Twitter: @PartiallyExLife • @MarkLinsenmayer • @wesalwan • @DylanPEL
2009 to present
Average episode: 54 minutes
Open in Apple Podcasts • RSS
Categories: Three+ Hosts
Podcaster's summary: The Partially Examined Life is a 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 flippancy. You don't have to know any philosophy, or even to have read the text we're talking about to (mostly) follow and (hopefully) enjoy the discussion. For links to the texts we discuss and other info, check out https://www.partiallyexaminedlife.com. | | We also feature episodes from other podcasts by our hosts to round out your partially examined life, including Pretty Much Pop (prettymuchpop.com, covering all media), Nakedly Examined Music (nakedlyexaminedmusic.com, deconstructing songs), Philosophy vs. Improv (philosophyimprov.com, fun with performance skills and philosophical ideas), and (sub)Text (subtextpodcast.com, looking deeply at lit and film). Learn about more network podcasts at partiallyexaminedlife.com.
Discover other podcasts.
|2023-Nov-27 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 330: Kierkegaard's "Either/Or": The Aesthetic Life (Part One)
On the aphorisms ("Diapsalmata") that begin Soren Kierkegaard's Either/Or (1843), plus the essay also in the first volume, "Rotation of Crops." What is it to live your life as if it were a work of art? K thinks such a life is unserious and...
|2023-Nov-26 • 56 minutes|
PEL Presents (SUB)TEXT: The Emptiness of Signification in Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale" (Part 1 of 6)
When King Leontes accuses his pregnant wife of adultery, the nobleman Antigonus assumes that Leontes has been “abused and by some putter-on”—in other words, some Iago-like villain has been putting malevolent ideas into his head. In fact, Leontes...
|2023-Nov-25 • 53 minutes|
Ep. 329: Kierkegaard on Irony (Part Three/Closereads Part One)
Mark and Wes Closeread the conclusion to Soren Kierkegaard's On the Concept of Irony (1841), "Irony as a Controlled Element, the Truth of Irony." The discussion starts with the role of irony in good art, and then moves on to discuss the proper role of...
|2023-Nov-22 • 47 minutes|
PEL Presents PMP#162: Poe Flavoring Upon the House of Usher
We discuss the loose mishmash adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe stories that makes up Mike Flanagan's Netflix show, The Fall of the House of Usher. Mark, Lawrence, Sarahlyn, and Al talk about the various creative choices, moral responsibility in the show,...
|2023-Nov-20 • 56 minutes|
Ep. 329: Kierkegaard on Irony (Part Two)
Continuing with On the Concept of Irony, defined as "infinite absolute negativity." K criticizes his Romantic peers of taking irony too far. So what is healthy, well-grounded irony? Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes and bonus content...
|2023-Nov-17 • 53 minutes|
PEL Presents: Philosophy vs. Improv #65: Pop Spice
Recorded on 9/11 (a date not known primarily for its improv activities), only now making its way to you, this discussion between Mark and Bill talk child deification, pop philosophy vs. pop improv, foreign accents, and guns in schools in the hands of...
|2023-Nov-13 • 46 minutes|
Ep. 329: Kierkegaard on Irony (Part One)
Discussing On the Concept of Irony (1841). Kierkegaard builds up to telling us what irony is by showing how Socrates invented irony, as characterized by his wholly negative project of showing others that their beliefs inherited from society are wrong....
|2023-Nov-11 • 69 minutes|
PEL Presents NEM#205: Tom Heyman: Unreliable Narrator
Tom is best known as a steel guitar player who has guested with artists like Alejandro Escovedo, John Doe, and Sonny Smith. He started in the late '80s with the Philadelphia energetic alt-country band Go to Blazes. After five albums with them, he...
|2023-Nov-10 • 10 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 328: Yascha Mounk Against Identity Politics (Part Three)
Mark, Wes, Dylan, and now Seth too discuss further Mounk's project in The Identity Trap and what philosophically we can glean from it. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2023-Nov-06 • 60 minutes|
Ep. 328: Guest Yascha Mounk Against Identity Politics (Part Two)
Continuing on The Identity Trap (2023). Which works better to achieve social progress; classical liberalism, or strategies involving emphasis of identity group membership? Do we even have to pick a side, or can we pragmatically choose strategies from...
|2023-Nov-04 • 62 minutes|
PEL Presents (SUB)TEXT: Terminal Wooings in "The Odyssey" (Part 3 of 3)
Wes & Erin discuss the final 12 books of "The Odyssey," translated by Emily Wilson. Thanks to our sponsors for this episode St. John’s College, and Füm. Learn more about undergraduate–and graduate–Great Books programs at St. John’s in...
|2023-Oct-30 • 51 minutes|
Ep. 328: Guest Yascha Mounk Against Identity Politics (Part One)
On The Identity Trap (2023), an intellectual history of wokeness (aka "the identity synthesis") and defense of philosophical liberalism against this set of ideas. Are our differences more important than that which unites us? Get more at . Visit to...
|2023-Oct-29 • 49 minutes|
PEL Presents PMP#161: Revisiting "The Exorcist"
Mark, Lawrence, Sarahlyn, and Al talk about the original 1973 film (and the 1971 novel), the new Exorcist: Believer, with some talk of the early sequels. What makes the original film so scary? Its adjacency to real-life parental fears? Does the new...
|2023-Oct-28 • 12 minutes|
PREMIUM-PEL Fall Nightcap 2023
Mark, Wes, and Seth talk more about bullshit, Derrida and other difficult and arguably bullshitty philosophy, expressing truths through bodily movement, horror movies, and our coverage of author-guests and works that provide an introductory roadmap to...
|2023-Oct-23 • 53 minutes|
Ep. 327: Harry Frankfurt on Bullsh*t and Authenticity (Part Two)
On Frankfurt's essay "The Importance of What We Care About" (1982), which distinguishes the question of what to value from ethical questions and explores the extent to which deciding what to care about is a free act. Get more at . Visit to get...
|2023-Oct-16 • 45 minutes|
Ep. 327: Harry Frankfurt on Bullsh*t and Authenticity (Part One)
Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Seth discuss the celebrated 1986 essay "On Bullshit." Does bullshit necessarily involve lying? Frankfurt defines it as instead indifferent to truth, though still deceptive about what kind of speech act the audience is supposed to...
|2023-Oct-14 • 58 minutes|
PEL Presents PvI#63: Virtual Socrates w/ David Chalmers
The New York University Prof and author of many influential books including the new Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy joins Mark and Bill to simulate debates about AI, cybersex, actor vs. character, and keeping children safe from...
|2023-Oct-09 • 52 minutes|
Ep. 326: Michael Tomasello on the Evolution of Agency (Part Two)
Wes, Dylan, and guest Chris Heath continue to discuss The Evolution of Agency (2022) in light of our interview with the author. We relate examples from the book of animals of various levels of complexity making deliberative decisions, exhibiting...
|2023-Oct-02 • 46 minutes|
Ep. 326: Guest Michael Tomasello on the Evolution of Agency (Part One)
On The Evolution of Agency (2022), with the author, and guest panelist Chris Heath. What is human agency? How would we determine whether an animal is a legitimate agent, as opposed to just acting automatically? Tomasello investigates this by thinking...
|2023-Sep-25 • 56 minutes|
Ep. 325: Paul Grice on Meaning and Conversation (Part Two)
Continuing on "Meaning" (1957), "Utterer’s Meaning and Intentions" (1969), and "Logic and Conversation" (1975) with guest Steve Gimbell. We tie the articles together, talk more about the rules implicit in conversation, and try to relate Grice's...
|2023-Sep-18 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 325: Paul Grice on Meaning and Conversation (Part One)
On "Meaning" (1957), "Utterer’s Meaning and Intentions" (1969), and "Logic and Conversation" (1975), featuring Mark, Seth, Dylan, and guest . Grice tries to give a rigorous analysis of what it means for a speaker (as opposed to a sentence) to mean...
|2023-Sep-13 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 324: Plato's "Cratylus" on Language (Part Three)
Mark and Wes do a Closeread on the latter part of the dialogue, where Socrates argues to Cratylus that even if names (words) were devised to somehow depict the things they stand for, that wouldn't guarantee that they ACCURATELY describe the world. You...
|2023-Sep-11 • 46 minutes|
Ep. 324: Plato's "Cratylus" on Language (Part Two)
Continuing on Plato's mid-period dialogue about language. Is attaching a word to a thing, i.e. naming it, like other activities such as carpentry or sewing that can go wrong? Can we put the "form" of a thing into letters and syllabus of its name? We...
|2023-Sep-04 • 50 minutes|
Ep. 324: Plato's "Cratylus" on Language (Part One)
On Plato's mid-period dialogue from around 388 BCE. How do words relate to the things they represent? Socrates first argues that words represent things, and so doing etymology is a way of learning philosophical truths, then seemingly reverses himself....
|2023-Aug-29 • 10 minutes|
PREMIUM-PEL End-of-Summer Nightcap 2023
Mark, Seth, Dylan, and eventually Wes talk about traveling, Barbie, gender, evolutionary psychology, cognitive science, and more. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2023-Aug-28 • 48 minutes|
Ep. 323: Acquiring Language: Tomasello vs. Chomsky (Part Two)
Continuing on Michael Tomasello's "Language Is Not an Instinct" (1995) and Constructing a Language: A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition (2003), as contrasted with Chomsky universal grammar (the flag that Steven Pinker continues to carry)....
|2023-Aug-27 • 68 minutes|
(SUB)TEXT: Home as Identity in "The Odyssey"
He was famously a man of many ways, whether we interpret these as abilities or norms; designs or deceptions; reasons or identities. Yet despite such resources, he was also famously stuck, making a 10-year odyssey of his attempt to return home from a...
|2023-Aug-21 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 323: Acquiring Language: Tomasello vs. Chomsky (Part One)
On Michael Tomasello's "Language Is Not an Instinct" (1995) and Constructing a Language: A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition (2003). With guest Christopher Heath. Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion....
|2023-Aug-20 • 77 minutes|
NEM#201: Ivan Neville Gets Personal (but Still Funky)
Ivan is the keyboardist/singer/multi-instrumentalist son of Aaron Neville and has played with the Neville Brothers, The Rolling Stones The Spin Doctors, etc. He has released eight albums since 1988, half of these under the band name Dumpstaphunk. We...
|2023-Aug-14 • 55 minutes|
PEL Closereads: Emerson's Oversoul (New Podcast Premiere)
Are we underlyingly all really a single, unified organism? Or do we just have a lot in common? PEL's most verbose hosts Mark Linsenmayer and Wes Alwan begin unraveling this puzzling claim by reading Ralph Waldo Emerson's 1841 essay "The Over-Soul" and...
|2023-Aug-07 • 57 minutes|
Ep. 322: Schelling on Art vs. Nature (Part Three)
Mark and Wes conclude with some close reading of Part 6 of System of Transcendental Idealism (1800), section 3: "Relation of Art to Philosophy." Schelling thinks that art enables us to do intuitively what philosophy tries to do with concepts. We're...
|2023-Jul-31 • 48 minutes|
Ep. 322: Schelling on Art vs. Nature (Part Two)
Continuing on "On the Relation Between the Plastic Arts and Nature" (1807) and Part 6 of System of Transcendental Idealism (1800). We talk sculpture vs. painting and why art is the direct, intuitive way to achieve the insight that philosophy can only...
|2023-Jul-24 • 48 minutes|
Ep. 322: Schelling on Art vs. Nature (Part One)
Discussing "On the Relation Between the Plastic Arts and Nature" (1807) and Part 6 of System of Transcendental Idealism (1800). Is the goal of art to imitate nature? Only if that means showing the divine, ideal, dynamic aspect of the subject matter...
|2023-Jul-21 • 12 minutes|
PREMIUM-PEL Tech Nightcap July 2023
Mark, Wes, and Seth talk about how we might cover philosophy of technology, and other areas like medical ethics, business ethics, environmental ethics, etc. Do we remember things that we recorded a few years back? What summer films are we looking...
|2023-Jul-17 • 45 minutes|
Ep. 321: August Schlegel on Beauty (Part Two)
We continue on Theory of Art, getting more into sections of the text about the relationship between beauty and purposiveness, genius, unconscious vs. conscious creation, style vs. manner, and art imitating nature. Get more at . Visit to get ad-free...
|2023-Jul-10 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 321: August Schlegel on Beauty (Part One)
Covering the elder Schlegel brother's Theory of Art (ca. 1800). How does our experience of Beauty relate to the infinite? Schlegel provides a Romantic response to Kant on knowing the divine, inner essences of things through art, how genius...
|2023-Jul-08 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 320: Friedrich Schlegel on Romanticism (Part Three)
Mark and Wes conclude our discussion of the younger Schlegel brother by going through more of his critical fragments, largely published in 1797 in the journal Lyceum Tier Schonen Kunste. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described...
|2023-Jul-03 • 45 minutes|
Ep. 320: Friedrich Schlegel on Romanticism (Part Two)
We continue on Schlegel's "Dialogue on Poesy" (1799) and "Concerning the Essence of Critique" (1804). How can Romantic art always aim at some common source of our humanity yet also require originality? How can having some sort of common mythology help...
|2023-Jun-26 • 47 minutes|
Ep. 320: Friedrich Schlegel on Romanticism (Part One)
On selected fragments from 1797-1801, "Dialogue on Poesy" (1799), and "Concerning the Essence of Critique" (1804). What makes art "Romantic"? Schlegel sees good art as uniquely, authentically reaching out to a divine source that underlies and connects...
|2023-Jun-23 • 10 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 319: Schiller on Experiencing Beauty (Part Three)
We complete our treatment of On the Aesthetic Education of Man by considering its final letters in more detail. Does Reason really make us more moral? And does the embrace of Beauty really point us to Reason, or does self-consciousness rule out...
|2023-Jun-19 • 50 minutes|
Ep. 319: Schiller on Experiencing Beauty (Part Two)
Starting with letter 20 in On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1795), we tell more of the story of how art is supposed to get us from sensation to thinking. Aesthetic perception ends up being essential to any conceptualization (thinking) whatsoever!...
|2023-Jun-11 • 47 minutes|
Ep. 319: Schiller on Experiencing Beauty (Part One)
On the second half of Friedrich Schiller's On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1795), getting into the mechanics of how aesthetic experience work in giving us a midpoint between animality and pure rationality where we can feel free. Also, does art...
|2023-Jun-10 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 318: Friedrich Schiller on the Civilizing Potential of Art (Part Three)
Mark and Wes dive deeper into the text of the first several letters of On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1795). Are verbal descriptions of art destined to fall short? What is it to put yourself forward as a representative of your species? These...
|2023-Jun-05 • 56 minutes|
Ep. 318: Friedrich Schiller on the Civilizing Potential of Art (Part Two)
We continue working through letters 1-15 of On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1795), helped by . We get clearer on what Schiller means by Beauty, and how two contrary drives toward matter and form somehow cancel each other out to combine in a "play...
|2023-May-29 • 45 minutes|
Ep. 318: Friedrich Schiller on the Civilizing Potential of Art (Part One)
Can art make us better people? Musician joins Mark, Wes, and Seth to discussion the first half of On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1795). Given the failure of the French Revolution, this famous German poet wondered what could make the masses...
|2023-May-22 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 317: Character Philosophies in Dostoevsky's "Brothers Karamazov" (Part Two)
To conclude our discussion of the novel, we turn to the philosophies of Dmitri and Ivan, plus the Biblical book of Job and our takeaways. Do we need some philosophy of transcendence to cope? If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options...
|2023-May-15 • 55 minutes|
Ep. 317: Character Philosophies in Dostoevsky's "Brothers Karamazov" (Part One)
Following up on , we further ponder the 1869 novel, revisiting the "problem of evil" arguments and how the various brothers cope with an imperfect world. Plus, we relate Dostoevsky to other existentialists. Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes...
|2023-May-08 • 36 minutes|
Ep. 316: Dostoevsky's "Brothers Karamazov": PEL Live in NYC (Part Two)
Continuing on Dostoevsky's 1880 novel, we respond to some objections to the Christian arguments that the characters Alyosha and Zosima put forward to respond to Ivan's "Rebellion" and "Grand Inquisitor" arguments. Most of these objections come from...
|2023-May-01 • 40 minutes|
Ep. 316: Dostoevsky's "Brothers Karamazov": PEL Live in NYC (Part One)
On Fyodor Dostoevsky's 1880 existentialist novel, focusing mostly on the "Rebellion" and "Grand Inquisitor" chapters. How can we reconcile ourselves to the existence of evil and suffering? The character Ivan argues that we can't, that children's...
|2023-Apr-24 • 10 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 315: Mengzi (Mencius) on Virtuous Leaders (Part Two)
To conclude our treatment of this seminal Confucian text, we consider a particularly puzzling passage about ethics and then move to politics and economics. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2023-Apr-17 • 38 minutes|
Ep. 315: Mengzi (Mencius) on Virtuous Leaders (Part One)
Continuing from , we go further into the collected teachings of this early Confucian (aka Ruhist) from the late 4th century BCE. What's the best way to be a virtuous person and hence an effective leader? Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes...
|2023-Apr-14 • 13 minutes|
PREMIUM-PEL Nightcap April 2023
Recorded 4/3/23 as we prepped for our live show, Mark, Wes and Dylan talk about The Last of Us and possible future episodes on animal ethics and/or animal consciousness, the death drive, plus the already tentatively scheduled episodes about...
|2023-Apr-10 • 46 minutes|
Ep. 314: Mengzi (Mencius) on Moral Psychology (Part Two)
Continuing on the teachings of Mengzi from ca. 350 BCE, without our guest. We go into textual quotes, covering the "sprouts" of virtue, whether human nature is good or simply malleable, whether tastes are universal, and more. Get more at . Visit to...
|2023-Apr-03 • 41 minutes|
Ep. 314: Mengzi (Mencius) on Moral Psychology (Part One)
On the greatest early philosopher interpreting and expanding on Confucius, from ca. 350 BCE. with guest of the St. John's College Eastern Classics program. We talk about the challenges of connecting ancient Chinese and Greek philosophies and explore...
|2023-Apr-02 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 313: Mozi's Political Ethics (Part Three)
We get into quotes from Mozi about his arguments against fatalism and Confucianism, support for meritocracy and identifying with superiors, and description of the Will of Heaven. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2023-Mar-27 • 52 minutes|
Ep. 313: Mozi's Political Ethics (Part Two)
Continuing on the central Mohist text, with guest Tzuchien Tho. We talk about Mozi's ideas about encouraging morality, preventing war, restricting music and elaborate funerals, plus the Will of Heaven, identification with one's superiors, and...
|2023-Mar-20 • 47 minutes|
Ep. 313: Mozi's Political Ethics (Part One)
On selections of the central Mohist text, from ca. 430 B.C.E., with guest Tzuchien Tho. Mozi claims that we should regard everyone on the same level as our family and believe whatever doctrines will be most beneficial to the people. Get more at ....
|2023-Mar-20 • 9 minutes|
PREMIUM-PEL Nightcap Late March 2023
Mark, Seth, and Dylan talk about what makes for a fitting tribute for those departed, mourning customs, how Daoism has personally affected us, and more. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2023-Mar-13 • 39 minutes|
Ep. 312: The Dao De Jing on Virtue (Part Two)
Concluding our discussion of the Daodejing with guest Theo Brooks. We cover some more ambiguous cosmological passages and return to political philosophy. Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
|2023-Mar-06 • 46 minutes|
Ep. 312: The Dao De Jing on Virtue (Part One)
For our second full discussion on the Daodejing by Laozi, we talk about the actions and attitudes that characterize the Daoist sage. With Theo Brooks. Topics include being virtuous vs. just following rules, Daoist tranquility, achieving without trying...
|2023-Mar-05 • 9 minutes|
PREMIUM-PEL Nightcap Early March 2023
Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Seth reflect on the interpretive challenges of the Daodejing, and in the full Nightcap, take on the question of whether philosophy works as self-help. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2023-Feb-27 • 42 minutes|
Ep. 311: Understanding the Dao De Jing (Part Two)
Continuing on the central Daoist text with guest Theodore Brooks. We explore practical vs. metaphysical interpretations of the Dao, the relation of things to their opposites, emptiness, and "straw dogs." Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes...
|2023-Feb-20 • 48 minutes|
Ep. 311: Understanding the Dao De Jing (Part One)
On the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching) by Laozi (ca. 500 BCE), with guest Theodore Brooks. We talk about the wildly different, interpretive translations of this foundational Daoist (Taoist) text, its political views, and what the Dao might actually be. Get...
|2023-Feb-18 • 12 minutes|
PREMIUM-PEL Nightcap February 2023
Mark, Wes, and Seth anticipate our Dao De Jing and Dostoevsky recordings and talk about Russian literature. In the full episode, we also talk about covering Hebrew ethics, and, of course, Chat f-ing GPT. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the...
|2023-Feb-13 • 44 minutes|
Ep. 310: Wittgenstein On World-Pictures (Part Two)
Concluding our discussion of On Certainty, with guest Chris Heath. We try one last time to get a handle on Wittgenstein's philosophy of science. How do people actually change their minds about fundamental beliefs? Get more at . Visit to get ad-free...
|2023-Feb-06 • 44 minutes|
Ep. 310: Wittgenstein On World-Pictures (Part One)
We continue with Ludwig Wittgenstein's On Certainty (written 1951), with guest Christopher Heath. What is Wittgenstein's philosophy of science as it's reflected in this book? We talk about Weltbilds (world pictures) and how these relate to language...
|2023-Jan-31 • 10 minutes|
PREMIUM-PEL Nightcap January 2023
We compare translations of Dostoyevsky in prep for our April live show, discuss future show topics, and go over insights from our past discussions on Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options...
|2023-Jan-30 • 39 minutes|
Ep. 309: Wittgenstein On Certainty (Part Two)
Continuing to discuss On Certainty, we get deeply into textual quotes. How does he actually respond to Moore's argument about his hand? How does he extend his account to talk about mathematical and scientific statements? Is Wittgenstein a pragmatist?...
|2023-Jan-23 • 41 minutes|
Ep. 309: Wittgenstein On Certainty (Part One)
Discussing the notes Ludwig Wittgenstein made at the end of his life in 1951 that were published as On Certainty in 1969. Can we coherently doubt propositions like "physical objects exist," "the world is more than 50 years old," and "this is my hand"?...
|2023-Jan-16 • 45 minutes|
Ep. 308: Moore's Proof of Mind-Independent Reality (Part Two)
We quickly complete our treatment of G.E. Moore’s "Proof of the External World" (1939) and move on to consider "Certainty" (1941). Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus content.
|2023-Jan-09 • 44 minutes|
Ep. 308: Moore's Proof of Mind-Independent Reality (Part One)
On G.E. Moore’s "Proof of the External World" (1939) and "Certainty" (1941). Moore shows you his hands and says "these are my hands, which are physical objects, and thus the external world exists!" Does this defeat skepticism? Get more at . Visit ...
|2023-Jan-05 • 10 minutes|
PREMIUM-PEL Nightcap 2022 Wrap-Up
Recorded by Mark, Wes, and Dylan before our Moore discussion, we play one more listener appreciation clip that leads us into an examination of whether you listeners should try to read the texts we cover yourselves. If you're not hearing , sign up via...
|2023-Jan-02 • 50 minutes|
Ep. 307: G.E. Moore Defends Common Sense (Part Two)
Continuing on "A Defense of Common Sense" (1925). Moore argues that physical facts are not dependent on minds and considers the various ways of analyzing the act of seeing and identifying your hand. Yes, he really does this! Get more at . Visit to...
|2022-Dec-26 • 42 minutes|
Ep. 307: G.E. Moore Defends Common Sense (Part One)
On "A Defense of Common Sense" (1925), featuring Mark, Wes, Seth, and Dylan. Moore defends our pre-philosophical certainty in beliefs about the existence of physical objects and other minds against skeptics and idealists. Is his apparently simple...
|2022-Dec-24 • 12 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 306: Dworkin and the Dobbs Decision (Part Three)
Concluding on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2021) Supreme Court decision. We talk more about the rationale for the decision and in particular the dissent by Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of...
|2022-Dec-19 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 306: Dworkin and the Dobbs Decision (Part Two)
Continuing on Ronald Dworkin's "Unenumerated Rights: Whether and How Roe Should be Overruled" (1992) and the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (2021) decision featuring guest Robin Linsenmayer. Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes...
|2022-Dec-12 • 42 minutes|
Ep. 306: Dworkin and the Dobbs Decision (Part One)
Does the U.S. Constitution guarantee the right to an abortion? We discuss Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (2021) and Ronald Dworkin's "Unenumerated Rights: Whether and How Roe Should be Overruled" (1992). With guest Robin Linsenmayer. Get...
|2022-Dec-10 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 305: Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" (Part Three)
To conclude our discussion of Blood Meridian, we talk about the roles of maturation and regression in the novel, plus more on Judge Holden's philosophy, and more. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2022-Dec-05 • 47 minutes|
Ep. 305: Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" (Part Two)
Continuing on McCarthy's 1985 novel, we discuss the philosophy of war held by the character Judge Holden, plus whether the book's violence is gratuitous and why it might be unfilmable. Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus...
|2022-Nov-28 • 41 minutes|
Ep. 305: Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" (Part One)
On McCarthy's 1985 anti-Western novel, featuring Wes, Seth, and Dylan. How does violence play a role in the way the world works? This novel about a rogue band of scalp hunters presents a pessimistic, nihilistic philosophy where violence is central to...
|2022-Nov-27 • 9 minutes|
PREMIUM-PEL Nightcap November 2022: Listener Testimonials
We recently put out a call among our supporters for some short audio clips of folks telling us about their relationship to PEL, and here they are. Mark, Seth, and Dylan play and respond to some of these. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the...
|2022-Nov-21 • 46 minutes|
Ep. 304: Dworkin v. Hart on Legal Judgment (Part Two)
Continuing on Roland Dworkin's "The Model of Rules" (1967) and Scott J. Shapiro's "The 'Hart-Dworkin' Debate: A Short Guide for the Perplexed" (2007), plus some of Dworkin's "Hard Cases" (1977). How do Hartians respond to Dworkin's initial attack? Can...
|2022-Nov-14 • 39 minutes|
Ep. 304: Dworkin v. Hart on Legal Judgment (Part One)
On Ronald Dworkin's "The Model of Rules" (1967) and Scott J. Shapiro's "The 'Hart-Dworkin' Debate: A Short Guide for the Perplexed" (2007). How do judges make decisions in hard cases? When the law "runs out" and doesn't definitively decide an issue,...
|2022-Nov-11 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 303: H.L.A. Hart on the Foundations of Law (Part Three)
On The Concept of Law (1961), ch. 6, "Foundations of a Legal System," on Hart's concept of a rule of recognition that ultimately determines what will count as a law in a given society. This ends up being more complicated than merely "The...
|2022-Nov-07 • 51 minutes|
Ep. 303: H.L.A. Hart on the Foundations of Law (Part Two)
Continuing on "Positivism and the Separation of Law and Morals" (1958) and The Concept of Law (1961), ch. 5 and 6. If law is not based on morality, then why obey the law? What makes a legal system exist at all, as opposed to a lawless state? Is saying...
|2022-Oct-31 • 43 minutes|
Ep. 303: H.L.A. Hart on the Foundations of Law (Part One)
On "Positivism and the Separation of Law and Morals" (1958) and The Concept of Law (1961), ch. 5 and 6. What's the relationship between law and morality? If law isn't founded on morality, what is it founded on? Hart's legal positivism makes a sharp...
|2022-Oct-29 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 302: Erasmus Praises Foolishness (Part Three)
Mark, Wes, and eventually Dylan recap The Praise of Folly, getting into Erasmus' ambivalent take on asceticism. In the full episode, we get seriously personal and cover his sexism and comments on love, the folly of fandom, and the role of humor...
|2022-Oct-24 • 47 minutes|
Ep. 302: Erasmus Praises Foolishness (Part Two)
Continuing on The Praise of Folly with guest Nathan Gilmour. Can foolishness actually make us more prudent? Is it necessary for us to all get along in the world and accomplish things? Erasmus critiques pretentious, performative theologians among many...
|2022-Oct-17 • 46 minutes|
Ep. 302: Erasmus Praises Foolishness (Part One)
On Desiderius Erasmus' The Praise of Folly (1509), featuring Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Nathan Gilmour from the Christian Humanist podcast. Does some amount of foolishness enhance life? Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus...
|2022-Oct-14 • 17 minutes|
PREMIUM-PEL Representation Nightcap October 2022
Mark, Wes, and Dylan explore the question, "Is it necessary for us to have representatives of an affected group with us as guests when we talk about an issue in philosophy that affects that group?" What do you think? If you're not hearing , sign up...
|2022-Oct-13 • 50 minutes|
PEL Presents PvI#40: Rules and Voices with Stephen West (Philosophize This!)
Stephen West from the juggernaut podcast joins Mark and Bill to learn to say no and talk about reason vs. emotion in grounding ethics. What do the voices in your head (or at your lunch table) say to you? Mark philosophizes at . Bill improvises (and...
|2022-Oct-10 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 301: Is Abortion Morally Permissible? (Part Three)
Jenny Hansen joins us to cover "On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion" by Mary Anne Warren (1973), with more thoughts on "A Defense of Abortion" (1971) by Judith Jarvis Thomson. Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus...
|2022-Oct-03 • 43 minutes|
Ep. 301: Is Abortion Morally Permissible? (Part Two)
Continuing on Judith Jarvis Thomson's "A Defense of Abortion" (1971), plus Don Marquis' "Why Abortion is Immoral" (1989) and a summary of Mary Anne Warren's "On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion" (1973), which we'll continue next week in part...
|2022-Sep-30 • 74 minutes|
PEL Presents NEM#181: Robyn Hitchcock Forgets Himself, Sharply
Robyn has been producing a distinctive flavor of very British rock with surrealist lyrics for 35+ albums since 1979. We discuss "The Raging Muse" (and close by listening to "The Shuffle Man") from Shufflemania (2022), "Mad Shelly's Letterbox" from...
|2022-Sep-26 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 301: Is Abortion Morally Permissible? (Part One)
We discuss widely read papers about abortion, including an excerpt from Roe v. Wade (1973) and Judith Jarvis Thomson's "A Defense of Abortion" (1971). Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
|2022-Sep-23 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 300: Nietzsche on Relating to History (Part Three)
Mark, Wes, and Dylan conclude our discussion of “On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life” (1874). What is the practical upshot of Nietzsche's recommendations for using history well and not letting it overwhelm you? If you're not hearing...
|2022-Sep-19 • 41 minutes|
Ep. 300: Nietzsche on Relating to History (Part Two)
Continuing on "On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life" (1874), we get into the antiquarian use of history and the critical approach to history and Nietzsche's humanistic goals in his essay. How can we use history to help refine human...
|2022-Sep-12 • 44 minutes|
Ep. 300: Nietzsche on Relating to History (Part One)
In this , we discuss “On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life” (1874), aka Untimely Meditation #2. What is the healthiest way to relate to our history? Nietzsche describes some approaches to history which meet human needs but which can...
|2022-Sep-03 • 12 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 299: Philosophy in Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens" (Part Three)
Mark, Wes, and Dylan conclude our discussion of Shakespeare's play. Chiefly, we talk about the exchanges about art in the play: How does art relate to life and to commerce? If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2022-Aug-29 • 51 minutes|
Ep. 299: Philosophy in Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens" (Part Two)
Continuing to discuss the play, now with guest Sarah Manton. We get into Cynicism, the Alcibiades sub-plot, a feminist angle on the play, and more. Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including the...
|2022-Aug-22 • 43 minutes|
Ep. 299: Philosophy in Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens" (Part One)
Jonathan Bate, editor of the new RSC complete Shakespeare, joins us to talk about the role of money in the play, the psychology, cynicism, and more. . Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
|2022-Aug-15 • 80 minutes|
Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens" Audioplay (Part Two)
Continuing our performance of William Shakespeare's play, finishing things up with acts 4 and 5 plus some post-performance discussion with the cast. . Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. We'll be live-streaming...
|2022-Aug-08 • 82 minutes|
Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens" Audioplay Feat. Jay O. Sanders, Michael Ian Black, and Michael Tow (Part One)
The PEL players do an unrehearsed reading of Shakespeare's least popular play, which is about money and cynicism. This part includes Acts 1-3. Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
|2022-Aug-05 • 13 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ficino-Flavored Nightcap Early August 2022
Mark and Wes consider more passages from Ficino's Commentary on Plato's Symposium on Love, getting into Ficino's religious psychology and how this relates to Kierkegaard's. If you're not hearing (in which we cover more of Ficino, plus PEL Live, our...
|2022-Aug-01 • 50 minutes|
Ep. 298: Marsilio Ficino on Love (Part Two)
Continuing on Commentary on Plato's Symposium on Love with guest Peter Adamson. We consider F's views on beauty and fill out his neo-Platonic epistemology. Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
|2022-Jul-25 • 46 minutes|
Ep. 298: Marsilio Ficino on Love (Part One)
On Commentary on Plato's Symposium on Love (1475), with guest Peter Adamson. What is the role of love in the universe? Ficino tries to combine Plato's theory of love as reproduction in the presence of beauty with an unorthodox take on Christian...
|2022-Jul-23 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 297: Heidegger on the Human Condition (Part Three)
Concluding our close reading of Being and Time, on ch. 3, sec. 15 and 16 on the world as "ready to hand" or equipment. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2022-Jul-18 • 44 minutes|
Ep. 297: Heidegger on the Human Condition (Part Two)
We continue on Being and Time, now in ch. 2 on what "the world" is in our Being-in-the-World and so what it is for us to encounter objects and how this is different than, e.g. the interaction of two physical objects. Get more at . Visit to get...
|2022-Jul-11 • 41 minutes|
Ep. 297: Heidegger on the Human Condition (Part One)
We continue on Being and Time (1927), now into ch. 1 (sec. 9) on Existenz and how our way of Being is different than that of the objects of science, and what this means for authenticity and choice. Get more at . Visit to get ad-free episodes and tons...
|2022-Jul-04 • 60 minutes|
Ep. 296: Heidegger Questions Being (Part Two)
Continuing with our close reading of Being and Time, we talk about why time is the focus of Heidegger's analysis of the human condition, what are phenomena, and so what his phenomenological method looks like and why it must investigate us in our...
|2022-Jun-27 • 50 minutes|
Ep. 296: Heidegger's Questions Being (Part One)
Continuing from our overview in , we do a close reading on selections from the introduction of Martin Heidegger's Being and Time to consider Heidegger's Being in relation to Aristotle's Categories, what questioning means, and some of Heidegger's basic...
|2022-Jun-18 • 10 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 295: Kant on Preventing War (Part Three)
Concluding on Kant's "Perpetual Peace," plus Jurgen Habermas' "Kant's Idea of Perpetual Peace, with the Benefit of Two Hundred Years' Hindsight." If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2022-Jun-13 • 45 minutes|
Ep. 295: Kant on Preventing War (Part Two)
Continuing on Immanuel Kant's essay "Perpetual Peace," we go further into how Kant's politics relate to his ethics and consider his actual policy proposals: each state must be a republic, they should join in a federation, and we all owe each other...
|2022-Jun-06 • 40 minutes|
Ep. 295: Kant on Preventing War (Part One)
On Immanuel Kant's essay "Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch" (1795). Do nations have the "right" to go to war? What principles ground just international relations, and are there structures and agreements that we can embrace to prevent prevent...
|2022-Jun-03 • 14 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 294: Quine on Science vs. Epistemology (Part Three)
Concluding on W.V.O. Quine's "Epistemology Naturalized" (1969). We talk more about the attempt to found epistemology on psychology. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2022-May-30 • 35 minutes|
Ep. 294: Quine on Science vs. Epistemology (Part Two)
Continuing on "Epistemology Naturalized" (1969), we work further through the text, getting into what this new psychology-rooted epistemology might look like and how Quine changed empiricism. Plus, more of us trying to figure out his claims about the...
|2022-May-23 • 45 minutes|
Ep. 294: Quine on Science vs. Epistemology (Part One)
On W.V.O. Quine's "Epistemology Naturalized" (1969). What justifies scientific theory? Not theory-free observations, as Quine shows us by considering how we figure out foreign languages. Instead of basing science on epistemology, Quine thought we need...
|2022-May-22 • 55 minutes|
Philosophy vs. Improv #32: "On the Standard of [Bad] Taste" w/ Babette Babich
and recently edited the collection "" which Mark made use of for . So, more philosophically beefy than our typical PvI episode, and yet also live and hence unpredictable. Taste it! Mark philosophizes at . Bill improvises (and teaches) at . . to...
|2022-May-16 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 293: Donna Haraway on Feminist Science (Part Two)
Continuing on "Situated Knowledges" and other essays with guest Lynda Olman. We try to get at the practical import of Olman's scheme and get further into her use of metaphors and what those mean for her critical stance. If you're not hearing , sign up...
|2022-May-09 • 54 minutes|
Ep. 293: Donna Haraway on Feminist Science (Part One)
On "Situated Knowledge" (1988), "A Cyborg Manifesto" (1985), etc. featuring guest Lynda Olman. What is scientific objectivity? Haraway rejects both relativism and traditional, "god's eye" objectivism in favor of a "cyborg" view that looks for...
|2022-May-02 • 15 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 292: Langer on Symbolic Music (Part Two)
Concluding on Susanne Langer's Philosophy in a New Key (ch. 8-10). We continue discussing whether and how music is symbolic. Sing along with us! If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2022-Apr-25 • 48 minutes|
Ep. 292: Langer on Symbolic Music (Part One)
On Susanne Langer's Philosophy in a New Key (1942), ch. 8-10. Is music (the supposedly non-representational artform) a language? If it's "expressive," what exactly does it express? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you...
|2022-Apr-18 • 13 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 291: Cassirer and Langer on Myth and Ritual (Part Two)
Continuing our discussion on the symbolic value of religion and its antecedents, primary at this point discussing Susanne Langer's Philosophy in a New Key, ch. 7. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2022-Apr-11 • 45 minutes|
Ep. 291: Cassirer and Langer on Myth and Ritual (Part One)
On Ernst Cassirer's An Essay on Man (1944), ch. 6-7, and Susanne Langer's Philosophy in a New Key (1942), ch. 6-7. Why do people produce ritual, mythology, and religion? According to our authors, these are spontaneous, symbolic modes of...
|2022-Apr-11 • 64 minutes|
PEL Presents NEM#170: Bob Mould From Hüsker Dü to Sugar to Now
Bob has released 20+ albums since the early '80s. We discuss "Forecast of Rain" from (2020), "I Don’t Know You Anymore" from (2014), "JC Auto" by Sugar from (1993), and "In A Free Land" by Hüsker Dü, 1982 singe remixed for (2017). End...
|2022-Apr-04 • 12 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 290: Susanne Langer on Our Symbol-Making Nature (Part Two)
Continuing on Philosophy in a New Key (1942), ch. 1-5. Is symbolism the software running on the hardware of our senses, or are symbols baked even into that hardware? We talk pictures vs. symbols, types of symbol-pictures, and what it means for...
|2022-Mar-28 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 290: Susanne Langer on Our Symbol-Making Nature (Part One)
On Philosophy in a New Key (1942), ch. 1-5, plus as background most of us looked at Ernst Cassirer's An Essay on Man (1944), ch. 1-5. What does it mean to say that humanity is homo symbolicus, the symbol-making creature? Part two of this episode is...
|2022-Mar-21 • 13 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 289: Aesthetic Sense Theory: Hume (Part Two)
We get into more detail on David Hume's "The Standard of Taste" (1760). How does he resolve the paradox that it seems both that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yet some judgments about beauty are obviously wrong? If you're not hearing , sign up...
|2022-Mar-14 • 52 minutes|
Ep. 289: Aesthetic Sense Theory: Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Hume (Part One)
How do we know what opinions about beauty are correct? We read The Moralists: A Philosophical Rhapsody (1709) by Anthony Ashley-Cooper, aka the third Earl of Shaftesbury, Part III section 2 "Beauty," and An Inquiry Concerning Beauty, Order,...
|2022-Mar-11 • 70 minutes|
PEL Presents Philosophy vs. Improv #28: Enhanced Interrogation w/ Adal Rifai
Today's episode is about questioning: how one might question, what sets the parameters for a proper answer, and how to give those answers in an informative and/or dramatically effective way. Watch out for dream pigs! Also, how to get into the VIP room...
|2022-Mar-07 • 12 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 288: Scruton on Ethical Art (Part Two)
Concluding on Beauty (2009). Why would we be attracted to beauty if on Scruton's account it takes so much work? We consider the form/function distinction as it applies to architecture and human beauty. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the...
|2022-Feb-28 • 46 minutes|
Ep. 288: Scruton on Ethical Art (Part One)
On Roger Scruton's Beauty (2009), ch. 5-9. Scruton argues against aesthetic relativism on moral grounds: That the "flight from beauty" in modern art and the crassness of popular art deny important things about being human. Part two of this episode is...
|2022-Feb-21 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 287: Roger Scruton on Beauty (Part Two)
Continuing on Beauty (2009), ch. 1-4. Does apprehending beauty really have to involve reason, or can it be merely sensory? If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2022-Feb-14 • 48 minutes|
Ep. 287: Roger Scruton on Beauty (Part One)
On Beauty (2009), ch. 1-4. What truths about beauty does any theory of beauty have to acknowledge? Scruton argues that appreciating beauty is a cognitive act: something we argue about, and not just "in the eye of the beholder." Part two of this...
|2022-Feb-07 • 136 minutes|
REISSUE-Ep 16: Arthur Danto on Art (w/ New Intro)
We newly introduce the classic 2010 episode on Danto's "The Philosophical Disenfranchisement of Art," "The Appreciation and Interpretation of Works of Art," and "The End of Art" (1986). What effect should the avant garde have on our understanding of...
|2022-Feb-07 • 13 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 286: Malebranche on Causality and Theology (Part Three)
Concluding on On Dialogues on Metaphysics and Religion (1688), with consideration of his explanation for why we can't prove the existence of the external world, but that we can reasonably take this on faith. Also, theodicy! If you're not hearing ,...
|2022-Jan-31 • 12 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 286: Malebranche on Causality and Theology (Part Two)
Continuing on Dialogues on Metaphysics and Religion (1688), dialogue 7 where he gets into his occasionalist theory of causality. How does this relate to mind-body interaction and concepts in physics like inertia? What is the metaphysical relation of...
|2022-Jan-24 • 50 minutes|
Ep. 286: Malebranche on Causality and Theology (Part One)
On Dialogues on Metaphysics and Religion (1688), dialogues 5-7. We get clearer on M's rationalist epistemology and into his occasionalist theory of causality. Is M's theory as archaic as its theology makes it sound? Part two of this episode is only...
|2022-Jan-17 • 12 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 285: Nicolas Malebranche on Knowledge (Part Two)
Continuing on Dialogues on Metaphysics and Religion (1688), ch. 1-4. We talk about the character of the intelligible world, how we generate general concepts, the existence of God, seeing God, original sin, and more. If you're not hearing , sign up via...
|2022-Jan-10 • 48 minutes|
Ep. 285: Nicolas Malebranche on Knowledge (Part One)
On Dialogues on Metaphysics and Religion (1688), ch. 1-4. We walk through M's rationalist (post-Descartes, pre-Leibniz) epistemology with its surprising implications for the metaphysics of causality and the role of God in nature. Part two of this...
|2022-Jan-02 • 47 minutes|
PEL Special: Nightcap New Year's Party to Welcome 2022
Welcome to an extra special, intentionally public edition of Nightcap to catch you up on what Mark, Wes, Seth, and Dylan are all up to personally and intellectually and hash out what we want to potentially cover on the show over the next year.
|2021-Dec-27 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 284: Mark Twain’s Philosophy of Human Nature (Part Two)
Continuing on "What Is Man" (1905). We work through Twain's metaphors for human nature, say what he means by "instinct," contemplate his notion of identity and why he thinks you are apparently different from your body-machine, and gauge the practical...
|2021-Dec-20 • 40 minutes|
Ep. 284: Mark Twain’s Philosophy of Human Nature (Part One)
On "What Is Man" (1905). Twain describes a person as a machine. We have no free will and always act to win our own self-approval. This was a bleak enough picture that the essay was not printed until after Twain's death. Part two of this episode is...
|2021-Dec-13 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 283: Alain Badiou on Love (Part Two)
Continuing on "What Is Love?" (1992). We consider B's account of love as resolution of a paradox: The positions of man and woman in no way overlap, yet all truth is generic, i.e. accessible to everyone. Love makes it happen! If you're not hearing ,...
|2021-Dec-06 • 44 minutes|
Ep. 283: Alain Badiou on Love (Part One)
On "What Is Love," which is ch. 11 of (1992). We see what it means to call love a "truth procedure": It's a new way of seeing, through the eyes of the Two, not the merger of two souls or the loving of god through another. Does B's pseudo-mathematical...
|2021-Nov-29 • 12 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 282: Alain Badiou: What Is Philosophy? (Part Two)
Continuing on Conditions, "The (Re)turn of Philosophy Itself." What makes philosophy possible? The four "conditions," i.e. mathematics, politics, art, and love, generate the truths, and philosophy is the pincers that gather these together in thought....
|2021-Nov-22 • 50 minutes|
Ep. 282: Alain Badiou: What Is Philosophy? (Part One)
On Conditions (1992), Ch. 1 "The (Re)turn of Philosophy Itself." Against post-structuralists who deny Truth, Badiou argues that truths are generated by the truth conditions (politics, art, love, and science/math) which philosophy then thinks into a...
|2021-Nov-15 • 13 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 281: Paul Feyerabend's Anarchist Philosophy of Science (Part Two)
Continuing on Against Method (1975) about the non-rational progress of science. Given that according to F., epistemological conformity can't proceed by an appeal to reason, how does it proceed? Through indoctrination, propaganda, and coercion, even...
|2021-Nov-08 • 50 minutes|
Ep. 281: Paul Feyerabend's Anarchist Philosophy of Science (Part One)
On Against Method (1975). In dialogue with , Feyerabend claimed that scientific progress can not be explained rationally, so how does it progress? Is F. just arguing against the possibility of any philosophy of science? Part two of this episode is...
|2021-Nov-01 • 10 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 280: Imre Lakatos on Scientific Progress (Part Two)
Continuing on "Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes" (1970). We distinguish various kinds of falsificationism and give more details about Lakatos' concept of a scientific research program. If you're not hearing , sign up...
|2021-Oct-25 • 52 minutes|
Ep. 280: Imre Lakatos on Scientific Progress (Part One)
On "Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes" (1970). In what way is scientific progress rational? Lakatos splits the difference between Popper and Kuhn to argue that some scientific research programs are more progressive...
|2021-Oct-18 • 10 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 279: Aristotle's "Categories" of Being (Part Two)
Continuing on the Categories, considering artifacts, social construction in cutting up the world, different kinds of properties, and more. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2021-Oct-11 • 54 minutes|
Ep. 279: Aristotle's "Categories" of Being (Part One)
On the Categories (ca. 350 BCE), which purports to describe all the types of entities that exist. We mostly talk about substances, as A's presentation raises interesting questions about, e.g. the status of the species of substance, and the rest of the...
|2021-Oct-04 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 278: Derrick Bell on the Dynamics of Racism (Part Two)
Continuing on Faces At the Bottom of the Well (1992), with guest Lawrence Ware. We discuss "The Racial Preference Licensing Act" (ch. 3). If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2021-Sep-27 • 46 minutes|
Ep. 278: Derrick Bell on the Dynamics of Racism (Part One)
On Faces At the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism (1992), a foundational text in critical race theory that presents thought experiments in the philosophy of law, including "The Space Traders." With guest . Part two of this episode is only...
|2021-Sep-06 • 12 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 277: Hegel on Our Understanding of Physics (Part Two)
Continuing on The Phenomenology of Spirit, ch. 3, "Force and the Understanding." We start off by considering the players in force: the thing exerting the force and the thing receiving. By arguing that these are not so different, Hegel moves to arguing...
|2021-Aug-30 • 54 minutes|
Ep. 277: Hegel on Our Understanding of Physics (Part One)
On The Phenomenology of Spirit, ch. 3, "Force and the Understanding." What is "force" as physics describes it? And scientific law? Do these terms denote objects in the world, or models for how we describe the world? Part two of this episode is only...
|2021-Aug-29 • 30 minutes|
PEL Special: Nightcap Early September 2021
A little political ranting precedes a consideration of what we might read in aesthetics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of sport. What do we remember about emotions? Finally, Seth's morbid interests and Devo. If you enjoy this kind of free-form...
|2021-Aug-23 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 276: Hegel on Perception (Part Two)
Focusing on The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), ch. 2 "Perception." Hegel's critique of the adequacy of perceptual knowledge has metaphysical aspects: The relation of substance to properties, properties to each other, and things to other things and to...
|2021-Aug-16 • 58 minutes|
Ep. 276: Hegel on Perception (Part One)
On The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), ch. 1 "Sense Certainty" and ch. 2 "Perception." We walk through the first step in considering Hegel's dialectical analysis of theories of knowledge. Sense-certainty claims that we have direct access to sensory...
|2021-Aug-15 • 39 minutes|
PEL Presents Philosophy vs. Improv #7: Meritocracy Now!
Does it make sense to try to have everyone get what they "deserve"? Your hosts Mark Linsenmayer and Bill Arnett () act out the desert machine but yet get no predictable cake. . to get bonus stuff and good karma!
|2021-Aug-09 • 12 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 275: Hegel's Project in the "Phenomenology of Spirit" (Part Two)
Continuing on the Introduction, we get into more detail on Hegel's goal and his tricky terminology. If you're not hearing , sign up via one of the options described at .
|2021-Aug-02 • 60 minutes|
Ep. 275: Hegel's Project in the "Phenomenology of Spirit" (Part One)
On G.W.F. Hegel's 1807 opus: A series of treatments of various theories in epistemology (among other things), seeing how they're internally incoherent, which then moves us to more sophisticated theories. Part two of this episode is only going to be...
|2021-Jul-26 • 9 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 274: Schelling on Self-Consciousness (Part Two)
Concluding on Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism (1800), Parts 1 and 2. What sort of self is created in the act of self-consciousness that according to Schelling grounds all knowledge? We further consider this primordial act. To hear the...
|2021-Jul-22 • 2 minutes|
Philosophy vs. Improv: An Introductory Trailer
What is Philosophy vs. Improv? Hear about the new podcast by Mark Linsenmayer () and Bill Arnett (, author). Go listen to the show at or subscribe via , , , , or however you get your podcasts. Get more episodes than are now publicly available...
|2021-Jul-19 • 46 minutes|
Ep. 274: Schelling on Self-Consciousness (Part One)
On Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism (1800), Parts 1 and 2. What is self-consciousness, and how did Schelling think that it grounds all of knowledge? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you...
|2021-Jul-12 • 10 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 273: Friedrich Schelling's Foundationalist Idealism (Part Two)
Continuing on the Introduction to Friedrich Schelling's System of Transcendental Idealism (1800), focusing on the harmony between mind and world and imputing intelligence to nature. To hear the full , you'll need to go sign up at .
|2021-Jul-05 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 273: Friedrich Schelling's Foundationalist Idealism (Part One)
On Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism (1800). What's the relationship between mind and world? Schelling thought that our minds produce the world, but also that the perceiver-world dichotomy comes to us as a single...
|2021-Jun-28 • 9 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 272: Fichte's Idealist Theology (Part Two)
Continuing on The Vocation of Man (1799), Book II. We focus on how ethics fits in with Fichte's epistemology in a unified theology with humans literally united (in this world or the next) in a shared, divine Will. To hear the full , you'll need to go...
|2021-Jun-21 • 56 minutes|
Ep. 272: Fichte's Idealist Theology (Part One)
Our second full discussion on The Vocation of Man (1799). What are the ethical implications of believing that the world is all in our minds? You could be a solipsistic nihilist, but Fichte thinks the path of faith is unavoidable for a reasonable...
|2021-Jun-14 • 10 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 271: Johan Gottlieb Fichte's Transcendental Idealism (Part Two)
Continuing on The Vocation of Man (1799), Book II. In this preview, we clarify whether Fichte is trying to keep the notion of a "real world" beyond our experience or not. It's part of the progression of the text that while at first he assumes that...
|2021-Jun-07 • 51 minutes|
Ep. 271: Johan Gottlieb Fichte's Transcendental Idealism (Part One)
On The Vocation of Man (1799), Books I and II. What is reality? Fichte's armchair journey starts him considering nature and thus himself as determined, but then he backtracks to say that actually, experience doesn't tell us whether we're determined or...
|2021-May-31 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 270: Classical Indian (Vedanta and Nyaya) Design Arguments for God (Part Two)
Continuing (without Stephen Phillips) on God and the World’s Arrangement: Readings from Vedanta and Nyaya Philosophy of Religion. What does this treatment give us that's fundamentally different than the Western version of the design argument? We...
|2021-May-24 • 59 minutes|
Ep. 270: Classical Indian (Vedanta and Nyaya) Design Arguments for God w/ Stephen Phillips (Part One)
On God and the World's Arrangement: Readings from Vedanta and Nyaya Philosophy of Religion with one of its translators, . Does nature require an intelligent designer? Śaṅkara (710 CE) and Vācaspati Miśra (960 CE), commenting on the Brahma-sūtra...
|2021-May-17 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 269: Arendt on Totalitarianism (Part Two)
Continuing on two of Hannah Arendt's 1953 essays on totalitarianism. We further discuss its logic and in the full episode get into its relevance for contemporary political movements. To hear that full , you'll need to go sign up at . Sponsor: See...
|2021-May-10 • 47 minutes|
Ep. 269: Arendt on Totalitarianism (Part One)
On "On the Nature of Totalitarianism" and On the Origins of Totalitarianism ch. 13 (both from 1953). Is totalitarianism just an especially virulent form of tyranny, or something unique to the modern age? Arendt says that unlike other forms of...
|2021-May-03 • 13 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 268: Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death" (Part Two)
Continuing on Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business with guest Brian Hirt. Is the written word really so much more suited for providing context than television? To hear the full , you'll need to go sign up at .
|2021-Apr-26 • 45 minutes|
Ep. 268: Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death" (Part One)
On Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (1985) with guest Brian Hirt. How does the form in which we receive media affect how we think? Education theorist Postman (building on Marshall McLuhan) claimed that...
|2021-Apr-19 • 9 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 267: Avicenna on God and Soul w/ Peter Adamson (Part Two)
Continuing on Avicenna's arguments for the existence of God and on the soul's immateriality. What metaphysical and epistemological picture grounds these views? To hear the full , you'll need to go sign up at .
|2021-Apr-12 • 56 minutes|
Ep. 267: Avicenna on God and Soul w/ Peter Adamson (Part One)
On selections and commentary about Avicenna's argument from around 1020 C.E. for the existence of God as a necessary being, plus arguments to prove that God has the person-like properties that Islam imputes to him, and his "flying man" argument for...
|2021-Apr-05 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 266: Jonathan Lear's Plato: Psyche and Society (Part Two)
Continuing on Lear's Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul (1988). Our highlight is about the relation between the three parts of the soul: which (if any) is basic? To hear the full , you'll need to go sign up at .
|2021-Mar-29 • 51 minutes|
Ep. 266: Jonathan Lear's Plato: Psyche and Society (Part One)
On essays from Lear's Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul (1988): "Inside and Outside the Republic," "Eros and Unknowing: The Psychoanalytic Significance of Plato’s Symposium," and "An Interpretation of Transference," which compares...
|2021-Mar-22 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 265: Plato's "Phaedo": Philosophy as Training for Death (Part Two)
Continuing on the Phaedo, we start with a point from Plato's physics that's supposed to hep prove the immortality of the soul, then lay out his theory of Forms. To hear the full , you'll need to go sign up at .
|2021-Mar-15 • 42 minutes|
Ep. 265: Plato's "Phaedo": Philosophy as Training for Death (Part One)
On Plato's middle dialogue depicting the death of Socrates (390 BCE) depicting the death of Socrates. Should philosophers fear death? In the course of giving arguments for the immortality of the soul, we get an elaboration of the recollection theory...
|2021-Mar-08 • 10 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 264: Plato's "Timaeus" on Cosmology (Part Two)
Continuing on the Timaeus, we consider some quotes and details starting at the beginning of the dialogue where Plato argues for differences between the perceived, created, impermanent world and its perfect model. To hear this , you'll need to go...
|2021-Mar-01 • 42 minutes|
Ep. 264: Plato's "Timaeus" on Cosmology (Part One)
On the later Platonic dialogue from around 360 BCE. How is nature put together? Plato speaks through the fictional Timaeus (not Socrates) to give a "likely story" about the universe, physics, and biology involving a Craftsman (Demi-Urge) who created...
|2021-Feb-22 • 13 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 263: Lise Van Boxel's "Warspeak" on Strategies for Valuing (Part Two)
Continuing on Warspeak: Nietzsche's Victory Over Nihilism with guests Jeff Black and Michael Grenke. To hear this , you'll need to go sign up at .
|2021-Feb-15 • 41 minutes|
Ep. 263: Lise Van Boxel's "Warspeak" on Strategies for Valuing (Part One)
On Warspeak: Nietzsche's Victory Over Nihilism (2020) with Dylan, Seth, and guests Michael Grenke and Jeff Black. What's a viable counter-ideal to the asceticism that Nietzsche thought is so pervasive? Lise's book works out strategies for re-valuing...
|2021-Feb-08 • 12 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 262: Nietzsche on Self-Denial (Part Two)
More on essay three of Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals on the meaning of ascetic ideals. How does asceticism fit into N's overall morality, and how does he use it to critique scientists? To hear this , you'll need to go sign up at .
|2021-Feb-01 • 46 minutes|
Ep. 262: Nietzsche on Self-Denial (Part One)
On Friedrich Nietzsche's The Genealogy of Morals (1887), "Third essay: what do ascetic ideals mean?" Self-regulation, where we tamp down certain aspects of our personality, is necessary for disciplined action, but it can clearly go too far....
|2021-Jan-25 • 12 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 261: Derek Parfit on Personal Identity (Part Two)
More on Parfit's Reasons and Persons (1984), ch. 10-13. In this preview, we consider how Parfit deals with Bernard Williams' materialist thought experiment to show that the whole concept of personal identity doesn't make sense. Also, split brains! To...
|2021-Jan-18 • 51 minutes|
Ep. 261: Derek Parfit on Personal Identity (Part One)
On Reasons and Persons (1984), ch. 10-13. What makes a person persist over time? After using various sci-fi examples to test the Lockean (personhood=psychological continuity), physicalist (same brain=same person), and Cartesian (same soul=same...
|2021-Jan-11 • 20 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 260: Locke on Moral Psychology
One last take on John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689), covering Book II, ch. 21 and 28. What makes a moral claim true? Do we have free will? What makes us choose the good, or not? In this coda to our long treatment of Locke's opus,...
|2021-Jan-04 • 65 minutes|
Ep. 259: Locke Clarifies Misleading Complex Ideas (Part Two)
More on Book II (ch. 22-33) of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding. On relations, then personal identity, with more on substances (spiritual and material), the various ways in which ideas can go wrong, and how mental association...
|2020-Dec-28 • 42 minutes|
Ep. 259: Locke Clarifies Misleading Complex Ideas (Part One)
On Book II (ch. 22-33) of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689). Simple ideas get complex quickly when you put them into words, and can give rise to various philosophical problems that are either easily cleared up when you figure...
|2020-Dec-24 • 126 minutes|
Mark Lint's PEL Network Holiday Party 2020: Merry Chatting and Songs
Join the office party, where Mark holds mini conversations on philosophy, art, and life with all PEL and PMP co-hosts, plus , , and the members of , whose 12 tunes are presented in succession with in sight. Will these 12 spirits turn you (or Mark)...
|2020-Dec-15 • 56 minutes|
Ep. 258: Locke on Acquiring Simple Ideas (Part Two)
Continuing on Book II (through ch. 20) of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689). How do we acquire our ideas of pain and pleasure, duration and motion? We talk primary (shape, size) and secondary (color, sound) qualities, the former...
|2020-Dec-07 • 41 minutes|
Ep. 258: Locke on Acquiring Simple Ideas (Part One)
On the first half of Book II of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689). How do we get our ideas? Simple ideas must come in through perception, but this doesn't just mean the senses; also reflection on our own minds, and this added...
|2020-Nov-30 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 257: Locke Against Innate Ideas (Part Two)
Continuing on Book I of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689). We consider Locke's arguments that since there are no universally agreed upon principles, therefore there are no beliefs that we're all born with, or that we all...
|2020-Nov-23 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 257: Locke Against Innate Ideas (Part One)
On Book I of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689). How do we know things? Locke thought all knowledge comes from experience, and this might seem uncontroversial, but what are the alternatives? We consider the idea that there are...
|2020-Nov-16 • 8 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 256: Kropotkin's Anarchist Communism (Part Two)
Mark, Wes, Dylan, Seth get into specific points and textual passages from Peter Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread (1892). In this preview, we start by considering that Kropotkin is right that mutual aid is a natural tendency and so communism is very...
|2020-Nov-09 • 48 minutes|
Ep. 256: Kropotkin's Anarchist Communism (Part One)
On Peter Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread (1892). If we want an egalitarian society, do we need the state to accomplish this? Kropotkin says no, that in fact the state inevitably serves the interests of the few, and that if we got rid of it, our...
|2020-Nov-02 • 9 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 255: Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" (Part Two)
If you'd like to hear more of the discussion on Sun Tzu that we started in , you'll need to go sign up at . Here are some exchanges from , where we continue with Brian Wilson working through the text, considering Sunzi's strategies and...
|2020-Oct-26 • 48 minutes|
Ep. 255: Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" (Part One)
On the Chinese military treatise from around the 5th century BCE. How does a philosopher wage war? The best kind of war can be won without fighting. The general qua Taoist sage never moves until circumstances are optimal. We talk virtue ethics and...
|2020-Oct-19 • 11 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 254: Michael Sandel Against Meritocracy (Part Two)
Mark, Wes, Dylan and Seth continue the discussion on The Tyranny of Merit to talk further about how social values can and do change, and whether these changes can be engineered in the way that Sandel seems to want. We interviewed Michael Sandel in ....
|2020-Oct-12 • 66 minutes|
Ep. 254: Michael Sandel Interview: Against Meritocracy (Part One)
On The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good? (2020). Do people get the wealth and status they deserve? And if they did, would that be good? Michael critiques the meritocracy: It's not actually fair, leaves most people feeling humiliated,...
|2020-Oct-05 • 7 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 253: Leibniz on the Problem of Evil (Part Two)
If you'd like to hear more of the discussion on Gottfried Leibniz’s Theodicy that we started in , you'll need to go sign up at . This is just a few tantalizing snippets from , wherein we talk about the metaphysical status of evil and about the...
|2020-Sep-28 • 47 minutes|
Ep. 253: Leibniz on the Problem of Evil (Part One)
On Gottfried Leibniz’s Theodicy (1710). Why does God allow so many bad things to happen? Leibniz thought that by the definition of God, whatever He created must be the best of all possible worlds, and his theodicy presents numerous arguments to try...
|2020-Sep-21 • 23 minutes|
PEL Special: Nightcap Late September 2020
We're releasing JUST THIS ONE Nightcap to the wider public so induce you all to go and so gain the ability to hear these free-wheeling, feeling-sharing, email-reading fiestas between every regular episode. This time we gripe about Habermas and...
|2020-Sep-21 • 5 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep. 252: Habermas on Communication as Sociality (Part Two)
If you'd like to hear more of the discussion on Jürgen Habermas' "Actions, Speech Acts, Linguistically Mediated Interactions, and the Lifeworld" (1998) that we started in , you'll need to go sign up at . We're just sharing a few minutes of part two...
|2020-Sep-14 • 51 minutes|
Ep. 252: Habermas on Communication as Sociality (Part One)
On Jürgen Habermas' "Actions, Speech Acts, Linguistically Mediated Interactions, and the Lifeworld" (1998), with guest . What's the relation between individuals and society? Habermas says that language has ethics built right into it: I'm trying to...
|2020-Sep-07 • 71 minutes|
Ep. 251: Simone Weil's Ideal Society
On "Theoretical Picture of a Free Society" (1934). What's the ideal living situation for us all, given the peculiarities of human nature? Weil describes fulfillment as coming from being able to picture goals and plans and knowingly put them into...
|2020-Aug-31 • 54 minutes|
Ep. 250: Simone Weil on Human Needs (Part Three)
Concluding on "The Needs of the Soul" from The Need for Roots (1943). This time we cover punishment, security, risk, private property, collective property, freedom of opinion, and truth. Start with or get the full, ad-free . Supporting PEL will also...
|2020-Aug-24 • 52 minutes|
Ep. 250: Simone Weil on Human Needs (Part Two)
Continuing on "The Needs of the Soul" from The Need for Roots (1943). We got started in with our need for order, and in this part we add liberty, obedience, responsibility, equality, hierarchy, and honor. We'll conclude with part 3, covering freedom...
|2020-Aug-17 • 48 minutes|
Ep. 250: Simone Weil on Human Needs (Part One)
On "The Needs of the Soul" from The Need for Roots (1943) and "Meditation on Obedience and Liberty" (1937). What are our needs that should then drive what kind of society would be best for us? Weil says we need liberty yet obedience, equality yet...
|2020-Aug-10 • 68 minutes|
Ep. 249: Dewey on Education and Thought (Part Two)
Continuing on John Dewey's Democracy and Education (1916) ch. 1, 2, 4, and 24 with guest . How is education different than mere conditioning, and how does it relate to habits and growth? We discuss how much of what Dewey recommends lines up with...
|2020-Aug-02 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 249: Dewey on Education and Thought (Part One)
On John Dewey's How We Think (1910) ch. 1 and Democracy and Education (1916) ch. 1, 2, 4, and 24. What model of human nature should serve as the basis for education policy? Dewey sees learning as growth, and the point of education as to enable...
|2020-Jul-27 • 68 minutes|
Ep. 248: Racism and Policing (Al-Saji, Merleau-Ponty, et al) (Part Two)
Continuing on Alia Al-Saji’s “A Phenomenology of Hesitation” (2014) and other things with guest . Can we restructure our (and the police's) reactions and live with each other? We further explore the psychology of habit and Al-Saji's notion...
|2020-Jul-20 • 51 minutes|
Ep. 248: Racism and Policing (Al-Saji, Merleau-Ponty, et al) (Part One)
On Alia Al-Saji’s “A Phenomenology of Hesitation” (2014), bits of Maurice Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception (1945), and Linda Martín Alcoff’s Visible Identities (2006), plus Alex Vitale's The End of Policing (2017). Is there...
|2020-Jul-13 • 50 minutes|
Ep. 247: Aristotle on Rhetoric and Emotions (Part Two)
Continuing on the Rhetoric (ca. 335 BCE) book 1, ch. 1–6 and book 2, ch. 1–5, 18–24. We finish up with enthymemes (rhetorical arguments), maxims, and signs. We then move to emotions, where we chiefly talk about anger: Is it always a matter of...
|2020-Jul-06 • 53 minutes|
Ep. 247: Aristotle on Rhetoric and Emotions (Part One)
On the Rhetoric (ca. 335 BCE) book 1, ch. 1-6 and book 2, ch. 1-5, 18-24. What role does persuasion play in philosophy? Aristotle (contra Plato) argues it can and should be used for good: in law courts, political debates, public speeches. He describes...
|2020-Jun-29 • 52 minutes|
Ep. 246: Susan Sontag on Interpreting Art (Part Two)
Continuing on Sontag's essays “On Style” (1965) and "The Death of Tragedy” (1963). Mark, Wes, Seth and Dylan keep talking about the appropriate distance to retain (or not) to a work of art, which is supposed to be relevant to moral action in the...
|2020-Jun-22 • 46 minutes|
Ep. 246: Susan Sontag on Interpreting Art (Part One)
On Sontag's essays “Against Interpretation” (1964), “On Style” (1965), and "The Death of Tragedy” (1963). What is it to understand a work of art? Sontag objects to critics' need to decode art into its "meaning" or "content," divorcing it...
|2020-Jun-15 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 245: Fashion (Derrida, Foucault, Sontag) w/ Shahidha Bari (Part Two)
We conclude with Foucault's "The Ethics of the Concern of the Self As A Practice of Freedom" (1984) and add Susan Sontag's "On Style" (1965). After our guest's departure, we give some concluding remarks about her book Dressed: A Philosophy of Clothes...
|2020-Jun-08 • 51 minutes|
Ep. 245: Fashion (Derrida, Foucault) w/ Shahidha Bari (Part One)
On Jacques Derrida's "The Animal That Therefore I Am" (1999), Michel Foucault's "The Ethics of the Concern of the Self As A Practice of Freedom" (1984), and our guest's (2020). Philosophy devalues appearances, but our changing dominant metaphysics...
|2020-Jun-01 • 65 minutes|
Ep. 244: Camus on Strategies for Facing Plague (Part Two)
Continuing on Albert Camus's 1947 novel, covering the old functionary Grand, the criminal (or just paranoid?) Cottard, and more of our narrators Dr. Rieux and his doomed friend Tarrou, plus more on the overall message of the book and how it might...
|2020-May-25 • 47 minutes|
Ep. 244: Camus on Strategies for Facing Plague (Part One)
On Albert Camus' existentialist novel The Plague. How shall we face adversity? Camus gives us colorful characters that embody various approaches. Yes, the plague is an extreme situation, but we're all dying all the time anyway, right? Join Mark, Wes,...
|2020-May-18 • 54 minutes|
Ep. 243: Aristotle's "Poetics" on Art and Tragedy (Part Two)
Continuing on the Poetics from around 335 BCE, on the structure of plot (every element must be essential!), the moral status of the heroes, Homeric poetry, the difference between tragedy and history, and how Aristotle's formula may or may not apply to...
|2020-May-11 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 243: Aristotle's "Poetics" on Art and Tragedy (Part One)
These notes from 335 BCE are still used in screenwriting classes. Aristotle presents a formula for what will move us, derived from Sophocles's tragedies. What is art? The text describes it as memesis (imitation), and tragedy imitates human action in a...
|2020-May-06 • 57 minutes|
PEL Presents PMP#42: Star Trek Lives Long and Prospers (Intermittently)
In light of Star Trek: Picard, Brian, Erica, Mark, and discuss our most philosophical sci-fi franchise. What makes a Trek story? How do you world-build over generations? How did Picard measure up? Plus Trek vs. Wars and step-children like The Orville...
|2020-May-04 • 44 minutes|
Ep. 242: Stanley Cavell on Tragedy via King Lear (Part Two)
Continuing on Cavell's essay "The Avoidance of Love: A Reading of King Lear" (1969), shifting away from Lear in particular to a more general discussion of tragedy and Cavell's psychological insights. Begin with or get the ad-free, unbroken . End...
|2020-Apr-27 • 44 minutes|
Ep. 242: Stanley Cavell on Tragedy via King Lear (Part One)
On Cavell's essay "The Avoidance of Love: A Reading of King Lear" (1969). Can money buy you love? What is tragedy? With guest . Don't wait for part two; get the full now.
|2020-Apr-20 • 65 minutes|
Ep. 241: Political Philosophy and the Pandemic
How should we think politically about the current global crisis? Do extreme circumstances reveal truths of political philosophy or do they reinforce whatever it is we already believe? Mark, Wes, Seth, and Dylan talk about applying philosophical...
|2020-Apr-13 • 70 minutes|
Ep. 240: David Lewis on Possible Worlds and Language Games (Part Two)
On "Scorekeeping in a Language Game" (1979) and "Truth in Fiction" (1978). Lewis's account of possible worlds can be applied to conversation: As we speak, each sentence adds to the "conversational score" (the set of assumptions that enable us to...
|2020-Apr-06 • 53 minutes|
Ep. 240: David Lewis on Possible Worlds and Language Games (Part One)
On Ch. 4 of Lewis's book (1973) and the essays “Scorekeeping in a Language Game” (1979) and “Truth in Fiction” (1978). What makes a sentence about possibility true? Lewis things that we need possible worlds that really exist in order to make...
|2020-Mar-30 • 51 minutes|
Ep. 239: Montesquieu Invents Political Science (Part Two)
Continuing on The Spirit of the Laws (1748) by Charles Louis de Secondat, aka Baron de Montesquieu. Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Seth talk more about the "motive force" behind each type of government and the separation of powers. Begin with or get the full,...
|2020-Mar-23 • 43 minutes|
Ep. 239: Montesquieu Invents Political Science (Part One)
On The Spirit of the Laws (1748) by Charles Louis de Secondat, aka Baron de Montesquieu. What keeps a society functioning? Montesquieu, though of course not the first political philosopher, was perhaps the first to systematically explore correlations...
|2020-Mar-16 • 75 minutes|
Ep. 238: Lingering Questions
Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Seth summarize thoughts about our recent series on social construction, gender and sex, and Judith Butler's notion of "grievable lives." Should we stop covering so much contemporary work and/or political topics? End song: "The...
|2020-Mar-09 • 45 minutes|
Ep. 237: Walter Benjamin Analyzes Violence (Part Two)
Continuing on Benjamin's "Critique of Violence" (1921). Mark, Wes, and Seth keep trying to figure out this difficult essay. Is Benjamin really advocating a workers' revolution to end the state, or just reflecting on a hypothetical to explore the...
|2020-Mar-02 • 43 minutes|
Ep. 237: Walter Benjamin Analyzes Violence (Part One)
On "Critique of Violence" (1921). What is violence? Benjamin gives us a taxonomy: law-creating, law-preserving, mythological, and divine. Then he deconstructs his own distinctions to demonstrate that all state power is rotten through its being founded...
|2020-Feb-24 • 63 minutes|
Ep. 236: Judith Butler Interview: "The Force of Nonviolence"
On The Force of Nonviolence: An Ethico-Political Bind (2020). What is it to be nonviolent in political activity? Most ethics allow for self-defense, but Judith has a problem with defining "self" as well as "violence," and offers a full critique of the...
|2020-Feb-19 • 45 minutes|
PEL Presents: PMP#32: Judging "The Good Place"
Mark, Erica, and Brian discuss Michael Schur's NBC TV show. Is it good? Does it actually teach moral philosophy? We talk sit-com tropes, TV finales, the show's convoluted structure, the puzzle of heaven, and more. For more, visit . Hear bonus content...
|2020-Feb-17 • 67 minutes|
Ep. 235: Judith Butler's "Gender Trouble" (Part Three)
Concluding "Gender Trouble" (1990), with just Mark, Wes, and Seth going carefully through pt I, sec v: "Identity, Set, and the Metaphysics of Substance," and pt III, sec iv: "Subversive Bodily Acts: Bodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions."...
|2020-Feb-10 • 67 minutes|
Ep. 235: Judith Butler's "Gender Trouble" (Part Two)
More Gender Trouble (1990) with . We get into the metaphysics of substance (is gender an attribute that a person has, or is there a better way to describe the situation?), performatives, Beauvoir vs. Irigaray on femininity, and the available...
|2020-Feb-03 • 52 minutes|
Ep. 235: Judith Butler's "Gender Trouble" (Part One)
On Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990). Is gender socially constructed, and if so, how? Butler describes gender not as an essential quality of a person, but as "performed," as habits of acting in certain ways in accordance...
|2020-Jan-29 • 56 minutes|
PEL Presents PMP#29: Martin Scorsese the Auteur w/ Colin Marshall
We consider The Irishman in the context of Scorsese's body of work and the styles and themes that his films tend to exhibit. Writer/podcaster joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about connecting with Scorsese's sensibility and their status as "art...
|2020-Jan-27 • 59 minutes|
Ep. 234: Beauvoir on Romance in "The Second Sex" (Part Two)
Concluding Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949): "The Woman in Love" and "Myths" with guest . We continue on the ailments of women under patriarchy as well as the existential problems that we're all subject to. Are we doomed to isolation, or...
|2020-Jan-20 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 234: Beauvoir on Romance in "The Second Sex" (Part One)
On Simone De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949): "The Woman in Love" and "Myths" with guest . What is love under patriarchy? We all want to achieve solidity in another's eyes, but the Othered woman wants to live through the man, and the man sees the...
|2020-Jan-15 • 48 minutes|
PEL Presents PMP#27: For the Love of Star Wars
Mark, Erica, and Brian talk about the unique place these films have in the brains of people of a certain age, how we grappled with the prequels, and why we feel the need to fill in and argue about the details. We focus primarily on The Mandalorian and...
|2020-Jan-13 • 60 minutes|
Ep. 233: Plato's "Protagoras" on Virtue (Part Two)
Continuing on the dialogue, where Socrates argues that Protagoras doesn't actually know what virtue is, because he thinks that the various virtues (especially courage) are distinct, a claim that Socrates refutes in several (logically suspect) ways....
|2020-Jan-08 • 56 minutes|
PEL Presents PMP#26: We Watch "Watchmen" w/ David Pizarro (Very Bad Wizards)
Covering Alan Moore's 1986 graphic novel, the new HBO series and the 2009 film. Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by , psych prof at Cornell and host of . How does Moore's style translate to the screen? How well did the show handle politics? Should...
|2020-Jan-06 • 54 minutes|
Ep. 233: Plato's "Protagoras" on Virtue (Part One)
On the Platonic dialogue written around 380 BCE about an encounter between Socrates and one of the leading Sophists of his day. What is virtue ("the political art" according to Protagoras), and can it be taught? What are the relations of the various...
|2019-Dec-29 • 63 minutes|
Ep. 232: Simone De Beauvoir's "The Second Sex" (Part Two)
Continuing Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949) with guest . How does one become a Subject and how do women traditionally get shut out of this process? We get into Vol. 2, "Lived Experience" where Beauvoir details how this drama unfolds in...
|2019-Dec-23 • 54 minutes|
Ep. 232: Simone De Beauvoir's "The Second Sex" (Part One)
On Simone De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949): the intro, conclusion, “Woman’s Situation and Character” and parts of “Lived Experience," with guest . According to Beauvoir, Woman is historically conceived of by society (and herself) as...
|2019-Dec-16 • 68 minutes|
Ep. 231: Descartes's "Discourse" on Wisdom and Certainty (Part Two)
Continuing on Descartes’s Discourse on Method, looking closely at part 4 (his proto-Meditations) and his "provisional" Stoic ethics. Listen to first or get the full, ad-free . End song: "My Real Fantasy" By Joe Louis Walker, as interviewed on .
|2019-Dec-09 • 40 minutes|
Ep. 231: Descartes's "Discourse" on Wisdom and Certainty (Part One)
On René Descartes’s Discourse on Method (1637), an overview of his work that distills his method, outlines his famous Meditations, presents a provisional (Stoic) ethics, and considers whether he wants to be a public intellectual. This is all meant...
|2019-Dec-02 • 58 minutes|
Ep. 230: Bruno Latour on Science, Culture, and Modernity (Part Two)
Continuing on Latour's We Have Never Been Modern (1993) with guest . Latour rejects the idea of objective truth totally apart from perceivers, so is he an idealist? We lay out the "Constitution" of modernity that keeps science and politics separate,...
|2019-Nov-25 • 45 minutes|
Ep. 230: Bruno Latour on Science, Culture, and Modernity (Part One)
On Latour's We Have Never Been Modern (1993) with guest . What's the "modern" ideology of science, and is there something we should critique about it? Latour wants us to think about science not abstractly through the eternal truths it supposedly...
|2019-Nov-18 • 52 minutes|
Ep. 229: Descartes's Rules for Thinking (Part Three)
Concluding René Descartes's Rules for Direction of the Mind (1628). We finish rule 12 through the end, talking about simples, the faculties of intuition and judgment, perception and imagination, necessary vs. contingent truths, and how to do...
|2019-Nov-11 • 52 minutes|
Ep. 229: Descartes's Rules for Thinking (Part Two)
Continuing on René Descartes's Rules for Direction of the Mind (1628), covering rules 7 through the first part of the lengthy rule 12. We try to figure out what he means by "enumeration;" the faculties of imagination, sense and memory; the virtues of...
|2019-Nov-04 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 229: Descartes's Rules for Thinking (Part One)
On René Descartes's Rules for Direction of the Mind (1628). Is there a careful way to approach problems that will ensure that you'll always be right? What if you just never assert anything you can't be sure of? This is Descartes's strategy, modeled...
|2019-Oct-29 • 46 minutes|
PEL Presents PMP#17: Comedy as Philosophy w/ Daniel Lobell
Are stand-up comedians the Modern Day Philosophers? This is the premise of , but really, only some comedians express original claims; many just tell jokes. Are those exceptional comics philosophizing? Does telling the whole, tragic truth rule out...
|2019-Oct-28 • 46 minutes|
Ep. 228: Social Construction of Race (Appiah, Mills) (Part Two)
Continuing on Kwame Anthony Appiah's "Race, Culture, Identity: Misunderstood Connections" (1994), Charles Mills's "But What Are You Really?, The Metaphysics of Race" (1998), and Neven Sesardic's "Race: A Social Destruction of a Biological Concept"...
|2019-Oct-21 • 39 minutes|
Ep. 228: Social Construction of Race (Appiah, Mills) (Part One)
On Kwame Anthony Appiah's "Race, Culture, Identity: Misunderstood Connections" (1994), Charles Mills' "But What Are You Really?, The Metaphysics of Race" (1998), and Neven Sesardic's "Race: A Social Destruction of a Biological Concept" (2010). With...
|2019-Oct-14 • 64 minutes|
Ep. 227: What Is Social Construction? (Hacking, Berger) (Part Two)
Continuing Ian Hacking’s The Social Construction of What (1999) and Peter Berger's “Religion and World Construction" (1967). We break down Hacking's typology of construction arguments: Are they exploring where our ideas came from or trying to...
|2019-Oct-07 • 45 minutes|
Ep. 227: What Is Social Construction? (Hacking, Berger) (Part One)
On Ian Hacking’s The Social Construction of What (1999) and Peter Berger's “Religion and World Construction" (1967). Guest Coleman Hughes from joins us to survey the types of social construction arguments: the "culture wars" (e.g. race, gender)...
|2019-Sep-30 • 61 minutes|
Ep. 226: Francis Bacon Invents Science (Part Two)
Continuing on Sir Francis Bacon's New Organon (1620). We cover more of Bacon's "idols" and how Bacon divides religion from science (and what this means politically). We then move on to book 2, including Bacon's novel update of the term "form," and...
|2019-Sep-24 • 47 minutes|
PEL Presents PMP#12: Once Upon a Tarantino Film w/ Wes Alwan
Wes joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to discuss Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood in the context of . We consider T's strange sense of pacing, his comic violence, his historical revisionism, and casting choices. Is this a...
|2019-Sep-23 • 44 minutes|
Ep. 226: Francis Bacon Invents Science (Part One)
On Sir Francis Bacon's New Organon (1620). Bacon claims to have developed a new toolset that will open up nature to inquiry in a way that wasn't possible for ancient and modern natural philosophy. Mark, Wes, and Dylan consider how much what Bacon...
|2019-Sep-16 • 59 minutes|
Ep. 225: Simone Weil on War and Oppression (Part Two)
Continuing on Simone Weil's essays "The Iliad, or the Poem of Force" (1939) and "Analysis of Oppression" (1934) with guest . We talk about the self-contradictions of power, why oppression and war are so intractable, and her positive solution (what...
|2019-Sep-09 • 47 minutes|
Ep. 225: Simone Weil on War and Oppression (Part One)
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...
|2019-Sep-02 • 65 minutes|
Ep. 224: Kierkegaard Critiques The Present Age (Part Two)
Continuing on "The Present Age" (1846), plus Hubert Dreyfus’s "Nihilism on the Information Highway: Anonymity vs. Commitment in the Present Age" (2004) with guest . Does K's critique actually apply to our present age? We address K's view of humor,...
|2019-Aug-27 • 50 minutes|
PEL Presents PMP#8: Spider-Man: Far From Home (and Elsewhere)
Mark, Erica, and Brian discuss the function of super-hero films and how this new one fits in. Do we need "realism" in such stories? When does a premise like this get too old to keep recycling? For more, visit . Hear bonus content for this...
|2019-Aug-26 • 48 minutes|
Ep. 224: Kierkegaard Critiques The Present Age (Part One)
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...
|2019-Aug-19 • 55 minutes|
Ep. 223: Guest Ned Block on Consciousness (Part Two)
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,...
|2019-Aug-12 • 50 minutes|
Ep. 223: Guest Ned Block on Consciousness (Part One)
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...
|2019-Aug-05 • 52 minutes|
Ep. 222: Debating Functionalism (Block, Chalmers) (Part Two)
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...
|2019-Jul-29 • 49 minutes|
Ep. 222: Debating Functionalism (Block, Chalmers) (Part One)
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...
|2019-Jul-23 • 74 minutes|
PEL Presents PMP#3: CONFORM w/ Yakov Smirnoff
Is media trying to brainwash us into being ALL THE SAME? Are the excesses of the mob scaring us into conformity? Mark, Erica, and Brian muse on cultural homogenization and are joined by comedian Dr. Yakov Smirnoff to talk about growing up in a...
|2019-Jul-22 • 70 minutes|
Ep. 221: Functionalist Theories of Mind (Putnam, Armstrong) (Part Two)
Continuing on functionalism with David M. Armstrong’s "The Causal Theory of the Mind" (1981). Your four hosts start afresh the day after on Putnam to discuss this version of functionalism that is supposed to clear the way for the scientific...
|2019-Jul-15 • 50 minutes|
Ep. 221: Functionalist Theories of Mind (Putnam, Armstrong) (Part One)
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...
|2019-Jul-09 • 44 minutes|
PEL Presents PMP#1: Pop Culture vs. High Culture
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...
|2019-Jul-05 • 62 minutes|
Ep. 220: 10-Year Retrospective of The Partially Examined Life
Mark, Seth, Dylan, and Wes reflect on the changing state of podcasting and public philosophy over the last decade, how our goals and interests have changed since we started we started. Why don't colleges pay their faculty to educate the public through...
|2019-Jul-01 • 83 minutes|
Ep. 219: The Harder Problem of Consciousness (Block & Papineau)
On Ned Block's "The Harder Problem of Consciousness" (2002) and David Papineau's "Could There Be a Science of Consciousness?" (2003). What would give us sufficient reason to believe that a non-human was conscious? Block thinks this is a harder problem...
|2019-Jun-24 • 50 minutes|
Ep. 218: The Hard Problem of Consciousness (Chalmers et al) (Part Two)
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...
|2019-Jun-17 • 55 minutes|
Ep. 218: The Hard Problem of Consciousness (Chalmers et al) (Part One)
On "Consciousness and Its Place in Nature" by David Chalmers (2003), with special guest from . Can we explain human experience using the terms of brain physiology? Chalmers thinks not, and lays out the arguments against this and the range of...
|2019-Jun-08 • 70 minutes|
(sub)Text #1: Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”: Poesis as Revenge Forsaken
At last, the full, public release of this discussion between Wes Alwan and Bill Youmans covering Shakespeare's 1611 play about revenge, forgiveness, and authorship. Or maybe it's about exploitation, or how we react to changes in status, or perhaps how...
|2019-Jun-03 • 104 minutes|
Episode 217: Discussing Calderón's "Life Is a Dream"
On the 1636 comedy by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, considering destiny (Christian vs. Ancient Greek), skepticism, meta-theater, and the ethic of honor. . With guests Bill Youmans and Erica Spyres. End song: "Pulling Apart" by . Hear him on .
|2019-Jun-02 • 9 minutes|
Glimpse: Machiavellian Politics (for Partially Examined Life #14)
Does politics have to be Machiavellian? Do you have to be ruthless to succeed? Given our treatment of and , and the way in which end-justifying-the-means logic plays endlessly in our real-life political situation, it's time we looked back on . Mark...
|2019-May-27 • 138 minutes|
PEL Audioplayers: "Life Is a Dream" by Pedro Calderón de la Barca
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...
|2019-May-23 • 5 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep 216 Game of Thrones' Fantasy Politics (Part Two)
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...
|2019-May-20 • 83 minutes|
Episode 216: Game of Thrones' Fantasy Politics
Discussing the TV show (2011-2019) based on the books by George R.R. Martin. What's the role of a mass-consumed fantasy series in today's society? Is it our "fantasy" to have all these horrible things happen to us? Is this an edifying prompt to engage...
|2019-May-13 • 97 minutes|
Episode 215: Brave New World: PEL Live 10th Anniversary Show
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?...
|2019-May-06 • 79 minutes|
Episode 214: More Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Part Two)
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...
|2019-Apr-29 • 49 minutes|
Episode 214: More Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Part One)
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.
|2019-Apr-22 • 8 minutes|
Glimpse: Nietzsche's Last Man (for Partially Examined Life #213)
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...
|2019-Apr-22 • 72 minutes|
Episode 213: Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Part Two)
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...
|2019-Apr-21 • 10 minutes|
PREMIUM-(sub)Text#6: Melanie Klein's "Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms"
Wes Alwan is joined by Dr. Glenn Mobray to discuss this classic 1946 psychoanalytic text. This is a preview of a 63-minute discussion. You can listen to the whole thing by becoming a or . Visit to learn how. .
|2019-Apr-15 • 52 minutes|
Episode 213: Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Part One)
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...
|2019-Apr-11 • 8 minutes|
Glimpse: Sartre on Literature (for Partially Examined Life #212)
Should literature be political? Jean-Paul Sartre thought that all literature is political, because of what literature is. That's a very weird-sounding view. Mark Linsenmayer from the Partially Examined Life philosophy podcast tries to make it...
|2019-Apr-08 • 61 minutes|
Episode 212: Sartre on Literature (Part Two)
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,...
|2019-Apr-01 • 50 minutes|
Episode 212: Sartre on Literature (Part One)
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...
|2019-Mar-25 • 66 minutes|
Episode 211: Sartre on Racism and Authenticity (Part Three)
Moving finally on to Jean-Paul Sartre's "Black Orpheus" (1948), where he introduces a book of black poetry by praising its revolutionary spirit as embodied in "negritude." Is this a legitimate consciousness-raising exercise or a weird fetishization of...
|2019-Mar-18 • 44 minutes|
Episode 211: Sartre on Racism and Authenticity (Part Two)
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...
|2019-Mar-11 • 54 minutes|
Episode 211: Sartre on Racism and Authenticity (Part One)
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...
|2019-Mar-11 • 59 minutes|
PEL Presents Constellary Tales #6: Philip K. Dick's "Minority Report" w/ Mark Linsenmayer
PEL's Mark Linsenmayer joins hosts Ken Gerber and Brian Hirt to weigh in on the philosophical implications of precognitive crime fighting in Philip K. Dick's "The Minority Report." Brian quizzes Mark and Ken on PKD movie trivia. Get more podcasts,...
|2019-Mar-04 • 60 minutes|
Episode 210: Frantz Fanon's Black Existentialism (Part Two)
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...
|2019-Feb-25 • 51 minutes|
Episode 210: Frantz Fanon's Black Existentialism (Part One)
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"...
|2019-Feb-23 • 39 minutes|
Podchaser Interview of Mark Linsenmayer: Partially Examined Life and Nakedly Examined Music
Morgan DeLisle, writer for the PodChaser "Behind the Streams Blog," interviewed Mark for of our podcasts. Learn about the origins of PEL and NEM, how we make the shows, and what's coming up. Listen to all of the PEL network podcasts at , or subscribe...
|2019-Feb-18 • 82 minutes|
Episode 209: Francis Fukuyama on Identity Politics (Part Two: Discussion)
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...
|2019-Feb-11 • 61 minutes|
Episode 209: Guest Francis Fukuyama on Identity Politics (Part One)
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...
|2019-Feb-04 • 54 minutes|
Episode 208: Epicurus on Seeking Pleasure (Part Two)
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...
|2019-Jan-28 • 47 minutes|
Episode 208: Epicurus on Seeking Pleasure (Part One)
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...
|2019-Jan-21 • 84 minutes|
Episode 207: Herder on Art Appreciation (Part Two)
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...
|2019-Jan-14 • 54 minutes|
Episode 207: Herder on Art Appreciation (Part One)
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...
|2019-Jan-13 • 14 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep 206 Lucretius's Epicurean Physics (Part Three)
Mark and Wes go into more textual detail re. Lucretius’s take on atomism and the metaphysical and epistemological problems it entails. . This is a preview; become a PEL Citizen or $5 Patreon supporter to .
|2019-Jan-07 • 74 minutes|
Episode 206: Lucretius's Epicurean Physics (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Dec-31 • 54 minutes|
Episode 206: Lucretius's Epicurean Physics (Part One)
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...
|2018-Dec-31 • 20 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep 205 Durkheim et al on Suicide (Part Three)
Mark and Wes discuss Durkheim's Suicide (1897), getting into more of the details of his account and exploring comparative modes of explanation: Are there really "sociological facts" distinct from mere generalizations about psychological facts? Get the...
|2018-Dec-22 • 52 minutes|
Episode 205: Suicide with Dr. Drew (Durkheim et al) (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Dec-17 • 44 minutes|
Episode 205: Suicide with Dr. Drew (Durkheim et al) (Part One)
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?...
|2018-Dec-10 • 57 minutes|
Episode 204: The Bhagavad Gita's Hindu Theology (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Dec-03 • 54 minutes|
Episode 204: The Bhagavad Gita's Hindu Theology (Part One)
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...
|2018-Nov-26 • 66 minutes|
Episode 203: Kristeva vs. Lovecraft on Horror and Abjection (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Nov-19 • 54 minutes|
Episode 203: Kristeva vs. Lovecraft on Horror and Abjection (Part One)
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...
|2018-Nov-18 • 17 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep 202 Follow-Up: Close Reading of Kristeva's "Approaching Abjection"
Mark takes a very close look at pages 1–4 of the first chapter of On Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (1980) as a supplement to . Get the full, 55-minute experience as a , or get it by for a mere $1!
|2018-Nov-12 • 78 minutes|
Episode 202: Julia Kristeva on Disgust, Fear and the Self (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Nov-05 • 47 minutes|
Episode 202: Julia Kristeva on Disgust, Fear and the Self (Part One)
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....
|2018-Nov-05 • 14 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep 201 Marcus Aurelius's "Meditations" (Part Three)
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...
|2018-Oct-29 • 60 minutes|
Episode 201: Marcus Aurelius's Stoicism with Ryan Holiday (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Oct-22 • 57 minutes|
Episode 201: Marcus Aurelius's Stoicism with Ryan Holiday (Part One)
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...
|2018-Oct-15 • 66 minutes|
Episode 200: Kant/Mendelssohn/Foucault on Enlightenment (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Oct-08 • 45 minutes|
Episode 200: Kant/Mendelssohn/Foucault on Enlightenment (Part One)
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...
|2018-Oct-08 • 36 minutes|
Bonus: (sub)Text#4: Freud's "Mourning and Melancholia" (Part One)
Wes Alwan is joined by and Louis Scuderi to discuss Freud's . Note: Part two will NOT be appearing on this feed. Become a PEL Citizen to get . Visit to learn how. .
|2018-Oct-01 • 65 minutes|
Episode 199: Elizabeth Anderson on Equality (Part Three: Discussion)
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-...
|2018-Sep-24 • 61 minutes|
Episode 199: Guest Elizabeth Anderson on Private Government (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Sep-17 • 53 minutes|
Episode 199: Guest Elizabeth Anderson on Private Government (Part One)
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...
|2018-Sep-13 • 12 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep 198 Plato's "Parmenides" (Part Three)
Mark and Seth continue our conversation from ep. 198 by going through the arguments in the second half of the dialogue. This puzzling section is largely a monologue by the character Parmenides, with the stated aim of showing the implications...
|2018-Sep-10 • 70 minutes|
Episode 198: Plato's Forms in the "Parmenides" (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Sep-03 • 46 minutes|
Episode 198: Plato's Forms in the "Parmenides" (Part One)
On the most peculiar Platonic dialogue, from ca. 350 BCE. Are properties real things in the world, or just in the mind? Plato is known for claiming that these "Forms" are real, though otherworldly. Here, though, using Parmenides as a character talking...
|2018-Sep-02 • 34 minutes|
Bonus: (sub)Text #3: Spielberg's "AI: Artificial Intelligence": What Is It to Be Human? (Part One)
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....
|2018-Aug-27 • 51 minutes|
Episode 197: Parmenides on What There Is (Part Two)
Continuing with guest with "On Nature" (475 BCE). We finally get to fragment 8, which describes why Being must be singular and eternal, given that the notion of Non-Being is nonsense. But how could we as individuals be asking these questions then?...
|2018-Aug-20 • 55 minutes|
Episode 197: Parmenides on What There Is (Part One)
On the fragments referred to as "On Nature" from ca. 475 BCE, featuring guest Peter Adamson from the . Parmenides gives "the Way of Truth," which is that there is only Being, and talking of Non-Being is nonsense. So everything you experience is wrong!...
|2018-Aug-13 • 63 minutes|
Episode 196: Guest Simon Blackburn on Truth (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Aug-06 • 49 minutes|
Episode 196: Guest Simon Blackburn on Truth (Part One)
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...
|2018-Jul-30 • 60 minutes|
Episode 195: Truth-The Austin/Strawson Debate (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Jul-23 • 59 minutes|
Episode 195: Truth-The Austin/Strawson Debate (Part One)
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...
|2018-Jul-16 • 70 minutes|
Episode 194: Alfred Tarski on Truth (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Jul-09 • 55 minutes|
Episode 194: Alfred Tarski on Truth (Part One)
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...
|2018-Jul-07 • 17 minutes|
PREMIUM-Eps 192-193 Allan Bloom & Liberal Education Follow-Ups
Hear highlights from two supporter-only discussions: and .
|2018-Jul-02 • 52 minutes|
Episode 193: The Theory and Practice of Liberal Education (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Jun-25 • 48 minutes|
Episode 193: The Theory and Practice of Liberal Education (Part One)
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...
|2018-Jun-18 • 65 minutes|
Episode 192: "The Closing of the American Mind": Allan Bloom on Education (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Jun-11 • 51 minutes|
Episode 192: "The Closing of the American Mind": Allan Bloom on Education (Part One)
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....
|2018-Jun-04 • 66 minutes|
Episode 191: Conceptual Schemes: Donald Davidson & Rudolf Carnap (Part Two)
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...
|2018-May-28 • 54 minutes|
Episode 191: Conceptual Schemes: Donald Davidson & Rudolf Carnap (Part One)
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...
|2018-May-26 • 17 minutes|
PREMIUM-Ep 189: Authorial Intent (Part Three)
Listen here to a few highlights from a recent discussion between Mark and Wes: We chase down some issues from , relating authorial intent to philosophy of language more generally. Get the full discussions by becoming a or $5/month .
|2018-May-21 • 85 minutes|
Episode 190: Film Analysis: "mother!"
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...
|2018-May-14 • 78 minutes|
Episode 189: Authorial Intent (Barthes, Foucault, Beardsley, et al) (Part Two)
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,...
|2018-May-07 • 51 minutes|
Episode 189: Authorial Intent (Barthes, Foucault, Beardsley, et al) (Part One)
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...
|2018-Apr-30 • 56 minutes|
Episode 188: Discussing "Lysistrata" and Politics with Lucy and Emily (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Apr-23 • 49 minutes|
Episode 188: Discussing "Lysistrata" and Politics with Lucy and Emily (Part One)
We are rejoined by actresses Lucy Lawless and Emily Perkins to discuss Aristophanes's bawdy play. . Supplementary readings included Jeffery Henderson's introduction to his 1988 translation of the play; "Sexual Humor and Harmony in Lysistrata" by Jay...
|2018-Apr-16 • 83 minutes|
"Lysistrata" w/ Lucy Lawless, Emily Perkins, Erica Spyres, Bill Youmans & Aaron Gleason
The PEL Players return to perform a "cold read" of Aristophanes's play about using a sex strike to end war, first performed in 411 BCE. Jeffrey Henderson's translation makes this very accessible, and it's still really damn funny. Your hosts are joined...
|2018-Apr-14 • 14 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 187: The Limits of Free Speech (Part Three)
Three substantial chunks of a follow-up conversation to our . Mark and Wes discuss Jordan Peterson on speech, organizations' promoting certain speech (as opposed to restricting), insults vs. arguments, offense vs. harm, "incoherence" arguments like...
|2018-Apr-09 • 61 minutes|
Episode 187: The Limits of Free Speech (Part Two)
Continuing our free form discussion, trying to make sense of Stanley Fish's “” (1994) and other potential rationales for prohibiting hate speech. How might the same sentence or idea be used in different speech acts, some of which might be...
|2018-Mar-29 • 58 minutes|
Episode 187: The Limits of Free Speech (Part One)
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...
|2018-Mar-26 • 70 minutes|
Episode 186: J.L. Austin on Doing Things with Words (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Mar-19 • 46 minutes|
Episode 186: J.L. Austin on Doing Things with Words (Part One)
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...
|2018-Mar-12 • 68 minutes|
Episode 185: Ethics in Homer's "Odyssey" Feat. Translator Emily Wilson (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Mar-05 • 46 minutes|
Episode 185: Ethics in Homer's "Odyssey" Feat. Translator Emily Wilson (Part One)
On the classic Greek epic poem, written ca. 750 BC and translated by our guest in 2018. Does this story of "heroes" have anything to teach us about ethics? Wilson wrote an 80-page introduction to her new translation laying out the issues, including...
|2018-Feb-25 • 68 minutes|
Episode 184: Pascal on Human Nature (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Feb-19 • 50 minutes|
Episode 184: Pascal on Human Nature (Part One)
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...
|2018-Feb-12 • 63 minutes|
Episode 183: Mill on Liberty (Part Two)
Continuing on John Stuart Mill's On Liberty. For Wes Alwan's summary of this book, go ). We discuss "partial truths," whether "truth will out," whether we can discard some "experiments in living" as established failures, how Mill compares to...
|2018-Feb-04 • 56 minutes|
Episode 183: Mill on Liberty (Part One)
Discussing John Stewart Mill's On Liberty (1859). For Wes Alwan's summary of this book, go ). 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...
|2018-Feb-04 • 4 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 182: Reflections on PEL 2017 (Part Two)
The PEL guys get personal and political and tell you in brief about things like Planet of the Apes, , and in the second half of our year-in-review discussion. Here you get a taste. You can only hear the meat with the full, ad-free episode, posted ...
|2018-Jan-29 • 52 minutes|
Episode 182: Reflections on PEL 2017 (Part One)
To what extent has our podcast changed in reaction to current politics? Mark, Seth, Wes, and Dylan reflect back on our year, discuss how we select texts, and give some thumbnail sketches of potential topics. Also, does authorial intent matter, and how...
|2018-Jan-22 • 79 minutes|
Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part Two)
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...
|2018-Jan-15 • 47 minutes|
Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
On Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (1963). Are we still morally culpable if our entire society is corrupt? Arendt definitely thinks so, but has a number of criticisms of the handling of the 1961 trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf...
|2018-Jan-08 • 75 minutes|
Episode 180: More James's Psychology: Self and Will (Part Two)
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,...
|2018-Jan-01 • 59 minutes|
Episode 180: More James's Psychology: Self and Will (Part One)
On Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892), chapters on "The Self," "Will," and "Emotions." Continuing from , we talk about the "Me" (the part of me that I know) vs. the "I" (the part of me that knows), including personal identity. James thinks that...
|2017-Dec-25 • 59 minutes|
Episode 179: William James's Psychology (Part Two)
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...
|2017-Dec-18 • 52 minutes|
Episode 179: William James's Introspective Psychology (Part One)
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...
|2017-Dec-10 • 67 minutes|
Episode 178: Nietzsche as Social Critic: Twilight of the Idols (Part Two)
Continuing on Nietzsche's 1888 book. (For Wes Alwan's summary of this book, go ). 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...
|2017-Dec-04 • 51 minutes|
Episode 178: Nietzsche as Social Critic: "Twilight of the Idols" (Part One)
On Friedrich Nieztsche's 1888 book summarizing his thought and critiquing the founding myths of his society. (For Wes Alwan's summary of this book, go ). He defends "spiritualized" instinct and frenzied creativity, but also Napoleon and war. We try to...
|2017-Nov-27 • 73 minutes|
Episode 177: Guest Russ Roberts on Adam Smith and Libertarian Economics (Part Two)
Continuing with the host on the moral aspects of economics, focused by Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations and Theory of Moral Sentiments. Should we sacrifice ourselves to the machine of the economy? How does Smith's idea of virtue and talk of...
|2017-Nov-20 • 50 minutes|
Episode 177: Guest Russ Roberts on Adam Smith and Libertarian Economics (Part One)
The host of provides his take on our on The Wealth of Nations, and explores with us the idea of emergent economic order. Is the economy more like a machine or a garden or what?
|2017-Nov-13 • 57 minutes|
Episode 176: Situationism in Psych: Milgram & Stanford Prison Experiments (Part Two)
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...
|2017-Nov-06 • 44 minutes|
Episode 176: Situationism in Psych: Milgram & Stanford Prison Experiments (Very Bad Wizards Crossover) (Part One)
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...
|2017-Nov-06 • 3 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 175: Blade Runner (Part Two)
Do you want the WHOLE discussion on the new Blade Runner 2049, the original 1982 film, and the idea packed (1967) by Philip K. Dick? If you do, show your love to the podcast by signing up to be a supporter at the $1-or-higher level at , or better yet...
|2017-Oct-30 • 46 minutes|
Episode 175: Blade Runner: Androids and Humanity (Part One)
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...
|2017-Oct-22 • 65 minutes|
Episode 174: Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" (Part Two)
Continuing on the foundational text of economics. We talk "invisible hand," "greed is good," tariffs, unproductive labor, city vs. country, and the education racket. Listen to first or get the ad-free . End song: "With My Looks and Your Brains" by...
|2017-Oct-16 • 54 minutes|
Episode 174: Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" (Part One)
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...
|2017-Oct-09 • 60 minutes|
Episode 173: Relating to American Indian Philosophy (Part Two)
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...
|2017-Oct-02 • 49 minutes|
Episode 173: Relating to American Indian Philosophy (Part One)
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...
|2017-Sep-25 • 58 minutes|
Episode 172: Mind, Self, and Affect with Guest Dr. Drew (Part Two)
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...
|2017-Sep-18 • 42 minutes|
Episode 172: Mind, Self, and Affect with Guest Dr. Drew (Part One)
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...
|2017-Sep-11 • 65 minutes|
Episode 171: Buddhism vs. Evolution with Guest Robert Wright (Part Two)
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...
|2017-Sep-04 • 52 minutes|
Episode 171: Buddhism vs. Evolution with Guest Robert Wright (Part One)
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...
|2017-Aug-28 • 67 minutes|
Episode 170 Second Opinions: Leftists on "Society of the Spectacle"
Mark and Seth ask Doug Lain (Zero Squared), Brett O'Shea (Revolutionary Left Radio), and C. Derick Varn (Symptomatic Redness) what they think of Debord and PEL's treatment of the book on . End song: "" from Tyler Hislop, interviewed on .
|2017-Aug-21 • 69 minutes|
Episode 170: Guy Debord's "Society of the Spectacle" (Part Two)
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?...
|2017-Aug-14 • 54 minutes|
Episode 170: Guy Debord's "Society of the Spectacle" (Part One)
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,...
|2017-Aug-07 • 53 minutes|
PEL Special: Combat & Classics on Rousseau's "Discourse on the Arts and Sciences"
A new podcast for the PEL Podcast Network! Meet Jeff, Lise, and Brian, who are joined by Wes and Dylan to discuss Rousseau's claim that the arts and sciences lead to "moral corruption." Get more C&C or at . to attend a C&C online seminar on ...
|2017-Jul-31 • 47 minutes|
Episode 169: Analyzing Hitchcock's "Vertigo" (Part One)
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...
|2017-Jul-24 • 62 minutes|
Episode 168: Darwin's "Origin of Species" (Part Two)
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...
|2017-Jul-17 • 47 minutes|
Episode 168: Darwin's "Origin of Species" (Part One)
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...
|2017-Jul-10 • 64 minutes|
Episode 167: Hume on Intelligent Design (Part Two)
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...
|2017-Jul-03 • 47 minutes|
Episode 167: Hume on Intelligent Design (Philosophize This! Crossover) (Part One)
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...
|2017-Jun-26 • 95 minutes|
Episode 166: Spinoza on Politics and Religion (Part Two)
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...
|2017-Jun-19 • 50 minutes|
Episode 166: Spinoza on Politics and Religion (Part One)
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...
|2017-Jun-12 • 66 minutes|
Episode 165: Spinoza on Biblical Criticism (Part Two)
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...
|2017-Jun-05 • 64 minutes|
Episode 165: Spinoza on Biblical Criticism (Part One)
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.
|2017-May-26 • 75 minutes|
Nakedly Examined Music: Steve Hackett, Nik Kershaw, Ken Stringfellow, Robbie Fulks
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,
|2017-May-22 • 81 minutes|
Episode 164: Dostoyevsky’s “The Idiot” on Perfection (Part Two)
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.
|2017-May-15 • 57 minutes|
Episode 164: Dostoyevsky’s “The Idiot” on Perfection (Part One)
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...
|2017-May-08 • 70 minutes|
Episode 163: Guest Stewart Umphrey on Natural Kinds (Part Two)
Continuing our interview about Natural Kinds and Genesis: The Classification of Material Entities. Buy Stewart's book at and use the code LEX30AUTH17 to get 30% off. Listen to first or get the ad-free . End song: "Destroy the Box" by...
|2017-May-01 • 52 minutes|
Episode 163: Guest Stewart Umphrey on Natural Kinds (Part One)
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...
|2017-Apr-24 • 104 minutes|
PEL Special: Phi Fic on James Baldwin’s Fiction
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,
|2017-Apr-17 • 55 minutes|
Episode 162: James Baldwin on Race in America (Part Two)
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...
|2017-Apr-10 • 47 minutes|
Episode 162: James Baldwin on Race in America (Part One)
On the film I Am Not Your Negro and the essays "Notes of a Native Son" (1955) and The Fire Next Time (1963). With guest Law Ware. - Baldwin diagnoses our racism-related psycho-social maladies, but how can we best translate his observations into genera...
|2017-Apr-03 • 76 minutes|
Episode 161: White Privilege (Peggy McIntosh, Charles Mills, et al) (Part Two)
Continuing with guest Law Ware on the philosophical underpinnings of the rhetoric of white privilege, with readings as listed in . End song: "Power" by Narada Michael Walden from Thunder 2013, as interviewed for .
|2017-Mar-27 • 51 minutes|
Episode 161: White Privilege (Peggy McIntosh, Charles Mills, et al) (Part One)
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...
|2017-Mar-20 • 72 minutes|
Episode 160: Orwell on Totalitarianism and Language (Part Two)
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....
|2017-Mar-13 • 51 minutes|
Episode 160: Orwell on Totalitarianism and Language (Part One)
On the novel 1984 (1949) and the essays “Politics and the English Language” (1946) and “Notes on Nationalism” (1945). - What's the relation between language and totalitarianism? Orwell shows us a society where the rulers have mastered the art of r
|2017-Mar-06 • 76 minutes|
Episode 159: Confucius on Virtuous Conduct (Part Two)
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! Listen to first or just get the full,...
|2017-Feb-27 • 52 minutes|
Episode 159: Confucius on Virtuous Conduct (Part One)
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...
|2017-Feb-20 • 70 minutes|
Episode 158: Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy (Part Two)
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...
|2017-Feb-13 • 55 minutes|
Episode 158: Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy (Part One)
On the Consolation, written as he awaited execution in 524 CE. - Do bad things really happen to good people? Boethius, surprisingly, says no, for Stoic (anything that can be taken away can't be of central importance; you can't lose your virtue in thi...
|2017-Feb-06 • 64 minutes|
Episode 157: Richard Rorty on Politics for the Left (Part Two)
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...
|2017-Jan-30 • 54 minutes|
Episode 157: Richard Rorty on Politics for the Left (Part One)
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...
|2017-Jan-23 • 62 minutes|
Episode 156: Philosophy and Politics Free-Form Discussion (Part Two)
Continuing our liberal bubble-bursting exercise, the core foursome address more directly the question of how philosophy is supposed to shape one's political views and actions. On a non-partisan "public good" and rhetorical strategies in the face of an...
|2017-Jan-16 • 52 minutes|
Episode 156: Philosophy and Politics Free-Form Discussion (Part One)
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!
|2017-Jan-02 • 113 minutes|
Episode 155: Richard Rorty Against Epistemology
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,
|2016-Dec-19 • 103 minutes|
Episode 154: Wilfrid Sellars on the Myth of the Given
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...
|2016-Dec-05 • 112 minutes|
Episode 153: Richard Rorty: There Is No Mind-Body Problem
On Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Part I: "Our Glassy Essence." - "The mind" seems to be an unavoidable part of our basic conceptual vocabulary, but Rorty thinks not, and he wants to use the history of philosophy as a kind of therapy to s...
|2016-Nov-21 • 88 minutes|
Episode 152: Alexis de Tocqueville on Democracy in America (PEL Live!)
Democracy is in peril! So said Tocqueville in 1835 and 1840 when Democracy is America was published, and it's still true now. Democracy is always just one demagogue away from stripping us of our liberties, though certain structural and cultural feature...
|2016-Nov-07 • 116 minutes|
Episode 151: Edmund Burke’s Conservatism
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.
|2016-Nov-06 • 78 minutes|
PEL Special: Bill Bruford on Nakedly Examined Music #25
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,
|2016-Oct-24 • 127 minutes|
Episode 150: Guest Peter Singer on Famine, Affluence, and Morality
What do we owe the poor? Mark and Wes interview perhaps the world's most influential living philosopher. We discuss his ongoing work rooted in his 1971 essay "Famine, Affluence, and Morality," about the warped priorities of our consumerist society: We ...
|2016-Oct-17 • 81 minutes|
Episode 149: Plato’s “Crito”: A Performance and Discussion
Broadway stars Walter Bobbie and Bill Youmans perform Plato's dialogue in which Socrates awaits his execution. Should Socrates defy the verdict and try to escape the city? Socrates says no; that would be ungrateful to the city whose benefits he's enjoy...
|2016-Oct-03 • 120 minutes|
Episode 148: Aristotle on Friendship and Happiness
On the final books 8–10 of Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics. What does friendship have to do with ethics? With guest Ana Sandoiu.
|2016-Sep-19 • 119 minutes|
Episode 147: Aristotle on Wisdom and Incontinence
On the Nichomachean Ethics (ca. 350 BCE), books 6–7. Is intelligence just one thing? Aristotle picks out a number of distinct faculties, some of which are relevant to ethics, and he uses these to explain Plato's puzzle of how someone can clearly see wh.
|2016-Sep-05 • 140 minutes|
Episode 146: Emmanuel Levinas on Overcoming Solitude
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?
|2016-Aug-22 • 122 minutes|
Episode 145: Emmanuel Levinas: Why Be Ethical?
On "Ethics as First Philosophy" (1984). More existentialist ethics, with a Jewish twist this time! Seth returns to join Mark and Wes in figuring out how to best leave off all this aggressive "knowing" and other forms of individual self-assertion to gra...
|2016-Aug-01 • 145 minutes|
Episode 144: Guest Martha Nussbaum on Anger
On Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice (2016). What role should we allow anger to play in our public life? Should systems of punishment be utilitarian, or should they be retributive? Nussbaum thinks that anger necessarily involves th...
|2016-Jul-25 • 116 minutes|
Phi Fic #3 Frankenstein (PEL Crossover Special)
Guest Wes Alwan joins regulars Nathan Hanks, Mary Claire, Daniel St. Pierre, Laura Davis, and Cezary Baraniecki to discuss Mary Shelley's classic novel in this special cross-post from the newest member of the Partially Examined Life podcast network.
|2016-Jul-11 • 106 minutes|
Episode 143: Plato’s “Sophist” on Lies, Categorization, and Non-Being
On the later Platonic dialogue. What is a sophist? These were guys in Ancient Greece who taught young people the tools of philosophy and rhetoric. They claimed to teach virtue. In Sophist, "the Eleatic Stranger" (i.e.,
|2016-Jun-27 • 130 minutes|
Episode 142: Plato’s “Phaedrus” on Love and Speechmaking
Socrates hangs out in the country flirting with his buddy Phaedrus. And what is this "Platonic" love? Using the enticement of desire not to rush toward fulfillment, but to get you all excited about talking philosophy.
|2016-Jun-13 • 110 minutes|
Episode 141: De Beauvoir’s Existentialism: Moral and Political Dilemmas
More on The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947), this time on part III. ep. 140 laid out man's "ambiguity," but what does that mean in terms of practical decision making? De B. talks about the practical paradoxes of dealing with oppression and what it might mea...
|2016-May-30 • 129 minutes|
Episode 140: De Beauvoir on the Ambiguous Human Condition
On The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947), parts I and II. We return to existentialism! Instead of describing our predicament as "absurd," de Beauvoir prefers "ambiguous": We are a biological organism in the world,
|2016-May-09 • 114 minutes|
Episode 139: bell hooks on Racism/Sexism
On Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism (1981) and Black Looks: Race and Representation (1992, Intro, Ch. 3, 11). - How do these pernicious forces interact? hooks describes black women as having been excluded from both mainstream historical femin...
|2016-Apr-25 • 114 minutes|
Episode 138: Guest John Searle on Perception
We interview John about Seeing Things As They Are (2015). What is perception? Searle says that it's not a matter of seeing a representation, which is then related to things in the real world. We see the actual objects, with no mediation.
|2016-Apr-11 • 129 minutes|
Episode 137: Bourdieu on the Tastes of Social Classes
On Pierre Bourdieu's Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste (1979), introduction, ch 1 through p. 63, conclusion, and postscript. - How do our tastes in music, art, and everything else reflect our social position?
|2016-Mar-28 • 128 minutes|
Episode 136: Adorno on the Culture Industry
On Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer's "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception" from Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), plus Adorno's "Culture Industry Reconsidered" (1963). - How does the entertainment industry affect us?
|2016-Mar-14 • 120 minutes|
Episode 135: Hegel on the Logic of Basic Metaphysical Concepts
A whole second discussion on G.F.W. Hegel's Encylopedia Logic, hitting sections 78–99 on the dialectic and Understanding vs. Reason. Hegel thinks we can use Reason to objectively come up with basic metaphysical categories, but can we really?
|2016-Feb-29 • 118 minutes|
Episode 134: Hegel on Thought & World (or “Logic”)
On G.F.W. Hegel's The Science of Logic (1812–1816), §1–§129 and The Encyclopaedia Logic (1817) §1–§25. "Logic" for Hegel isn't about symbolic logic; it's about how thought interacts with the world. Our thoughts about fundamental metaphysical cat
|2016-Feb-18 • 76 minutes|
PEL Special: Nakedly Examined Music #1 with David Lowery
Welcome to Nakedly Examined Music, our first spin-off of PEL. Hear more at nakedlyexaminedmusic.com or find it via iTunes. Mark interviews songwriters about why and how they do what they do. Think of it as applied philosophy. -
|2016-Feb-08 • 112 minutes|
Episode 133: Erich Fromm on Love as an Art
On Fromm's The Art of Loving (1956). What is love, really? This psychoanalyst of the Frankfurt school thinks that real love is not something one "falls" into, but is an art, an activity, and doing it well requires a disciplined openness and psychologic...
|2016-Jan-25 • 124 minutes|
Episode 132: Living Stoically with Seneca and Massimo
On selected "moral epistles" (from around 65 CE) by Lucius Annaeus Seneca: 4. On the Terrors of Death, 12. On Old Age, 49. On the Shortness of Life, 59. On Pleasure and Joy, 62. On Good Company, 92. On the Happy Life, 96. On Facing Hardship, and 116....
|2016-Jan-11 • 120 minutes|
Episode 131: Aristotle’s “De Anima”: What Is the Mind?
Our second discussion of De Anima or On the Soul (350 BCE), this time on book 3. - What is the intellect? In ep. 130, we talked about Aristotle's idea of the soul as the form of the body, and now we get to it's highest part/function, nous! -
|2015-Dec-28 • 117 minutes|
Episode 130: Aristotle’s “De Anima”: What Is Life?
On De Anima or On the Soul (350 BCE), books 1 and 2, after some listener mail. What can this ancient text tell us about biological life? What counts as a scientific explanation? A. describes life as "the first actuality of a natural body which has org...
|2015-Dec-24 • 127 minutes|
Holiday Special 2015: Mark Lint’s “Songs from the Partially Examined Life” with Many Guest Greetings
Mark is joined by numerous previous guests to catch up and engage the musical part of PEL's past episodes by introducing and playing the entirety of Mark Lint's "Songs from the Partially Examined Life," which you can own,
|2015-Dec-14 • 134 minutes|
Episode 129: Is Faith Rational?
Nathan Gilmour ( podcast) and Rob Dyer () join Mark and Wes for to discuss the reasonableness of religious belief reading Antony Flew's "The Presumption of Atheism," Norwood Russell Hanson's “The Agnostic’s Dilemma," Steven Cahn's "The Irrelevance...
|2015-Nov-30 • 123 minutes|
Episode 128: Hilary Putnam on Linguistic Meaning
On "The Meaning of Meaning" (1975). If meaning is not a matter of having a description in your head, then what is it? Hilary Putnam reformulates Kripke's insight (from #126) in terms of Twin Earths: Earthers with H20 and Twin Earthers with a substance ...
|2015-Nov-16 • 139 minutes|
Episode 127: John Dewey on Experience and the World
On Experience and Nature (1925), through ch. 4. What's the relationship between our experience and the world that science investigates? Dewey thinks that these are one and the same, and philosophies that call some part of it (like atoms or Platonic for...
|2015-Nov-02 • 138 minutes|
Episode 126: Saul Kripke on Possibilities, Language & Science
On Naming and Necessity (1980). What's the relationship between language and the world? Specifically, what makes a name or a class term (like "tiger") pick out the person or things that it does? Saul Kripke wanted to correct the dominant view of his ti...
|2015-Oct-25 • 88 minutes|
Not School Digest: Asimov, Camus, Jaspers, Brecht, Peirce, Historical Jesus
On Isaac Asimov's "The Last Question," Albert Camus's "The Fall," Karl Jaspers's "Truth and Symbol," C.S. Peirce's "The Fixation of Belief," Bertold Brecht's "Theatre for Pleasure or Theatre for Instruction," and Thomas Sheehan's Stanford lectures on...
|2015-Oct-12 • 120 minutes|
Episode 125: Hannah Arendt on the Political & Private
On The Human Condition (1958), Prologue and Sections 1 and 2. How has our distinction between the private and public evolved over time? Arendt uses this history, and chiefly the differences between our time and ancient Athens,
Q&A with the Partially Examined Life, Pittsburgh 9-25-15
What is it like to do philosophy in public? As prelude to our ep. 125 appearance at the Pittsburgh Continental Philosophy Network Conference on theory and public space, Mark, Seth, Wes, and Dylan sat down for questions by moderator Erica Freeman,
|2015-Sep-21 • 128 minutes|
Episode 124: The Stoic Life with Epictetus
On the Manual of Epictetus, aka The Enchiridion (135 CE). What's a wise strategy for life? Stoicism says that the secret is mastering yourself. If you let yourself be perturbed by things that happen to you,
|2015-Sep-07 • 136 minutes|
Episode 123: Economics with Hayek and Sen (Intro by Seth Benzell)
On F.A. Hayek's "The Use of Knowledge in Society" (1945) and Amartya Sen's On Ethics and Economics (1987). Is economics a pseudoscience? Are its assumptions by necessity too over-simplifying? Hayek objects to the idea of planning an economy,
|2015-Sep-07 • 97 minutes|
Ep 121/122 Aftershow on Augustine feat. James Wetzel
Haven't had enough Augustine? Danny Lobell and Wes Alwan welcome Augustine scholar James Wetzel and PEL Citizens Terra Leigh Bell, Amogh Sahu, and Scott Anderson to discuss our Augustine episodes, covering humility, love, desire, grief, sex, misogyny,
|2015-Aug-24 • 135 minutes|
Episode 122: Augustine on Mind and Metaphysics
Yet more on The Confessions, now on books 10–13. - What is memory and how does it relate to time and being? Augustine thinks that memory is a storehouse, but it contains not just the sensations we put in it,
|2015-Aug-19 • 12 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 123: Economics (F.A. Hayek and Amartya Sen)
Guest Seth Benzell outlines Hayek's "The Use of Knowledge in Society" (1945) and Sen's On Ethics and Economics (1987).
|2015-Aug-10 • 126 minutes|
Episode 121: Augustine on Being Good
On The Confessions (400 CE), books 1–9. The question is not "What is virtue?" because knowing what virtue is isn't enough. The problem, for Aurelius Augustinus, aka St. Augustine of Hippo, is doing what you know to be right. -
|2015-Aug-07 • 17 minutes|
Ep. 119 Aftershow (PREMIUM) on Nietzsche feat. Greg Sadler
Seth Paskin and Danny Lobell were joined by Dr. Gregory B. Sadler, David Buchanan, Erik Weissengruber, Tom Kirdas, Ken Presting, and Bill Coe. Recorded July 26, 2015. This is the first 15 minutes of a two-hour conversation,
|2015-Jul-27 • 101 minutes|
Episode 120: A History of “Will” with Guest Eva Brann
We discuss Un-Willing: An Inquiry into the Rise of Will's Power and an Attempt to Undo It (2014) with the author, covering Socrates, Augustine, Aquinas, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Sartre, compatibilism, the neurologists' critque of free will, and more.
|2015-Jul-24 • 18 minutes|
Ep. 118 Aftershow (PREMIUM) on Songwriting feat. ex-Camper Chris Molla
A highlight from our musician-packed breakdown of our songwriting episode. Featuring a third (ex-) member of Camper Van Beethoven, plus Chase Fiorenza, Mike Wilson, Maxx Bartko, Danny Lobell, Mark Linsenmayer,
|2015-Jul-06 • 166 minutes|
Episode 119: Nietzsche on Tragedy and the Psychology of Art
On Friedrich Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy (1872). Nietzsche thought that you could tell how vital or decadent a civilization was by its art, and said that ancient Greek tragedy was so great because it was a perfect synthesis of something highly for...
|2015-Jul-05 • 18 minutes|
Ep. 117 Aftershow (PREMIUM) on Antigone with Danny Lobell
Listen to or watch the Aftershow for Episode 117 on Antigone, with Danny Lobell, Wes Alwan, and a bunch of PEL listeners like you. Also, learn about our new Citizen feed: get the full Aftershow delivered right to your smartphone!
|2015-Jun-29 • 115 minutes|
Episode 118: The Musical Life with Guests from Camper van Beethoven
Victor Krummenacher and Jonathan Segel join Mark and Wes to discuss songwriting and authenticity in the age of Internet consumerism. - Join us for the Aftershow on Sunday 7/12 at 3pm Eastern time.
|2015-Jun-15 • 118 minutes|
Episode 117: Discussing Sophocles’s “Antigone”
Philosophically considering the ancient Greek tragedy, which we also performed with Lucy Lawless and Paul Provenza.
|2015-Jun-08 • 86 minutes|
“Antigone” Read by PEL with Lucy Lawless and Paul Provenza
An unrehearsed, fun read-through of the Greek Tragedy from 441 BCE, plus some discussion with the cast of Greek drama, our selected translation, and other stuff. Enjoy! - Read more about the topic. - PEL Citizens can get an ad-free,
|2015-May-25 • 145 minutes|
Episode 116: Freud on Dreams
On Sigmund Freud's On Dreams (1902) and other stuff. Are dreams just random, or our best key to understanding the mind? - Sponsors: St. John's College Graduate Institute (partiallyexaminedlife.com/sjcgi), Squarespace.com (enter code PEL)
|2015-May-11 • 135 minutes|
Episode 115: Schopenhauer on Music with Guest Jonathan Segel
The Camper Van Beethoven violinist/composer/multi-instrumentalist joins us to discuss The World as Will and Representation, book 3 selections.
|2015-Apr-27 • 131 minutes|
Episode 114: Schopenhauer: “The World Is Will”
On The World As Will and Representation (1818), book 2. The world is a blind, striving force!
|2015-Apr-06 • 144 minutes|
Episode 113: Jesus’s Parables
Interpreting the Parables using texts from Paul Ricoeur, John Dominic Crossan, Paul Tillich, et al, with guest Law Ware.
|2015-Mar-16 • 129 minutes|
Episode 112: Ricoeur on Interpreting Religion
On Paul Ricoeur's "The Critique of Religion" and "The Language of Faith" (1973), with guest Law Ware. How can we apply hermeneutics to the Bible?
|2015-Mar-02 • 142 minutes|
Episode 111: Gadamer’s Hermeneutics: How to Interpret
On Hans-Georg Gadamer's Truth and Method (1960, ch. 4), "Aesthetics and Hermeneutics" (1964), "The Universality of the Hermeneutical Problem" (1966), and "Hermeneutics as Practical Philosophy" (1972).
|2015-Feb-23 • 17 minutes|
Close Reading (PREMIUM) of Heidegger on Truth
Mark and Seth go line-by-line through the first half of "On the Essence of Truth" to help you understand Heidegger's language. This is a 17-min preview of a 2 hr, 37-min bonus recording. Citizens, log in and listen now.
|2015-Feb-22 • 19 minutes|
Ep. 110 Aftershow (PREMIUM) with Stephen West
Stephen West returns: Citizens should log in and listen to the Aftershow on Whitehead featuring Dylan Casey and David Buchanan. Everyone can listen to the first chunk of the discussion now.
|2015-Feb-16 • 14 minutes|
Close Reading (PREMIUM) of Kant on the Sublime
Mark and Wes go line-by-line through a chunk of the Critique of Judgment to help you feel confident decoding Kant and other difficult texts. This is a 13-min preview of a 72-min bonus recording. Citizens, log in and listen now.
|2015-Feb-02 • 138 minutes|
Episode 110: Alfred North Whitehead: What Is Nature?
On The Concept of Nature (1920). Nature, i.e. the object of our experience, is events, not things, ya dig?
|2015-Feb-01 • 13 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 110: Whitehead
Mark Linsenmayer outlines Alfred North Whitehead's book The Concept of Nature (1920)
|2015-Jan-31 • 20 minutes|
Ep. 109 Aftershow (PREMIUM) with Stephen West
The first chunk of our new after-the-episode discussion, featuring Stephen West from Philosophize This! and Mark Linsenmayer. This is a 20-min preview of a 72-min discussion that can be found in full on our Free Stuff for Citizens page.
|2015-Jan-19 • 122 minutes|
Episode 109: Jaspers’s Existentialism with Guest Paul Provenza
On Karl Jaspers's "On My Philosophy" (1941), featuring comedian/actor/director/author Paul Provenza
|2015-Jan-18 • 11 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 109: Karl Jaspers
Mark Linsenmayer introduces Karl Jaspers's existentialist tract, "On My Philosophy." (1941)
|2015-Jan-06 • 103 minutes|
Episode 108: Dangers of A.I. with Guest Nick Bostrom
On Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, and Strategies (2014) with the author. What can we predict about, and how can we control in advance, the motivations of the entity likely to result from eventual advances in machine learning?
|2014-Dec-20 • 136 minutes|
Episode 107: Edmund Burke on the Sublime
On A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, where young Burke lays out our knee-jerk aesthetic reactions, including those to scary things at a safe distance. With guest Amir Zaki.
|2014-Dec-20 • 88 minutes|
Not Ep. 107: The 12 Interminable Days of Xmas: A Musical Extravaganza
Mark Lint and the PEL Orchestra present the longest, slowest, biggest, fattest, most surreal Christmas carol ever.
|2014-Dec-04 • 116 minutes|
Episode 106: Pyrrhonian Skepticism According to Sextus Empiricus
On "Outlines of Pyrrhonism" from 200 C.E. Can you live while suspending judgment about all non-everyday matters? WIth guest Jessica Berry.
|2014-Nov-15 • 120 minutes|
Episode 105: Kant: What Is Beauty?
On Critique of Judgment (1790), Part I, Book I. What is beauty? Disinterested pleasure!
|2014-Oct-27 • 123 minutes|
Episode 104: Robert Nozick’s Libertarianism
On Anarchy, State & Utopia (1974), ch. 1-3 and 7. What are the moral limits on government power? No redistributive taxation, suckah! With guest Stephen Metcalf.
|2014-Oct-26 • 12 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 104: Robert Nozick
Seth Paskin introduces Anarchy, State, and Utopia about libertarianism and the limits of legitimate government power.
|2014-Oct-14 • 107 minutes|
Episode 103: Thoreau on Living Deliberately
On Henry David Thoreau's Walden (1854). Should all true philosophers go live in the woods and seek Truth in nature? Probably YOU should.
|2014-Sep-20 • 127 minutes|
Episode 102: Emerson on Wisdom and Individuality
On Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “The American Scholar” lecture (1837) and his essays “Self-Reliance” and “Circles” (1841). Be yourself! Don't conform! Realize your oneness with the universe!
|2014-Sep-01 • 102 minutes|
Episode 101: Maimonides on God
On Guide for the Perplexed about God's lack of properties, featuring guest comedian Danny Lobell of the Modern Day Philosophers podcast.
|2014-Aug-15 • 149 minutes|
Episode 100: Plato’s Symposium Live Celebration!
Our big live episode (also on video) about love, sex, self-improvement, and ancient Greek pederasty! Featuring a set by Mark Lint, plus Philosophy Bro on Plato's "Apology."
|2014-Aug-11 • 110 minutes|
Episode 99: Looking Back on 100 Discussions and 5+ Years
What have we learned? How has our take on the PEL project changed? On the eve before our big ep. 100 live show, we sat down to reflect on what we've been doing here. With guest Daniel Horne.
|2014-Jul-26 • 88 minutes|
Episode 98: Guest Michael Sandel Against Market Society
Interviewing him on his book "What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets" and continuing the discussion of his first book, "Liberalism and the Limits of Justice."
|2014-Jul-19 • 105 minutes|
Episode 97: Michael Sandel on Social Justice and the Self
On "Liberalism and the Limits of Justice" (1982) where Sandel critiques Rawls's version of liberalism as based on a bogus picture of us as purely choosing beings.
|2014-Jul-01 • 126 minutes|
Episode 96: Oppenheimer and the Rhetoric of Science Advisers
Discussing Lynda Walsh's book "Scientists as Prophets: A Rhetorical Genealogy" (2013) with the author, focusing on Robert J. Oppenheimer.
|2014-Jun-29 • 12 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 96: Oppenheimer’s Rhetoric
Guest Lynda Walsh describes her book Scientists as Prophets: A Rhetorical Genealogy, focusing on J. Robert Oppenheimer's conflicted position after WWII as science advisor and anti-nuke spokesman.
|2014-Jun-16 • 110 minutes|
Episode 95: Gödel on Math
On two unpublished essays considering the implications of Godel's incompleteness theorems and asserting mathematical realism. With guest Adi Habbu.
|2014-Jun-15 • 9 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 95: Gödel
Guest Adi Habbu lays out Kurt Gödel's famous incompleteness theorems and describes some highlights from "Some Basic Theorems on the Foundations of Mathematics and their Implications" (1951) and "The Modern Development of the Foundations of Mathematics ..
|2014-May-23 • 100 minutes|
Episode 94: Schopenhauer on Reading, Writing, and Thinking
On Arthur Schopenhauer's essays, "On Authorship and Style," "On Thinking for Oneself," and "On Genius" (all published 1851).
|2014-May-03 • 96 minutes|
Episode 93: Freedom and Responsibility (Strawson vs. Strawson)
On P.F. Strawson's "Freedom and Resentment" (1960), Galen Strawson's "The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility" (1994), and Gary Watson's "Responsibility and the Limits of Evil: Variations on a Strawsonian Theme" (1987). With guest Tamler Sommers.
|2014-Apr-29 • 14 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 93: Free Will (via Strawsons)
Guest Tamler Sommers (from the Very Bad Wizards podcast) summarizes Galen Strawson's "The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility" (1994) and his father P.F. Strawson's "Freedom and Resentment" (1960).
|2014-Apr-12 • 99 minutes|
Episode 92: Henri Bergson on How to Do Metaphysics
On Bergson's "An Introduction to Metaphysics" (1903). With guest Matt Teichman.
|2014-Mar-30 • 16 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 92: Henri Bergson
Guest Matt Teichman introduces Bergson's essay "An Introduction to Metaphysics."
|2014-Mar-29 • 93 minutes|
Episode 91: Transhumanism (Plus More on Brin)
More on David Brin's novel Existence, plus Nick Bostrom's essay "Why I Want to Be a Posthuman When I Grow Up" (2006). With guest Brian Casey.
|2014-Mar-26 • 95 minutes|
Episode 90: Sci-Fi and Philosophy with Guest David Brin
Discussing David Brin's novel Existence (2012) with the author. Also with guest Brian Casey.
|2014-Mar-25 • 8 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 90: Sci-Fi and Philosophy with David Brin
Introductory salvo by Mark Linsenmayer before our interview with author David Brin.
|2014-Mar-12 • 94 minutes|
Episode 89: Berkeley: Only Ideas Exist!
On Bishop George Berkeley's Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous (1713).
|2014-Mar-11 • 31 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 89: Berkeley’s Idealism
Wes Alwan introduces George Berkeley's Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous.
|2014-Mar-01 • 69 minutes|
Partially Examined Life Not School Digest #4: Sartre, Heidegger, Zizek, Marx, and Theater
Excerpts from discussions on Sartre's Nausea, Heidegger's "The Question Concerning Technology," Slavoj Zizek's Year of Dreaming Dangerously, Marx and Engels's "Communist Manifesto," Peter Schaffer's play...
|2014-Feb-18 • 107 minutes|
Episode 88: G.E.M. Anscombe: Should We Use Moral Language?
On Elizabeth Anscombe's "Modern Moral Philosophy" (1958), Intention sections 22-27 (1957), and "War and Murder" (1961). With guest Philosophy Bro.
|2014-Jan-18 • 10 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 88: G.E.M. Anscombe
Guest Philosophy Bro introduces Elizabeth Anscombe's "Modern Moral Philosophy," and Intention sections 22-27.
|2014-Jan-02 • 87 minutes|
Sartre’s “No Exit” Read with Lucy Lawless & Jaime Murray
In support of our ep. #87 discussing Sartre, the PEL Players present our 2nd annual dramatic reading of a work of philosophical theater.
|2014-Jan-01 • 116 minutes|
Episode 87: Sartre on Freedom and Self-Deception
On Jean-Paul Sartre's "Existentialism is a Humanism" (1946), "Bad Faith" (pt. 1, ch. 2 of Being & Nothingness, 1943), and his play No Exit (1944).
|2013-Dec-30 • 9 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 87: Sartre
Mark Linsenmayer lays out some themes from Jean-Paul Sartre's "Existentialism is a Humanism" and the "Bad Faith" chapter (Part 1, Ch. 2) of Being & Nothingness.
|2013-Dec-24 • 88 minutes|
Episode 86: Thomas Kuhn on Scientific Progress
On The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, published mostly in 1962.
|2013-Dec-23 • 6 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 86: Thomas Kuhn
Dylan Casey lays out Thomas Kuhn's thesis in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
|2013-Dec-07 • 107 minutes|
Episode 85: Rawls on Social Justice
On John Rawls's A Theory of Justice (1971), most of ch. 1-4.
|2013-Dec-06 • 11 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 85: John Rawls
Seth Paskin summarizes the John Rawls's A Theory of Justice.
|2013-Nov-11 • 33 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 84: Nietzsche’s “Gay Science”
On Friedrich Nietzsche's The Gay Science (1882, with book 5 added 1887).
|2013-Nov-01 • 58 minutes|
Episode 83 Follow-Up: Q&A with Frithjof Bergmann
In light of our ep. 83, many listeners had questions on Frithjof's social/political/economic proposals for creating a post-job, pro-meaningful-work world.
|2013-Oct-11 • 91 minutes|
Episode 83: New Work with Guest Frithjof Bergmann
alking with Frithjof Bergmann, Prof. Emeritus from U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor about his book New Work, New Culture (2004, English release coming soon).
|2013-Oct-10 • 13 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 83: New Work
An introduction to and summary of Frithjof Bergmann's New Work, New Culture, read by Mark Linsenmayer.
|2013-Sep-24 • 30 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 82: Karl Popper on Science
On Popper's Conjectures and Refutations (1963), the first three essays. What is science, and how is it different than pseudo-science? From philosophy? Is philosophy just pseudo-science, or proto-science, or what? Popper thinks that all legitimate...
|2013-Sep-23 • 13 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 82: Popper
A summary of the first three essays in Karl Popper's collection Conjectures and Refutations, read by Dylan Casey.
|2013-Aug-29 • 31 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 81: Jung on the Psyche and Dreams
On Carl Jung's "Approaching the Unconscious" from Man and His Symbols, written in 1961. What's the structure of the mind? Jung followed Freud in positing an unconscious distinct from the conscious ego, but Jung's picture has the unconscious much more...
|2013-Aug-28 • 14 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 81: Jung
An introduction to Carl Jung's Man and His Symbols, read by Wes Alwan.
|2013-Aug-23 • 44 minutes|
Partially Examined Life Not School Digest #3: Work, Blood Meridian, Mind, and Heidegger
Excerpts of discussions about Frithjof Bergmann's New Work, New Culture, Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian, Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to...
|2013-Aug-08 • 30 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 80: Heidegger on our Existential Situation
On Martin Heidegger's "Letter on Humanism" (1949).
|2013-Aug-07 • 13 minutes|
Precognition of Ep. 80: Heidegger
A short summary of Heidegger's "Essay on Humanism," read by Seth Paskin.
|2013-Jul-15 • 30 minutes|
PREMIUM-PEL Ep 79: Heraclitus on Understanding the World
Eva Brann discusses her book The Logos of Heraclitus (2011). What is the world like, and how can we understand it? Heraclitus thinks that the answer to both questions is found in “the logos.”
|2013-Jul-01 • 31 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 78: Ayn Rand on Living Rationally
On Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (1967) and "The Objectivist Ethics" (1961). First Rand grounds everyday human knowledge, largely by dismissing the concerns of other philosophers (even those whom she unknowingly parrots) as absurd....
|2013-Jun-09 • 30 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 77: Santayana on the Appreciation of Beauty
On George Santayana's The Sense of Beauty (1896). What are we saying when we call something "beautiful?" Are we pointing out an objective quality that other people (anyone?) can ferret out, or just essentially saying "yay!" without any logic...
|2013-May-14 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 76: Deleuze on What Philosophy Is
On Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's What Is Philosophy? (1991). With guest Daniel Coffeen.
|2013-Apr-19 • 33 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 75: Lacan & Derrida Criticize Poe’s “The Purloined Letter”
On Jacques Lacan's "Seminar on 'The Purloined Letter'" (1956), Jacques Derrida's "The Purveyor of Truth" (1975), and other essays in the collection The Purloined Poe: Lacan, Derrida, and Psychoanalytic Reading. -
|2013-Apr-04 • 29 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 74: Jacques Lacan’s Psychology
On Bruce Fink's The Lacanian Subject (1996) and Lacan's "The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience" (1949).
|2013-Mar-23 • 31 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 73: Why Do Philosophy? (And What Is It?)
Mark, Seth, Wes, and Dylan share what drove them into philosophy and keeps them there. How is philosophy different than (or similar to) science? Than religion? Art?
|2013-Mar-09 • 33 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 72: Terrorism with Jonathan R. White
We're joined by an international terrorism expert to discuss how to define terrorism and whether it can ever be ethical.
|2013-Feb-15 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 71: Martin Buber’s “I and Thou”
On Buber's 1923 book I and Thou. With guest Daniel Horne.
|2013-Jan-30 • 31 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 70: Marx on the Human Condition
On Karl Marx's The German Ideology, Part I, an early, unpublished work from 1846. - Sponsored by Zero Books; please visit zero-books.net.
|2013-Jan-23 • 50 minutes|
Partially Examined Life Not School Digest Jan 2013
Excerpts of discussions about Deleuze & Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus, an article on emergence called "More Is Different" by Nobel Prize Winning physicist P.W. Anderson, John Searle's Mind:...
|2013-Jan-13 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 69: Plato on Rhetoric vs. Philosophy
On Plato's Dialogue, "Gorgias" (380 BCE or so).
|2013-Jan-12 • 84 minutes|
Not Episode 69: PEL Players Full Cast Audiobook of Plato’s “Gorgias” (part 1)
Three podcasters and two listeners join to read Plato's fabulous dialogue.
|2012-Dec-22 • 31 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 68: David Chalmers Interview on the Scrutability of the World
On David Chalmers's book Constructing the World (2012).
|2012-Dec-16 • 31 minutes|
Not School Digest Nov-Dec 2012: A Bonus Quasisode
Excerpts of discussions about David Chalmers's The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory, Thomas Nagel's Mind and Cosmos, and Paul Auster's City of Glass.
|2012-Dec-07 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 67: Carnap on Logic and Science
On Rudolph Carnap's The Logical Structure of the World (1928). WIth guest Matt Teichman.
|2012-Nov-21 • 30 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 66: Quine on Linguistic Meaning and Science
On W.V.O. Quine's "On What There Is" (1948) and "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" (1951). WIth guest Matt Teichman.
|2012-Nov-08 • 7 minutes|
Celebrating Two Million Downloads: A Highlights Minisode
Our highlight reel in thanks to all you listeners who have brought us to the milestone of approximately two million downloads.
|2012-Oct-27 • 31 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 65: The Federalist Papers
On Alexander Hamilton/James Madison's Federalist Papers (1, 10-12, 14-17, 39, 47-51), plus Letters III and IV from Brutus, an Anti-Federalist.
|2012-Oct-07 • 35 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 64: Celebrity, with guest Lucy Lawless
On Fame: What the Classics Tell Us About Our Cult of Celebrity by Tom Payne (2010).
|2012-Sep-21 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 63: Existentialist Heroes in Cormac McCarthy’s “No Country for Old Men”
On philosophical issues in McCarthy's 2005 novel about guys running around with drug money and shooting each other, and about fiction as a form for exploring philosophical ideas. With guest Eric Petrie.
|2012-Sep-05 • 36 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 62: Voltaire’s Novel “Candide”
On Candide: or, Optimism, the novel by Voltaire (1759).
|2012-Aug-15 • 31 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 61: Nietzsche on Truth and Skepticism
On Friedrich Nietzsche's "On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense" (1873). WIth guest Jessica Berry.
|2012-Jul-23 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 60: Aristotle: What’s the Best Form of Government?
On Aristotle's Politics (350 BCE), books 1 (ch 1-2), 3, 4 (ch 1-3), 5 (ch 1-2), 6 (ch 1-6), and 7 (ch. 1-3, 13-15).
|2012-Jul-05 • 30 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 59: Alasdair MacIntyre on Moral Justifications
On Alasdair MacIntyre's After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (1981), mostly ch. 3-7 and 14-17.
|2012-Jun-20 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 58: What Grounds Ethical Claims? (Moore, Stevenson, MacIntyre)
On G.E. Moore's Principia Ethica, ch. 1 (1903); Charles Leslie Stevenson's "The Emotive Meaning of Ethical Terms" (1937), and Alasdair MacIntyre's After Virtue, ch. 1-2.
|2012-May-31 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 57: Henri Bergson on Humor
On Bergson's Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic (1900). With guest Jennifer Dziura.
|2012-May-15 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 56: More Wittgenstein on Language
Continuing discussion of Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, Part I, sections 1-33 and 191-360. With guest Philosophy Bro.
|2012-May-02 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 55: Wittgenstein on Language
On Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, Part I, sections 1-33 and 191-360 (written around 1946). With guest Philosophy Bro.
|2012-Apr-06 • 34 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 54: More Buddhism and Naturalism
Continuing our discussion of Owen Flanagan's The Bodhisattva's Brain: Buddhism Naturalized (2011).
|2012-Mar-26 • 34 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 53: Buddhism and Naturalism with Guest Owen Flanagan
Discussing The Bodhisattva's Brain: Buddhism Naturalized (2011) with Owen Flanagan. What philosophical insights can we modern folks with our science and naturalism (i.e. inclination against super-natural explanations) glean from Buddhisim?
|2012-Mar-17 • 33 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 52: Philosophy and Race (DuBois, Martin Luther King, Cornel West)
On W.E.B. DuBois's "Of Our Spiritual Strivings" (1903), Cornel West's "A Genealogy of Modern Racism" (1982), and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" (1963) and "The Black Power Defined" (1967),
|2012-Feb-24 • 26 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 51: Semiotics and Structuralism (Saussure, et al)
On Ferdinand de Saussure's Course in General Linguistics (1916) (Part I and Part II, Ch. 4), Claude Levi-Strauss's "The Structural Study of Myth" (1955), and Jacques Derrida's "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences" (1966).
|2012-Feb-03 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 50: Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”
On Robert M. Pirsig's philosophical, autobiographical novel from 1974. With guest David Buchanan.
|2012-Jan-11 • 33 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 49: Foucault on Power and Punishment
Discussing Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish (1975), parts 1, 2 and section 3 of part 3. With guest Katie McIntyre.
|2011-Dec-17 • 33 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 48: Merleau-Ponty on Perception and Knowledge
Discussing Maurice Merleau-Ponty's "Primacy of Perception" (1946) and The World of Perception (1948).
|2011-Dec-01 • 31 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 47: Sartre on Consciousness and the Self
Discussing Jean-Paul Sartre's The Transcendence of the Ego (written in 1934).
|2011-Nov-17 • 30 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 46: Plato on Ethics & Religion
Discussing Plato's "Euthyphro." With guest Matt Evans.
|2011-Oct-29 • 33 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 45: Moral Sense Theory: Hume and Smith
Discussing parts of David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature (1740) and Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). With guest Getty Lustila.
|2011-Oct-11 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 44: New Atheist Critiques of Religion
Discussing selections from Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel C. Dennett.
|2011-Sep-15 • 33 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 43: Arguments for the Existence of God
Discussing the arguments by Descartes, St. Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, William Paley, Kant, and others, as analyzed in J.L. Mackie's The Miracle of Theism: Arguments For and Against the Existence of God (1983), chapters 1-3, 5-6, 8, and 11.
|2011-Sep-05 • 30 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 42: Feminists on Human Nature and Moral Psychology
Discussing Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s utopian novel Herland (1915) and psychologist Carol Gilligan's In a Different Voice (1983). With guest Azzurra Crispino.
|2011-Jul-19 • 33 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 41: Pat Churchland on the Neurobiology of Morality (Plus Hume’s Ethics)
Patricia Churchland on her new book Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality. We also discussed David Hume's ethics as foundational to her work, reading his Treatise on Human Nature (1739), Book III,
|2011-Jul-11 • 31 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 40: Plato’s Republic: What Is Justice?
Discussing The Republic by Plato, primarily books 1 and 2.
|2011-Jun-10 • 33 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 39: Schleiermacher Defends Religion
Discussing Friedrich Schleiermacher's "On Religion; Speeches to its Cultured Despisers" (1799, with notes added 1821), first and second speeches. With guest Daniel Horne.
|2011-May-25 • 33 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 38: Bertrand Russell on Math and Logic
Discussing Russell's Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (1919), ch. 1-3 and 13-18. With guest Josh Pelton.
|2011-May-06 • 30 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 37: Locke on Political Power
Discussing John Locke's Second Treatise on Government (1690). With guest Sabrina Weiss.
|2011-Apr-11 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 36: More Hegel on Self-Consciousness
Part 2 of our discussion of G.F.W. Hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit," covering sections 178-230 within section B, "Self-Consciousness."
|2011-Apr-02 • 30 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 35: Hegel on Self-Consciousness
On G.F.W. Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), Part B (aka Ch. 4), "Self-Consciousness," plus recapping the three chapters before that (Part A. "Consciousness"). With guest Tom McDonald.
|2011-Mar-13 • 33 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 34: Frege on the Logic of Language
On Gottlob Frege's "Sense and Reference," "Concept and Object" (both from 1892) and "The Thought" (1918). With guest Matt Teichman.
|2011-Feb-18 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 33: Montaigne: What Is the Purpose of Philosophy?
Discussing Michel de Montaigne's Essays: "That to Philosophize is to Learn to Die," "Of Experience," "Of Cannibals," "Of the Education of Children," and "Of Solitude" (all from around 1580) with some discussion of "Apology for Raymond Sebond."
|2011-Feb-08 • 33 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 32: Heidegger: What is “Being?”
Discussing Martin Heidegger's Being and Time (1927), mostly the intro and ch. 1 and 2 of Part 1.
|2011-Jan-10 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 31: Husserl’s Phenomenology
Discussing Edmund Husserl's Cartesian Meditations (1931).
|2010-Dec-19 • 33 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 30: Schopenhauer on Explanations and Knowledge
Discussing Arthur Schopenhauer's On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, published in 1847 (as an expansion of his doctoral thesis from 1813).
|2010-Nov-21 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 29: Kierkegaard on the Self
On Soren Kierkegaard's "The Sickness Unto Death" (1849). With guest Daniel Horne.
|2010-Nov-01 • 31 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 28: Nelson Goodman on Art as Epistemology
Discussing Goodman's Ways of Worldmaking (1978). With guest painter Jay Bailey.
|2010-Oct-10 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 27: Nagarjuna on Buddhist “Emptiness”
Primarily discussing "Reasoning: The Sixty Stanzas" and "Emptiness: The Seventy Stanzas," by the 2nd century Indian Buddhist Nagarjuna. With guest Erik Douglas.
|2010-Sep-25 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 26: Freud on the Human Condition
Discussing Freud's Civilization and its Discontents (1930). Get the full episode at partiallyexaminedlife.com.
|2010-Sep-10 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 25: Spinoza on Human Nature
Discussing Spinoza's the Ethics, Books II through V.
|2010-Aug-24 • 32 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 24: Spinoza on God and Metaphysics
Discussing Spinoza's Ethics (1677), books 1 and 2.
|2010-Jul-29 • 31 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 23: Rousseau: Human Nature vs. Culture
Discussing Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Discourse in Inequality (1754) and book 1 of The Social Contract (1762).
|2010-Jul-18 • 31 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 22: More James’s Pragmatism: Is Faith Justified? What is Truth?
Discussing William James's "The Will to Believe".
|2010-Jun-28 • 31 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 21: What Is the Mind? (Turing, et al)
Discussing articles by Alan Turing, Gilbert Ryle, Thomas Nagel, John Searle, and Dan Dennett. With guest Marco Wise.
|2010-Jun-09 • 31 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 20: Pragmatism – Peirce and James
On Pragmatism (1907) by William James and "The Fixation of Belief" (1877) and "How to Make Our Ideas Clear" (1878) by Charles Sanders Peirce.
|2010-May-14 • 31 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 19: Kant: What Can We Know?
Discussing Immanuel Kant's Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (1783). With guest Azzurra Crispino.
|2010-Apr-21 • 34 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 18: Plato: What Is Knowledge?
Discussing Plato's Theatetus and Meno.
|2010-Mar-29 • 31 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 17: Hume’s Empiricism: What Can We Know?
On David Hume's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748).
|2010-Mar-04 • 44 minutes|
PREMIUM-Episode 16: Danto on Art
Discussing three essays by Arthur Danto from The Philosophical Disenfranchisement of Art (1986): the title essay, "The Appreciation and Interpretation of Works of Art," and "The End of Art."
|2010-Feb-24 • 113 minutes|
Episode 15: Hegel on History
Discussing G.W.F Hegel's Introduction to the Philosophy of History.
|2010-Feb-07 • 93 minutes|
Episode 14: Machiavelli on Politics
Discussing Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince and Ch. 1-20 of The Discourse on the First Ten Books of Titus Livy
|2010-Jan-03 • 122 minutes|
Episode 13: What Are the Metaphysical Implications of Quantum Physics?
On Werner Heisenberg’s Physics and Philosophy. Dylan Casey's first appearance (as a guest).
|2009-Dec-06 • 110 minutes|
Episode 12: Chuang Tzu’s Taoism: What Is Wisdom?
On the "Chuang Tzu," Chapters 2, 3, 6, 18, and 19. With guest Erik Douglas.
|2009-Nov-10 • 112 minutes|
Episode 11: Nietzsche’s Immoralism: What Is Ethics, Anyway?
Discussing The Genealogy of Morals (mostly the first two essays) and Beyond Good and Evil Ch. 1 (The Prejudices of Philosophers), 5 (Natural History of Morals), and 9 (What is Noble?).
|2009-Oct-19 • 125 minutes|
Episode 10: Kantian Ethics: What Should We Do?
Discussing Fundamental Principles (aka Groundwork) of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785).
|2009-Sep-18 • 119 minutes|
Episode 9: Utilitarian Ethics: What Should We Do?
Discussing Jeremy Bentham’s An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation chapters 1-5, John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, and Peter Singer's "Famine, Affluence, and Morality."
|2009-Sep-04 • 98 minutes|
Episode 8: Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (and Carnap): What Can We Legitimately Talk About?
Continuing last ep's discussion of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus with some Rudolph Carnap from his 1935 book Philosophy and Logical Syntax.
|2009-Aug-19 • 100 minutes|
Episode 7: Wittgenstein’s Tractatus: What Is There and Can We Talk About It?
Discussing the beginning (through around 3.1) of Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.
|2009-Jul-31 • 99 minutes|
Episode 6: Leibniz’s Monadology: What Is There?
Discussing Liebniz's Monadology.
|2009-Jul-16 • 101 minutes|
Episode 5: Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics
Discussing Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Books I and II.
|2009-Jun-22 • 97 minutes|
Episode 4: Camus and the Absurd
Discussing Camus's "An Absurd Reasoning" and "The Myth of Sisyphus" (1942).
|2009-Jun-07 • 98 minutes|
Episode 3: Hobbes’s Leviathan: The Social Contract
Discussing Hobbes's Leviathan, Chapters 13-15.
|2009-May-14 • 99 minutes|
Episode 2: Descartes’s Meditations: What Can We Know?
On Descartes's Meditations 1 and 2.
|2009-May-13 • 75 minutes|
Episode 1: “The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living.”
Discussing Plato's "Apology." Does studying philosophy make you a better person? No.
|2009-May-11 • 11 minutes|
Episode 0: Introduction to the Podcast
What are we trying to do here? Why should you bother to listen to us?