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Red Letter Philosophy

66 EpisodesProduced by Red Letter PhilosophyWebsite

Red Letter Philosophy is a podcast about philosophy that matters. There are many philosophers and philosophies in this world.  Some deep, many shallow.  In ancient calendars, medieval manuscripts, and modern universities, red signified something important; something that would put you in danger, sho… read more

66 Episodes | 2018 - 2020

Life Is a Pigsty

November 9th, 2018


Men plot, God Laughs, so goes a Yiddish saying.  

Philosophers might say we find ourselves at an epistemological disadvantage.  We know our …

Asking the Right Questions

November 23rd, 2018


Clandestine forces pushing you, pulling you; ever present in your life.  But it's not more knowledge that will open your eyes to their presence, it's …

A Philosophy of Light

December 7th, 2018


There is war in the night, no one knowing whom he strikes.  All depends on the philosophy of light.

Strange Ways

December 21st, 2018


Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all. Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

RLP Special: It's a Wonderful Life

December 21st, 2018


Life is strange.  All of it.  In this special Christmas episode, we examine the life of George Bailey.

Stage-One Thinking

January 4th, 2019


A guiding light amidst the darkness.  In this episode we explore the virtue of thinking, and the folly of stage-one thinking.  Life is strange, not …

Everything Comes with a Price

January 18th, 2019


You can’t have it all. Every action, every choice you make carries a consequence.  For in life, everything comes with a price.  What prices are you paying?

The Madmen

February 1st, 2019


Reality is experienced, truth is comprehended and articulated.  Without truth we cannot talk about reality.  But the road to and through truth is …

RLP Special: Romance and The Devil

February 10th, 2019


Life is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy for those who feel. Celebrate the season of St. Valentine with Ambrose Bierce, for those who think, and Edgar Allen Poe, for those who feel.

Mind the Gap

February 15th, 2019


What can philosophy teach us about the importance of being mindful?  How can philosophy help us to understand the meaning of life?  Life, language …

Where Are You?

March 1st, 2019


Jack & Kate & Hurley & . . . Chesterton?   

Not all who wander are lost wrote J.R.R. Tolkien.  But it is also true that not all who are …

Wondrous Strange

March 15th, 2019


The philosopher seeks truth and reality.  Truth is articulated, reality is experienced.  But what if there is not a reality?  What if there are …

And Then There Were Four

March 29th, 2019


Identity, content, origin, destiny: who are you? What are you composed of? Where do you come from? Where are you going? Four questions, four …

Be Quick, But Don't Hurry

April 12th, 2019


If you can’t generalize, you can’t see patterns in life, and if you can’t see patterns in life, then you can’t be wise.  In this episode we explore the nature of wisdom.

Whence Evil?

April 26th, 2019


"Is he (God) willing to prevent evil, but not able? then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and …


May 10th, 2019


What to do with evil? (Fight it? Deny it? Flee from it?) How to understand it? (Is it real, is it illusion, or is it something else entirely?) How to …

The Ring of Gyges

May 24th, 2019


Are we evil by nature?  Are we good by nature? Or does our nature, if we have a nature, lie somewhere between good and evil?

Suppose you were given a …

The Fall of Gyges

June 7th, 2019


Fame? Fortune? Frivolity?  What would you give, and what would you do, to possess these things permanently? What price would you pay?  

What if the …

Narrative and Reality

June 21st, 2019


Beware the myths, the narratives, about you; for they may enlighten our minds and sharpen our perception of the world, but they may also darken our …

RLP Special: Stranger Things - A Prequel

July 4th, 2019


Sometimes things are not what they seem. Sometimes life is strange. The realization that appearance does not always mirror reality, or that appearance does not exhaust reality is ancient, ancient yet contemporary. It …

RLP Special: A Strange Revolution

July 4th, 2019


July 4th is Independence Day in the United States. Whether you are American or not, and most of humanity is not, the story of the American revolution …

Plato's Cave, Pt. 1

July 19th, 2019


Our world is a spooky place. Consider that we live in a universe, not a diverse.  The things of the world must have something in common. What is it? Life is movement.  When you don't move, you die.  But the movement of …

Plato's Cave, Pt. 2

August 2nd, 2019


This world, this material reality before us, is like a cave.  It's not an illusion. It's real, but it is not ultimately real.  There is something …

RLP Special: The Smiths, Morrissey & Philosophy

August 16th, 2019


Season 1 is a wrap.  As we prepare for the 2nd season, we have a couple of slightly different episodes for you.  

What we’ve been trying to communicate philosophically - that life is strange, and in the strangeness we …

RLP Special: Conan the Barbarian & Philosophy

August 30th, 2019


There is a story we’re telling with our podcast.  It’s going somewhere.   We love stories, we need stories, because stories are about life.   We have used other stories to help tell our story:  The Lord of the Flies, …

Life Is Still a Pigsty

September 13th, 2019


In our thinking and in our doing we presume that life is meaningful.  We believe our decisions matters.  We believe our lives matter.  We assume …

A Horseman in the Sky

September 20th, 2019


Filled with amazement and terror by this apparition of a horseman in the sky - half believing himself the chosen scribe of some new Apocalypse, [he] was overcome by the intensity of his emotions; his legs failed him and …

David Hume & The Impotence of Reason

September 27th, 2019


The British Empiricist, David Hume, wrote:  "reason alone can never be a motive to any action of the will”.  If Hume is right, and the thing that separates us from the beasts, our ability to reason, is not enough to …

C. S. Lewis & The Unavoidable Invisible

October 11th, 2019


This week we confront a reality - a law, to use Lewis' language - that is unavoidable, yet can be disobeyed.  We contemplate a reality that presses upon you as much as gravity, but cannot be measured and weighed by any …

Jean-Paul Sartre, Ethics & Meaning

October 25th, 2019


If morality cannot be reduced to culture or emotion, then what is it?  Perhaps it is simply a subjective thing.  But there’s a problem with this.  In …

RLP Special: But Is It Real? Halloween I

October 31st, 2019


What is it about Halloween?  Is it the candy and dressing up?  Is it trick or treating in a decorated neighborhood?  Is it parties? What is it about the dark imagery, the witches, the vampires, and of course, the ghosts …

Albert Camus & The Myth of Sisyphus

November 8th, 2019


Albert Camus, philosopher and novelist, once wrote that there was only one genuine philosophical problem: suicide.  Camus wrote that, “Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental …

Viktor Frankl & The Meaning of Life

November 22nd, 2019


Nietzsche wrote, "He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how”. Today we discuss what it is that makes life meaningful.  What could be …

RLP Special: Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2019


In his book, "Pensees", the great Blaise Pascal reflected on the brief span of his life, of any of our lives.  He wrote, “I take fright and am amazed to see myself here rather than there; there is no reason for me to be …

The Barbarian & The Philosopher

December 6th, 2019


Two questions that cannot be separated: Who are you? Where are you going? Today we learn from a barbarian and a philosopher that our identities and our destinies are intertwined. You cannot discuss the good without …

Aristotle & Happiness

December 20th, 2019


What is it at which all things aim? What is it that is desired for it’s own sake? What is the virtue of virtues and the good of all goods? We finally arrive at an answer to central question of the season, and to one of …

RLP Special: 'Tis the Season (Christmas II)

December 23rd, 2019


Christmas breaks upon us, and everything changes. What was unknown is made known, what was mythic becomes historic. Come explore the reason for the season. Merry Christmas.

The Demon of Happiness

January 3rd, 2020


We all want to be happy.  However, happiness can be an ambiguous word. For example, in today’s age, being happy is often equated with feeling happy. But is how we feel who we are? Or is true happiness, and the true …

God or Beast?

January 17th, 2020


The gods know too much to ask questions. The beasts know too little to ask questions. We, therefore, are neither gods nor beasts Suppose a person's goodness or excellence is tied to their function? What then is our …

The Pleasure Principle

January 31st, 2020


Pain and fear may break a man. But not all pain and suffering end in affliction. Sometimes pain and fear can end in happiness. Pleasure, pain, and happiness: the subject of this weeks episode of A Strange Fire.

RLP Special: Valentine's Day II - The Nightingale & The Rose

February 14th, 2020


“This is our dilemma - either to taste and not to know, or to know and not to taste", wrote C. S. Lewis. Such is the nature of love. Love , it seems, cannot be captured by philosophy, for "love is wiser than …

Snobs or Slobs?

February 28th, 2020


Should we allow ourselves to be moved by the vicissitudes of life or should we seek to have a "stiff upper lip?"  In other words, are you  a Stoic or …

Can or Kant?

March 13th, 2020


What, if anything, does sexual desire reveal about who we are and what is best in life?   Our guest today is the greatest philosopher of the Enlightenment, and one of the most influential philosophers of all time, …

RLP Special: St. Patrick's Day I

March 17th, 2020


St. Patrick’s Day tells us that there is a will in the fabric of the world.  Perhaps there is leprechaun in the green of the tall grass. Perhaps there is a Banshee's scream in the howl of the wind.  Thoughts on …

The Futility of Utility

March 27th, 2020


Very few philosophies are all darkness or all light; most are a mixture. If a philosophy was darkness though and through, no one would take it …

You Are Useless

April 10th, 2020


When we hear the word useless we may think of the word "worthless". But a useless thing can also be priceless. Beauty, friendship, worship, love: these things are useless. What does it say about us that we need useless …

RLP Special: Easter I

April 12th, 2020


The greatest of all paradoxes is celebrated in Easter.  In Easter a symbol of death becomes a sign of life.  An instrument of torture becomes the …

A Friend Indeed, Pt. 1

April 24th, 2020


“Friendship is a necessity”, wrote Aristotle.  This is especially true in trying times.  But not all friendships are worth pursing and maintaining.  Who are your friends and why does it matter?  These questions  (and …

A Friend Indeed, Pt. 2

May 8th, 2020


We need food. We need water. Food and water feed our bodies. If Aristotle is right we need friends; friends who are “useless”. They are the most valuable of friends. But what does friendship feed? Friendship does not …

RLP Special: Mother's Day I

May 10th, 2020


G. K. Chesterton wrote: “How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own …

The Opiate of the Masses? (Pt. 1)

May 22nd, 2020


G. K. Chesterton wrote, “take away the supernatural and what remains is the unnatural.” When we lose an appreciation for “the useless”, we lose the …

RLP Special: Memorial Day I

May 25th, 2020


There are those, this very day, who would take your freedom from you; for your own good, of course. In a moral universe, there are competing values, …

The Opiate of the Masses? (Pt. 2)

June 5th, 2020


Karl Marx wrote, "religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the …

The End

June 19th, 2020


“The truth is that people who worship health cannot remain healthy." In our day there are few ideals higher than health. Mental health, bodily health, environmental health. If Chesterton is right, it is a sign that we …

RLP Special: Reflections on Fatherhood

June 21st, 2020


We’d like to propose something radical this Father's Day.  Perhaps, fatherhood (and motherhood, for that matter) are not social constructs. Perhaps fatherhood is written into the fabric of reality?  Join us today for a …

Introducing Red Letter Philosophy

July 2nd, 2020


This episode is not a usual episode. Think of this as more of an announcement. Permanence is the illusion of every age, and so it is for us. We are changing the name of the show.

RLP Special: The Sea Within

July 3rd, 2020


Summer is upon us. Time for a little relaxation: the beach, the breeze, and a good book.  Philosopher Peter Kreeft writes that, “a typical book on the sea will tell you what causes storms, but it will not tell you what …

RLP Special: Independence Day Reflections

July 4th, 2020


Thomas Sowell, writes that, “the American Revolution was not simply a rebellion against the King of England, it was a rebellion against being ruled …

RLP Special: I Surf, Therefore I Am

July 17th, 2020


Peter Kreeft, in his second book on the sea and surf, writes that, “the sea herself is the most poetic thing on earth (except perhaps a woman's face), and a breaking wave is the most poetic thing on the sea, and riding …

RLP Special: Spooky Action at a Distance

July 31st, 2020


The sea without and the sea within, like mind and body, or reason and imagination, presents us with two realities. And if Kreeft is right, neither can be reduced to the other, but neither do they exist separately. This …

RLP Special: The Human House

August 14th, 2020


Since at least the time of Plato, and almost certainly before that, some of the greatest and most insightful thinkers have been convinced that there …

RLP Special: Death in the Grand Canyon

August 21st, 2020


The Grand Canyon is a place where the line between life and death, the line between this world and the next world, grows thin. The Grand Canyon is a reminder that life is serious business. Don't take yourself seriously, …

RLP Special: The Endless Summer

August 28th, 2020


In 1966, Bruce Brown created a film titled, “The Endless Summer”. The film has been called charming, uncomplicated, and strange. Brown's movie continues to fascinate and puzzle decades after its release. It is not …

But Is It Beautiful?

September 11th, 2020


Could you give a reason, an explanation, or a description to illuminate your intuitions regarding art and beauty?  What is it that makes something …

RLP Special: September 11th & The Mystery of Evil

September 11th, 2020


On September 11th, we remember the individuals who died, the individuals who were maimed, the individuals who suffered. But we should also heed the …

Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder?

September 25th, 2020


Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Can beauty be a completely subjective thing? Beauty and meaning explored in this episode of Red Letter …

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