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Podcast Profile: Red Letter Philosophy

podcast imageTwitter: @RedLetterPhil
175 episodes
2018 to present
Average episode: 14 minutes
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Categories: Two Hosts

Podcaster's summary: Red Letter Philosophy is a philosophy of religion podcast exploring the depths of the human heart, the exaltations of the soul, and the mystery of God.

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List Updated: 2024-Apr-14 06:08 UTC. Episodes: 175. Feedback: @TrueSciPhi.

2024-Mar-30 • 17 minutes
RLP Replay: What's So Good About Good Friday?
As we continue recovering from being under the weather, we bring you one of our Easter favorites. On this holiday episode of Red Letter Philosophy we ask the question, what’s so good about Good Friday? We also discuss the frame or...
2024-Mar-17 • 14 minutes
RLP Replay: The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde
This St. Patrick’s Day finds us under the weather. Rather than miss the day, we offer/bring one of our St Patrick’s Day favorites. Is St. Patrick’s Day a celebration of the Irish; Irish history, Irish storytelling, Ireland herself,...
2024-Mar-01 • 12 minutes
World In My Eyes
In this episode we contemplate the problems of silence and unbelief through the eyes of Jean Paul Sartre and Frederick Nietzsche. Do these two great atheist philosophers agree, fundamentally, with the great Christian philosophers? Take up...
2024-Feb-14 • 15 minutes
RLP Holiday: Love & Death
Every once in a while Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday fall on the same day; this episode is for such days. Love and death are visitors from another world, doors in the wall of the world. Join us as we contemplate love and death.
2024-Feb-02 • 13 minutes
Policy of Truth
After a three month hiatus, Red Letter Philosophy returns. The boys pick up their discussion of the problem of silence and the problem of unbelief. In particular, they look at an intriguing argument from famed author, Andrew Klavan.
2023-Nov-01 • 19 minutes
RLP Holiday: Memento Mori
Halloween, All Saints Day, All Souls Day: a trinity of holy and deathly days. In an increasingly secular age, these days become excuses to indulge the appetites: hedonism & ghoulishness. However, these days are days of profundity and...
2023-Oct-20 • 16 minutes
Enjoy the Silence
Do we live on a silent planet? Are we merely insignificant specs of dust adrift in an indifferent cosmos? Or do we have reason to think otherwise? We’re on the road and searching for answers; join us, will you?
2023-Sep-15 • 19 minutes
The Problem of Unbelief
Do you struggle with belief? Are you disturbed by the apparent silence (or indifference) of the universe? If so, then this is the episode for you. Join us for a discussion of belief, silence, and much more in this first episode of...
2023-Aug-25 • 16 minutes
RLP Special: Death in the Grand Canyon (Refreshed)
The Grand Canyon is a place where the veil between this world and the next world grows thin; a place where we learn to take life, but not ourselves, seriously. In this episode, we look again at the death and spookiness that surrounds the canyon.
2023-Aug-11 • 16 minutes
RLP Special: Chance or the Dance (Refreshed)
In this episode, we continue our contemplation of a mystery. We began, two episodes ago, with G. K. Chesterton and his comment about seeing in “the light of the supernatural”. In the last episode we continued our musings with Peter...
2023-Jul-28 • 12 minutes
RLP Special: The Sea Within (Refreshed)
The Summer of the supernatural continues. In this episode we revisit and refresh a pervious episode, The Sea Within. Perhaps the supernatural isn’t so far from the natural; perhaps what we call natural is supernatural from a certain...
2023-Jul-14 • 15 minutes
RLP Special: Life Is a Pigsty (Refreshed)
Approximately five years ago we posted our first episode. The episode was, and is, titled, Life Is A Pigsty. In this episode, we reexamine, and elaborate upon, that first episode. Morrissey, Chesterton, & the messiness of life,...
2023-Jun-30 • 21 minutes
Farewell & Adieu
In this episode of Red Letter Philosophy, we bid farewell to season five. We’ve been on a metaphysical journey through Ancient, Medieval, Modern, and contemporary philosophy. What conclusions can be drawn from our journey?...
2023-Jun-16 • 11 minutes
RLP Holiday: Fatherhood & Reality
Is it, as Freud said, that we are projecting our fathers onto the face of God, or is it that we project our inner knowledge God onto the face of our fathers? Do our desires and expectations come from a higher place? In this episode of Red...
2023-Jun-09 • 17 minutes
Thomas Howard: Chance or Dance?
Is it that nothing means anything or that everything means everything? Two myths, two ways of understanding life and the world; the culmination of Augustine, Pascal, and our season: on this week’s Red Letter Philosophy. Take up and listen.
2023-May-26 • 15 minutes
St. Augustine: My Love Is My Gravity
St. Augustine’s wrote that “Amor meus, Pondus meum”; My love is my gravity. Perhaps our search for what truth and reality is not only an intellectual search? Perhaps the heart can have reasons of which reason knows nothing? In...
2023-May-12 • 8 minutes
RLP Holiday: Monica's Tears
The essence of Motherhood: a metaphysical question. Motherhood is surely many things, but if it is anything, it is also surely a kind of life, a life of prayer. A mother is one who raises her mind and heart to God on behalf of her family,...
2023-May-05 • 18 minutes
David Hume & Belief in God, Pt. II
Hume, contrary to popular belief, never intended to destroy belief in God. He only meant to destroy a certain conception of belief, and belief in God. In this episode we contemplate Hume’s criticism of, and argument for, belief in God.
2023-Apr-21 • 19 minutes
David Hume & Belief in God
The English philosopher and mathematician, W. K. Clifford, famously wrote that, “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.” Clifford’s approach to belief has come to dominate the way...
2023-Apr-07 • 15 minutes
RLP Holiday: Faith & Reason
In honor of Holy Week, this week’s episode is devoted to the mystery of faith. In keeping with this season, we contemplate this mystery with a Modern philosopher, Blaise Pascal. Enjoy.
2023-Mar-24 • 18 minutes
David Hume: Hume's Cave
Philosopher Peter Kreeft wrote that David Hume was, “the most formidable, challenging, and difficult to refute skeptic in the history of human thought. His logic is powerful.” In this episode we taste the fruits of Hume’s empiricism....
2023-Mar-17 • 14 minutes
RLP Holiday: The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde
Is St. Patrick’s Day a celebration of the Irish; Irish history, Irish storytelling, Ireland herself, or is St. Patrick’s Day a celebration of a saint and of the one who molded the saint? We couldn’t decide. So, on this episode we...
2023-Mar-10 • 23 minutes
David Hume: Party Guy
David Hume was the last of the great British Empiricists. He is the empiricist, nay, the philosopher of the Enlightenment, outside of perhaps Kant, who has exhibited the most influence over contemporary philosophers. He was also a party...
2023-Feb-24 • 14 minutes
Bishop George Berkeley: To Be Is To Be Perceived
Bishop George Berkeley was one of the three great British Empiricists. His view, Esse Est Percipi (To be is to be perceived), is as infamous as Descartes’ view, Cogito Ego Sum (I think, I am). In this episode we imbibe the thoughts of...
2023-Feb-10 • 7 minutes
RLP Holiday: The Heart of the Matter
Philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote that, “the heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.” In this episode we celebrate St. Valentine’s Day by contemplating the heart. In particular, we read and reflect upon H.P. Lovecraft’s...
2023-Feb-03 • 19 minutes
John Locke: Are You Experienced?
John Locke was first of the great British Empiricists. Locke, and the empiricists who came after him, rejected the philosophy of the rationalists. In this episode, we uncork the empiricists, and drink in their philosophy. Truth,...
2023-Jan-20 • 17 minutes
G. W. F. Leibniz & God
Why is there something rather than nothing? This is a perennial philosophical question; a question taken up, perhaps most famously, by the Enlightenment rationalist, Leibniz. Leibniz and God, on this episode of Red Letter Philosophy.
2023-Jan-06 • 20 minutes
G. W. F. Leibniz & The Mystery of Existence
Meet G. W. F. Leibniz. Leibniz is known as the last “universal genius”. What does Leibniz have to say about truth and reality? Is he worth imbibing? In this episode, we take up these question. All aboard the Red...
2022-Dec-24 • 21 minutes
RLP Holiday - Christmas Belief: Lessons from The Polar Express
What does it mean to believe? Is belief a virtue? This week we celebrate Christmas by pondering Christmas belief. In particular, we ponder these questions aboard The Polar Express.
2022-Dec-16 • 18 minutes
Baruch Spinoza & The Mystery of Existence
17th century philosopher, Baruch Spinoza, wrote, “nothing exists from whose nature some effect does not follow.” Spinoza, a philosophical child of Descartes’, sought to draw out the logical implications of Descartes’ philosophical...
2022-Dec-02 • 19 minutes
Rene Descartes & The Mystery of Existence
What is ultimately real? According to Descartes, reality is composed of two substances, mind and matter. Why did Descartes think this? More importantly, why should we care? In this week’s episode, we take up these questions.
2022-Nov-22 • 11 minutes
RLP Holiday: In Defense of Thanksgiving
Is gratitude a virtue? Gratitude is not listed among the four cardinal virtues. Gratitude is not listed among the three theological virtues? Should it be among the virtues? Does the Thanksgiving holiday get overlooked? A...
2022-Nov-18 • 18 minutes
Rene Descartes: God, Reason, and a Piece of Wax
In this episode, we continue to contemplate Descartes’ response to the challenge of nominalism, doubt, and radical skepticism. In particular, we ponder a piece of wax. Does a piece of wax hold the key to understanding knowledge, reality,...
2022-Nov-04 • 14 minutes
Rene Descartes: Cartesian Delight
The Red Letter Express resumes its journey. After their encounter with Ockham, our hosts are in search of answers. They are offered Cartesian Delight - the philosophy of Rene Descartes. Does Descartes have the cure for what ails our...
2022-Oct-28 • 10 minutes
RLP Holiday: What the Moon Brings by H. P. Lovecraft
This Halloween we invite you to sit with the Clive, procurer of libations facilitator of seekers and wanderers. Clive recites and reflects upon the poetic musings of H. P. Lovecraft. He warns us to be wary of what the moon brings....
2022-Oct-21 • 22 minutes
Occam's Flavor
The Red Letter Express makes its first unexpected stop. Join our hosts as they try to make sense of their predicament. Was the train derailed or is this a minor inconvenience? The insights of Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas run into...
2022-Oct-07 • 17 minutes
Amarettos with Aristotle
In this episode we join our hosts as they reflect upon the practical insight of Plato, and especially Aristotle. The Red Letter Express chugs along peacefully allowing our hosts to contemplate the nature of change and relationships. All...
2022-Sep-23 • 17 minutes
Play-Tonic: A Shot of Plato and Aristotle
The Red Letter Express presses on. In this episode, we temper last episode’s discussion of Parmenides and Heraclitus with a shot of Plato and Aristotle. What is the one among the many? What is the being in becoming? What is...
2022-Sep-09 • 18 minutes
Parmenides on the Rocks
Join us as we embark on a journey. Invited by a man with no name to a destination unknown; we travel. In this inaugural episode, we encounter two ancient spirits, namely, Parmenides and Heraclitus. All aboard the Red Letter Express.
2022-Aug-26 • 12 minutes
RLP Special: Summertime Sadness
Peter Kreeft once said that “it takes boundaries to make anything interesting”. But summer is not only a boundary. What is it that draws us to it? What is it that we seek? Join us as we attempt to unpack its essence, in this final episode of our...
2022-Aug-12 • 23 minutes
RLP Special: Summertime Madness
Enchiladas and French fries? Socks and sandals? Bad taste, and the aesthetics of Summer, on this episode of Red Letter Philosophy.
2022-Jul-29 • 27 minutes
RLP Special: Jaws & Philosophy
This Summer, between seasons, we're talking about why we love Summer. Something in the imagination binds together the things of Summer. Last episode we contemplated the sounds of the Summer. This episode we imbibe the Cinema of the Summer. Join us as...
2022-Jul-15 • 37 minutes
RLP Special: The Beach Boys & Philosophy
Two Summers ago, we reviewed Bruce Brown’s movie, The Endless Summer. The film captured our desire, and our need, for Summer. Summer is a season, a foreshadow, and for some, a way of life. Its literal meaning is in its metaphor....
2022-Jul-01 • 13 minutes
RLP Holiday: The Revolutionary & The Bishop
What do President John Adams, Bishop Fulton Sheen and the 4th of July have in common? And why should you care? Pull up a chair and celebrate the birth of the United States with some philosophical fireworks and an unusual brew of philosophers.
2022-Jun-24 • 15 minutes
God & The Philosophers
In this episode we close out season four. What conclusions can be drawn, what similarities can be observed, amongst our four philosophers? Join us for one last round with Blaise Pascal, G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.
2022-Jun-17 • 12 minutes
RLP Holiday - Ordinary Men: A Celebration of Fathers
G. K. Chesterton wrote that, “God chooses ordinary men for fatherhood to accomplish His extraordinary plan.” In this Father’s Day episode we contemplate the significance of the ordinary (ordinary men) and the dulness of the extraordinary...
2022-Jun-10 • 13 minutes
Ludwig Wittgenstein & God, Pt. 2
In this episode, we conclude our discussion of Wittgenstein, the Villain. In particular, we discuss the question, “does Wittgenstein illuminate or obscure our understanding of God?”
2022-Jun-03 • 17 minutes
Ludwig Wittgenstein & God, Pt. 1
As we come to the end of our series on Wittgenstein, we look at an intelligent challenge to a Wittgensteinian understanding of life and language. Is Wittgenstein a hero or villain? In this episode we look at a charitable and intelligent...
2022-May-27 • 12 minutes
RLP Holiday: Memory & The Philosophers
G. K. Chesterton wrote that, “if you leave things alone you leave them as they are. […] If you leave a thing alone you leave it to a torrent of change.” In other words, if want to remember something, if you want others to remember...
2022-May-20 • 9 minutes
Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Mystic
Wittgenstein wrote that, “whereof one cannot be speak, thereof one must be silent". Elsewhere he wrote that, “What can be shown cannot be said." In this episode we examine what some call the later Wittgenstein. Take up and listen...
2022-May-13 • 15 minutes
Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Gamer
Perhaps the idea most associated with Wittgenstein is the idea that life is a collection of “language games”. Wittgenstein was a gamer. In this episode of Red Letter Philosophy we explore the enigmatic concept of language games; in the...
2022-May-06 • 9 minutes
RLP Holiday: Common Sense Motherhood
In this episode we pay homage to Motherhood. We look at G.K. Chesterton’s claim that, “our race has thought it worth while to cast this burden on women… to keep common-sense in the world." We add to our list of motherhood’s...
2022-Apr-29 • 14 minutes
Ludwig Wittgenstein: Solipsisms & Skepticisms
Does philosophy entail skepticism? Does philosophy lead one to solipsism, the belief that one cannot know the world outside one’s own head? In this episode we look at one of Wittgenstein’s most well known arguments, the private...
2022-Apr-22 • 22 minutes
Ludwig Wittgenstein: Hero or Villain?
Passionate, profound, intense, divisive: words used to describe arguably the greatest philosopher of the 20th century, Ludwig Wittgenstein. In this episode, we begin to consider the life and philosophy of Wittgenstein. Was he an...
2022-Apr-15 • 15 minutes
RLP Holiday: What's So Good About Good Friday?
On this holiday episode of Red Letter Philosophy we ask the question, what’s so good about Good Friday? We also discuss the frame or boundary that is Holy Week. In the words of Peter Kreeft, “it takes boundaries to make anything...
2022-Apr-08 • 13 minutes
C. S. Lewis & The Seeing Eye
C. S. Lewis wrote that, “Looking for God - or Heaven - by exploring space is like reading or seeing all Shakespeare's plays in the hope that you will find Shakespeare.” In this episode, we look at an obscure essay of Lewis’ titled, “The...
2022-Mar-25 • 17 minutes
C. S. Lewis' Meditation in a Toolshed
In this episode we discuss a profound insight given to us by the great C. S. Lewis. According to Lewis, we have one kind of experience looking at something and another kind of experience looking along something. Lewis wrote that, “it has been...
2022-Mar-17 • 11 minutes
RLP Holiday: St. Patrick's Day III
Today we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with one of Ireland’s most thoughtful sons, Oscar Wilde. In this episode, we contemplate Oscar Wilde’s answer to the question, “why do we celebrate St. Patrick's Day?” Take up and listen as we...
2022-Mar-11 • 14 minutes
C. S. Lewis: Myth & Truth
Previously, we discussed C. S. Lewis’ contention that myth transcends thought. In this episode we look at the fact that incarnation transcends myth. C. S. Lewis wrote that, “The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact.” Religious...
2022-Feb-25 • 13 minutes
C. S. Lewis & The Myth That Became Fact
C. S. Lewis wrote that, "What flows into you from the myth is not truth but reality (truth is always about something, but reality is that about which truth is), and, therefore, every myth becomes the father of innumerable truths on the abstract...
2022-Feb-11 • 16 minutes
RLP Holiday: Galentine's Day, Valentine's Day
It’s Valentine’s Day! St. Valentine's Day can be a stressful time for a lot of people, apparently. Those in relationships don't want to disappoint, those not in relationships are depressed. If you don't believe us, then look up...
2022-Feb-11 • 15 minutes
Irish Blood, English Heart: The Philosophy of C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis wrote, “This is our dilemma—either to taste and not to know or to know and not to taste—or, more strictly, to lack one kind of knowledge because we are in an experience or to lack another kind because we are outside it.” Today we...
2022-Jan-28 • 18 minutes
G. K. Chesterton: Philosopher of Light
The Modern and the post-Modern age is one of Dogmas unrecognized, consequences ignored, and paradoxes unseen. These are all confusions due to a disordered or absent eye for the empirical. Join us as we imbibe the insights of G.K. Chesterton one last time.
2022-Jan-14 • 18 minutes
G. K. Chesterton: Philosopher of Common Sense
In this episode we look at Chesterton’s contention that common sense, or sanity, involves reason, but not reason alone. Chesterton wrote that, “the madman is not the man who has lost reason. The madman is the man who has lost...
2021-Dec-31 • 16 minutes
RLP Holiday - A New Years Ghost Story: A Christmas Carol
Happy New Year! In this episode, we make an argument: New Years, if it is to be meaningful, must be seen in the light of the Christmas season. Cut out of its context, it is shrouded in deep black; its face and its form concealed....
2021-Dec-24 • 19 minutes
RLP Holiday - A Christmas Ghost Story: A Christmas Carol
Merry Christmas! This week we reflect upon the second greatest Christmas story of all time, namely, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Why do Advent and Christmas lend themselves to ghost stories? In a ghost story something seemingly...
2021-Dec-17 • 15 minutes
G. K. Chesterton: Philosopher of Sanity
G. K. Chesterton wrote that, “if disease is beautiful, it is generally someone else's disease. A blind man may be picturesque, but it requires two eyes to see the picture. And similarly even the wildest poetry of insanity can only be enjoyed by the...
2021-Dec-03 • 16 minutes
G. K. Chesterton: Philosopher of Madness
G. K. Chesterton wrote that, “thoughts and theories were once judged by whether they tended to make a man lose his soul… all modern thoughts and theories may be judged by whether they tend to make a man lose his wits." From where do we begin, when...
2021-Nov-25 • 14 minutes
RLP Holiday - Thanksgiving III: Fire, Food, and Drink
Between Halloween and Christmas sits Thanksgiving Day (for Americans): Overlooked and under-appreciated. Join us as we drive the streets of “London” and contemplate the importance of Thanksgiving. We discuss the importance of food. Food, we...
2021-Nov-19 • 17 minutes
G. K. Chesterton: The Savage
What has gone wrong? What’s the problem with the world? In this episode we begin a fascinating walk with the late, great G. K. Chesterton. Chesterton may be the Plato to Pascal’s Socrates: original, compelling, poetic, philosophical, mystical, and...
2021-Nov-05 • 21 minutes
Blaise Pascal: The Wagerer
“You must wager. There is no choice, you are already committed”, wrote Blaise Pascal. In this, our final episode devoted to Pascal, we contemplate Pascal’s most influential philosophical essay, namely, The Wager. Does it make sense to wager that...
2021-Oct-29 • 22 minutes
RLP Holiday: Halloween & The Uncanny
What is the appeal of Halloween? Is it candy? Is it parties? Is it scantily dressed women? Is it fantasy? Perhaps its appeal can be attributed to something else? In “The Tomb”, H.P. Lovecraft wrote that,...
2021-Oct-22 • 20 minutes
Blaise Pascal: The Diverted
Pascal wrote that, “the whole cause of a man's unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.” He also wrote that, “being unable to cure death, wretchedness, and ignorance, men have decided, in order to be happy, not...
2021-Oct-08 • 18 minutes
Blaise Pascal: The Impotent
In our day, have we sacrificed wisdom for science? Understanding for calculation? Mystery for problem solving? Perhaps this is partly why we have eyes but cannot see, and have ears but cannot hear. On today’s episode of Red Letter...
2021-Sep-24 • 22 minutes
Blaise Pascal: The Vain
In this episode we continue our contemplation of Pascal, The Wise. Is it true that “curiosity is only vanity”? Is it true that “a trifle consoles us because a trifle upsets us?” Are our troubles fundamentally spiritual in nature? All this, and...
2021-Sep-10 • 23 minutes
Blaise Pascal: The Great and Wretched
Blaise Pascal was a scientist, philosopher, and mystic. He was one of the most profound thinkers to have ever lived. One cannot read Pascal and come away unchanged. In this episode we hope to prove that.
2021-Aug-27 • 22 minutes
RLP Backstage: "The Office and Philosophy"
Summer’s almost gone. Throughout the Summer we have talked life, logic, and love. This week we sum it all up with a laugh. “They” say life imitates art; or is that art imitates life? Either way, this week we look at the spirits of the age as...
2021-Aug-13 • 18 minutes
RLP Backstage: “Psychology as Religion”
Ideally our hearts and minds align. But, unfortunately, on this side of the veil these two faculties of perception are often divided. One of the spirits of our age seems to be the spirit of feelings or psychology. In this episode we...
2021-Jul-30 • 24 minutes
RLP Backstage: "The Right Side of History"
Some politicians, professors and activists talk about the “right side of history”. This idea is loaded with assumptions about the nature of history. Does history have meaning? Does it have a meaning beyond the actions of individuals? What is it?...
2021-Jul-16 • 25 minutes
RLP Backstage: "Lived Experience"
We continue our discussion of the spirits of the age. In this episode we discuss the notion of “lived experience.” Is the idea of “lived experience” coherent? Is there only “my truth” and never the truth? Are we imprisoned in a solipsistic...
2021-Jul-02 • 8 minutes
RLP Holiday - 4th of July III: Patrick Henry Meets Harry Potter
What do the American Revolution, Patrick Henry, and Harry Potter have in common? Does the spirit of Patrick Henry endure or have we, like Harry Potter and the mirror of Erised, fallen into a dreamy and paralyzing hope? Get the answer to these...
2021-Jul-02 • 23 minutes
RLP Backstage: Life & Logic Edition
We’ve ditched the usual format for the Summer. in this, the inaugural episode of our “backstage” shows, your intractable hosts, Soz and Mot, ring in the Summer by discussing life, logic, and the spirit of the age.
2021-Jun-18 • 11 minutes
The End (Of the Beginning)
“This is the end, beautiful friend” - James Morrison. All endings may be deaths, but not all deaths are endings. And so it it is with this episode. We say goodbye to season three and our focus on beauty. We will always incorporate beauty into our...
2021-Jun-18 • 8 minutes
RLP Holiday: Father's Day II (The Philosopher King)
Marcus Aurelius may have been the only philosopher-king in history. In today’s episode we contemplate the fatherly advise of the philosopher-king. What does it mean to be a father? What does it mean to be manly? Why does it matter? These questions...
2021-Jun-04 • 12 minutes
Disinterested Attitudes
In this, the penultimate episode of season three, we finish our discussion of Kant’s philosophy of beauty. In this discussion, we come to see that through the contemplation of beauty, our powers of perception are deepened. We come to see that not...
2021-May-28 • 8 minutes
RLP Holiday: For the Fallen (Memorial Day II)
In this episode we honor those who died in military service to their country. We reflect upon the thoughts of Pascal, who said “When I consider the brief span of my life… I take fright and am amazed to see myself here rather than there… Who put...
2021-May-21 • 11 minutes
What Kant Said
A few episodes ago we put out a show titled, “What Aquinas Said”. In that episode we laid out Thomas Aquinas’ understanding of beauty. Aquinas was the greatest Medieval philosopher. In today’s episode we contemplate what the...
2021-May-07 • 9 minutes
Uh Oh, Hot Dog!
In this episode we finish pondering an insight of Gene Simmons’, namely, that there is a difference between what tastes good and good taste. What does it say about our world that there is a difference between good and bad taste? What does it say...
2021-May-07 • 7 minutes
RLP Holiday - Mother's Day II: Heed Not the Darkness nor the Rain
Welcome to our second annual Mother's Day episode. Join us as we meditate on the meaning of motherhood through poetry and prose. To quote G.K. Chesterton: “How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a...
2021-Apr-23 • 12 minutes
Good Taste vs. What Tastes Good
Discussions of beauty, especially in our day, are often discussed in terms of taste. Taste, it is assumed, is a purely subjective thing. However, in this episode we contemplate a proposition proffered by Gene Simmons, namely, that there is...
2021-Apr-09 • 9 minutes
Heaven in Stone & Glass
The title of this week’s episode comes from the title of a book by Bishop Robert Barron. C. S. Lewis wrote, "This is our dilemma - either to taste and not to know of to know and not to taste.” In this episode we seek to bridge knowledge and taste...
2021-Apr-02 • 5 minutes
RLP Holiday: The Ballad of God Makers (Easter II)
“Then a shriek went up like the world’s last cry From all nations under heaven, And a master fell before a slave And begged to be forgiven.” So wrote G. K. Chesterton. A poetic reflection upon the meaning of Easter, on this episode of Red Letter...
2021-Mar-26 • 13 minutes
What Aquinas Said
In this episode we ask an empirical question: as we encounter beauty in this world, do we notice any patterns? Are there characteristics that all, or most, beautiful things posses? We take up this question with the greatest of Medieval philosophers,...
2021-Mar-17 • 7 minutes
RLP Holiday: St. Patrick's Day II
Escaping enslavement by the Irish, Patrick returns to his former captors, not for revenge; but liberation. Some reflections on St. Patrick on today’s special episode of Red Letter Philosophy.
2021-Mar-12 • 11 minutes
The Argument from Beauty
Beauty, we have learned, cannot be completely subjective. She resists attempts to reduce her to material phenomena and scientific analysis. In today’s episode we make explicit what has been implicit in our previous episodes, namely, the argument...
2021-Feb-26 • 11 minutes
Betwixt Mortal & Immortal
In this episode we continue our elucidation of beauty. We discuss Plato’s view that love then is a ladder between the ideal and the material, between God and man; evidence of another world, a higher reality.
2021-Feb-12 • 11 minutes
The Symposium (Beauty & Love)
Beautiful women, beautiful days, beautiful plays: The manifestations of beauty are many. But what is it that makes all beautiful things beautiful? What is the one among the many? In this episode we contemplate the nature of beauty with the help of...
2021-Feb-12 • 6 minutes
RLP Holiday: Valentine's Day III - Socratic Love
Valentine's Day marks a time or season; a time for love. One of the earliest soliloquies on love comes from Socrates. In one of Plato's great dialogs, The Symposium, Socrates gathers with some friends for a dinner party - really more a drinking party....
2021-Jan-29 • 15 minutes
Plato’s Hippias Major (On Maidens and Gods)
In episodes 8 & 9, we looked at what the nature of beauty says about us (philosophical anthropology), and what the nature of beauty says about the world (something moves behind the scenes). In this episode we encounter the greatest philosopher of...
2021-Jan-16 • 11 minutes
The Light of Beauty Illuminates More Than That Which It Shines Upon
In our last episode we laid out the thesis that we need beautiful things, even more than we need things with a use. In this episode we see that the light of beauty illuminates more than he whom it shines upon. Beauty not only strengthen us against the...
2021-Jan-02 • 11 minutes
RLP Holiday: Christmas III - Silence & Music
The demon Screwtape, in C. S. Lewis’s book The Screwtape Letters, says, "Music and silence—how I detest them both!” In this episode we look at how the Christmas season stands for those things the demons hate, namely, silence and music. It's the...
2020-Dec-19 • 9 minutes
We Are Not Animals
From Aristotle to Camus, wisdom has taught us that our destinies are related to our identities. Our pursuit of beauty reveals a truth about our natures (our identities), namely, that we are not animals.
2020-Dec-04 • 11 minutes
Wilde & Crazy Guys
It is science that is beautiful, not beauty that is scientific. This is why beauty cannot be found in a test tube (as we discussed in the previous episode). In this episode we look at the nature of beauty and confront one of the deep...
2020-Nov-24 • 10 minutes
RLP Holiday: Thanksgiving II - Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
In this episode we celebrate Thanksgiving in the light of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. The story of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is reminiscent of the stories of Flannery O'Connor and the Coen Brothers. Their sorties are often violent, taking a...
2020-Nov-20 • 10 minutes
Beauty in a Test Tube?
In this episode we look at attempts to explain beauty away scientifically and evolutionarily. We ask the question, what is it about beauty that sets it apart? What is it about beauty that makes it a special kind of special? We suggest that it’s an...
2020-Nov-06 • 9 minutes
Judging Beauty
Beauty is strange; being both objective and subjective. Our experience of beauty suggests that not everything real can be understood scientifically. Beauty cannot be found in a test tube, and yet it is objective. Perhaps Plato is...
2020-Oct-31 • 12 minutes
RLP Holiday: Near Death in the ICU (Halloween II)
Is there any evidence that we survive death? Today we examine that question through the work of ICU physician Lauren Bellg. Happy Halloween.
2020-Oct-23 • 9 minutes
High Culture
Is there art that makes one deeper? Is there is art, or faux art, that makes one shallower? In other words, Is there a high culture? Join us as we discuss beauty and why it matters in this episode of Red Letter Philosophy.
2020-Oct-09 • 9 minutes
Is Paris in the Eye of the Beholder?
Is Chesterton right when he says that, “Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere?” Join us as we walk to the edge of the line in this episode of Red Letter Philosophy.
2020-Sep-25 • 8 minutes
Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder?
Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Can beauty be a completely subjective thing? Beauty and meaning explored in this episode of Red Letter Philosophy.
2020-Sep-11 • 9 minutes
RLP Special: September 11th & The Mystery of Evil
On September 11th, we remember the individuals who died, the individuals who were maimed, the individuals who suffered. But we should also heed the words of Pascal, we should not avert our eyes from the radiant light of evil. On today’s show we...
2020-Sep-11 • 11 minutes
But Is It Beautiful?
Could you give a reason, an explanation, or a description to illuminate your intuitions regarding art and beauty? What is it that makes something beautiful? What is it that makes something artful? Why does it matter? Art,...
2020-Aug-28 • 8 minutes
RLP Special: The Endless Summer
In 1966, Bruce Brown created a film titled, “The Endless Summer”. The film has been called charming, uncomplicated, and strange. Brown's movie continues to fascinate and puzzle decades after its release. It is not political. It is not trendy. It...
2020-Aug-21 • 12 minutes
RLP Special: Death in the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is a place where the line between life and death, the line between this world and the next world, grows thin. The Grand Canyon is a reminder that life is serious business. Don't take yourself seriously, but take life very seriously....
2020-Aug-14 • 9 minutes
RLP Special: The Human House
Since at least the time of Plato, and almost certainly before that, some of the greatest and most insightful thinkers have been convinced that there is more to this world than meets the eye. G. K. Chesterton wrote that, "The human house is a paradox,...
2020-Jul-31 • 11 minutes
RLP Special: Spooky Action at a Distance
The sea without and the sea within, like mind and body, or reason and imagination, presents us with two realities. And if Kreeft is right, neither can be reduced to the other, but neither do they exist separately. This makes our world much stranger...
2020-Jul-17 • 8 minutes
RLP Special: I Surf, Therefore I Am
Peter Kreeft, in his second book on the sea and surf, writes that, “the sea herself is the most poetic thing on earth (except perhaps a woman's face), and a breaking wave is the most poetic thing on the sea, and riding it is the most poetic thing...
2020-Jul-04 • 8 minutes
RLP Holiday: Independence Day Reflections
Thomas Sowell, writes that, “the American Revolution was not simply a rebellion against the King of England, it was a rebellion against being ruled by kings in general. That is why the opening salvo of the American Revolution was called 'the shot...
2020-Jul-03 • 10 minutes
RLP Special: The Sea Within
Summer is upon us. Time for a little relaxation: the beach, the breeze, and a good book. Philosopher Peter Kreeft writes that, “a typical book on the sea will tell you what causes storms, but it will not tell you what causes our fascination...
2020-Jul-02 • 6 minutes
Introducing Red Letter Philosophy
This episode is not a usual episode. Think of this as more of an announcement. Permanence is the illusion of every age, and so it is for us. We are changing the name of the show.
2020-Jun-21 • 8 minutes
RLP Holiday: Reflections on Fatherhood
We’d like to propose something radical this Father's Day. Perhaps, fatherhood (and motherhood, for that matter) are not social constructs. Perhaps fatherhood is written into the fabric of reality? Join us today for a reflection on...
2020-Jun-19 • 8 minutes
The End
“The truth is that people who worship health cannot remain healthy." In our day there are few ideals higher than health. Mental health, bodily health, environmental health. If Chesterton is right, it is a sign that we have become sick; we have...
2020-Jun-05 • 7 minutes
The Opiate of the Masses? (Pt. 2)
Karl Marx wrote, "religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people." For Marx, everything is to be understood in terms of material (economic) forces. But...
2020-May-25 • 7 minutes
RLP Holiday: Memorial Day I
There are those, this very day, who would take your freedom from you; for your own good, of course. In a moral universe, there are competing values, and you can't have all values equally. Wars begin in conflicting ideas and values. This is why we...
2020-May-22 • 10 minutes
The Opiate of the Masses? (Pt. 1)
G. K. Chesterton wrote, “take away the supernatural and what remains is the unnatural.” When we lose an appreciation for “the useless”, we lose the ability to see, and to hear, what is close to us; what should be apparent becomes obscure. In...
2020-May-10 • 6 minutes
RLP Holiday: Mother's Day I
G. K. Chesterton wrote: “How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be...
2020-May-08 • 9 minutes
A Friend Indeed, Pt. 2
We need food. We need water. Food and water feed our bodies. If Aristotle is right we need friends; friends who are “useless”. They are the most valuable of friends. But what does friendship feed? Friendship does not feed the body. Perhaps our...
2020-Apr-24 • 9 minutes
A Friend Indeed, Pt. 1
“Friendship is a necessity”, wrote Aristotle. This is especially true in trying times. But not all friendships are worth pursing and maintaining. Who are your friends and why does it matter? These questions (and more)...
2020-Apr-12 • 6 minutes
RLP Holiday: Easter I
The greatest of all paradoxes is celebrated in Easter. In Easter a symbol of death becomes a sign of life. An instrument of torture becomes the signature of hope. Easter reminds that If you want to live forever, you must die....
2020-Apr-10 • 9 minutes
You Are Useless
When we hear the word useless we may think of the word "worthless". But a useless thing can also be priceless. Beauty, friendship, worship, love: these things are useless. What does it say about us that we need useless things? There is something...
2020-Mar-27 • 14 minutes
The Futility of Utility
Very few philosophies are all darkness or all light; most are a mixture. If a philosophy was darkness though and through, no one would take it seriously. Or would they? This week we look at a philosophy that is more darkness than light; a philosophy...
2020-Mar-17 • 8 minutes
RLP Holiday: St. Patrick's Day I
St. Patrick’s Day tells us that there is a will in the fabric of the world. Perhaps there is leprechaun in the green of the tall grass. Perhaps there is a Banshee's scream in the howl of the wind. Thoughts on drinking, religion, and...
2020-Mar-13 • 13 minutes
Can or Kant?
What, if anything, does sexual desire reveal about who we are and what is best in life? Our guest today is the greatest philosopher of the Enlightenment, and one of the most influential philosophers of all time, Immanuel Kant. Join us as...
2020-Feb-28 • 17 minutes
Snobs or Slobs?
Should we allow ourselves to be moved by the vicissitudes of life or should we seek to have a "stiff upper lip?" In other words, are you a Stoic or Hedonist? Cat or dog? Snob or slob? All that and more in episode XII of...
2020-Feb-14 • 14 minutes
RLP Holiday: Valentine's Day II - The Nightingale & The Rose
“This is our dilemma - either to taste and not to know, or to know and not to taste", wrote C. S. Lewis. Such is the nature of love. Love , it seems, cannot be captured by philosophy, for "love is wiser than philosophy", wrote Oscar Wilde. C. S....
2020-Jan-31 • 16 minutes
The Pleasure Principle
Pain and fear may break a man. But not all pain and suffering end in affliction. Sometimes pain and fear can end in happiness. Pleasure, pain, and happiness: the subject of this weeks episode of A Strange Fire.
2020-Jan-17 • 13 minutes
God or Beast?
The gods know too much to ask questions. The beasts know too little to ask questions. We, therefore, are neither gods nor beasts Suppose a person's goodness or excellence is tied to their function? What then is our function? What is then is our good?
2020-Jan-03 • 13 minutes
The Demon of Happiness
We all want to be happy. However, happiness can be an ambiguous word. For example, in today’s age, being happy is often equated with feeling happy. But is how we feel who we are? Or is true happiness, and the true mirror of ourselves - our...
2019-Dec-23 • 9 minutes
RLP Holiday: 'Tis the Season (Christmas II)
Christmas breaks upon us, and everything changes. What was unknown is made known, what was mythic becomes historic. Come explore the reason for the season. Merry Christmas.
2019-Dec-20 • 12 minutes
Aristotle & Happiness
What is it at which all things aim? What is it that is desired for it’s own sake? What is the virtue of virtues and the good of all goods? We finally arrive at an answer to central question of the season, and to one of the most important questions...
2019-Dec-06 • 14 minutes
The Barbarian & The Philosopher
Two questions that cannot be separated: Who are you? Where are you going? Today we learn from a barbarian and a philosopher that our identities and our destinies are intertwined. You cannot discuss the good without discussing the existential. So, who...
2019-Nov-27 • 11 minutes
RLP Holiday: Thanksgiving
In his book, "Pensees", the great Blaise Pascal reflected on the brief span of his life, of any of our lives. He wrote, “I take fright and am amazed to see myself here rather than there; there is no reason for me to be here rather than there,...
2019-Nov-22 • 15 minutes
Viktor Frankl & The Meaning of Life
Nietzsche wrote, "He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how”. Today we discuss what it is that makes life meaningful. What could be more important?
2019-Nov-08 • 13 minutes
Albert Camus & The Myth of Sisyphus
Albert Camus, philosopher and novelist, once wrote that there was only one genuine philosophical problem: suicide. Camus wrote that, “Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy....
2019-Oct-31 • 14 minutes
RLP Holiday: But Is It Real? Halloween I
What is it about Halloween? Is it the candy and dressing up? Is it trick or treating in a decorated neighborhood? Is it parties? What is it about the dark imagery, the witches, the vampires, and of course, the ghosts...
2019-Oct-25 • 12 minutes
Jean-Paul Sartre, Ethics & Meaning
If morality cannot be reduced to culture or emotion, then what is it? Perhaps it is simply a subjective thing. But there’s a problem with this. In the words of Jordan Peterson, “we cannot invent our values, because we cannot...
2019-Oct-11 • 13 minutes
C. S. Lewis & The Unavoidable Invisible
This week we confront a reality - a law, to use Lewis' language - that is unavoidable, yet can be disobeyed. We contemplate a reality that presses upon you as much as gravity, but cannot be measured and weighed by any instrument of science; a...
2019-Sep-27 • 12 minutes
David Hume & The Impotence of Reason
The British Empiricist, David Hume, wrote: "reason alone can never be a motive to any action of the will”. If Hume is right, and the thing that separates us from the beasts, our ability to reason, is not enough to help us navigate the...
2019-Sep-20 • 22 minutes
A Horseman in the Sky
Filled with amazement and terror by this apparition of a horseman in the sky - half believing himself the chosen scribe of some new Apocalypse, [he] was overcome by the intensity of his emotions; his legs failed him and he fell.” So goes the...
2019-Sep-13 • 11 minutes
Life Is Still a Pigsty
In our thinking and in our doing we presume that life is meaningful. We believe our decisions matters. We believe our lives matter. We assume there really is a right and wrong and that it's all going somewhere... somewhere that...
2019-Aug-30 • 16 minutes
RLP Special: Conan the Barbarian & Philosophy
There is a story we’re telling with our podcast. It’s going somewhere. We love stories, we need stories, because stories are about life. We have used other stories to help tell our story: The Lord of the Flies, The Ring...
2019-Aug-16 • 15 minutes
RLP Special: The Smiths, Morrissey & Philosophy
Season 1 is a wrap. As we prepare for the 2nd season, we have a couple of slightly different episodes for you. What we’ve been trying to communicate philosophically - that life is strange, and in the strangeness we come to see...
2019-Aug-02 • 11 minutes
Plato's Cave, Pt. 2
This world, this material reality before us, is like a cave. It's not an illusion. It's real, but it is not ultimately real. There is something above and beyond it. Appearance doesn't always match reality. There is more to this life...
2019-Jul-19 • 9 minutes
Plato's Cave, Pt. 1
Our world is a spooky place. Consider that we live in a universe, not a diverse. The things of the world must have something in common. What is it? Life is movement. When you don't move, you die. But the movement of your life . ....
2019-Jul-04 • 8 minutes
RLP Holiday: A Strange Revolution
July 4th is Independence Day in the United States. Whether you are American or not, and most of humanity is not, the story of the American revolution is a strange one: mysterious events, inexplicable timing, improbable outcomes. Today we...
2019-Jul-04 • 13 minutes
RLP Special: Stranger Things - A Prequel
Sometimes things are not what they seem. Sometimes life is strange. The realization that appearance does not always mirror reality, or that appearance does not exhaust reality is ancient, ancient yet contemporary. It may, perhaps, be the fundamental...
2019-Jun-21 • 13 minutes
Narrative and Reality
Beware the myths, the narratives, about you; for they may enlighten our minds and sharpen our perception of the world, but they may also darken our minds and dull our perception of the world.
2019-Jun-07 • 13 minutes
The Fall of Gyges
Fame? Fortune? Frivolity? What would you give, and what would you do, to possess these things permanently? What price would you pay? What if the health and wealth of the outer woman came at the price of the health and wealth of...
2019-May-24 • 13 minutes
The Ring of Gyges
Are we evil by nature? Are we good by nature? Or does our nature, if we have a nature, lie somewhere between good and evil? Suppose you were given a ring - a ring that made you invisible before God and man. Would you continue to...
2019-May-10 • 14 minutes
What to do with evil? (Fight it? Deny it? Flee from it?) How to understand it? (Is it real, is it illusion, or is it something else entirely?) How to know what follows and what doesn’t follow from its presence in our lives and in our world? (God is...
2019-Apr-26 • 15 minutes
Whence Evil?
"Is he (God) willing to prevent evil, but not able? then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? then whence evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” - Epicurus In this...
2019-Apr-12 • 9 minutes
Be Quick, But Don't Hurry
If you can’t generalize, you can’t see patterns in life, and if you can’t see patterns in life, then you can’t be wise. In this episode we explore the nature of wisdom.
2019-Mar-29 • 13 minutes
And Then There Were Four
Identity, content, origin, destiny: who are you? What are you composed of? Where do you come from? Where are you going? Four questions, four ingredients in the making of a meaningful life. To know where you’re going is to know who you are; your...
2019-Mar-15 • 11 minutes
Wondrous Strange
The philosopher seeks truth and reality. Truth is articulated, reality is experienced. But what if there is not a reality? What if there are realties? This world is material and objective, but there is...
2019-Mar-01 • 11 minutes
Where Are You?
Jack & Kate & Hurley & . . . Chesterton? Not all who wander are lost wrote J.R.R. Tolkien. But it is also true that not all who are lost wander. Are you lost? Do you know where are...
2019-Feb-15 • 12 minutes
Mind the Gap
What can philosophy teach us about the importance of being mindful? How can philosophy help us to understand the meaning of life? Life, language and the meaning of it all: Episode VIII of A Strange Fire.
2019-Feb-10 • 4 minutes
RLP Holiday: Romance and The Devil
Life is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy for those who feel. Celebrate the season of St. Valentine with Ambrose Bierce, for those who think, and Edgar Allen Poe, for those who feel.
2019-Feb-01 • 11 minutes
The Madmen
Reality is experienced, truth is comprehended and articulated. Without truth we cannot talk about reality. But the road to and through truth is treacherous and full of temptations. In this episode we continue on the...
2019-Jan-18 • 10 minutes
Everything Comes with a Price
You can’t have it all. Every action, every choice you make carries a consequence. For in life, everything comes with a price. What prices are you paying?
2019-Jan-04 • 10 minutes
Stage-One Thinking
A guiding light amidst the darkness. In this episode we explore the virtue of thinking, and the folly of stage-one thinking. Life is strange, not irrational.
2018-Dec-21 • 8 minutes
RLP Holiday: It's a Wonderful Life
Life is strange. All of it. In this special Christmas episode, we examine the life of George Bailey.
2018-Dec-21 • 12 minutes
Strange Ways
Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all. Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
2018-Dec-07 • 10 minutes
A Philosophy of Light
There is war in the night, no one knowing whom he strikes. All depends on the philosophy of light.
2018-Nov-23 • 13 minutes
Asking the Right Questions
Clandestine forces pushing you, pulling you; ever present in your life. But it's not more knowledge that will open your eyes to their presence, it's wisdom. An episode for those with eyes to see.
2018-Nov-09 • 10 minutes
Life Is a Pigsty
Men plot, God Laughs, so goes a Yiddish saying. Philosophers might say we find ourselves at an epistemological disadvantage. We know our experiences and machinations can be more about appearance than reality. We can be...