The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

337 EpisodesProduced by Mark Linsenmayer

The Partially Examined Life is a philosophy podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a short text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flippancy. You don't have to know any philosophy, or e… read more

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Episode 213: Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Part One)

April 15th, 2019


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, …

Episode 212: Sartre on Literature (Part Two)

April 8th, 2019


Continuing on What is Literature? (1948).

Sartre gives a phenomenology of reading and writing that makes reading into a creative act of completing …

Episode 212: Sartre on Literature (Part One)

April 1st, 2019


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 …

PREVIEW-(sub)Text#5: Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya"

April 1st, 2019


Wes Alwan is joined by Monica McCarthy of the Happier Hour podcast to discuss Anton Chekhov's 1898 play about family dysfunction and potentially wasting your life.

This is a preview of a 54-minute discussion. You can …

Episode 211: Sartre on Racism and Authenticity (Part Three)

March 25th, 2019


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 …

NEM#94: Ian Moore Grown Far Beyond Blues-Rock

March 22nd, 2019


Ian has released 10 studio albums and 3 EPs since 1993, starting as an Austin guitar hero and evolving into an eclectic, subtle Seattle songwriter …

Episode 211: Sartre on Racism and Authenticity (Part Two)

March 18th, 2019


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 …

Episode 211: Sartre on Racism and Authenticity (Part One)

March 11th, 2019


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 …

Constellary Tales #6: Philip K. Dick's "Minority Report" (PEL Crossover Special)

March 11th, 2019


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 …

Episode 210: Frantz Fanon's Black Existentialism (Part Two)

March 4th, 2019


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 …

Episode 210: Frantz Fanon's Black Existentialism (Part One)

February 25th, 2019


On Black Skin White Masks (1952).

How does growing up in a racist society mess people up? Fanon's "clinical study" includes phenomenology, poetry, …

Podchaser Interview of Mark Linsenmayer: Partially Examined Life and Nakedly Examined Music

February 23rd, 2019


Morgan DeLisle, writer for the PodChaser "Behind the Streams Blog," interviewed Mark for a feature of our podcasts. Learn about the origins of PEL and NEM, how we make the shows, and what's coming up.

Listen to all of …

Episode 209: Francis Fukuyama on Identity Politics (Part Two: Discussion)

February 18th, 2019


Continuing on Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment (2018).

Fukuyama recommends a "creedal national identity" as a solution …

Episode 209: Guest Francis Fukuyama on Identity Politics (Part One)

February 11th, 2019


Talking to the author about Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment (2018).

What motivates people? Frank points to thymos, …

Episode 208: Epicurus on Seeking Pleasure (Part Two)

February 4th, 2019


More on the ethics-related fragments of Epicurus and accounts by Martha Nussbaum and Tim O'Keefe.

What would a purely therapeutic philosophy consist …

Episode 208: Epicurus on Seeking Pleasure (Part One)

January 28th, 2019


On the extant fragments of Epicurus (341–270 BCE) dealing with ethics, including his "Letter to Menoceus," “The Principal Doctrines,” and “The …

Episode 207: Herder on Art Appreciation (Part Two)

January 21st, 2019


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” …

Episode 207: Herder on Art Appreciation (Part One)

January 14th, 2019


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 …

PREVIEW-Ep 206 Lucretius's Epicurean Physics (Part Three)

January 13th, 2019


Mark and Wes go into more textual detail re. Lucretius’s take on atomism and the metaphysical and epistemological problems it entails. Start with …

Episode 206: Lucretius's Epicurean Physics (Part Two)

January 7th, 2019


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 …

Episode 206: Lucretius's Epicurean Physics (Part One)

December 31st, 2018


On Lucretius’s poem about Epicurean science: On the Nature of Things a.k.a. De Rerum Natura from the 1st century BC.

How does the world work? Lucretius presents a system that is surprisingly modern, and raises …

PREVIEW-Ep 205 Durkheim et al on Suicide (Part Three)

December 31st, 2018


Mark and Wes discuss Durkheim's Suicide (1897), getting into more of the details of his account and exploring comparative modes of explanation: Are …

Episode 205: Suicide with Dr. Drew (Durkheim et al) (Part Two)

December 22nd, 2018


More on philosophical and psychological interpretations of and judgments about suicide with guest Drew Pinsky.

Is suicide an epidemic or a choice? …

Episode 205: Suicide with Dr. Drew (Durkheim et al) (Part One)

December 17th, 2018


We are rejoined by Drew Pinsky to discuss philosophical and psychological readings by Seneca, Arthur Schopenhauer, Sigmund Freud, Emile Durkheim, …

Episode 204: The Bhagavad Gita's Hindu Theology (Part Two)

December 10th, 2018


More on this classic text by (perhaps) Vyasa, with guest Shaan Amin. Should we acquire good karma or behave "beyond good and evil"? How can …

Episode 204: The Bhagavad Gita's Hindu Theology (Part One)

December 3rd, 2018


On the classic Hindu text (ca. the 3rd century B.C.E.), part of the Indian Epic poem Mahabharata, attributed to Vyasa, using Keya Maitra's 2018 translation/commentary.

What is it to live wisely? What grounds duty? …

Episode 203: Kristeva vs. Lovecraft on Horror and Abjection (Part Two)

November 26th, 2018


Concluding on Julia Kristeva's Powers of Horror (1980) and focusing on H.P. Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu" (1928). Does Lovecraft's presentation …

Episode 203: Kristeva vs. Lovecraft on Horror and Abjection (Part One)

November 19th, 2018


More on Julia Kristeva's Powers of Horror (1980) plus H.P. Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu" (1928).

What is the object of fear? Mark, Seth, and …

PREVIEW-Ep 202 Follow-Up: Close Reading of Kristeva's "Approaching Abjection"

November 18th, 2018


Mark takes a very close look at pages 1–4 of the first chapter of On Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (1980) as a supplement to episode 202.

Episode 202: Julia Kristeva on Disgust, Fear and the Self (Part Two)

November 12th, 2018


Continuing on Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, ch. 1 and 2. We try to get clearer on Kristeva's talk of "object," the relationship between language and abjection, how Kristeva is advancing on Freud, how to be a …

Episode 202: Julia Kristeva on Disgust, Fear and the Self (Part One)

November 5th, 2018


On Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (1980), ch. 1 and 2.

Kristeva writes about "abjection," where we violently reject things like corpses, …

PREVIEW-Ep 201 Marcus Aurelius's "Meditations" (Part Three)

November 5th, 2018


Mark and Seth get further into the specifics of Marcus's metaphysics and how this is supposed to relate to behavior. Can his directives really come …

Episode 201: Marcus Aurelius's Stoicism with Ryan Holiday (Part Two)

October 29th, 2018


More on The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (ca. 180 CE) plus Ryan's The Daily Stoic (2016).

We talk Stoicism as "pre-mourning," love of fate, the …

Episode 201: Marcus Aurelius's Stoicism with Ryan Holiday (Part One)

October 22nd, 2018


On The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (ca. 180 C.E.) plus Ryan's The Daily Stoic (2016).

What does Stoicism look like in practice, in both ancient and modern contexts? You might think that eschewing the shallow, …

Episode 200: Kant/Mendelssohn/Foucault on Enlightenment (Part Two)

October 15th, 2018


Continuing on "What Is Enlightenment" by Immanuel Kant (1784), "On Enlightening the Mind" by Moses Mendelssohn (1784), and "What Is Enlightenment" by …

Episode 200: Kant/Mendelssohn/Foucault on Enlightenment (Part One)

October 8th, 2018


On "What Is Enlightenment" by Immanuel Kant (1784), "On Enlightening the Mind" by Moses Mendelssohn (1784), and "What Is Enlightenment" by Michael …

Bonus: (sub)Text#4: Freud's "Mourning and Melancholia" (Part One)

October 8th, 2018


Wes Alwan is joined by Tracy Morgan and Louis Scuderi to discuss Freud's classic 1917 essay.

Note: Part two will NOT be appearing on this feed. …

Episode 199: Elizabeth Anderson on Equality (Part Three: Discussion)

October 1st, 2018


Mark, Wes, Seth, and Dylan continue to discuss “What Is the Point of Equality?” (1999) and how it lays foundations for Private Government (2017). What is democratic equality, and can a …

Episode 199: Guest Elizabeth Anderson on Private Government (Part Two)

September 24th, 2018


Continuing on Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (2017) and “What Is the Point of Equality?” (1999).

Should the amount of respect that …

Episode 199: Guest Elizabeth Anderson on Private Government (Part One)

September 17th, 2018


The U. of Michigan prof joins us to discuss Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don't Talk about It) (2017) and “What Is the …

Episode 198: Plato's Forms in the "Parmenides" (Part Two)

September 10th, 2018


We get down to the specific questions considered this perplexing Platonic dialogue: Are there forms for all adjectives? Does the form of a property …

Episode 198: Plato's Forms in the "Parmenides" (Part One)

September 3rd, 2018


On the most peculiar Platonic dialogue, from ca. 350 BCE. Are properties real things in the world, or just in the mind?

Plato is known for claiming …

Bonus: (sub)Text #3: Spielberg's "AI: Artificial Intelligence": What Is It to Be Human? (Part One)

September 2nd, 2018


Wes discusses the film by Steven Spielberg with philosophy professor David Kyle Johnson. What is there to fear in artificial intelligence? How does …

Episode 197: Parmenides on What There Is (Part Two)

August 27th, 2018


Continuing with guest Peter Adamson with "On Nature" (475 BCE).

We finally get to fragment 8, which describes why Being must be singular and eternal, …

Episode 197: Parmenides on What There Is (Part One)

August 20th, 2018


On the fragments referred to as "On Nature" from ca. 475 BCE, featuring guest Peter Adamson from the History of Philosophy without Any Gaps podcast.

Parmenides gives "the Way of Truth," which is that there is only …

Bonus: (sub)Text #2: Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five": Is There Such a Thing as a War Story? (Part One)

August 20th, 2018


Episode 2 of Wes's new podcasting endeavor, featuring Mary from the Phi Fic podcast, who's also the managing editor of the PEL blog.

Note: Part two will NOT be appearing on this feed. Become a PEL Citizen to get the …

Episode 196: Guest Simon Blackburn on Truth (Part Two)

August 13th, 2018


Continuing with Simon on his book On Truth (2018).

We move to part two of the book, where we get down to the procedures used to obtain truth in art, ethics, and science. Yes, truth is objective, but it's not best …

Episode 196: Guest Simon Blackburn on Truth (Part One)

August 6th, 2018


The Cambridge/etc. prof joins Mark, Wes, and Dylan to discuss his book On Truth (2018).

What is truth? Simon's view synthesizes deflationism and pragmatism to avoid relativism by fixing on the domain-specific procedures …

Episode 195: Truth-The Austin/Strawson Debate (Part Two)

July 30th, 2018


Continuing on "Truth" by J.L. Austin and "Truth" by P.F. Strawson both from 1950.

We proceed to the Strawson article, which critiques the notion of a "fact" as explaining why a sentence might be true. A "fact" is not a …

Episode 195: Truth-The Austin/Strawson Debate (Part One)

July 23rd, 2018


On two articles in the "ordinary language" tradition of philosophy called "Truth" from 1950 by J.L. Austin and P.F. Strawson.

Is truth a property of …

Bonus: (sub)Text #1: Shakespeare's "The Tempest": Poesis as Revenge Forsaken (Part One)

July 21st, 2018


Wes Alwan and Bill Youmans discuss the 1611 play about revenge, forgiveness, and authorship. Or maybe it's about exploitation, or how we react to changes in status, or perhaps how a liberal education can give you …

Episode 194: Alfred Tarski on Truth (Part Two)

July 16th, 2018


Continuing on Tarski's “The Semantic Conception of Truth and the Foundations of Semantics" (1944), Hartry Field's “Tarski's Theory of Truth” (1972), …

Episode 194: Alfred Tarski on Truth (Part One)

July 9th, 2018


On Tarski's “The Semantic Conception of Truth and the Foundations of Semantics" (1944), Hartry Field's “Tarski's Theory of Truth” (1972), and Donald …

Episode 193: The Theory and Practice of Liberal Education (Part Two)

July 2nd, 2018


Continuing with Pano Kanelos on articles on liberal education by Jacob Klein, Sidney Hook, and Martha Nussbaum.

What's the practical application of a liberal education? Is it really liberating or indoctrinating? We …

Episode 193: The Theory and Practice of Liberal Education (Part One)

June 25th, 2018


Pano Kanelos, the president of St. John's College, Annapolis joins us to discuss Jacob Klein's “The Idea of a Liberal Education” (1960) and “On …

Episode 192: "The Closing of the American Mind": Allan Bloom on Education (Part Two)

June 18th, 2018


Continuing on Allan Bloom's 1987 book critiquing the current fragmented structure of the university that promotes technical and professional education over the ability to think philosophically. Does Bloom's vision …

Episode 192: "The Closing of the American Mind": Allan Bloom on Education (Part One)

June 11th, 2018


On Allan Bloom's 1987 best-selleing polemic. What is the role of the university in our democracy? Bloom thinks that today's students are conformist, …

Episode 191: Conceptual Schemes: Donald Davidson & Rudolf Carnap (Part Two)

June 4th, 2018


Finishing Davidson's "On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme" (1974) and moving on to Carnap's "Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology" (1950).

Carnap …

Episode 191: Conceptual Schemes: Donald Davidson & Rudolf Carnap (Part One)

May 28th, 2018


On Davidson's "On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme" (1974) and Carnap's "Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology" (1950).

What does it mean to say …

PREVIEWS-Ep 189: Authorial Intent (Part Three) Plus Identity Politics

May 26th, 2018


Listen here to a few highlights from two recent discussions between Mark and Wes: We chase down some issues from ep. 189, relating authorial intent to philosophy of language more generally, then we have some preliminary …

Episode 190: Film Analysis: "mother!"

May 21st, 2018


On Darren Aronofsky's philosophical 2017 film about humanity's relationship to nature. We discuss the philosophical content of the film (Gnosticism, anyone?) and explore the relation between meaning and the sensuous …

Episode 189: Authorial Intent (Barthes, Foucault, Beardsley, et al) (Part Two)

May 14th, 2018


Continuing on "The Death of the Author" by Roland Barthes (1967) and "What Is an Author?" by Michel Foucault (1969), and finally getting to “Against …

Episode 189: Authorial Intent (Barthes, Foucault, Beardsley, et al) (Part One)

May 7th, 2018


On four essays about how to interpret artworks: “The Intentional Fallacy” by W. K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley (1946), "The Death of the Author" by …

Episode 188: Discussing "Lysistrata" and Politics with Lucy and Emily (Part Two)

April 30th, 2018


Concluding our discussion of Aristophanes's play with Lucy Lawless and Emily Perkins. We focus on trying to connect its lessons to the here and now: Is Lysistrata's victory properly described as the ascension of some …

Episode 188: Discussing "Lysistrata" and Politics with Lucy and Emily (Part One)

April 23rd, 2018


We are rejoined by actresses Lucy Lawless and Emily Perkins to discuss Aristophanes's bawdy play. Listen to us perform it first.

Supplementary readings included Jeffery Henderson's introduction to his 1988 translation …

"Lysistrata" w/ Lucy Lawless, Emily Perkins, Erica Spyres, Bill Youmans & Aaron Gleason

April 16th, 2018


The PEL Players return to perform a "cold read" of Aristophanes's play about using a sex strike to end war, first performed in 411 BCE. Jeffrey …

PREVIEW-Episode 187: The Limits of Free Speech (Part Three)

April 14th, 2018


Three substantial chunks of a follow-up conversation to our free speech episode. Mark and Wes discuss Jordan Peterson on speech, organizations' …

Episode 187: The Limits of Free Speech (Part Two)

April 9th, 2018


Continuing our free form discussion, trying to make sense of Stanley Fish's “There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech, and It’s a Good Thing, Too” (1994) …

Episode 187: The Limits of Free Speech (Part One)

March 29th, 2018


A free-form discussion drawing on Stanley Fish's “There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech, and It’s a Good Thing, Too” (1994), Joel Feinberg’s “Limits to the Free Expression of Opinion” (1975), and other sources.

What are …

Episode 186: J.L. Austin on Doing Things with Words (Part Two)

March 26th, 2018


Continuing on How to Do Things with Words (lectures from 1955), covering lectures 5-9.

Austin tries and fails to come up with a way to grammatically distinguish performatives from other utterances, and so turns to his …

Episode 186: J.L. Austin on Doing Things with Words (Part One)

March 19th, 2018


On How to Do Things with Words (lectures from 1955). What's the relationship between language and the world? Austin says it's not all about descriptive true-or-false statements, but also includes "performatives" like "I …

Episode 185: Ethics in Homer's "Odyssey" Feat. Translator Emily Wilson (Part Two)

March 12th, 2018


Continuing with Emily Wilson on her translation of the Greek epic poem. We discuss the "oikos" or estate, built on violence, and its connection to …

Episode 185: Ethics in Homer's "Odyssey" Feat. Translator Emily Wilson (Part One)

March 5th, 2018


On the classic Greek epic poem, written ca. 750 BC and translated by our guest Emily Wilson in 2018.

Does this story of "heroes" have anything to teach us about ethics? Wilson wrote an 80-page introduction to her new …

Episode 184: Pascal on Human Nature (Part Two)

February 25th, 2018


Continuing on Pascal's Pensées. More on our human desire and how God is supposed to address that, plus Pascal's views on political philosophy, the …

Episode 184: Pascal on Human Nature (Part One)

February 19th, 2018


On Blaise Pascal's Pensées (1670). Is it rational to have religious faith? You're likely familiar with "Pascal's Wager," but our wretchedness is such that we can't simply choose to believe and won't be argued into it. …

Episode 183: Mill on Liberty (Part Two)

February 12th, 2018


Continuing on John Stuart Mill's On Liberty. We discuss "partial truths," whether "truth will out," whether we can discard some "experiments in living" as established failures, how Mill compares to Nietzsche, education, …

Episode 183: Mill on Liberty (Part One)

February 4th, 2018


Discussing John Stewart Mill's On Liberty (1859).

If we disapprove of certain behaviors, when is it okay to prohibit them legally? What about just …

TEASER-Episode 182: Reflections on PEL 2017 (Part Two)

February 4th, 2018


The PEL guys get personal and political and tell you in brief about things like Planet of the Apes, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and Vine Deloria Jr.

Episode 182: Reflections on PEL 2017 (Part One)

January 29th, 2018


To what extent has our podcast changed in reaction to current politics? Mark, Seth, Wes, and Dylan reflect back on our year, discuss how we select …

Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part Two)

January 22nd, 2018


Continuing on Eichmann in Jerusalem, on how ordinary people can do--or acquiesce to--horrific things. How do people rationalize this? What can we apply from this to ourselves? Also, how was genocide a new type of crime, …

Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)

January 15th, 2018


On Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (1963).

Are we still morally culpable if our entire society is corrupt? Arendt definitely …

Episode 180: More James's Psychology: Self and Will (Part Two)

January 8th, 2018


Concluding on William James's Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892). We briefly cover emotions and spend the bulk of our time on will.

James’s …

Episode 180: More James's Psychology: Self and Will (Part One)

January 1st, 2018


On Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892), chapters on "The Self," "Will," and "Emotions."

Continuing from ep. 179, we talk about the "Me" (the part …

Episode 179: William James's Psychology (Part Two)

December 25th, 2017


Continuing on Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892), completing "The Stream of Thought" and covering the chapter on "Habit."

James thinks that …

Episode 179: William James's Introspective Psychology (Part One)

December 18th, 2017


On The Principles of Psychology (1890) chapters 1 & 7, and Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892), the chapters on "The Stream of Thought," …

NEM#61: Richard X. Heyman Is Incognito (Yet a Cornerstone)

December 11th, 2017


Richard garnered early fame as drummer for -60s New Jersey garage band The Doughboys and has put out 11 albums, largely as a one-man band, since 1988.

We discuss the title tracks from Incognito (2017) and Cornerstone

Episode 178: Nietzsche as Social Critic: Twilight of the Idols (Part Two)

December 10th, 2017


Continuing on Nietzsche's 1888 book. Is there any ground from which we could judge life as a whole to be good or bad? Is N. more about saying "yes" …

Episode 178: Nietzsche as Social Critic: "Twilight of the Idols" (Part One)

December 4th, 2017


On Friedrich Nieztsche's 1888 book summarizing his thought and critiquing the founding myths of his society. He defends "spiritualized" instinct and …

Episode 177: Guest Russ Roberts on Adam Smith and Libertarian Economics (Part Two)

November 27th, 2017


Continuing with the Econtalk host on the moral aspects of economics, focused by Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations and Theory of Moral Sentiments.

Episode 177: Guest Russ Roberts on Adam Smith and Libertarian Economics (Part One)

November 20th, 2017


The host of Econtalk provides his take on our ep. 174 on The Wealth of Nations, and explores with us the idea of emergent economic order. Is the economy more like a machine or a garden or what?

Don't wait for part two! …

Episode 176: Situationism in Psych: Milgram & Stanford Prison Experiments (Part Two)

November 13th, 2017


Continuing with Dave Pizarro on articles by Stanley Milgram, Philip Zimbardo, and John Doris about situationism, which entails that people's level of morality will vary by situation, as opposed to virtue ethics, which …

Episode 176: Situationism in Psych: Milgram & Stanford Prison Experiments (Very Bad Wizards Crossover) (Part One)

November 6th, 2017


On Stanley Milgram's "Behavioral Study of Obedience" (1963), Philip Zimbardo’s "Interpersonal Dynamics in a Simulated Prison" (1973), and John …

TEASER-Episode 175: Blade Runner (Part Two)

November 6th, 2017


Do you want the WHOLE discussion on the new Blade Runner 2049, the original 1982 film, and the idea packed Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1967) by Philip K. Dick?

If you do, show your love to the podcast by …

Episode 175: Blade Runner: Androids and Humanity (Part One)

October 30th, 2017


On Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1967) and the films Blade Runner 2049 (2017) and Blade Runner (1982).

What makes us human? Dick's story about androids emphasized their lack of empathy, while …

Episode 174: Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" (Part Two)

October 22nd, 2017


Continuing on the foundational text of economics. We talk "invisible hand," "greed is good," tariffs, unproductive labor, city vs. country, and the education racket.

Listen to part 1 first or get the ad-free Citizen …

Episode 174: Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" (Part One)

October 16th, 2017


On the foundational, 1776 text of modern economics. How does the division of labor and our instinct to exchange lead to the growth of wealth? Is the …

Episode 173: Relating to American Indian Philosophy (Part Two)

October 9th, 2017


We go further into "Philosophy of Native Science" by Gregory Cajete and "What Coyote and Thales Can Teach Us: An Outline of American Indian …

Episode 173: Relating to American Indian Philosophy (Part One)

October 2nd, 2017


What is wisdom? We discuss articles by Brian Burkhart, Gregory Cajete, and Anne Waters, plus Black Elk Speaks by John Neihardt (1932) and some traditional stories. With guest Jim Marunich; we read his master's thesis, …

Episode 172: Mind, Self, and Affect with Guest Dr. Drew (Part Two)

September 25th, 2017


Continuing with Drew Pinsky on “Attachment and Reflective Function: Their Role in Self-organization” by Peter Fonagy and two articles by Allan Schore.

Episode 172: Mind, Self, and Affect with Guest Dr. Drew (Part One)

September 18th, 2017


Radio legend Dr. Drew Pinsky talks with us about “Attachment and Reflective Function: Their Role in Self-Organization” by Peter Fonagy and two …

Episode 171: Buddhism vs. Evolution with Guest Robert Wright (Part Two)

September 11th, 2017


Continuing on Why Buddhism Is True. We discuss the "no self" doctrine as articulated in Buddha's Second Discourse and the modularity-of-mind theory …

Episode 171: Buddhism vs. Evolution with Guest Robert Wright (Part One)

September 4th, 2017


Bob joins the PEL four to discuss his new book Why Buddhism Is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment.

Bob applies his …

Episode 170 Second Opinions: Leftists on "Society of the Spectacle"

August 28th, 2017


Mark and Seth ask Doug Lain (Zero Squared), Brett O'Shea (Revolutionary Left Radio), and C. Derick Varn (Symptomatic Redness) what they think of …

Episode 170: Guy Debord's "Society of the Spectacle" (Part Two)

August 21st, 2017


More on the 1967 Situtationist book. Do we buy Debord's critique? Is any merely partial critique (i.e. no revolution) just more spectacle? Is …

Episode 170: Guy Debord's "Society of the Spectacle" (Part One)

August 14th, 2017


What is culture? In modern capitalism, Debord’s 1967 book describes it as all about the economy. It’s not just our jobs that keep us trapped, but our …

PEL Special: Combat & Classics on Rousseau's "Discourse on the Arts and Sciences"

August 7th, 2017


A new podcast for the PEL Podcast Network! Meet Jeff, Lise, and Brian, who are joined by Wes and Dylan to discuss Rousseau's claim that the arts and sciences lead to "moral corruption." Get more C&C on the PEL site

Episode 169: Analyzing Hitchcock's "Vertigo" (Part One)

July 31st, 2017


On the 1958 film and articles including Laura Mulvey's "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" (1975) and Robin Wood's "Vertigo" (1965). What's the …

Episode 168: Darwin's "Origin of Species" (Part Two)

July 24th, 2017


More on Darwin's famous book. Why does it matter for philosophy, beyond providing an alternative to intelligent design? Is it really anti-religious? How can well tell if it's really a scientific theory? Talking about a …

Episode 168: Darwin's "Origin of Species" (Part One)

July 17th, 2017


On Charles Darwin's 1859 book, ch. 1-4, 6, and 14. What are the philosophical ramifications of Darwin's theory of evolution? We go through Darwin's …

Episode 167: Hume on Intelligent Design (Part Two)

July 10th, 2017


Continuing on David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779), with guest Stephen West. We get further into what’s wrong with the design argument and why Hume thinks that it’s merely a verbal dispute whether …

Episode 167: Hume on Intelligent Design (Philosophize This! Crossover) (Part One)

July 3rd, 2017


On David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779). How would a scientifically minded person argue for the existence of God?

In Hume’s …

Episode 166: Spinoza on Politics and Religion (Part Two)

June 26th, 2017


Concluding on the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670) and Tractatus Politicus (1677). What's the relationship between ethics, reason, and …

Episode 166: Spinoza on Politics and Religion (Part One)

June 19th, 2017


On Benedict de Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670), ch. 12-20 and the Tractatus Politicus (1677).

What’s the relationship between ethics …

Episode 165: Spinoza on Biblical Criticism (Part Two)

June 12th, 2017


Continuing on the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670), ch. 1–11. We go more into natural laws vs. ordinances; does it make sense to say that God …

Episode 165: Spinoza on Biblical Criticism (Part One)

June 5th, 2017


On Benedict de Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670), ch. 1–11. For Spinoza, the Bible was a political issue, and he was interested in a …

Nakedly Examined Music: Steve Hackett, Nik Kershaw, Ken Stringfellow, Robbie Fulks

May 26th, 2017


PEL Network crossover magic, featuring clips (a full song plus explanation) from four recent episodes of Mark's other podcast. Hear the full episodes …

Episode 164: Dostoyevsky’s “The Idiot” on Perfection (Part Two)

May 22nd, 2017


More on the novel with guest Corey Mohler, considering Dostoyevsky qua existentialist in terms of his analysis of the crisis of meaning and his consequent views on religion. Listen to part 1 first, or get the unbroken, …

Episode 164: Dostoyevsky’s “The Idiot” on Perfection (Part One)

May 15th, 2017


On Fyodor Dostoyevsky's philosophical novel from 1869. Could a morally perfect person survive in the modern world? Is all this "modernity," which so …

Episode 163: Guest Stewart Umphrey on Natural Kinds (Part Two)

May 8th, 2017


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.

Episode 163: Guest Stewart Umphrey on Natural Kinds (Part One)

May 1st, 2017


On Natural Kinds and Genesis: The Classification of Material Entities (2016). Are general terms like "water" or "dog" just things that we made up to order the world? Aristotle thought that some universals constitute …

PEL Special: Phi Fic on James Baldwin’s Fiction

April 24th, 2017


On the short stories "This Morning, This Evening, So Soon" (1960) and "Sonny’s Blues" (1957). Mark joins the Phi Fic crew (go subscribe at!) to supplement PEL ep. 162 by delving into Baldwin's fiction, …

Episode 162: James Baldwin on Race in America (Part Two)

April 17th, 2017


Continuing on I Am Not Your Negro, "Notes of a Native Son" (1955), and The Fire Next Time (1963). We (and Law Ware) discuss Baldwin's critique of the American dream, how to oppose the inhumanity of others without …

Episode 162: James Baldwin on Race in America (Part One)

April 10th, 2017


On the film I Am Not Your Negro and the essays "Notes of a Native Son" (1955) and The Fire Next Time (1963). With guest Law Ware. Baldwin diagnoses our racism-related psycho-social maladies, but how can we best …

Episode 161: White Privilege (Peggy McIntosh, Charles Mills, et al) (Part Two)

April 3rd, 2017


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

Episode 161: White Privilege (Peggy McIntosh, Charles Mills, et al) (Part One)

March 27th, 2017


Is the rhetoric of "White Privilege" just the modern way of acknowledging historical and systemic truths of racism, or does it point to a novel way for acknowledging injustice, or does it on the contrary obscure these …

Episode 160: Orwell on Totalitarianism and Language (Part Two)

March 20th, 2017


Continuing with 1984. How does the book relate to real-world politics? Is this something that we should actually be afraid our society will turn …

Episode 160: Orwell on Totalitarianism and Language (Part One)

March 13th, 2017


On the novel 1984 (1949) and the essays “Politics and the English Language” (1946) and “Notes on Nationalism” (1945). What's the relation between …

Episode 159: Confucius on Virtuous Conduct (Part Two)

March 6th, 2017


Continuing on the Analects without our guest. We cover passages on glibness, using names properly, filial conduct, remonstrance, love of learning, places where he sounds like Socrates, and more!

Episode 159: Confucius on Virtuous Conduct (Part One)

February 27th, 2017


On the Analects, compiled after 479 BCE. How should we act? What's the relation between ethics and politics? Can a bunch of aphorisms written in the …

Episode 158: Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy (Part Two)

February 20th, 2017


Continuing on the Consolation, chiefly books 3 and 4, on virtue ethics (we all naturally aim at the good but can be mistaken about it or too weak to …

Episode 158: Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy (Part One)

February 13th, 2017


On the Consolation, written as he awaited execution in 524 CE. Do bad things really happen to good people? Boethius, surprisingly, says no, for Stoic …

Episode 157: Richard Rorty on Politics for the Left (Part Two)

February 6th, 2017


Continuing on Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in 20th Century America (1998). We talk more about Rorty's description of the conflict between …

Episode 157: Richard Rorty on Politics for the Left (Part One)

January 30th, 2017


On Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in 20th Century America (1998). What makes for efficacious progressivism? Rorty argues that reformism went …

Episode 156: Philosophy and Politics Free-Form Discussion (Part Two)

January 23rd, 2017


Continuing our liberal bubble-bursting exercise, the core foursome address more directly the question of how philosophy is supposed to shape one's …

Episode 156: Philosophy and Politics Free-Form Discussion (Part One)

January 16th, 2017


How does studying philosophy help you to make sense of the political landscape? Wes, Mark, Dylan, and Seth play pundit and reflect on political …

Episode 155: Richard Rorty Against Epistemology

January 2nd, 2017


On Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Part II: "Mirroring."

Is a "theory of knowledge" possible? Rorty thinks that any such account will be a fruitless search for foundations. Knowledge is really just a matter …

Episode 154: Wilfrid Sellars on the Myth of the Given

December 19th, 2016


On "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind" (1956).

Is knowledge based on a "foundation," as Descartes, Locke, et al. thought? Sellars says no: The …

Episode 153: Richard Rorty: There Is No Mind-Body Problem

December 5th, 2016


On Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Part I: "Our Glassy Essence."

"The mind" seems to be an unavoidable part of our basic conceptual …

Episode 152: Alexis de Tocqueville on Democracy in America (PEL Live!)

November 21st, 2016


Democracy is in peril! So said Tocqueville in 1835 and 1840 when Democracy is America was published, and it's still true now. Democracy is always just one demagogue away from stripping us of our liberties, though …

Episode 151: Edmund Burke’s Conservatism

November 7th, 2016


On Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790). What relevance do the concerns of a monarchy-defending aristocrat have for us today? Surprisingly, …

PEL Special: Bill Bruford on Nakedly Examined Music #25

November 6th, 2016


NEM now features jazz, hip-hop, classical, folk, and more. Check out all the episodes at, where you can subscribe and follow …

Episode 150: Guest Peter Singer on Famine, Affluence, and Morality

October 24th, 2016


Mark and Wes interview perhaps the world's most influential living philosopher, then the full foursome discusses. We discuss his ongoing work rooted …

Episode 149: Plato’s “Crito”: A Performance and Discussion

October 17th, 2016


Broadway stars Walter Bobbie and Bill Youmans perform Plato's dialogue in which Socrates awaits his execution. Should Socrates defy the verdict and …

Episode 148: Aristotle on Friendship and Happiness

October 3rd, 2016


On the final books 8–10 of Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics. What does friendship have to do with ethics? With guest Ana Sandoiu.

Episode 147: Aristotle on Wisdom and Incontinence

September 19th, 2016


On the Nichomachean Ethics (ca. 350 BCE), books 6–7. Is intelligence just one thing? Aristotle picks out a number of distinct faculties, some of …

Episode 146: Emmanuel Levinas on Overcoming Solitude

September 5th, 2016


More Levinas, working this time through Time and the Other (1948). What is it for a person to exist? What individuates one person from another, making us into selves instead of just part of the causal net of events? Why …

Episode 145: Emmanuel Levinas: Why Be Ethical?

August 22nd, 2016


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 …

Episode 144: Guest Martha Nussbaum on Anger

August 1st, 2016


On Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice (2016). What role should we allow anger to play in our public life? Should systems of …

Phi Fic #3 Frankenstein (PEL Crossover Special)

July 25th, 2016


Guest Wes Alwan joins regulars Nathan Hanks, Mary Claire, Daniel St. Pierre, Laura Davis, and Cezary Baraniecki to discuss Mary Shelley's classic …

Episode 143: Plato’s “Sophist” on Lies, Categorization, and Non-Being

July 11th, 2016


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. …

Episode 142: Plato’s “Phaedrus” on Love and Speechmaking

June 27th, 2016


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 …

Episode 141: De Beauvoir’s Existentialism: Moral and Political Dilemmas

June 13th, 2016


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? B. talks about the practical paradoxes of dealing with …

Episode 140: De Beauvoir on the Ambiguous Human Condition

May 30th, 2016


On The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947), parts I and II. We return to existentialism! Instead of describing our predicament as "absurd," de Beauvoir …

Episode 139: bell hooks on Racism/Sexism

May 9th, 2016


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 …

Episode 138: Guest John Searle on Perception

April 25th, 2016


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, …

Episode 137: Bourdieu on the Tastes of Social Classes

April 11th, 2016


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 …

Episode 136: Adorno on the Culture Industry

March 28th, 2016


On Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer's "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception" from Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), plus Adorno's …

Episode 135: Hegel on the Logic of Basic Metaphysical Concepts

March 14th, 2016


A whole second discussion on G.F.W. Hegel's Encyclopedia Logic, hitting sections 78–99 on the dialectic and Understanding vs. Reason. Hegel thinks we …

Episode 134: Hegel on Thought & World (or “Logic”)

February 29th, 2016


On G.F.W. Hegel's The Science of Logic (1812–1816), §1–§129 and The Encyclopaedia Logic (1817) §1–§25. "Logic" for Hegel is about how thought interacts with the world. Our thoughts about fundamental metaphysical …

PEL Special: Nakedly Examined Music #1 with David Lowery

February 18th, 2016


Welcome to Nakedly Examined Music, our first spin-off of PEL. Hear more at or find it via iTunes. Mark interviews songwriters about why and how they do what they do. Think of it as applied …

Episode 133: Erich Fromm on Love as an Art

February 8th, 2016


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 …

Episode 132: Living Stoically with Seneca and Massimo

January 25th, 2016


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, …

Episode 131: Aristotle’s “De Anima”: What Is the Mind?

January 11th, 2016


Our second discussion of De Anima or On the Soul (350 BCE), this time on book 3. What is the intellect? We talk about its highest part/function: …

Episode 130: Aristotle’s “De Anima”: What Is Life?

December 28th, 2015


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 …

Holiday Special 2015: Mark Lint’s “Songs from the Partially Examined Life” with Many Guest Greetings

December 24th, 2015


Mark is joined by numerous previous guests to catch up and engage the musical part of PEL's past episodes by introducing and playing the entirety of Mark Lint's "Songs from the Partially Examined Life," which you can own

Episode 129: Is Faith Rational?

December 14th, 2015


Nathan Gilmour (Christian Humanist podcast) and Rob Dyer (God Complex Radio) join Mark and Wes for to discuss the reasonableness of religious belief reading Antony Flew's "The Presumption of Atheism," Norwood Russell …

Episode 128: Hilary Putnam on Linguistic Meaning

November 30th, 2015


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 …

Episode 127: John Dewey on Experience and the World

November 16th, 2015


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 …

Episode 126: Saul Kripke on Possibilities, Language & Science

November 2nd, 2015


On Naming and Necessity (1980). What's the relationship between language and the world? Specifically, what makes a name or a class term pick out the …

Not School Digest: Asimov, Camus, Jaspers, Brecht, Peirce, Historical Jesus

October 25th, 2015


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 …

Episode 125: Hannah Arendt on the Political & Private

October 12th, 2015


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 …

Q&A with the Partially Examined Life, Pittsburgh 9-25-15

October 5th, 2015

What is it like to do philosophy in public? As prelude to our ep. 125 appearance at the Pittsburgh Continental Philosophy Network Conference on theory and public space, Mark, Seth, Wes, and Dylan sat down for questions …

Episode 124: The Stoic Life with Epictetus

September 21st, 2015


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. Nothing external can break your spirit unless you let it. So, how weird and …

Episode 123: Economics with Hayek and Sen (Intro by Seth Benzell)

September 7th, 2015


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 …

Ep 121/122 Aftershow on Augustine feat. James Wetzel

September 7th, 2015


Haven't had enough Augustine? Danny Lobell and Wes Alwan welcome Augustine scholar James Wetzel and PEL Citizens Terra Leigh Bell, Amogh Sahu, and …

Episode 122: Augustine on Mind and Metaphysics

August 24th, 2015


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, but also (à …

Precognition of Ep. 123: Economics (F.A. Hayek and Amartya Sen)

August 19th, 2015


Guest Seth Benzell outlines Hayek's "The Use of Knowledge in Society" (1945) and Sen's On Ethics and Economics (1987).

Episode 121: Augustine on Being Good

August 10th, 2015


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 …

Ep. 119 Aftershow (Preview) on Nietzsche feat. Greg Sadler

August 7th, 2015


Seth Paskin and Danny Lobell were joined by Dr. Gregory B. Sadler, David Buchanan, Erik Weissengruber, Tom Kirdas, Ken Presting, and Bill Coe. …

Episode 120: A History of “Will” with Guest Eva Brann

July 27th, 2015


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, …

Ep. 118 Aftershow (Preview) on Songwriting feat. ex-Camper Chris Molla

July 24th, 2015


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, and (not …

Episode 119: Nietzsche on Tragedy and the Psychology of Art

July 6th, 2015


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 …

Ep. 117 Aftershow (Preview) on Antigone with Danny Lobell

July 5th, 2015


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 …

Episode 118: The Musical Life with Guests from Camper van Beethoven

June 29th, 2015


Victor Krummenacher and Jonathan Segel join Mark and Wes to discuss songwriting and authenticity in the age of Internet consumerism. This episode prefigured Mark's Nakedly Examined Music podcast.

Includes a preview of …

Episode 117: Discussing Sophocles’s “Antigone”

June 15th, 2015


Philosophically considering the ancient Greek tragedy, which we also performed with Lucy Lawless and Paul Provenza.

End song: "Woe Is Me" (live, …

“Antigone” Read by PEL with Lucy Lawless and Paul Provenza

June 8th, 2015


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!

PEL Citizens can get an ad-free, extended version.

Episode 116: Freud on Dreams

May 25th, 2015


On Sigmund Freud's On Dreams (1902) and other stuff. Are dreams just random, or our best key to understanding the mind?

After you listen to this, check out the Aftershow.

End song: "Sleep" by Mark Lint. Read about it.

Episode 115: Schopenhauer on Music with Guest Jonathan Segel

May 11th, 2015


The Camper Van Beethoven violinist/composer/multi-instrumentalist joins us to discuss The World as Will and Representation, book 3 selections.

Episode 114: Schopenhauer: “The World Is Will”

April 27th, 2015


On The World As Will and Representation (1818), book 2. The world is a blind, striving force!

Episode 113: Jesus’s Parables

April 6th, 2015


Interpreting the Parables using texts from Paul Ricoeur, John Dominic Crossan, Paul Tillich, et al, with guest Law Ware.

Episode 112: Ricoeur on Interpreting Religion

March 16th, 2015


On Paul Ricoeur's "The Critique of Religion" and "The Language of Faith" (1973), with guest Law Ware. How can we apply hermeneutics to the Bible?

Episode 111: Gadamer’s Hermeneutics: How to Interpret

March 2nd, 2015


On Hans-Georg Gadamer's Truth and Method (1960, ch. 4), "Aesthetics and Hermeneutics" (1964), "The Universality of the Hermeneutical Problem" (1966), and "Hermeneutics as Practical Philosophy" (1972).

Close Reading (Preview) of Heidegger on Truth

February 23rd, 2015


Mark and Seth go line-by-line through the first half of "On the Essence of Truth" to help you understand Heidegger's language. This is a 17-min preview of a 2 hr, 37-min bonus recording. Citizens, log in and listen now.

Ep. 110 Aftershow (Preview) with Stephen West

February 22nd, 2015


Stephen West returns: Citizens should log in and listen to the Aftershow on Whitehead featuring Dylan Casey and David Buchanan. Everyone can listen …

Close Reading (Preview) of Kant on the Sublime

February 16th, 2015


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 …

Episode 110: Alfred North Whitehead: What Is Nature?

February 2nd, 2015


On The Concept of Nature (1920). Nature, i.e. the object of our experience, is events, not things, ya dig?

Precognition of Ep. 110: Whitehead

February 1st, 2015


Mark Linsenmayer outlines Alfred North Whitehead's book The Concept of Nature (1920)

Ep. 109 Aftershow (Preview) with Stephen West

January 31st, 2015


The first chunk of our new after-the-episode discussion, featuring Stephen West from Philosophize This! and Mark Linsenmayer. This is a 20-min …

Episode 109: Jaspers’s Existentialism with Guest Paul Provenza

January 19th, 2015


On Karl Jaspers's "On My Philosophy" (1941), featuring comedian/actor/director/author Paul Provenza

Precognition of Ep. 109: Karl Jaspers

January 18th, 2015


Mark Linsenmayer introduces Karl Jaspers's existentialist tract, "On My Philosophy." (1941)

Episode 108: Dangers of A.I. with Guest Nick Bostrom

January 6th, 2015


On Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, and Strategies (2014) with the author. What can we predict about, and how can we control in advance, the …

Episode 107: Edmund Burke on the Sublime

December 20th, 2014


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, …

Not Ep. 107: The 12 Interminable Days of Xmas: A Musical Extravaganza

December 20th, 2014


Mark Lint and the PEL Orchestra present the longest, slowest, biggest, fattest, most surreal Christmas carol ever.

Episode 106: Pyrrhonian Skepticism According to Sextus Empiricus

December 4th, 2014


On "Outlines of Pyrrhonism" from 200 C.E. Can you live while suspending judgment about all non-everyday matters? WIth guest Jessica Berry.

Episode 105: Kant: What Is Beauty?

November 15th, 2014


On Critique of Judgment (1790), Part I, Book I. What is beauty? Disinterested pleasure!

Episode 104: Robert Nozick’s Libertarianism

October 27th, 2014


On Anarchy, State & Utopia (1974), ch. 1-3 and 7. What are the moral limits on government power? No redistributive taxation, suckah! With guest Stephen Metcalf.

Precognition of Ep. 104: Robert Nozick

October 26th, 2014


Seth Paskin introduces Anarchy, State, and Utopia about libertarianism and the limits of legitimate government power.

Episode 103: Thoreau on Living Deliberately

October 14th, 2014


On Henry David Thoreau's Walden (1854). Should all true philosophers go live in the woods and seek Truth in nature? Probably YOU should.

Episode 102: Emerson on Wisdom and Individuality

September 20th, 2014


On Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “The American Scholar” lecture (1837) and his essays “Self-Reliance” and “Circles” (1841). Be yourself! Don't conform! …

Episode 101: Maimonides on God

September 1st, 2014


On Guide for the Perplexed about God's lack of properties, featuring guest comedian Danny Lobell of the Modern Day Philosophers podcast.

Episode 100: Plato’s Symposium Live Celebration!

August 15th, 2014


Our big live episode (also on video) about love, sex, self-improvement, and ancient Greek pederasty! Featuring a set by Mark Lint, plus Philosophy …

Episode 99: Looking Back on 100 Discussions and 5+ Years

August 11th, 2014


What have we learned? How has our take on the PEL project changed? On the eve before our big ep. 100 live show, we sat down to reflect on what we've been doing here. With guest Daniel Horne.

Episode 98: Guest Michael Sandel Against Market Society

July 26th, 2014


Interviewing him on his book "What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets" and continuing the discussion of his first book, "Liberalism and the Limits of Justice."

Episode 97: Michael Sandel on Social Justice and the Self

July 19th, 2014


On "Liberalism and the Limits of Justice" (1982) where Sandel critiques Rawls's version of liberalism as based on a bogus picture of us as purely choosing beings.

Episode 96: Oppenheimer and the Rhetoric of Science Advisers

July 1st, 2014


Discussing Lynda Walsh's book "Scientists as Prophets: A Rhetorical Genealogy" (2013) with the author, focusing on Robert J. Oppenheimer.

Precognition of Ep. 96: Oppenheimer’s Rhetoric

June 29th, 2014


Guest Lynda Walsh describes her book Scientists as Prophets: A Rhetorical Genealogy, focusing on J. Robert Oppenheimer's conflicted position after WWII as science advisor and anti-nuke spokesman.

Episode 95: Gödel on Math

June 16th, 2014


On two unpublished essays considering the implications of Godel's incompleteness theorems and asserting mathematical realism. With guest Adi Habbu.

Precognition of Ep. 95: Gödel

June 15th, 2014


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 …

Episode 94: Schopenhauer on Reading, Writing, and Thinking

May 23rd, 2014


On Arthur Schopenhauer's essays, "On Authorship and Style," "On Thinking for Oneself," and "On Genius" (all published 1851).

Episode 93: Freedom and Responsibility (Strawson vs. Strawson)

May 3rd, 2014


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" …

Precognition of Ep. 93: Free Will (via Strawsons)

April 29th, 2014


Guest Tamler Sommers (from the Very Bad Wizards podcast) summarizes Galen Strawson's "The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility" (1994) and his father P.F. Strawson's "Freedom and Resentment" (1960).

Episode 92: Henri Bergson on How to Do Metaphysics

April 12th, 2014


On Bergson's "An Introduction to Metaphysics" (1903). With guest Matt Teichman.

Precognition of Ep. 92: Henri Bergson

March 30th, 2014


Guest Matt Teichman introduces Bergson's essay "An Introduction to Metaphysics."

Episode 91: Transhumanism (Plus More on Brin)

March 29th, 2014


More on David Brin's novel Existence, plus Nick Bostrom's essay "Why I Want to Be a Posthuman When I Grow Up" (2006). With guest Brian Casey.

Episode 90: Sci-Fi and Philosophy with Guest David Brin

March 26th, 2014


Discussing David Brin's novel Existence (2012) with the author. Also with guest Brian Casey.

Precognition of Ep. 90: Sci-Fi and Philosophy with David Brin

March 25th, 2014


Introductory salvo by Mark Linsenmayer before our interview with author David Brin.

Episode 89: Berkeley: Only Ideas Exist!

March 12th, 2014


On Bishop George Berkeley's Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous (1713).

Precognition of Ep. 89: Berkeley’s Idealism

March 11th, 2014


Wes Alwan introduces George Berkeley's Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous.

Partially Examined Life Not School Digest #4: Sartre, Heidegger, Zizek, Marx, and Theater

March 1st, 2014


Excerpts from discussions on Sartre's Nausea, Heidegger's "The Question Concerning Technology," Slavoj Zizek's Year of Dreaming Dangerously, Marx and …

Episode 88: G.E.M. Anscombe: Should We Use Moral Language?

February 18th, 2014


On Elizabeth Anscombe's "Modern Moral Philosophy" (1958), Intention sections 22-27 (1957), and "War and Murder" (1961). With guest Philosophy Bro.

Precognition of Ep. 88: G.E.M. Anscombe

January 18th, 2014


Guest Philosophy Bro introduces Elizabeth Anscombe's "Modern Moral Philosophy," and Intention sections 22-27.

Sartre’s “No Exit” Read with Lucy Lawless & Jaime Murray

January 2nd, 2014


In support of our ep. #87 discussing Sartre, the PEL Players present our 2nd annual dramatic reading of a work of philosophical theater.

Episode 87: Sartre on Freedom and Self-Deception

January 1st, 2014


On Jean-Paul Sartre's "Existentialism is a Humanism" (1946), "Bad Faith" (pt. 1, ch. 2 of Being & Nothingness, 1943), and his play No Exit (1944).

Precognition of Ep. 87: Sartre

December 30th, 2013


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 …

Episode 86: Thomas Kuhn on Scientific Progress

December 24th, 2013


On The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, published mostly in 1962.

Precognition of Ep. 86: Thomas Kuhn

December 23rd, 2013


Dylan Casey lays out Thomas Kuhn's thesis in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Episode 85: Rawls on Social Justice

December 7th, 2013


On John Rawls's A Theory of Justice (1971), most of ch. 1-4.

Precognition of Ep. 85: John Rawls

December 6th, 2013


Seth Paskin summarizes the John Rawls's A Theory of Justice.

Episode 84: Nietzsche’s “Gay Science”

November 11th, 2013


On Friedrich Nietzsche's The Gay Science (1882, with book 5 added 1887).

Episode 83 Follow-Up: Q&A with Frithjof Bergmann

November 1st, 2013


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 …

Episode 83: New Work with Guest Frithjof Bergmann

October 11th, 2013


alking with Frithjof Bergmann, Prof. Emeritus from U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor about his book New Work, New Culture (2004, English release coming soon).

Precognition of Ep. 83: New Work

October 10th, 2013


An introduction to and summary of Frithjof Bergmann's New Work, New Culture, read by Mark Linsenmayer.

Episode 82: Karl Popper on Science

September 24th, 2013


On Popper's Conjectures and Refutations (1963), the first three essays.

Precognition of Ep. 82: Popper

September 23rd, 2013


A summary of the first three essays in Karl Popper's collection Conjectures and Refutations, read by Dylan Casey.

Episode 81: Jung on the Psyche and Dreams

August 29th, 2013


On Carl Jung's "Approaching the Unconscious" from Man and His Symbols, written in 1961.

Precognition of Ep. 81: Jung

August 28th, 2013


An introduction to Carl Jung's Man and His Symbols, read by Wes Alwan.

Partially Examined Life Not School Digest #3: Work, Blood Meridian, Mind, and Heidegger

August 23rd, 2013


Excerpts of discussions about Frithjof Bergmann's New Work, New Culture, Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian, Philosophy in the Flesh: The …

Episode 80: Heidegger on our Existential Situation

August 8th, 2013


On Martin Heidegger's "Letter on Humanism" (1949).

Precognition of Ep. 80: Heidegger

August 7th, 2013


A short summary of Heidegger's "Essay on Humanism," read by Seth Paskin.

Episode 79: Heraclitus on Understanding the World

July 15th, 2013


Eva Brann discusses her book The Logos of Heraclitus (2011).

Episode 78: Ayn Rand on Living Rationally

July 1st, 2013


On Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (1967) and "The Objectivist Ethics" (1961).

Episode 77: Santayana on the Appreciation of Beauty

June 9th, 2013


On George Santayana's The Sense of Beauty (1896).

PREVIEW-Episode 76: Deleuze on What Philosophy Is

May 14th, 2013


On Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's What Is Philosophy? (1991). How is philosophy different from science and art? What's the relationship between …

PREVIEW-Episode 75: Lacan & Derrida Criticize Poe’s “The Purloined Letter”

April 19th, 2013


On Jacques Lacan's "Seminar on 'The Purloined Letter'" (1956), Jacques Derrida's "The Purveyor of Truth" (1975), and other essays in the collection

PREVIEW-Episode 74: Jacques Lacan’s Psychology

April 4th, 2013


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). What is the self? Is that the same as the experiencing …

PREVIEW-Episode 73: Why Do Philosophy? (And What Is It?)

March 23rd, 2013


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? The consensus seems that philosophy, to us, is …

PREVIEW-Episode 72: Terrorism with Jonathan R. White

March 9th, 2013


We're joined by an international terrorism expert to discuss how to define terrorism and whether it can ever be ethical. With readings by Donald Black, J. Angelo Corlett, Igor Primoratz, Karl Heinzen, Bhagat Singh, and …

PREVIEW-Episode 71: Martin Buber’s “I and Thou”

February 15th, 2013


On Buber's 1923 book about the fundamental human position: As children, and historically, we start fully absorbed in relation with another person …

PREVIEW-Episode 70: Marx on the Human Condition

January 30th, 2013


On Karl Marx's The German Ideology, Part I, an early, unpublished work from 1846. What is human nature? What drives history? How can we improve our …

Partially Examined Life Not School Digest Jan 2013

January 23rd, 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: A Brief Introduction, …

PREVIEW-Episode 69: Plato on Rhetoric vs. Philosophy

January 13th, 2013


On Plato's Dialogue, "Gorgias" (380 BCE or so). Why philosophize? Isn't it better to know how to persuade people in practical matters, like a …

Not Episode 69: PEL Players Full Cast Audiobook of Plato’s “Gorgias” (part 1)

January 12th, 2013


Three podcasters and two listeners join to read Plato's fabulous dialogue.

PREVIEW-Episode 68: David Chalmers Interview on the Scrutability of the World

December 22nd, 2012


On David Chalmers's book Constructing the World (2012). How are all the various truths about the world related to each other? David Chalmers, famous for advocating a scientifically respectable form of …

Not School Digest Nov-Dec 2012: A Bonus Quasisode

December 16th, 2012


Excerpts of discussions about David Chalmers's The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory, Thomas Nagel's Mind and Cosmos, and Paul …

PREVIEW-Episode 67: Carnap on Logic and Science

December 7th, 2012


On Rudolph Carnap's The Logical Structure of the World (1928). What can we know? Carnap thinks that all the various spheres of knowledge are …

PREVIEW-Episode 66: Quine on Linguistic Meaning and Science

November 21st, 2012


On W.V.O. Quine's "On What There Is" (1948) and "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" (1951). What kind of metaphysics is compatible with science? Quine sees science and philosophy as one and the same enterprise, and he objects to …

Celebrating Two Million Downloads: A Highlights Minisode

November 8th, 2012


Our highlight reel in thanks to all you listeners who have brought us to the milestone of approximately two million downloads.

PREVIEW-Episode 65: The Federalist Papers

October 27th, 2012


On Alexander Hamilton/James Madison's Federalist Papers (1, 10-12, 14-17, 39, 47-51), published as newspaper editorials 1787-8, plus Letters III and IV from Brutus, an Anti-Federalist. What constitutes good government? …

PREVIEW-Episode 64: Celebrity, with guest Lucy Lawless

October 7th, 2012


On Fame: What the Classics Tell Us About Our Cult of Celebrity by Tom Payne (2010). What's the deal with our f'ed up relationship with celebrities? …

PREVIEW-Episode 63: Existentialist Heroes in Cormac McCarthy’s “No Country for Old Men”

September 21st, 2012


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. What can morality mean for people who …

PREVIEW-Episode 62: Voltaire’s Novel “Candide”

September 5th, 2012


On Candide: or, Optimism, the novel by Voltaire (1759). Is life good? Popular Enlightenment philosopher Leibniz argued that it's good by definition. …

PREVIEW-Episode 61: Nietzsche on Truth and Skepticism

August 15th, 2012


On Friedrich Nietzsche's "On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense" (1873). What is truth? This essay, written early in Nietzsche's career, is taken by many to make the extreme claim that there is no truth, that all of the …

PREVIEW-Episode 60: Aristotle: What’s the Best Form of Government?

July 23rd, 2012


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). Aristotle provides both a …

PREVIEW-Episode 59: Alasdair MacIntyre on Moral Justifications

July 5th, 2012


On Alasdair MacIntyre's After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (1981), mostly ch. 3-7 and 14-17. What justifies ethical claims? MacIntyre claims that no modern attempt to ground ethics has worked, and that's because …

PREVIEW-Episode 58: What Grounds Ethical Claims? (Moore, Stevenson, MacIntyre)

June 20th, 2012


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. Is there such a thing as moral intuition? Is …

PREVIEW-Episode 57: Henri Bergson on Humor

May 31st, 2012


On Bergson's Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic (1900). What is humor? Bergson says that, fundamentally, we laugh as a form of social corrective when others are slow to adapt to society's demands. Other …

PREVIEW-Episode 56: More Wittgenstein on Language

May 15th, 2012


Continuing discussion of Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, Part I, sections 1-33 and 191-360. With guest Philosophy Bro. On "family resemlances" in concepts, dismissing philosophical puzzles as …

PREVIEW-Episode 55: Wittgenstein on Language

May 2nd, 2012


On Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, Part I, sections 1-33 and 191-360 (written around 1946). What is linguistic meaning? Wittgenstein argues that it's not some mysterious entity in the mind, but that …

PREVIEW-Episode 54: More Buddhism and Naturalism

April 6th, 2012


Continuing our discussion of Owen Flanagan's The Bodhisattva's Brain: Buddhism Naturalized (2011). Are the basic tenets of Buddhism compatible with a respect for science? We talk (eventually) about talk about karma, …

PREVIEW-Episode 53: Buddhism and Naturalism with Guest Owen Flanagan

March 26th, 2012


Discussing The Bodhisattva's Brain: Buddhism Naturalized (2011) with Owen Flanagan. What philosophical insights can we modern folks with our science …

PREVIEW-Episode 52: Philosophy and Race (DuBois, Martin Luther King, Cornel West)

March 17th, 2012


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), plus …

PREVIEW-Episode 51: Semiotics and Structuralism (Saussure, et al)

February 24th, 2012


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 …

PREVIEW-Episode 50: Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”

February 3rd, 2012


On Robert M. Pirsig's philosophical, autobiographical novel from 1974. What's the relationship between science and values? Pirsig thinks that modern rationality, by insisting on the fundamental distinction between …

PREVIEW-Episode 49: Foucault on Power and Punishment

January 11th, 2012


Discussing Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish (1975), parts 1, 2 and section 3 of part 3. With guest Katie McIntyre.

PREVIEW-Episode 48: Merleau-Ponty on Perception and Knowledge

December 17th, 2011


Discussing Maurice Merleau-Ponty's "Primacy of Perception" (1946) and The World of Perception (1948).

PREVIEW-Episode 47: Sartre on Consciousness and the Self

December 1st, 2011


Discussing Jean-Paul Sartre's The Transcendence of the Ego (written in 1934).

PREVIEW-Episode 46: Plato on Ethics & Religion

November 17th, 2011


Discussing Plato's "Euthyphro." With guest Matt Evans.

PREVIEW-Episode 45: Moral Sense Theory: Hume and Smith

October 29th, 2011


Discussing parts of David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature (1740) and Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). With guest Getty Lustila.

PREVIEW-Episode 44: New Atheist Critiques of Religion

October 11th, 2011


Discussing selections from Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel C. Dennett.

PREVIEW-Episode 43: Arguments for the Existence of God

September 15th, 2011


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 …

PREVIEW-Episode 42: Feminists on Human Nature and Moral Psychology

September 5th, 2011


Discussing Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s utopian novel Herland (1915) and psychologist Carol Gilligan's In a Different Voice (1983). With guest Azzurra …

PREVIEW-Episode 41: Pat Churchland on the Neurobiology of Morality (Plus Hume’s Ethics)

July 19th, 2011


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, Part I …

PREVIEW-Episode 40: Plato’s Republic: What Is Justice?

July 11th, 2011


Discussing The Republic by Plato, primarily books 1 and 2.

PREVIEW-Episode 39: Schleiermacher Defends Religion

June 10th, 2011


Discussing Friedrich Schleiermacher's "On Religion; Speeches to its Cultured Despisers" (1799, with notes added 1821), first and second speeches. …

PREVIEW-Episode 38: Bertrand Russell on Math and Logic

May 25th, 2011


Discussing Russell's Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (1919), ch. 1-3 and 13-18. With guest Josh Pelton.

PREVIEW-Episode 37: Locke on Political Power

May 6th, 2011


Discussing John Locke's Second Treatise on Government (1690). With guest Sabrina Weiss.

PREVIEW-Episode 36: More Hegel on Self-Consciousness

April 11th, 2011


Part 2 of our discussion of G.F.W. Hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit," covering sections 178-230 within section B, "Self-Consciousness."

PREVIEW-Episode 35: Hegel on Self-Consciousness

April 2nd, 2011


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. …

PREVIEW-Episode 34: Frege on the Logic of Language

March 13th, 2011


On Gottlob Frege's "Sense and Reference," "Concept and Object" (both from 1892) and "The Thought" (1918). With guest Matt Teichman.

PREVIEW-Episode 33: Montaigne: What Is the Purpose of Philosophy?

February 18th, 2011


Discussing Michel de Montaigne's Essays: "That to Philosophize is to Learn to Die," "Of Experience," "Of Cannibals," "Of the Education of Children," …

PREVIEW-Episode 32: Heidegger: What is “Being?”

February 8th, 2011


Discussing Martin Heidegger's Being and Time (1927), mostly the intro and ch. 1 and 2 of Part 1.

PREVIEW-Episode 31: Husserl’s Phenomenology

January 10th, 2011


Discussing Edmund Husserl's Cartesian Meditations (1931).

PREVIEW-Episode 30: Schopenhauer on Explanations and Knowledge

December 19th, 2010


Discussing Arthur Schopenhauer's On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, published in 1847 (as an expansion of his doctoral …

PREVIEW-Episode 29: Kierkegaard on the Self

November 21st, 2010


On Soren Kierkegaard's "The Sickness Unto Death" (1849). With guest Daniel Horne.

PREVIEW-Episode 28: Nelson Goodman on Art as Epistemology

November 1st, 2010


Discussing Goodman's Ways of Worldmaking (1978). With guest painter Jay Bailey.

PREVIEW-Episode 27: Nagarjuna on Buddhist “Emptiness”

October 10th, 2010


Primarily discussing "Reasoning: The Sixty Stanzas" and "Emptiness: The Seventy Stanzas," by the 2nd century Indian Buddhist Nagarjuna. With guest Erik Douglas.

PREVIEW-Episode 26: Freud on the Human Condition

September 25th, 2010


Discussing Freud's Civilization and its Discontents (1930). Get the full episode at

PREVIEW-Episode 25: Spinoza on Human Nature

September 10th, 2010


Discussing Spinoza's the Ethics, Books II through V.

PREVIEW-Episode 24: Spinoza on God and Metaphysics

August 24th, 2010


Discussing Spinoza's Ethics (1677), books 1 and 2.

PREVIEW-Episode 23: Rousseau: Human Nature vs. Culture

July 29th, 2010


Discussing Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Discourse in Inequality (1754) and book 1 of The Social Contract (1762).

PREVIEW-Episode 21: What Is the Mind? (Turing, et al)

June 28th, 2010


Discussing articles by Alan Turing, Gilbert Ryle, Thomas Nagel, John Searle, and Dan Dennett. With guest Marco Wise.

PREVIEW-Episode 20: Pragmatism – Peirce and James

June 9th, 2010


On Pragmatism (1907) by William James and "The Fixation of Belief" (1877) and "How to Make Our Ideas Clear" (1878) by Charles Sanders Peirce.

PREVIEW-Episode 19: Kant: What Can We Know?

May 14th, 2010


Discussing Immanuel Kant's Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (1783). With guest Azzurra Crispino.

PREVIEW-Episode 17: Hume’s Empiricism: What Can We Know?

March 29th, 2010


On David Hume's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748).

PREVIEW-Episode 16: Danto on Art

March 4th, 2010


Discussing three essays by Arthur Danto from The Philosophical Disenfranchisement of Art (1986): the title essay, "The Appreciation and Interpretation of Works of Art," and "The End of Art."

Episode 15: Hegel on History

February 24th, 2010


Discussing G.W.F Hegel's Introduction to the Philosophy of History.

Episode 14: Machiavelli on Politics

February 7th, 2010


Discussing Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince and Ch. 1-20 of The Discourse on the First Ten Books of Titus Livy

Episode 13: What Are the Metaphysical Implications of Quantum Physics?

January 3rd, 2010


On Werner Heisenberg’s Physics and Philosophy. Dylan Casey's first appearance (as a guest).

Episode 12: Chuang Tzu’s Taoism: What Is Wisdom?

December 6th, 2009


On the "Chuang Tzu," Chapters 2, 3, 6, 18, and 19. With guest Erik Douglas.

Episode 11: Nietzsche’s Immoralism: What Is Ethics, Anyway?

November 10th, 2009


Discussing The Genealogy of Morals (mostly the first two essays) and Beyond Good and Evil Ch. 1 (The Prejudices of Philosophers), 5 (Natural History of Morals), and 9 (What is Noble?).

Episode 10: Kantian Ethics: What Should We Do?

October 19th, 2009


Discussing Fundamental Principles (aka Groundwork) of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785).

Episode 9: Utilitarian Ethics: What Should We Do?

September 18th, 2009


Discussing Jeremy Bentham’s An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation chapters 1-5, John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, and Peter Singer's "Famine, Affluence, and Morality."

Episode 8: Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (and Carnap): What Can We Legitimately Talk About?

September 4th, 2009


Continuing last ep's discussion of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus with some Rudolph Carnap from his 1935 book Philosophy and Logical …

Episode 7: Wittgenstein’s Tractatus: What Is There and Can We Talk About It?

August 19th, 2009


Discussing the beginning (through around 3.1) of Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

Episode 5: Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics

July 16th, 2009


Discussing Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Books I and II.

Episode 4: Camus and the Absurd

June 22nd, 2009


Discussing Camus's "An Absurd Reasoning" and "The Myth of Sisyphus" (1942).

Part 1 of Episode 1: “The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living.”

May 13th, 2009


Discussing Plato's "Apology." Does studying philosophy make you a better person? No.

Episode 0: Introduction to the Podcast

May 11th, 2009


What are we trying to do here? Why should you bother to listen to us?

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