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Philosophy & Other Big Ideas

The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

Mark Linsenmayer

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The Partially Examined Life is a philosophy podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a short text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flip...Show More
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1:02:27 | Sep 16th

Continuing on Simone Weil's essays "The Iliad, or the Poem of Force" (1939) and "Analysis of Oppression" (1934) with guest Corey Mohler. We talk about the self-contradictions of power, why oppression and war are so intractable, and her positive solut...Show More

47:32 | Sep 9th

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 revolutio...Show More

1:06:25 | Sep 2nd

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 John Ganz. Does K's critique actually apply to our present age? We address K's view of ...Show More

49:33 | Aug 27th

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 prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for...Show More

48:57 | Aug 26th

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 cu...Show More

56:22 | Aug 19th

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, Set...Show More

1:20:27 | Aug 16th

The Residents were formed in 1969 and have released around 50 albums of theatrical, experimental music with humor and humanity. They're great to freak people out with. The band is anonymous; Homer is the head of their management arm, The Cryptic Corp...Show More

51:48 | Aug 12th

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 “Coul...Show More

1:06:58 | Aug 10th

John has released 17 albums and 5 EPs of guitar-based post-punk as the Black Watch since 1988. He's also an English professor who's published 5 books.   We discuss "Eustacia's Dream" from Magic Johnson (2019), "Emily, Are You Sleeping?" from Led Ze...Show More

56:06 | Aug 5th

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 consciousne...Show More

53:09 | Jul 29th

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 examp...Show More

09:24 | Jul 29th

A sample of a cool, new podcast you might like, relevant to our current philosophy of mind series. Look for the Room 20 podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Room 20 is a podcast by wondery.com, a sponsor of The Part...Show More

57:34 | Jul 27th

Alison was studying classical music when she joined Jason Narducy in 1994 in a duet that grew into two Verbow albums. She's since recorded four solo cello albums and been a guest musician on over 100 albums, playing with Bob Mould, Superchunk, Anthra...Show More

1:11:43 | Jul 22nd

Continuing on functionalism with David M. Armstrong’s "The Causal Theory of the Mind" (1981). Your four hosts start afresh the day after Part One on Putnam to discuss this version of functionalism that is supposed to clear the way for the scientific...Show More

53:38 | Jul 15th

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 ...Show More

44:05 | Jul 14th

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 edit...Show More

1:13:26 | Jul 5th

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 throug...Show More

1:25:27 | Jul 1st

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 proble...Show More

53:05 | Jun 24th

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 ...Show More

56:50 | Jun 17th

>On "Consciousness and Its Place in Nature" by David Chalmers (2003), with special guest Gregory Miller from the Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast. Can we explain human experience using the terms of brain physiology? Chalmers thinks not, and lays out the...Show More

2:33:49 | Jun 10th

Discussing articles by Alan Turing, Gilbert Ryle, Thomas Nagel, John Searle, and Dan Dennett. What is this mind stuff, and how can it "be" the brain? Can computers think? What is it like to be a bat? With guest Marco Wise. Plus a new intro by Mark, W...Show More

1:10:20 | Jun 8th

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 ho...Show More

1:48:50 | Jun 3rd

On the 1636 comedy by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, considering destiny (Christian vs. Ancient Greek), skepticism, meta-theater, and the ethic of honor. Listen to our performance first. With guests Bill Youmans and Erica Spyres. End song: "Pulling Apar...Show More

08:58 | Jun 2nd

Does politics have to be Machiavellian? Do you have to be ruthless to succeed? Given our treatment of Game of Thrones and Life Is a Dream, and the way in which end-justifying-the-means logic plays endlessly in our real-life political situation, it's ...Show More

2:20:02 | May 27th

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 Monahon...Show More

04:44 | May 23rd

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 ...Show More

1:25:13 | May 20th

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 engag...Show More

1:06:34 | May 17th

Phil founded New Zealand's Split Enz with Tim Finn in 1972, recorded a seminal punk single with Suburban Reptiles, had an Australian #1 hit with The Swingers, then moved to solo and soundtrack work until 2006, since which he's recorded five thickly t...Show More

1:38:10 | May 13th

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? This...Show More

1:21:01 | May 6th

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 c...Show More

51:03 | Apr 29th

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 part...Show More

08:22 | Apr 22nd

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 i...Show More

1:15:04 | Apr 22nd

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 Po...Show More

09:54 | Apr 21st

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 PEL Citizen or $5 Patreon supporter. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.co...Show More

55:39 | Apr 15th

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 us...Show More

1:02:01 | Apr 8th

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, a...Show More

53:18 | Apr 1st

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 politic...Show More

08:27 | Apr 1st

Wes Alwan is joined by Monica McCarthy of the Happier Hour podcast 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 beco...Show More

1:08:48 | Mar 25th

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 o...Show More

47:58 | Mar 18th

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...Show More

59:03 | Mar 11th

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 r...Show More

59:07 | Mar 11th

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 Constellary ...Show More

1:03:45 | Mar 4th

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...Show More

52:32 | Feb 25th

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" solu...Show More

39:20 | Feb 23rd

Morgan DeLisle, writer for the PodChaser "Behind the Streams Blog," interviewed Mark for a feature 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 part...Show More

1:26:16 | Feb 18th

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 t...Show More

1:02:31 | Feb 11th

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 ...Show More

1:09:18 | Feb 8th

Portland-based singer-songwriter Rachel has released 10 albums of off-kilter, usually piano-based, lyric-heavy indie rock since the mid '00s. We discuss "Maker" and "God" (plus the intro "Gyre") from Run Tiny Human (2018), "Taxidermy" from World so S...Show More

57:50 | Feb 4th

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...Show More

50:17 | Jan 28th

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 Nussabum’s The ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

1:01:09 | Jan 25th

Sam has released sixteen albums of catchy, textured pop music since 1983. We discuss "I Want to Be You" and "Tears in the Ground" from World on Sticks (2018), "How to Dream" from Fan Dance (2001), and conclude by listening to "When I’m Alone" from Pu...Show More

1:25:31 | Jan 21st

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 Music Have...Show More

55:47 | Jan 14th

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 Effect? A Divin...Show More

14:25 | Jan 13th

Mark and Wes go into more textual detail re. Lucretius’s take on atomism and the metaphysical and epistemological problems it entails. Start with Part one. This is a preview; become a PEL Citizen or $5 Patreon supporter to get the full, 50 minute con...Show More

1:14:00 | Jan 7th

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 and...Show More

58:18 | Dec 31st, 2018

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 p...Show More

19:41 | Dec 31st, 2018

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 th...Show More

54:47 | Dec 22nd, 2018

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 circ...Show More

47:41 | Dec 17th, 2018

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?...Show More

1:01:25 | Dec 10th, 2018

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 c...Show More

59:15 | Dec 3rd, 2018

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 co...Show More

1:10:26 | Nov 26th, 2018

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 Other"...Show More

54:41 | Nov 19th, 2018

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...Show More

17:02 | Nov 18th, 2018

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 episode 202. Get the full, 55-minute experience as a PEL Citizen, or get it by supporting us on Patreon for a mere ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

1:10:31 | Nov 18th, 2018

Seth Swirsky was a highly successful staff songwriter for over 20 years and has put out three solo albums and three albums as The Red Button since 2004. He's a huge Beatles fan and has released a Beatles documentary Beatles Stories and has multiple b...Show More

1:19:09 | Nov 12th, 2018

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 separa...Show More

46:35 | Nov 5th, 2018

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....Show More

13:35 | Nov 5th, 2018

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 nature...Show More

1:00:14 | Oct 29th, 2018

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 syste...Show More

59:44 | Oct 22nd, 2018

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 a...Show More

1:08:04 | Oct 15th, 2018

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 (culti...Show More

47:04 | Oct 8th, 2018

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 ask...Show More

35:39 | Oct 8th, 2018

Wes Alwan is joined by Tracy Morgan and Louis Scuderi to discuss Freud's classic 1917 essay. Note: Part two will NOT be appearing on this feed. Become a PEL Citizen to get the full discussion. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to learn how. Lis...Show More

1:06:03 | Oct 1st, 2018

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 state c...Show More

1:03:05 | Sep 24th, 2018

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 citiz...Show More

55:28 | Sep 17th, 2018

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 that ...Show More

1:14:38 | Sep 10th, 2018

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 connecti...Show More

46:42 | Sep 3rd, 2018

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 talkin...Show More

34:12 | Sep 2nd, 2018

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....Show More

53:15 | Aug 27th, 2018

Continuing with guest Peter Adamson 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 ques...Show More

1:00:40 | Aug 20th, 2018

On the fragments referred to as "On Nature" from ca. 475 BCE, featuring guest Peter Adamson from the History of Philosophy without Any Gaps podcast. Parmenides gives "the Way of Truth," which is that there is only Being, and talking of Non-Being is n...Show More

41:11 | Aug 20th, 2018

Episode 2 of Wes's new podcasting endeavor, featuring Mary from the Phi Fic podcast, 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 the full discussion. Visit partiallyex...Show More

1:07:45 | Aug 13th, 2018

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 f...Show More

52:37 | Aug 6th, 2018

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 estab...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

1:15:41 | Aug 5th, 2018

Prateek was named artist of the year for 2016 by MTV India and has been releasing tasteful, lyrics-focused songs about relationships in English and Hindi since 2011. We focus on his 2015 album Tokens and Charms: "Go," "Oh Love," and "Flames," plus th...Show More

1:01:52 | Jul 30th, 2018

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 ...Show More

1:01:27 | Jul 23rd, 2018

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 corresp...Show More

33:32 | Jul 21st, 2018

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 N...Show More

1:12:03 | Jul 16th, 2018

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 doing? Wha...Show More

54:47 | Jul 9th, 2018

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 technical, met...Show More

16:37 | Jul 7th, 2018

Hear highlights from two supporter-only discussions: Allan Bloom on Nietzsche/Freud/etc. and Leo Strauss vs. Richard Rorty on liberal education and democracy.

52:23 | Jul 2nd, 2018

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 Bo...Show More

50:34 | Jun 25th, 2018

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 Curriculum” ...Show More

1:10:36 | Jun 18th, 2018

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 ...Show More

53:28 | Jun 11th, 2018

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. Con...Show More

1:09:32 | Jun 4th, 2018

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 (...Show More

56:11 | May 28th, 2018

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 indi...Show More

16:53 | May 26th, 2018

Listen here to a few highlights from two recent discussions between Mark and Wes: We chase down some issues from ep. 189, relating authorial intent to philosophy of language more generally, then we have some preliminary discussion about the possibili...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

1:06:57 | May 21st, 2018

David J. Haskins gained fame with Bauhaus in the late 70s/early 80s, gained more fame with Love and Rockets, and has since 1983 released around ten albums plus several EPs and other collaborations. We discuss "The Auteur (Redux / Reprise)" a 2018 sin...Show More

1:28:31 | May 21st, 2018

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 ...Show More

1:19:27 | May 14th, 2018

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, once ...Show More

57:12 | May 7th, 2018

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 Steven...Show More

59:34 | Apr 30th, 2018

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 wa...Show More

53:14 | Apr 23rd, 2018

We are rejoined by actresses Lucy Lawless and Emily Perkins to discuss Aristophanes's bawdy play. Listen to us perform it first. Supplementary readings included Jeffery Henderson's introduction to his 1988 translation of the play; "Sexual Humor and H...Show More

1:22:32 | Apr 16th, 2018

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 joine...Show More

13:38 | Apr 14th, 2018

Three substantial chunks of a follow-up conversation to our free speech episode. Mark and Wes discuss Jordan Peterson on speech, organizations' promoting certain speech (as opposed to restricting), insults vs. arguments, offense vs. harm, "incoherenc...Show More

1:04:09 | Apr 9th, 2018

Continuing our free form discussion, trying to make sense of Stanley Fish's “There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech, and It’s a Good Thing, Too” (1994) and other potential rationales for prohibiting hate speech. How might the same sentence or idea be u...Show More
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1:02:17 | Apr 9th, 2018

Amy has recorded nine albums of emotionally stark but often artistically decorated original folk music, punctuated by cover tunes like the opening music here, Townes Van Zandt's "Buckskin Stallion Blues," which appeared in the film Three Billboards O...Show More

58:33 | Mar 29th, 2018

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 limits on free s...Show More
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36:51 | Mar 28th, 2018

On NEM#15, Craig introduced us to his songwriting style: How a hardcore aesthetic informs even his most syntho creations, and how whimsicality and beauty can coexist harmoniously. Craig has since then released the Adult Desire album, and returns to t...Show More

1:12:05 | Mar 26th, 2018

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 aspec...Show More

49:47 | Mar 19th, 2018

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 i...Show More

1:13:29 | Mar 12th, 2018

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 ro...Show More

50:11 | Mar 5th, 2018

On the classic Greek epic poem, written ca. 750 BC and translated by our guest Emily Wilson 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...Show More

1:09:51 | Feb 25th, 2018

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 Pasc...Show More

52:29 | Feb 19th, 2018

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 th...Show More

1:06:57 | Feb 12th, 2018

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...Show More

1:00:39 | Feb 4th, 2018

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) unle...Show More

03:37 | Feb 4th, 2018

The PEL guys get personal and political and tell you in brief about things like Planet of the Apes, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and Vine Deloria Jr. in the second half of our year-in-review discussion. Here you get a taste. You can only hear the me...Show More

53:02 | Jan 29th, 2018

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 ho...Show More

1:22:19 | Jan 22nd, 2018

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 ...Show More

47:57 | Jan 15th, 2018

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 Adol...Show More

1:16:51 | Jan 8th, 2018

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, ...Show More

1:01:38 | Jan 1st, 2018

On Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892), chapters on "The Self," "Will," and "Emotions." Continuing from ep. 179, 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 ...Show More

1:01:01 | Dec 25th, 2017

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 d...Show More

55:59 | Dec 18th, 2017

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 just...Show More

1:17:01 | Dec 11th, 2017

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 Prayer” fr...Show More

1:09:47 | Dec 10th, 2017

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 pr...Show More

55:45 | Dec 4th, 2017

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 ...Show More

1:16:42 | Nov 27th, 2017

Continuing with the Econtalk 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 o...Show More

55:19 | Nov 20th, 2017

The host of Econtalk provides his take on our ep. 174 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...Show More

1:00:38 | Nov 13th, 2017

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 ...Show More

50:25 | Nov 6th, 2017

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 badly...Show More

02:31 | Nov 6th, 2017

Do you want the WHOLE discussion on the new Blade Runner 2049, the original 1982 film, and the idea packed Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1967) by Philip K. Dick? If you do, show your love to the podcast by signing up to be a supporter at the ...Show More

48:06 | Oct 30th, 2017

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 t...Show More
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1:10:28 | Oct 22nd, 2017

Richard F. Walker has released 20+ albums, usually with his London space-rock band Amp. We discuss "Just Get It (Why Don’t You)" and "Les Ombres Sur la Lune" from Q Factors (A Mixtape) (2017) and "Tomorrow" from Stenorette (1988), and listen to "Levi...Show More

1:07:37 | Oct 22nd, 2017

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 part 1 first or get the ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End s...Show More

57:54 | Oct 16th, 2017

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 n...Show More

1:02:19 | Oct 9th, 2017

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 w...Show More

52:49 | Oct 2nd, 2017

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 ...Show More

59:15 | Sep 25th, 2017

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 atta...Show More

45:01 | Sep 18th, 2017

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 thoughts a...Show More

1:11:32 | Sep 11th, 2017

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 ac...Show More

55:07 | Sep 4th, 2017

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 desi...Show More

1:11:12 | Aug 28th, 2017

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 Ep #170. End song: "Open Your Eyes (Wake Up)" from Tyler Hislop...Show More

1:13:07 | Aug 21st, 2017

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? Cou...Show More

55:25 | Aug 14th, 2017

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, and th...Show More
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01:56 | Aug 12th, 2017

Some audio tidbits to hint at the analytic glories in the second half of our discussion, getting deeper into the psychoanalytic/existential interpretations of the film. Get the discussion at patreon.com/partiallyexaminedlife or with a PEL Citizenship...Show More

53:11 | Aug 7th, 2017

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 on the PEL site or at combatandclassics.org. Become...Show More

48:29 | Jul 31st, 2017

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 isola...Show More

1:06:46 | Jul 24th, 2017

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 trait X to ena...Show More

49:10 | Jul 17th, 2017

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 how an evol...Show More

1:06:26 | Jul 10th, 2017

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 that God designed...Show More

47:59 | Jul 3rd, 2017

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 the com...Show More

1:35:48 | Jun 26th, 2017

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 in...Show More

54:25 | Jun 19th, 2017

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 role of ...Show More

1:08:04 | Jun 12th, 2017

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 a...Show More

1:06:59 | Jun 5th, 2017

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. Spinoza argues that...Show More
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1:49:15 | May 29th, 2017

Discussing Spinoza's Ethics (1677), books 1 and 2. God is everything, therefore the world is God as apprehended through some particular attributes, namely insofar as one of his aspects is infinite space (extension, i.e. matter) and insofar as one of ...Show More

1:14:46 | May 26th, 2017

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, Nik wrote...Show More

1:24:28 | May 22nd, 2017

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. Get a ...Show More

59:49 | May 15th, 2017

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, actually suited to achieve ...Show More

1:13:15 | May 8th, 2017

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.

56:50 | May 1st, 2017

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, with a nature that ...Show More

1:43:56 | Apr 24th, 2017

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, which is actually pretty simil...Show More

58:10 | Apr 17th, 2017

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, and Baldwi...Show More

47:53 | Apr 10th, 2017

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 general...Show More

1:21:25 | Apr 3rd, 2017

Continuing with guest Law Ware on the philosophical underpinnings of the rhetoric of white privilege, with readings as listed in part 1.

56:00 | Mar 27th, 2017

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 c...Show More

1:15:52 | Mar 20th, 2017

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. sur...Show More

55:49 | Mar 13th, 2017

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 retain...Show More

1:21:16 | Mar 6th, 2017

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!

54:54 | Feb 27th, 2017

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 gi...Show More

1:12:09 | Feb 20th, 2017

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), and the weird w...Show More

57:39 | Feb 13th, 2017

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 this ...Show More

1:07:09 | Feb 6th, 2017

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 p...Show More

57:29 | Jan 30th, 2017

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, leaving...Show More

1:04:19 | Jan 23rd, 2017

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 a...Show More

57:24 | Jan 16th, 2017

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!
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1:04:49 | Jan 9th, 2017

Continuing on Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Ch. 3–4. Is Rorty right that post-Kantian philosophers were engaging in "revisionist history" in saying that the ancients too were concerned with the relation between the senses and reason? We discus...Show More

1:52:49 | Jan 2nd, 2017

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, and belief...Show More
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55:00 | Dec 26th, 2016

Continuing on "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind" (1956). We consider a couple of Sellars's "thought experiments." In one, a guy who works in a tie shop thinks he understands "green," but when electric lights are added, what used to be green now ...Show More

1:43:01 | Dec 19th, 2016

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 c...Show More
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1:10:47 | Dec 12th, 2016

Continuing on Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Part I. Rorty relates the immateriality of mind to the ontology of universals: The gap between individual dogs and the concept "dogness" is really the only ontological gap we have, and conceiving the...Show More

1:52:21 | Dec 5th, 2016

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 sh...Show More

1:27:38 | Nov 21st, 2016

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 featu...Show More
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1:07:16 | Nov 14th, 2016

Continuing on Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), where Burke advocates for the existence of the nobility as a stabilizing element in society: These folks are driven by honor, groomed from youth to lead, and estates themselves provide con...Show More

1:56:19 | Nov 7th, 2016

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. What is...Show More

1:18:05 | Nov 6th, 2016

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, and briefly pl...Show More
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1:23:10 | Oct 31st, 2016

Mark, Wes, Seth, and Dylan discuss our interview with Peter Singer. Does Singer's asserting such a heavy moral burden on us successfully condemn us to changing our priorities and/or feeling perpetually guilty, or is there something wrong with the arg...Show More

2:07:07 | Oct 24th, 2016

Mark and Wes interview perhaps the world's most influential living philosopher, then the full foursome discusses. We discuss his ongoing work rooted in his 1971 essay "Famine, Affluence, and Morality," about the warped priorities of our consumerist s...Show More

1:20:38 | Oct 17th, 2016

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 enj...Show More
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1:12:12 | Oct 10th, 2016

Concluding on Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics, books 8–10. First, more on friendship: Should you share your sorrow with your friends, or is that just you being a burden? What makes it difficult to make new, real friends as an adult in modern society?...Show More

2:00:27 | Oct 3rd, 2016

On the final books 8–10 of Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics. What does friendship have to do with ethics? With guest Ana Sandoiu.
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1:16:17 | Sep 26th, 2016

Continuing on the Nichomachean Ethics (ca. 350 BCE), books 6–7. We're still talking about the various intellectual virtues for the first half here, including the ever-popular nous, translated sometimes as "rational intuition" (which you might call we...Show More

1:59:27 | Sep 19th, 2016

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 ...Show More
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1:29:24 | Sep 12th, 2016

Concluding Levinas's Time and the Other (1948), in which we talk about the present being freedom, before there's even a will! This sort of helps to justify the counterintuitive existentialist insistence that we are responsible for the current state o...Show More

2:19:50 | Sep 5th, 2016

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? Why would someone possibly think t...Show More