.
Precognition of Ep. 95: Gödel
Jun 15, 2014 • 9 min
Guest Adi Habbu lays out Kurt Gödel’s famous incompleteness theorems and describes some highlights from “Some Basic Theorems on the Foundations of Mathematics and their Implications” (1951) and “The Modern Development of the Foundations of Mathematics ..
Episode 94: Schopenhauer on Reading, Writing, and Thinking
May 23, 2014 • 99 min
On Arthur Schopenhauer’s essays, “On Authorship and Style,” “On Thinking for Oneself,” and “On Genius” (all published 1851).
Episode 93: Freedom and Responsibility (Strawson vs. Strawson)
May 3, 2014 • 96 min
On P.F. Strawson’s “Freedom and Resentment” (1960), Galen Strawson’s “The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility” (1994), and Gary Watson’s “Responsibility and the Limits of Evil: Variations on a Strawsonian Theme” (1987). With guest Tamler Sommers.
Precognition of Ep. 93: Free Will (via Strawsons)
Apr 29, 2014 • 14 min
Guest Tamler Sommers (from the Very Bad Wizards podcast) summarizes Galen Strawson’s “The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility” (1994) and his father P.F. Strawson’s “Freedom and Resentment” (1960).
Episode 92: Henri Bergson on How to Do Metaphysics
Apr 11, 2014 • 98 min
On Bergson’s “An Introduction to Metaphysics” (1903). With guest Matt Teichman.
Precognition of Ep. 92: Henri Bergson
Mar 30, 2014 • 15 min
Guest Matt Teichman introduces Bergson’s essay “An Introduction to Metaphysics.”
Episode 91: Transhumanism (Plus More on Brin)
Mar 29, 2014 • 92 min
More on David Brin’s novel Existence, plus Nick Bostrom’s essay “Why I Want to Be a Posthuman When I Grow Up” (2006). With guest Brian Casey.
Episode 90: Sci-Fi and Philosophy with Guest David Brin
Mar 26, 2014 • 95 min
Discussing David Brin’s novel Existence (2012) with the author. Also with guest Brian Casey.
Precognition of Ep. 90: Sci-Fi and Philosophy with David Brin
Mar 24, 2014 • 7 min
Introductory salvo by Mark Linsenmayer before our interview with author David Brin.
Episode 89: Berkeley: Only Ideas Exist!
Mar 12, 2014 • 93 min
On Bishop George Berkeley’s Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous (1713).
Precognition of Ep. 89: Berkeley’s Idealism
Mar 11, 2014 • 30 min
Wes Alwan introduces George Berkeley’s Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous.
Partially Examined Life Not School Digest #4: Sartre, Heidegger, Zizek, Marx, and Theater
Feb 28, 2014 • 69 min
Excerpts from discussions on Sartre’s Nausea, Heidegger’s “The Question Concerning Technology,” Slavoj Zizek’s Year of Dreaming Dangerously, Marx and Engels’s “Communist Manifesto,” Peter Schaffer’s play…
Episode 88: G.E.M. Anscombe: Should We Use Moral Language?
Feb 18, 2014 • 107 min
On Elizabeth Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy” (1958), Intention sections 22-27 (1957), and “War and Murder” (1961). With guest Philosophy Bro.
Precognition of Ep. 88: G.E.M. Anscombe
Jan 18, 2014 • 10 min
Guest Philosophy Bro introduces Elizabeth Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy,” and Intention sections 22-27.
Sartre’s “No Exit” Read with Lucy Lawless & Jaime Murray
Jan 2, 2014 • 87 min
In support of our ep. #87 discussing Sartre, the PEL Players present our 2nd annual dramatic reading of a work of philosophical theater.
Episode 87: Sartre on Freedom and Self-Deception
Jan 1, 2014 • 116 min
On Jean-Paul Sartre’s “Existentialism is a Humanism” (1946), “Bad Faith” (pt. 1, ch. 2 of Being & Nothingness, 1943), and his play No Exit (1944).
Precognition of Ep. 87: Sartre
Dec 30, 2013 • 8 min
Mark Linsenmayer lays out some themes from Jean-Paul Sartre’s “Existentialism is a Humanism” and the “Bad Faith” chapter (Part 1, Ch. 2) of Being & Nothingness.
Episode 86: Thomas Kuhn on Scientific Progress
Dec 24, 2013 • 88 min
On The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, published mostly in 1962.
Precognition of Ep. 86: Thomas Kuhn
Dec 23, 2013 • 5 min
Dylan Casey lays out Thomas Kuhn’s thesis in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
Episode 85: Rawls on Social Justice
Dec 7, 2013 • 106 min
On John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice (1971), most of ch. 1-4.
Precognition of Ep. 85: John Rawls
Dec 6, 2013 • 10 min
Seth Paskin summarizes the John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice.
PREVIEW-Episode 84: Nietzsche’s “Gay Science”
Nov 11, 2013 • 32 min
On Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Gay Science (1882, with book 5 added 1887).
Episode 83 Follow-Up: Q&A with Frithjof Bergmann
Nov 1, 2013 • 57 min
In light of our ep. 83, many listeners had questions on Frithjof’s social/political/economic proposals for creating a post-job, pro-meaningful-work world.
Episode 83: New Work with Guest Frithjof Bergmann
Oct 10, 2013 • 90 min
alking with Frithjof Bergmann, Prof. Emeritus from U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor about his book New Work, New Culture (2004, English release coming soon).
Precognition of Ep. 83: New Work
Oct 10, 2013 • 13 min
An introduction to and summary of Frithjof Bergmann’s New Work, New Culture, read by Mark Linsenmayer.
PREVIEW-Episode 82: Karl Popper on Science
Sep 24, 2013 • 30 min
On Popper’s Conjectures and Refutations (1963), the first three essays. What is science, and how is it different than pseudo-science? From philosophy? Is philosophy just pseudo-science, or proto-science, or what? Popper thinks that all legitimate…
Precognition of Ep. 82: Popper
Sep 23, 2013 • 13 min
A summary of the first three essays in Karl Popper’s collection Conjectures and Refutations, read by Dylan Casey.
PREVIEW-Episode 81: Jung on the Psyche and Dreams
Aug 29, 2013 • 31 min
On Carl Jung’s “Approaching the Unconscious” from Man and His Symbols, written in 1961. What’s the structure of the mind? Jung followed Freud in positing an unconscious distinct from the conscious ego, but Jung’s picture has the unconscious much more…
Precognition of Ep. 81: Jung
Aug 28, 2013 • 13 min
An introduction to Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols, read by Wes Alwan.
Partially Examined Life Not School Digest #3: Work, Blood Meridian, Mind, and Heidegger
Aug 22, 2013 • 44 min
Excerpts of discussions about Frithjof Bergmann’s New Work, New Culture, Cormac McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian, Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to…
PREVIEW-Episode 80: Heidegger on our Existential Situation
Aug 8, 2013 • 30 min
On Martin Heidegger’s “Letter on Humanism” (1949).
Precognition of Ep. 80: Heidegger
Aug 7, 2013 • 13 min
A short summary of Heidegger’s “Essay on Humanism,” read by Seth Paskin.
PREVIEW-PEL Ep 79: Heraclitus on Understanding the World
Jul 15, 2013 • 29 min
Eva Brann discusses her book The Logos of Heraclitus (2011). What is the world like, and how can we understand it? Heraclitus thinks that the answer to both questions is found in “the logos.”
Episode 79: Heraclitus on Understanding the World
Jul 15, 2013 • 101 min
Eva Brann discusses her book The Logos of Heraclitus (2011).
PREVIEW-Episode 78: Ayn Rand on Living Rationally
Jul 1, 2013 • 30 min
On Rand’s Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (1967) and “The Objectivist Ethics” (1961). First Rand grounds everyday human knowledge, largely by dismissing the concerns of other philosophers (even those whom she unknowingly parrots) as absurd….
PREVIEW-Episode 77: Santayana on the Appreciation of Beauty
Jun 9, 2013 • 29 min
On George Santayana’s The Sense of Beauty (1896). What are we saying when we call something “beautiful?” Are we pointing out an objective quality that other people (anyone?) can ferret out, or just essentially saying “yay!” without any logic…
PREVIEW-Episode 76: Deleuze on What Philosophy Is
May 14, 2013 • 32 min
On Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s What Is Philosophy? (1991). With guest Daniel Coffeen.
PREVIEW-Episode 75: Lacan & Derrida Criticize Poe’s “The Purloined Letter”
Apr 19, 2013 • 32 min
On Jacques Lacan’s “Seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter’” (1956), Jacques Derrida’s “The Purveyor of Truth” (1975), and other essays in the collection The Purloined Poe: Lacan, Derrida, and Psychoanalytic Reading. -
PREVIEW-Episode 74: Jacques Lacan’s Psychology
Apr 3, 2013 • 28 min
On Bruce Fink’s The Lacanian Subject (1996) and Lacan’s “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience” (1949).
PREVIEW-Episode 73: Why Do Philosophy? (And What Is It?)
Mar 22, 2013 • 31 min
Mark, Seth, Wes, and Dylan share what drove them into philosophy and keeps them there. How is philosophy different than (or similar to) science? Than religion? Art?
PREVIEW-Episode 72: Terrorism with Jonathan R. White
Mar 9, 2013 • 32 min
We’re joined by an international terrorism expert to discuss how to define terrorism and whether it can ever be ethical.
PREVIEW-Episode 71: Martin Buber’s “I and Thou”
Feb 15, 2013 • 32 min
On Buber’s 1923 book I and Thou. With guest Daniel Horne.
PREVIEW-Episode 70: Marx on the Human Condition
Jan 30, 2013 • 30 min
On Karl Marx’s The German Ideology, Part I, an early, unpublished work from 1846. - Sponsored by Zero Books; please visit zero-books.net.
Partially Examined Life Not School Digest Jan 2013
Jan 23, 2013 • 50 min
Excerpts of discussions about Deleuze & Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, an article on emergence called “More Is Different” by Nobel Prize Winning physicist P.W. Anderson, John Searle’s Mind:…
PREVIEW-Episode 69: Plato on Rhetoric vs. Philosophy
Jan 12, 2013 • 32 min
On Plato’s Dialogue, “Gorgias” (380 BCE or so).
Not Episode 69: PEL Players Full Cast Audiobook of Plato’s “Gorgias” (part 1)
Jan 12, 2013 • 83 min
Three podcasters and two listeners join to read Plato’s fabulous dialogue.
PREVIEW-Episode 68: David Chalmers Interview on the Scrutability of the World
Dec 21, 2012 • 30 min
On David Chalmers’s book Constructing the World (2012).
Not School Digest Nov-Dec 2012: A Bonus Quasisode
Dec 16, 2012 • 30 min
Excerpts of discussions about David Chalmers’s The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory, Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos, and Paul Auster’s City of Glass.
PREVIEW-Episode 67: Carnap on Logic and Science
Dec 7, 2012 • 31 min
On Rudolph Carnap’s The Logical Structure of the World (1928). WIth guest Matt Teichman.
PREVIEW-Episode 66: Quine on Linguistic Meaning and Science
Nov 21, 2012 • 30 min
On W.V.O. Quine’s “On What There Is” (1948) and “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” (1951). WIth guest Matt Teichman.
Celebrating Two Million Downloads: A Highlights Minisode
Nov 8, 2012 • 7 min
Our highlight reel in thanks to all you listeners who have brought us to the milestone of approximately two million downloads.
PREVIEW-Episode 65: The Federalist Papers
Oct 27, 2012 • 31 min
On Alexander Hamilton/James Madison’s Federalist Papers (1, 10-12, 14-17, 39, 47-51), plus Letters III and IV from Brutus, an Anti-Federalist.
PREVIEW-Episode 64: Celebrity, with guest Lucy Lawless
Oct 7, 2012 • 35 min
On Fame: What the Classics Tell Us About Our Cult of Celebrity by Tom Payne (2010).
PREVIEW-Episode 63: Existentialist Heroes in Cormac McCarthy’s “No Country for Old Men”
Sep 21, 2012 • 31 min
On philosophical issues in McCarthy’s 2005 novel about guys running around with drug money and shooting each other, and about fiction as a form for exploring philosophical ideas. With guest Eric Petrie.
PREVIEW-Episode 62: Voltaire’s Novel “Candide”
Sep 5, 2012 • 35 min
On Candide: or, Optimism, the novel by Voltaire (1759).
PREVIEW-Episode 61: Nietzsche on Truth and Skepticism
Aug 15, 2012 • 31 min
On Friedrich Nietzsche’s “On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense” (1873). WIth guest Jessica Berry.
PREVIEW-Episode 60: Aristotle: What’s the Best Form of Government?
Jul 23, 2012 • 32 min
On Aristotle’s Politics (350 BCE), books 1 (ch 1-2), 3, 4 (ch 1-3), 5 (ch 1-2), 6 (ch 1-6), and 7 (ch. 1-3, 13-15).
PREVIEW-Episode 59: Alasdair MacIntyre on Moral Justifications
Jul 5, 2012 • 30 min
On Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (1981), mostly ch. 3-7 and 14-17.
PREVIEW-Episode 58: What Grounds Ethical Claims? (Moore, Stevenson, MacIntyre)
Jun 20, 2012 • 31 min
On G.E. Moore’s Principia Ethica, ch. 1 (1903); Charles Leslie Stevenson’s “The Emotive Meaning of Ethical Terms” (1937), and Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, ch. 1-2.
PREVIEW-Episode 57: Henri Bergson on Humor
May 31, 2012 • 31 min
On Bergson’s Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic (1900). With guest Jennifer Dziura.
PREVIEW-Episode 56: More Wittgenstein on Language
May 15, 2012 • 31 min
Continuing discussion of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, Part I, sections 1-33 and 191-360. With guest Philosophy Bro.
PREVIEW-Episode 55: Wittgenstein on Language
May 2, 2012 • 32 min
On Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, Part I, sections 1-33 and 191-360 (written around 1946). With guest Philosophy Bro.
PREVIEW-Episode 54: More Buddhism and Naturalism
Apr 6, 2012 • 33 min
Continuing our discussion of Owen Flanagan’s The Bodhisattva’s Brain: Buddhism Naturalized (2011).
PREVIEW-Episode 53: Buddhism and Naturalism with Guest Owen Flanagan
Mar 26, 2012 • 34 min
Discussing The Bodhisattva’s Brain: Buddhism Naturalized (2011) with Owen Flanagan. What philosophical insights can we modern folks with our science and naturalism (i.e. inclination against super-natural explanations) glean from Buddhisim?
PREVIEW-Episode 52: Philosophy and Race (DuBois, Martin Luther King, Cornel West)
Mar 17, 2012 • 32 min
On W.E.B. DuBois’s “Of Our Spiritual Strivings” (1903), Cornel West’s “A Genealogy of Modern Racism” (1982), and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (1963) and “The Black Power Defined” (1967),
PREVIEW-Episode 51: Semiotics and Structuralism (Saussure, et al)
Feb 24, 2012 • 26 min
On Ferdinand de Saussure’s Course in General Linguistics (1916) (Part I and Part II, Ch. 4), Claude Levi-Strauss’s “The Structural Study of Myth” (1955), and Jacques Derrida’s “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences” (1966).
PREVIEW-Episode 50: Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”
Feb 3, 2012 • 31 min
On Robert M. Pirsig’s philosophical, autobiographical novel from 1974. With guest David Buchanan.
PREVIEW-Episode 49: Foucault on Power and Punishment
Jan 11, 2012 • 32 min
Discussing Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish (1975), parts 1, 2 and section 3 of part 3. With guest Katie McIntyre.
PREVIEW-Episode 48: Merleau-Ponty on Perception and Knowledge
Dec 17, 2011 • 33 min
Discussing Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s “Primacy of Perception” (1946) and The World of Perception (1948).
PREVIEW-Episode 47: Sartre on Consciousness and the Self
Nov 30, 2011 • 30 min
Discussing Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Transcendence of the Ego (written in 1934).
PREVIEW-Episode 46: Plato on Ethics & Religion
Nov 16, 2011 • 29 min
Discussing Plato’s “Euthyphro.” With guest Matt Evans.
PREVIEW-Episode 45: Moral Sense Theory: Hume and Smith
Oct 29, 2011 • 32 min
Discussing parts of David Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature (1740) and Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). With guest Getty Lustila.
PREVIEW-Episode 44: New Atheist Critiques of Religion
Oct 11, 2011 • 32 min
Discussing selections from Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel C. Dennett.
PREVIEW-Episode 43: Arguments for the Existence of God
Sep 15, 2011 • 32 min
Discussing the arguments by Descartes, St. Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, William Paley, Kant, and others, as analyzed in J.L. Mackie’s The Miracle of Theism: Arguments For and Against the Existence of God (1983), chapters 1-3, 5-6, 8, and 11.
PREVIEW-Episode 42: Feminists on Human Nature and Moral Psychology
Sep 5, 2011 • 30 min
Discussing Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s utopian novel Herland (1915) and psychologist Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice (1983). With guest Azzurra Crispino.
PREVIEW-Episode 41: Pat Churchland on the Neurobiology of Morality (Plus Hume’s Ethics)
Jul 18, 2011 • 33 min
Patricia Churchland on her new book Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality. We also discussed David Hume’s ethics as foundational to her work, reading his Treatise on Human Nature (1739), Book III,
PREVIEW-Episode 40: Plato’s Republic: What Is Justice?
Jul 11, 2011 • 31 min
Discussing The Republic by Plato, primarily books 1 and 2.
PREVIEW-Episode 39: Schleiermacher Defends Religion
Jun 10, 2011 • 33 min
Discussing Friedrich Schleiermacher’s “On Religion; Speeches to its Cultured Despisers” (1799, with notes added 1821), first and second speeches. With guest Daniel Horne.
PREVIEW-Episode 38: Bertrand Russell on Math and Logic
May 25, 2011 • 33 min
Discussing Russell’s Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (1919), ch. 1-3 and 13-18. With guest Josh Pelton.
PREVIEW-Episode 37: Locke on Political Power
May 6, 2011 • 30 min
Discussing John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government (1690). With guest Sabrina Weiss.
PREVIEW-Episode 36: More Hegel on Self-Consciousness
Apr 11, 2011 • 32 min
Part 2 of our discussion of G.F.W. Hegel’s “Phenomenology of Spirit,” covering sections 178-230 within section B, “Self-Consciousness.”
PREVIEW-Episode 35: Hegel on Self-Consciousness
Apr 2, 2011 • 29 min
On G.F.W. Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), Part B (aka Ch. 4), “Self-Consciousness,” plus recapping the three chapters before that (Part A. “Consciousness”). With guest Tom McDonald.
PREVIEW-Episode 34: Frege on the Logic of Language
Mar 13, 2011 • 33 min
On Gottlob Frege’s “Sense and Reference,” “Concept and Object” (both from 1892) and “The Thought” (1918). With guest Matt Teichman.
PREVIEW-Episode 33: Montaigne: What Is the Purpose of Philosophy?
Feb 18, 2011 • 32 min
Discussing Michel de Montaigne’s Essays: “That to Philosophize is to Learn to Die,” “Of Experience,” “Of Cannibals,” “Of the Education of Children,” and “Of Solitude” (all from around 1580) with some discussion of “Apology for Raymond Sebond.”
PREVIEW-Episode 32: Heidegger: What is “Being?”
Feb 7, 2011 • 32 min
Discussing Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time (1927), mostly the intro and ch. 1 and 2 of Part 1.
PREVIEW-Episode 31: Husserl’s Phenomenology
Jan 10, 2011 • 31 min
Discussing Edmund Husserl’s Cartesian Meditations (1931).
PREVIEW-Episode 30: Schopenhauer on Explanations and Knowledge
Dec 19, 2010 • 32 min
Discussing Arthur Schopenhauer’s On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, published in 1847 (as an expansion of his doctoral thesis from 1813).
PREVIEW-Episode 29: Kierkegaard on the Self
Nov 21, 2010 • 31 min
On Soren Kierkegaard’s “The Sickness Unto Death” (1849). With guest Daniel Horne.
PREVIEW-Episode 28: Nelson Goodman on Art as Epistemology
Nov 1, 2010 • 31 min
Discussing Goodman’s Ways of Worldmaking (1978). With guest painter Jay Bailey.
PREVIEW-Episode 27: Nagarjuna on Buddhist “Emptiness”
Oct 10, 2010 • 31 min
Primarily discussing “Reasoning: The Sixty Stanzas” and “Emptiness: The Seventy Stanzas,” by the 2nd century Indian Buddhist Nagarjuna. With guest Erik Douglas.
PREVIEW-Episode 26: Freud on the Human Condition
Sep 25, 2010 • 32 min
Discussing Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents (1930). Get the full episode at partiallyexaminedlife.com.
PREVIEW-Episode 25: Spinoza on Human Nature
Sep 10, 2010 • 31 min
Discussing Spinoza’s the Ethics, Books II through V.
PREVIEW-Episode 24: Spinoza on God and Metaphysics
Aug 24, 2010 • 31 min
Discussing Spinoza’s Ethics (1677), books 1 and 2.
PREVIEW-Episode 23: Rousseau: Human Nature vs. Culture
Jul 29, 2010 • 31 min
Discussing Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Discourse in Inequality (1754) and book 1 of The Social Contract (1762).
PREVIEW-Episode 22: More James’s Pragmatism: Is Faith Justified? What is Truth?
Jul 18, 2010 • 30 min
Discussing William James’s “The Will to Believe”.
PREVIEW-Episode 21: What Is the Mind? (Turing, et al)
Jun 28, 2010 • 31 min
Discussing articles by Alan Turing, Gilbert Ryle, Thomas Nagel, John Searle, and Dan Dennett. With guest Marco Wise.
PREVIEW-Episode 20: Pragmatism – Peirce and James
Jun 9, 2010 • 30 min
On Pragmatism (1907) by William James and “The Fixation of Belief” (1877) and “How to Make Our Ideas Clear” (1878) by Charles Sanders Peirce.
PREVIEW-Episode 19: Kant: What Can We Know?
May 14, 2010 • 31 min
Discussing Immanuel Kant’s Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (1783). With guest Azzurra Crispino.
PREVIEW-Episode 18: Plato: What Is Knowledge?
Apr 20, 2010 • 33 min
Discussing Plato’s Theatetus and Meno.
PREVIEW-Episode 17: Hume’s Empiricism: What Can We Know?
Mar 29, 2010 • 30 min
On David Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748).
PREVIEW-Episode 16: Danto on Art
Mar 4, 2010 • 43 min
Discussing three essays by Arthur Danto from The Philosophical Disenfranchisement of Art (1986): the title essay, “The Appreciation and Interpretation of Works of Art,” and “The End of Art.”
Episode 15: Hegel on History
Feb 24, 2010 • 112 min
Discussing G.W.F Hegel’s Introduction to the Philosophy of History.
Episode 14: Machiavelli on Politics
Feb 7, 2010 • 93 min
Discussing Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince and Ch. 1-20 of The Discourse on the First Ten Books of Titus Livy
Episode 13: What Are the Metaphysical Implications of Quantum Physics?
Jan 3, 2010 • 122 min
On Werner Heisenberg’s Physics and Philosophy. Dylan Casey’s first appearance (as a guest).
Episode 12: Chuang Tzu’s Taoism: What Is Wisdom?
Dec 6, 2009 • 110 min
On the “Chuang Tzu,” Chapters 2, 3, 6, 18, and 19. With guest Erik Douglas.
Episode 11: Nietzsche’s Immoralism: What Is Ethics, Anyway?
Nov 10, 2009 • 111 min
Discussing The Genealogy of Morals (mostly the first two essays) and Beyond Good and Evil Ch. 1 (The Prejudices of Philosophers), 5 (Natural History of Morals), and 9 (What is Noble?).
Episode 10: Kantian Ethics: What Should We Do?
Oct 19, 2009 • 125 min
Discussing Fundamental Principles (aka Groundwork) of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785).
Episode 9: Utilitarian Ethics: What Should We Do?
Sep 18, 2009 • 119 min
Discussing Jeremy Bentham’s An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation chapters 1-5, John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism, and Peter Singer’s “Famine, Affluence, and Morality.”
Episode 8: Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (and Carnap): What Can We Legitimately Talk About?
Sep 4, 2009 • 97 min
Continuing last ep’s discussion of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus with some Rudolph Carnap from his 1935 book Philosophy and Logical Syntax.
Episode 7: Wittgenstein’s Tractatus: What Is There and Can We Talk About It?
Aug 19, 2009 • 100 min
Discussing the beginning (through around 3.1) of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.
Episode 6: Leibniz’s Monadology: What Is There?
Jul 31, 2009 • 99 min
Discussing Liebniz’s Monadology.
Episode 5: Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics
Jul 16, 2009 • 101 min
Discussing Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Books I and II.
Episode 4: Camus and the Absurd
Jun 22, 2009 • 97 min
Discussing Camus’s “An Absurd Reasoning” and ”The Myth of Sisyphus” (1942).
Episode 3: Hobbes’s Leviathan: The Social Contract
Jun 7, 2009 • 98 min
Discussing Hobbes’s Leviathan, Chapters 13-15.
Episode 2: Descartes’s Meditations: What Can We Know?
May 13, 2009 • 99 min
On Descartes’s Meditations 1 and 2.
Part 2 of Episode 1: “The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living.”
May 13, 2009 • 45 min
More discussion of Plato’s “Apology.”
Part 1 of Episode 1: “The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living.”
May 12, 2009 • 42 min
Discussing Plato’s “Apology.” Does studying philosophy make you a better person? No.
Episode 0: Introduction to the Podcast
May 11, 2009 • 10 min
What are we trying to do here? Why should you bother to listen to us?