The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

By Mark Linsenmayer, Wes Alwan, Seth Paskin, Dylan Casey

The Partially Examined Life is a podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a short text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flippancy. You don't have to know any philosophy, or even to have read the text we're talking about to (mostly) follow and (hopefully) enjoy the discussion. For links to the texts we discuss and other info, check out www.partiallyexaminedlife.com. We also feature episodes from other podcasts by our hosts to round out your partially examined life, including Pretty Much Pop (prettymuchpop.com, covering all media), Nakedly Examined Music (nakedlyexaminedmusic.com, deconstructing songs), Philosophy vs. Improv (philosophyimprov.com, fun with performance skills and philosophical ideas), and (sub)Text (subtextpodcast.com, looking deeply at lit and film). Learn about more network podcasts at partiallyexaminedlife.com.

Episodes

Ep. 345: William James on Religious Experience (Part Two)

Continuing on The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902). Does James' claim that science and culture shouldn't ignore the subjective point of view really mean that the religious objects that motivate people are metaphysically real? Is the "unseen realm" part of our common world? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Sponsors: Give online therapy a try at BetterHelp.com/partially. Check out The Overwhelmed Brain podcast at theoverwhelmedbraincom. Check out Mark's Big Books in Continental Philosophy fall class at partiallyexaminedlife.com/class. Learn about our new book at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book.
15/07/2451m 34s

Announcement: Mark's "Big Books in Continental Philosophy" Fall 2024 Class

Do you want to wrestle yourself with some of the weirdest and most engaging texts in philosophical history? Do you want to do this in a beginner-friendly environment with a familiar voice guiding you and sharp fellow learners? Consider signing up for Mark's Fall class, and experience Hegel, Sartre, Arendt, and more first hand in a supportive, low-risk environment. See partiallyexaminedlife.com/class for details.
13/07/245m 55s

Ep. 345: William James on Religious Experience (Part One)

On The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), focusing on lectures 1-3 and 20. What is religion and how should philosophers study it? James describes it as a sincere, full-life reaction to the world, more emotional than intellectual, and conveys the experiences of the extreme "religious geniuses" that are merely received second or third hand by the believing masses. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Check out Mark's Big Books in Continental Philosophy fall class at partiallyexaminedlife.com/class. Learn about our new book at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book.
08/07/2446m 34s

PEL Presents PvI#78: We Essence Merge with Tamler Sommers (Very Bad Wizards)

Tamler teaches philosophy at The University of Houston and hosts the Very Bad Wizards podcast. He joins Mark and Bill to talk about personal identity and whether the "self" is necessarily co-extensive with a particular body. Plus: meditation, Daniel Day Improv's method acting, All of Me vs. Regarding Henry, what does "metaphysics" mean to YOU, dreams as improv, unstuck-in-time Grandma the last slaveholder, and more. Mark philosophizes at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Bill improvises (and teaches) at chicagoimprovstudio.com. Hear more at philosophyimprov.com. Support the podcast to get all our post-game discussions, a video version of the podcast, and other bonus stuff.
06/07/241h 1m

PREMIUM-PEL Mid-Summer Nightcap 2024

Mark, Wes, and Seth talk about worries about the utility of various subgenres or explanation types in philosophy, Dr. Drew's recent interview with Seth and Seth's writing project about non-linguistic communication, accuracy in historical or scientific details in philosophy, and our current political moment (our candidate choices, the debate, etc.). If you're not hearing the full version of this discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
05/07/2412m 1s

Ep. 344: Gettier and Goldman on Justified True Belief (Part Two)

On "What Is Justified Belief?" (1979) by Alvin Goldman, where he tries to come up with a "function" for justification: If a belief has such-and-such non-epistemic properties, then it counts as justified. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Sponsor: Get a $1/month e-commerce trial at shopify.com/pel. Learn about Mark's Big Books in Continental Philosophy Fall online class at partiallyexaminedlife.com/class. Learn about the PEL book at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book.
01/07/2451m 13s

PEL Presents PMP#176: Furiosa: Are We Mad Maxed Out?

Mark, Lawrence, Sarahlyn, and Al discuss the five films in George Miller's Mad Max/Road Warrior franchise. What was the original appeal of the series, and has this changed? Are we still afraid of an "Apunkalypse," or is this just an aesthetic to be ripped off by Fallout and other properties? How can films 80% occupied by car chases be actually good? Is Mad Max an icon a la Indiana Jones, and is there actual world building in this series? For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content at patreon.com/prettymuchpop or by subscribing via Apple Podcasts to the Mark Lintertainment Channel.
30/06/2453m 57s

PEL Presents NEM#218: Pat Mastelotto: Prog Neanderthal Drum-Painting

Pat has been a session drummer since the mid '70s, was a founding member of Mr. Mister in the '80s, and played in all line-ups of King Crimson since '94. He's also a producer and no stranger to electronics. We discuss "31" by Tu-Ner from T-1 Contact Information  (2023), "Flinch" by TUNER from Totem (2005), "Life Goes On" by Mr. Mister from I Wear the Face (1984), and we conclude by listening to "Prog Noir" by Stick Men (2016). Intro: "Vroom Vroom" by King Crimson from Thrak (1995). Hear more Nakedly Examined Music. Support us on Patreon.
29/06/241h 22m

Ep. 344: Gettier and Goldman on Justified True Belief (Part One)

On "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?" (1963) by Edmund Gettier, "What Is Justified Belief?" (1979) by Alvin Goldman, and "The Inescapability of Gettier Problems" (1994) by Linda Zagzebski. What is knowledge? Even if a belief is true and justified, does that make it knowledge? Gettier came up with exceptions, and other philosophers tried to figure out how to revise "justification" to rule these out. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Learn about our new book at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book.
23/06/2442m 29s

PEL Presents PvI #77: Fashionation with Sheri Flanders

The actor/writer/comedian joins us to talk about the philosophy of fashion, from the ancients to the present: Is clothing a mode of self-expression or something more (or less)? What does retro fashion say about the current state of culture? Are philosophers anti-fashion, and is that sexist? What color wedding dress is best for an arranged marriage? Are improv scenes like tissues? Mark philosophizes at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Bill improvises (and teaches) at chicagoimprovstudio.com. Hear more at philosophyimprov.com. Support the podcast to get all our post-game discussions, a video version of the podcast, and other bonus stuff.
22/06/2458m 31s

PEL Presents PMP#175: Podcast of the Planet of the Apes

We discuss the ten films that all started with the 1968 Charlton Heston vehicle (based on Pierre Boulle's 1963 novel) through the latest offering, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. What psychologically are these films about? Which parts of this sprawling franchise are worth your time? For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content at patreon.com/prettymuchpop or by subscribing via Apple Podcasts to the Mark Lintertainment Channel.
21/06/2453m 55s

Ep. 343: Plotinus the Neo-Platonist (Part Two)

Continuing with guest Chris Sunami, mostly discussing "The Good or The One," though we start off by completing "The Descent of the Soul" about why there is something rather than nothing, given that materiality is so undesirable compared to The One. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion, including a supporter-exclusive part three coming out this week. Sponsor: Check out the Subtitle podcast at subtitlepod.com. Learn about our new book at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book.
17/06/2450m 13s

PEL Presents SUBTEXT: Psychedelic Regrets in "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (Part 5)

Wes & Erin continue their discussion of "Rime of the Ancient Mariner."  Thanks to our sponsor for this episode, HelloFresh. Go to HelloFresh.com/subtextapps for free appetizers for life. 
15/06/241h 13m

PEL Presents NEM#217: Richard Thompson's Moments in Time

Richard started as guitarist in the folk-rock staple Fairport Convention in 1967 but left in 1970 after five albums. He then recorded his debut solo album, six as Richard and Linda Thompson, and has since recorded 20 more solo albums of lyrically inventive, stylistically varied tunes that nearly always feature very skilled guitar work. We discuss "Freeze," the first single from his new album Ship to Shore, "The Ghost of You Walks" from You? Me? Us? (1996), and "Don't Take It Lying Down" from Still/Variations EP (2015). End song: "When I Get to the Border" by Richard and Linda Thompson from I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (1974). Intro: "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" from Rumor and Sigh (1991). More at richardthompson-music.com. Hear more Nakedly Examined Music. Support us on Patreon.
14/06/241h 13m

Ep. 343: Plotinus the Neo-Platonist (Part One)

On selections from the Enneads (270 C.E.), as presented by Elmer O'Brien as the first four essays in The Essential Plotinus: "Beauty," "The Intelligence, Ideas and Being," "The Descent of the Soul," and "The Good or The One." Featuring Mark, Wes, Dylan, Seth, and guest Chris Sunami. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. If you like our show, check out the Fearvana podcast. Learn about our new book at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book (which Chris edited).
10/06/2439m 24s

Ep. 342: Zhuangzi on Knowledge and Virtue (Part Two)

We're concluding our treatment of the Daoist sage, focusing on the relation between metaphysics and ethics. Is a "wu wei" (non-action) philosophy compatible with fighting for justice? Does it even necessitate kindness? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Sponsor: Get a $1/month e-commerce trial at shopify.com/pel. <!-- wp:list --> Information on our book is available at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book. Listen to Mark's new band, including the ending song to this episode, "I Insist," at marklint.bandcamp.com.
03/06/2443m 27s

Ep. 342: Zhuangzi on Knowledge and Virtue (Part One)

More on the Zhuangzi, books 1-6 and 17-19 with guest Theo Brooks. We discuss epistemology (Can we know the mind of someone else? How can virtue make truth more accessible?), metaphysics (Is the world constantly changing such that we can't actually refer to anything? Does each thing somehow contain its opposite in virtue of being defined by its contrast with all that it is not?), and ethics (What constitutes the Utmost Person, i.e. the sage?). Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Learn about our new book at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book.
27/05/2442m 46s

Ep. 341 Supplemental: Zhuangzi for Closereads Evergreen Network Launch

Mark and Wes read through and discuss the first couple of pages of ch. 19, "Fathoming Life," following up on ep. 341. How does Daoism compare to Stoicism, Aristotelianism, and Existentialism? How can being a Daoist sage keep one from harm? How is a really effective cicada catcher such a sage? Get more on Zhuangzi at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Sign up for the new Closereads public feed at evergreen.com/closereadsphilosophy, and check out Evergreen's other cool shows. For an ad-free experience with many extra episodes, sign up to support Closereads at patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy, or combine your support for PEL and Closereads at patreon.com/partiallyexaminedlife. Learn about our new book at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book.
20/05/241h 5m

PEL Presents SUBTEXT - Psychedelic Regrets in "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (Part 1)

The ancient Mariner kills his Albatross with a carelessness that stands in stark contrast to his impulse for confession. For several days he and his shipmates feed the albatross, play with it, and treat it as if it were inhabited by a “Christian soul.” The mariner never tells the wedding guest why it is that he kills the bird, but the casual and seemingly unmotivated act is followed by a psychedelic nightmare that gives us some clues. Why do we rebel against our position within the natural world, even to the point of self-destruction? What is required to restore us? Today we discuss Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s classic poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” 
19/05/241h 8m

Ep. 341: Guest Karyn Lai on Daoism in the Zhuangzi

Mark, Dylan, Seth, and Theo Brooks discuss the Zhuangzi (ca. 325 BCE) UNSW Sydney prof. Karyn, co-author of the History of Philosophy Podcast Chinese series. We talk through Daoist advice about virtue, political action, perspectivism, and more. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Learn about our new book at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book.
13/05/2458m 8s

Ep. 340: Brian Ellis on the Implications of Essentialism (Part Two)

Concluding on The Philosophy of Nature: A Guide to the New Essentialism (2002) with guest Chris Heath. Are we OK with the metaphysical necessity of natural laws? How do Ellis' mind-independent fundamental objects in the world relate to higher level things, whether biological species or human nature or even things like colors? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Sponsor: Get a $1/month e-commerce trial at shopify.com/pel. Get the new PEL book at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book.
06/05/2447m 14s

Ep. 340: Brian Ellis on the Implications of Essentialism (Part One)

Continuing on The Philosophy of Nature: A Guide to the New Essentialism. Ellis' essentialism about physics and chemistry says that, for example, atoms of various elements are truly and unambiguously different and behave in ways that make them what they are. What does this entail? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Learn about our new book at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book.
29/04/2442m 0s

PEL 15th Anniversary and Book Release

Your four hosts plus book editor Chris Sunami reflect on doing the podcast for 15 years and making the new book, which you should order on April 25. Plus, the three rules, future ambitions, and more. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Sponsor: Get a $1/month e-commerce trial at shopify.com/pel. Learn more about the book at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book.
22/04/2454m 41s

Ep. 339: Brian Ellis on the Metaphysics of Science (Part Two)

Continuing on The Philosophy of Nature: A Guide to the New Essentialism (2002) with guest Chris Heath. We get further into the text about metaphysical realism, criteria for a natural kind, properties vs. predicates, and much more. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Learn about the new PEL book at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book. Make a note on your calendar to purchase it on Thursday, April 25.
15/04/2445m 56s

PEL Presents PvI#74: A Psychedelic Embrace with David Peña-Guzmán (Overthink)

David is co-host of the excellent Overthink podcast, popular among the young people today, and so we have him monologue to children as an anti (?) drug speaker. How can drugs change us, our sense of self, and the ways we see the world? Can some drugs be considered "natural"? Also, legally defensible drug use at work, and Nancy Reagan the Heel. Mark philosophizes at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Bill improvises (and teaches) at chicagoimprovstudio.com. Hear more at philosophyimprov.com. Support the podcast to get all our post-game discussions, a video version of the podcast, and other bonus stuff.
13/04/241h 5m

Ep. 339: Brian Ellis on the Metaphysics of Science (Part One)

On The Philosophy of Nature: A Guide to the New Essentialism (2002). What kind of metaphysics underlies chemistry and physics? Ellis argues that items such as chemical elements and physical particles have essences, and that these essential properties determine their behavior, which is characterized by scientific laws. Thus, these laws are necessary; they apply in all possible worlds. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Sponsor: Get a $1/month e-commerce trial at shopify.com/pel. Learn about our new book at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book.
08/04/2452m 31s

Ep. 338: Aristotle on Potential vs. Actual and the Unmoved Mover (Part Two)

To conclude our discussion of Aristotle's Metaphysics, we finish discussing potency by talking about the potential to learn (the Meno problem), the metaphysical priority of the actual over the merely potential, and how the Unmoved Mover motivates all primary beings to strive toward their full actualization. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
01/04/2443m 19s

Ep. 338: Aristotle on Potential vs. Actual and the Unmoved Mover (Part One)

We read portions of books 9 (Theta) and 12 (Lambda) of Aristotle's Metaphysics, first on "being-at-work" (actuality) vs. mere potency, then on Aristotle's famous argument for the existence of God. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Sponsors: Get a $1/month e-commerce trial at shopify.com/pel. Buy Philosophers on God: Talking about Existence feat. Dan Dennett, William Lane Craig, et al. Learn about our new book at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book.
25/03/2448m 23s

PREMIUM-PEL Nightcap w/ Chris Sunami (March 2024)

Mark, Seth, and Dylan are joined by the editor of our new book (see partiallyexaminedlife.com/book) to talk a bit about his background, meeting celebrities (or being met qua celebrity) and more generally how a writer or performer's real personality relates to their work, various things we're reading and watching, scientists' attitudes towards philosophy, and the usual musings about future episodes. If you're not hearing the full version of this discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
22/03/2410m 27s

Ep. 337: Aristotle on Primary Being (Part Two)

Continuing on Aristotle's Metaphysics, Book 7 (Zeta), on essences and what sorts of things have them. Contrasting with Plato, Aristotle believes that some changing, visible things have forms. How do they get them? Well, they're received from some previous thing that has a comparable form, e.g. a child from its parents, or perhaps a form could come from a creator's mind. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Sponsor: Get 50% off delicious, ready-to-eat meals at FactorMeals.com/pel50 (code pel50). Learn about our new book at partiallyexaminedlife.com/book.
18/03/2445m 52s

Ep. 337: Aristotle on Primary Being (Part One)

Continuing for our third session on Aristotle's Metaphysics, now covering Book 7 (Zeta). What exactly is the type of being that is the chief reason why we call anything being? Aristotle says its the substantial form present in an individual animal or plant. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Sponsor: Get a $1/month e-commerce trial at shopify.com/pel.
11/03/2447m 0s

Ep. 336: Aristotle on Being and Non-Contradiction (Part Two)

Continuing on Book 4 (Gamma) of the Metaphysics. We discuss further the relations between the logical and metaphysical versions of the principle of non-contradiction and how Aristotle characterizes relativists like Protagoras who he claims violate non-contradiction. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
04/03/2453m 10s

PEL Presents NEM#212: Graham Parker's Hard Graft

Graham has released 25+ studio albums of soul-infused British singer-songwriter goodness since 1976, first with the Rumour, but often in the second half of his career playing live entirely solo. We discuss "Lost Track of Time" by Graham Parker and the Goldtops from Last Chance to Do the Twist (2023), "Going There" by Graham Parker & The Rumour from Mystery Glue (2015), "She Wants So Many Things" from Struck By Lightning (1991), and "Between You and Me" by Graham Parker & The Rumour from Howlin' Wind (1976). Intro: "Local Girls" from Squeezing Out Sparks (1980). Hear more at GrahamParker.net Hear more Nakedly Examined Music. Like our Facebook page. Support us on Patreon.
02/03/241h 28m

Ep. 336: Aristotle on Being and Non-Contradiction (Part One)

On Aristotle's Metaphysics, book 4 (aka Gamma) (ca. 340 BCE). What does studying "being" entail? It involves claiming that all beings are distinct individuals, as opposed to, for instance, an undifferentiated flux. They're thus subject to the law of non-contradiction, which Aristotle defends against objectors. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Sponsor: Get 50% off delicious, ready-to-eat meals at FactorMeals.com/pel50 (code pel50).
26/02/2451m 44s

Ep. 335: Aristotle on Fundamental Explanations (Part Two)

Continuing on Aristotle's Metaphysics, book 1. We get seriously into Aristotle's four types of causation and how previous philosophers in leaving out one or most of these made a mistake. This includes a critique of Platonic forms, which as eternal, unchanging patterns can't actually explain why change occurs in the world. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and bonus content including a supporter-exclusive Closereads/part 3 drilling into the argument against Platonic forms in Aristotle's Metaphysics. Listen to a preview. Sponsor: Get a $1/month e-commerce trial at shopify.com/pel.
19/02/2444m 29s

Ep. 335: Aristotle on Fundamental Explanations (Part One)

On Aristotle's Metaphysics, book 1 (aka Alpha) (ca. 340 BCE). What constitutes a basic explanation of the universe? We talk about how mere practical knowledge of how things in fact work is not enough; there's greater wisdom in knowing the theoretical underpinnings. Various philosophers before Aristotle had given different kinds of explanations of what the universe is at bottom, but for a complete explanation, Aristotle says we'll need to include all four types of causation: material, formal, efficient, and final. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Sponsor: Try another scholarly and fun podcast: Harry Potter and the Sacred Text.
12/02/2447m 33s

REISSUE-Ep. 29: Kierkegaard on the Self

What is the self? For K. we are a tension between opposites: necessity and possibility, the finite and the infinite, soul and body. He thinks we're all in despair, whether we know it or not, because we wrongly think we're something we're not, or we reject what we are, or we just don't pay attention to this dynamic at all: we just go along with the crowd. So we need to keep self-examining and (he thinks) ultimately embrace our subservience to God. Given all this, is there anything one can get out of the text if you don't subscribe to K's Christianity? We're releasing this re-issue as a coda to our recent series on K. Get the rest of our paywalled, vintage episodes at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support, along with a steady stream of new bonus content. Sponsor: Get a $1/month e-commerce trial at shopify.com/pel.
05/02/241h 56m

PREMIUM-PEL Long Winter's Nightcap (Jan-Feb 2024)

We anticipate our upcoming series on Aristotle's Metaphysics by talking through some preliminary issues about the text including what translations we're reading. Is this book really "timeless," or is it like old, outdated science? Also, what kind of person becomes an ancient philosophy student? Plus (in the full discussion), we talk more about Mounk, Presidential disqualification, and more. If you're not hearing the full version of this discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
03/02/2410m 33s

Ep. 334: Gabriel Marcel's Christian Existentialism (Part Two)

Continuing on "On the Ontological Mystery" (1933), we talk more about problems vs. mysteries: The latter implicate OURSELVES; we are not merely witnesses, but our involvement complicates things. Also, what makes Marcel an existentialist? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and bonus content including a supporter-exclusive Nightcap anticipating our upcoming series on Aristotle's Metaphysics. Listen to a preview.
29/01/2454m 29s

Ep. 334: Gabriel Marcel's Christian Existentialism (Part One)

Discussing "On the Ontological Mystery" (1933) about our need for meaning. Marcel asserts that our need for "mystery" is much more primal than the scientific, technical point of view that breaks down problems into component parts for easy analysis. In fact, this more modern-seeming way of looking at the world presupposes and relies on the more originary position. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
22/01/2441m 46s

PEL Presents NEM#209: Bruce Hornsby Is a Lifelong Student

Bruce is best known for his first album The Way It Is (1986), but has come light years since then through 18+ albums, experimenting with different styles, playing over 100 shows with the Grateful Dead, and scoring numerous projects for Spike Lee. He's won three Grammys and recorded with music royalty including Elton John, Ornette Coleman, Branford Marsalis, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, etc. We discuss "Sidelines" (feat. Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend) from 'Flicted (2022), "My Resolve" (feat. James Mercer of The Shins) from Non-Secure Connection (2020), and a new live version of "Shadow Hand" from the 25th Anniversary Edition of Spirit Trail. End song: "Cast-Off" (feat. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver) from Absolute Zero (2019). Intro: "The Way It Is" (Live from Köln, 2019). More at brucehornsby.com Hear more Nakedly Examined Music. Like our Facebook page. Support us on Patreon. Sponsors: Visit GreenChef.com/60Nakedly (use code 60Nakedly) to get 60% off your first box from America's #1 Meal Kit for eating clean (plus 20% off for the next two months) Get the ultimate gift: A custom-written song from Songfinch. Use songfinch.com/NEM to get free Spotify streaming for your song. Listen to the song Mark commissioned.
20/01/241h 11m

Ep. 333: Kierkegaard's "Fear and Trembling" on Faith (Part Two)

Continuing on Kierkegaard's perhaps most famous book, this time focusing largely on "Problem One: Is There a Teleological Suspension of the Ethical?" Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and bonus content including a supporter-exclusive episode of Closereads that connects Kierkegaard to the Sermon on the Mount. Listen to a preview.
15/01/2443m 43s

Ep. 333: Kierkegaard's "Fear and Trembling" on Faith (Part One)

To wrap up our coverage of Kierkegaard, we consider his religious stage of development through this 1843 text analyzing the Biblical story of Abraham. Can we understand, much less admire, an attitude whereby you think God has commanded you to kill your son and you gladly go along with it? How does this sort of "greatness" relate to ethics? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
08/01/2444m 33s

PREMIUM-PEL Winter Nightcap (Concluding 2023)

Mark, Wes, Seth, and Dylan set ourselves as part of our ongoing Kierkegaard reading to re-listen to our 2010 episode 29 on Kierkegaard's The Sickness Unto Death. This leads us to our personal histories regarding faith and how the idea of faith intersects with our philosophy studies. If you're not hearing the full version of this discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
07/01/2411m 6s

Ep. 332: Kierkegaard's "Either/Or": The Ethical Self (Part Two)

Concluding our discussion of Either/Or, still this time considering "The Balance Between the Esthetic and the Ethical in the Development of the Personality" on how the ethical helps us to develop a self. What is this ideal self that Kierkegaard wants us to aim for, but yet which is within us as individuals already? How can each of us merge with the universal ethically yet assert our individuality? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and bonus content including a supporter-exclusive, Kierkegaard-related Nightcap. Listen to a preview.
01/01/2452m 20s

Ep. 332: Kierkegaard's "Either/Or": The Ethical Self (Part One)

On the second half of "The Balance Between the Esthetic and the Ethical in the Development of the Personality" from Vol. 2 of Either/Or (1843). How do we "absolutely" form a coherent self by embracing ethical conventions like marriage, friendship, and having a job? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
25/12/2339m 35s

PREMIUM-Ep. 331: Kierkegaard's "Either/Or": The Ethical Life (Part Three)

Mark and Wes talk in more details about the "stages of despair" Kierkegaard lays out in “The Balance Between the Esthetic and the Ethical in the Development of the Personality” from Vol. 2 of Either/Or. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
22/12/239m 54s

Ep. 331: Kierkegaard's "Either/Or": The Ethical Life (Part Two)

Continuing on "The Balance Between the Esthetic and the Ethical in the Development of the Personality," with a critique of (Hegelian) philosophy and concrete advice for how to build yourself in an optimal way. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and bonus content including  a supporter-exclusive part three to this discussion. Listen to a preview.
18/12/2347m 15s

Ep. 331: Kierkegaard's "Either/Or": The Ethical Life (Part One)

On "The Balance Between the Esthetic and the Ethical in the Development of the Personality" from Vol. 2 of Soren Kierkegaard's Either/Or (1843). What is choice? Kierkegaard's character Judge William criticizes the aesthete from our previous episode on the earlier part of this book: The aesthete doesn't make any authentic choices and so doesn't develop a coherent self. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
11/12/2342m 7s

PREMIUM-Ep. 330: Kierkegaard's "Either/Or": The Aesthetic Life (Part Three)

Mark, Wes, and Seth read through more of Kierkegaard's Diapsalmata, translated as "Refrains," which are the aphorisms that begin the book and demonstrate the aesthetic point of view.  If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.  
08/12/2311m 42s

Ep. 330: Kierkegaard's "Either/Or": The Aesthetic Life (Part Two)

Continuing on "Diapsalmata" and "Rotation of Crops" from the "Either" portion of Kierkegaard's pseudonymous book.  We talk through more of K's aphorisms, his narrator's solution to boredom, and we take the critique personally: Is this Romantic view described one that we held as younger people (or now)? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and bonus content including  a supporter-exclusive part three to this discussion. Listen to a preview.
04/12/2348m 57s

PEL Presents PvI#66: Legacy Mops w/ Kevin Allison

Kevin is the creator and host of the storytelling podcast RISK! and is the alphabetically foremost member of the MTV-televised, newly reformed, celebrity-infested sketch comedy troupe The State. But can he improvise? Mark and Bill surprise Kevin into a scene about a suspicious hotel. How does one engineer one's legacy? Will history inevitably either reduce your greatest contributions to mere noise or reinterpret them in light of your final, embarrassing moments? Perhaps the legendary comedy team of Ricky and Lester can serve as a scenic example; let's let them say a little about who they are and how their career reached its current nadir. Mark philosophizes at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Bill improvises (and teaches) at chicagoimprovstudio.com. Hear more at philosophyimprov.com. You'll see there the link to the video version of this. Support the podcast to get all our post-game discussions and other bonus stuff.
01/12/2358m 8s

Ep. 330: Kierkegaard's "Either/Or": The Aesthetic Life (Part One)

On the aphorisms ("Diapsalmata") that begin Soren Kierkegaard's Either/Or (1843), plus the essay also in the first volume, "Rotation of Crops." What is it to live your life as if it were a work of art? K thinks such a life is unserious and unsatisfying. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
27/11/2344m 19s

PEL Presents (SUB)TEXT: The Emptiness of Signification in Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale" (Part 1 of 6)

When King Leontes accuses his pregnant wife of adultery, the nobleman Antigonus assumes that Leontes has been “abused and by some putter-on”—in other words, some Iago-like villain has been putting malevolent ideas into his head. In fact, Leontes is the father of his own misconceptions, just as he is the father of his wife’s children. But unlike his children, his ideas might be said to have no mother; they lack corroboration, which is to say, collaboration with a source outside himself. How, then, do we account for the seemingly spontaneous generation of his thoughts? How can false apprehensions arise out of nothing? And what price must one pay for bearing these misconceptions, these “nothings,” into the world? In this episode, the first part of a six part discussion, Wes & Erin discuss one of Shakespeare’s last plays, "The Winter’s Tale."
26/11/2356m 4s

Ep. 329: Kierkegaard on Irony (Part Three/Closereads Part One)

Mark and Wes Closeread the conclusion to Soren Kierkegaard's On the Concept of Irony (1841), "Irony as a Controlled Element, the Truth of Irony." The discussion starts with the role of irony in good art, and then moves on to discuss the proper role of irony as an existential strategy in a well-grounded, thoughtful life. To get all Part Three PEL episodes, plus paywalled vintage episodes, Nightcaps, and all PEL episodes ad-free, become a PEL supporter at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Signing up to support Closereads: Philosophy with Mark and Wes at patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy will get you access to 20+ recordings like this, including (soon) the direct sequel to this one.
25/11/2352m 45s

Ep. 329: Kierkegaard on Irony (Part Two)

Continuing with On the Concept of Irony, defined as "infinite absolute negativity." K criticizes his Romantic peers of taking irony too far. So what is healthy, well-grounded irony? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and bonus content including a third part to this episode (coming soon).
20/11/2352m 47s

Ep. 329: Kierkegaard on Irony (Part One)

Discussing On the Concept of Irony (1841). Kierkegaard builds up to telling us what irony is by showing how Socrates invented irony, as characterized by his wholly negative project of showing others that their beliefs inherited from society are wrong. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
13/11/2340m 36s

PREMIUM-Ep. 328: Yascha Mounk Against Identity Politics (Part Three)

Mark, Wes, Dylan, and now Seth too discuss further Mounk's project in The Identity Trap and what philosophically we can glean from it. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
10/11/2310m 19s

Ep. 328: Guest Yascha Mounk Against Identity Politics (Part Two)

Continuing on The Identity Trap (2023). Which works better to achieve social progress; classical liberalism, or strategies involving emphasis of identity group membership? Do we even have to pick a side, or can we pragmatically choose strategies from whichever philosophy most effectively addresses the situation in question? We discuss cultural appropriation, free speech, standpoint epistemology, and more. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and bonus content including a supporter-exclusive, guest-free part three to this discussion. Listen to a preview.
06/11/2357m 42s

Ep. 328: Guest Yascha Mounk Against Identity Politics (Part One)

On The Identity Trap (2023), an intellectual history of wokeness (aka "the identity synthesis") and defense of philosophical liberalism against this set of ideas. Are our differences more important than that which unites us? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
30/10/2350m 45s

PREMIUM-PEL Fall Nightcap 2023

Mark, Wes, and Seth talk more about bullshit, Derrida and other difficult and arguably bullshitty philosophy, expressing truths through bodily movement, horror movies, and our coverage of author-guests and works that provide an introductory roadmap to some philosophical area. If you're not hearing the full version of this discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.  
28/10/2311m 39s

Ep. 327: Harry Frankfurt on Bullsh*t and Authenticity (Part Two)

On Frankfurt's essay "The Importance of What We Care About" (1982), which distinguishes the question of what to value from ethical questions and explores the extent to which deciding what to care about is a free act. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and a supporter-exclusive Nightcap discussion getting more into bullshit, hypocrisy, and more.
23/10/2351m 54s

Ep. 327: Harry Frankfurt on Bullsh*t and Authenticity (Part One)

Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Seth discuss the celebrated 1986 essay "On Bullshit." Does bullshit necessarily involve lying? Frankfurt defines it as instead indifferent to truth, though still deceptive about what kind of speech act the audience is supposed to think that it is. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
16/10/2341m 17s

PEL Presents PvI#63: Virtual Socrates w/ David Chalmers

The New York University Prof and author of many influential books including the new Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy joins Mark and Bill to simulate debates about AI, cybersex, actor vs. character, and keeping children safe from reality. Mark philosophizes at partiallyexaminedlife.com.  Bill improvises (and teaches) at chicagoimprovstudio.com. Hear more at philosophyimprov.com. Support the podcast to get all our post-game discussions and other bonus stuff. Sponsor: Visit FactorMeals.com/improv50 (code improv50) to get 50% off America's #1 Ready-To-Eat Meal Kit.
14/10/2358m 20s

Ep. 326: Michael Tomasello on the Evolution of Agency (Part Two)

Wes, Dylan, and guest Chris Heath continue to discuss The Evolution of Agency (2022) in light of our interview with the author. We relate examples from the book of animals of various levels of complexity making deliberative decisions, exhibiting rationality, experiencing causality, or otherwise engaging in agentive behaviors. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Sponsor: Learn about St. John's College at sjc.edu/pel.
09/10/2352m 5s

Ep. 326: Guest Michael Tomasello on the Evolution of Agency (Part One)

On The Evolution of Agency (2022), with the author, and guest panelist Chris Heath. What is human agency? How would we determine whether an animal is a legitimate agent, as opposed to just acting automatically? Tomasello investigates this by thinking about what capabilities and behaviors constitute agency and the degree to which near-human animals have these. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
02/10/2345m 4s

Ep. 325: Paul Grice on Meaning and Conversation (Part Two)

Continuing on "Meaning" (1957), "Utterer’s Meaning and Intentions" (1969), and "Logic and Conversation" (1975) with guest Steve Gimbell. We tie the articles together, talk more about the rules implicit in conversation, and try to relate Grice's project to other parts of philosophy. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and a supporter-exclusive part three to this discussion.
25/09/2356m 12s

Ep. 325: Paul Grice on Meaning and Conversation (Part One)

On "Meaning" (1957), "Utterer’s Meaning and Intentions" (1969), and "Logic and Conversation" (1975), featuring Mark, Seth, Dylan, and guest Steve Gimbell. Grice tries to give a rigorous analysis of what it means for a speaker (as opposed to a sentence) to mean something in particular. Let the increasingly elaborate potential counter-examples commence! Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion, including a supporter-exclusive part three to this episode coming out next week.
18/09/2346m 47s

PREMIUM-Ep. 324: Plato's "Cratylus" on Language (Part Three)

Mark and Wes do a Closeread on the latter part of the dialogue, where Socrates argues to Cratylus that even if names (words) were devised to somehow depict the things they stand for, that wouldn't guarantee that they ACCURATELY describe the world. You can't look at the definitions of words to learn about the world; you have to actually investigate the world directly.  Closereads supporters (see patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy) can watch video for this episode and get all the Closereads content: 13 episodes so far, including new episodes on Epictetus' Discourses. This Closeread and some others are also being made available to PEL supporters. If you're not hearing the full version of this discussion, you can sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
13/09/2311m 5s

Ep. 324: Plato's "Cratylus" on Language (Part Two)

Continuing on Plato's mid-period dialogue about language. Is attaching a word to a thing, i.e. naming it, like other activities such as carpentry or sewing that can go wrong? Can we put the "form" of a thing into letters and syllabus of its name? We go through many examples where Socrates claims to have done just that. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and a supporter-exclusive part three to this discussion.
11/09/2346m 9s

Ep. 324: Plato's "Cratylus" on Language (Part One)

On Plato's mid-period dialogue from around 388 BCE. How do words relate to the things they represent? Socrates first argues that words represent things, and so doing etymology is a way of learning philosophical truths, then seemingly reverses himself. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion, including a supporter-exclusive part three to this episode coming out next week.
04/09/2345m 26s

PREMIUM-PEL End-of-Summer Nightcap 2023

Mark, Seth, Dylan, and eventually Wes talk about traveling, Barbie, gender, evolutionary psychology, cognitive science, and more. If you're not hearing the full version of this discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
29/08/2310m 5s

Ep. 323: Acquiring Language: Tomasello vs. Chomsky (Part Two)

Continuing on Michael Tomasello's "Language Is Not an Instinct" (1995) and Constructing a Language: A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition (2003), as contrasted with Chomsky universal grammar (the flag that Steven Pinker continues to carry). With guest Christopher Heath. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and a supporter-exclusive Nightcap discussion about cognitive science, evolutionary psychology, and more.
28/08/2347m 35s

(SUB)TEXT: Home as Identity in "The Odyssey"

He was famously a man of many ways, whether we interpret these as abilities or norms; designs or deceptions; reasons or identities. Yet despite such resources, he was also famously stuck, making a 10-year odyssey of his attempt to return home from a 10-year war. What keeps the man of master plans from homecoming and domestic bliss? In the first of a three part discussion of Homer’s classic, Wes & Erin try to figure out what Odysseus really wants, and whether the “lord of lies” can master the trick of entrusting his mind to others. Thanks to our sponsors for this episode, Factor and The Inner Loop Radio. Head to factormeals.com/subtext50and use code subtext50 to get 50 percent off. Subscribe to Inner Loop at https://www.theinnerlooplit.org/radio. The conversation continues on our after-show (post)script. Get (post)script episodes by becoming a paid subscriber at Patreon or directly on the Apple Podcasts app. Patreon subscribers also get early access to ad-free regular episodes. This podcast is part of the Airwave Media podcast network. Visit AirwaveMedia.com to listen and subscribe to other Airwave shows like Good Job, Brain and Big Picture Science. Email advertising@airwavemedia.com to enquire about advertising on the podcast. Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Android | RSS
27/08/231h 7m

Ep. 323: Acquiring Language: Tomasello vs. Chomsky (Part One)

On Michael Tomasello's "Language Is Not an Instinct" (1995) and Constructing a Language: A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition (2003). With guest Christopher Heath. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
21/08/2345m 45s

PEL Closereads: Emerson's Oversoul (New Podcast Premiere)

Are we underlyingly all really a single, unified organism? Or do we just have a lot in common? PEL's most verbose hosts Mark Linsenmayer and Wes Alwan begin unraveling this puzzling claim by reading Ralph Waldo Emerson's 1841 essay "The Over-Soul" and explaining it line-by-line. Watch this episode on video at YouTube. We encourage you to read along in the essay with us. This is the first of four parts. To hear the others as they are released this week, plus weekly episodes going forward and three episodes already posted, please support this new effort at patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy (or support PEL and Closereads together via support at the $10 level at patreon.com/partiallyexaminedlife). Sponsor: Check out Drilled, a true-crime podcast about climate change. Enrollment is now open for Mark's Core Philosophy Texts class at partiallyexaminedlife.com/class. Support PEL to get this discussion ad-free, plus tons of bonus content.
14/08/2355m 17s

Ep. 322: Schelling on Art vs. Nature (Part Three)

Mark and Wes conclude with some close reading of Part 6 of System of Transcendental Idealism (1800), section 3: "Relation of Art to Philosophy." Schelling thinks that art enables us to do intuitively what philosophy tries to do with concepts. We're providing this typically supporter-exclusive content for all of you in anticipation of the new Closereads: Philosophy with Mark and Wes project that we'll be unveiling next week. Sponsors: Get 50% off the #1 Meal Kit for Eating Clean (plus free shipping) at greenchef.com/pel50 (promocode pel50). Give more effectively via GiveWell.org (and let them know we sent you!). Check out the Articles of Interest podcast. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. There are still spots available in Mark's Core Philosophy Texts class this fall. See partiallyexaminedlife.com/class.
07/08/2357m 23s

Ep. 322: Schelling on Art vs. Nature (Part Two)

Continuing on "On the Relation Between the Plastic Arts and Nature" (1807) and Part 6 of System of Transcendental Idealism (1800). We talk sculpture vs. painting and why art is the direct, intuitive way to achieve the insight that philosophy can only approximate using concepts. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Learn about the online Core Philosophy Texts course Mark is running this fall at partiallyexaminedlife.com/class.
31/07/2348m 20s

Ep. 322: Schelling on Art vs. Nature (Part One)

Discussing "On the Relation Between the Plastic Arts and Nature" (1807) and Part 6 of System of Transcendental Idealism (1800). Is the goal of art to imitate nature? Only if that means showing the divine, ideal, dynamic aspect of the subject matter (and the artist)! Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
24/07/2343m 44s

PREMIUM-PEL Tech Nightcap July 2023

Mark, Wes, and Seth talk about how we might cover philosophy of technology, and other areas like medical ethics, business ethics, environmental ethics, etc. Do we remember things that we recorded a few years back? What summer films are we looking forward to? Finally, can we cover David Foster Wallace? If you're not hearing the full version of this discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
21/07/2311m 37s

Ep. 321: August Schlegel on Beauty (Part Two)

We continue on Theory of Art, getting more into sections of the text about the relationship between beauty and purposiveness, genius, unconscious vs. conscious creation, style vs. manner, and art imitating nature. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and a supporter-exclusive Nightcap discussion largely about philosophy of technology. Learn about the online Core Philosophy Texts course Mark is running this fall at partiallyexaminedlife.com/class.
17/07/2344m 47s

Ep. 321: August Schlegel on Beauty (Part One)

Covering the elder Schlegel  brother's Theory of Art (ca. 1800). How does our experience of Beauty relate to the infinite? Schlegel provides a Romantic response to Kant on knowing the divine, inner essences of things through art, how genius works, and the relationship between art and nature. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
10/07/2346m 12s

PREMIUM-Ep. 320: Friedrich Schlegel on Romanticism (Part Three)

Mark and Wes conclude our discussion of the younger Schlegel brother by going through more of his critical fragments, largely published in 1797 in the journal Lyceum Tier Schonen Kunste. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
08/07/2310m 47s

Ep. 320: Friedrich Schlegel on Romanticism (Part Two)

We continue on Schlegel's "Dialogue on Poesy" (1799) and "Concerning the Essence of Critique" (1804). How can Romantic art always aim at some common source of our humanity yet also require originality? How can having some sort of common mythology help artists be original in this way, and how can we embrace mythology as modern people? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and a supporter-exclusive part three to this discussion.
03/07/2343m 2s

Ep. 320: Friedrich Schlegel on Romanticism (Part One)

On selected fragments from 1797-1801, "Dialogue on Poesy" (1799), and "Concerning the Essence of Critique" (1804). What makes art "Romantic"? Schlegel sees good art as uniquely, authentically reaching out to a divine source that underlies and connects each of us. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
26/06/2345m 48s

PREMIUM-Ep. 319: Schiller on Experiencing Beauty (Part Three)

We complete our treatment of On the Aesthetic Education of Man by considering its final letters in more detail. Does Reason really make us more moral? And does the embrace of Beauty really point us to Reason, or does self-consciousness rule out immersion in art? If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
23/06/2310m 21s

Ep. 319: Schiller on Experiencing Beauty (Part Two)

Starting with letter 20 in On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1795), we tell more of the story of how art is supposed to get us from sensation to thinking. Aesthetic perception ends up being essential to any conceptualization (thinking) whatsoever! Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and a supporter-exclusive part three to this discussion.
19/06/2349m 18s

Ep. 319: Schiller on Experiencing Beauty (Part One)

On the second half of Friedrich Schiller's On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1795), getting into the mechanics of how aesthetic experience work in giving us a midpoint between animality and pure rationality where we can feel free. Also, does art reveal truth? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
11/06/2346m 58s

PREMIUM-Ep. 318: Friedrich Schiller on the Civilizing Potential of Art (Part Three)

Mark and Wes dive deeper into the text of the first several letters of On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1795). Are verbal descriptions of art destined to fall short?  What is it to put yourself forward as a representative of your species? These and many more of Schiller's puzzling proclamations are debated in detail! If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
10/06/2311m 9s

Ep. 318: Friedrich Schiller on the Civilizing Potential of Art (Part Two)

We continue working through letters 1-15 of On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1795), helped by Markus Reuter. We get clearer on what Schiller means by Beauty, and how two contrary drives toward matter and form somehow cancel each other out to combine in a "play drive" that is at the heart of appreciating and creating art. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and a supporter-exclusive part three to this discussion.
05/06/2353m 53s

Ep. 318: Friedrich Schiller on the Civilizing Potential of Art (Part One)

Can art make us better people? Musician Markus Reuter joins Mark, Wes, and Seth to discussion the first half of On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1795). Given the failure of the French Revolution, this famous German poet wondered what could make the masses capable of governing themselves? His answer: Beauty! Aesthetic appreciation puts us at a distance from our savage desires, enables the abstract thought necessary for Kantian rationalist morality, and yet keeps us in touch with our feelings so that we don't just become cogs in the industrial machine. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
29/05/2344m 59s

PREMIUM-Ep. 317: Character Philosophies in Dostoevsky's "Brothers Karamazov" (Part Two)

To conclude our discussion of the novel, we turn to the philosophies of Dmitri and Ivan, plus the Biblical book of Job and our takeaways. Do we need some philosophy of transcendence to cope? If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
22/05/2311m 10s

Ep. 317: Character Philosophies in Dostoevsky's "Brothers Karamazov" (Part One)

Following up on our live episode, we further ponder the 1869 novel, revisiting the "problem of evil" arguments and how the various brothers cope with an imperfect world. Plus, we relate Dostoevsky to other existentialists. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion, including a supporter-exclusive final part to this discussion.
15/05/2354m 32s

Ep. 316: Dostoevsky's "Brothers Karamazov": PEL Live in NYC (Part Two)

Continuing on Dostoevsky's 1880 novel, we respond to some objections to the Christian arguments that the characters Alyosha and Zosima put forward to respond to Ivan's "Rebellion" and "Grand Inquisitor" arguments. Most of these objections come from the audience Q&A. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get lots of bonus content, including the ad-free, unbroken Citizen Edition of this episode.
08/05/2335m 52s

Ep. 316: Dostoevsky's "Brothers Karamazov": PEL Live in NYC (Part One)

On Fyodor Dostoevsky's 1880 existentialist novel, focusing mostly on the "Rebellion" and "Grand Inquisitor" chapters. How can we reconcile ourselves to the existence of evil and suffering? The character Ivan argues that we can't, that children's suffering can't be justified by any alleged Divine Plan. Dostoevsky's answer to this challenge is practical, concrete love and service to others, but does this really address or merely sidestep Ivan's challenge? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get lots of bonus content, plus the ad-free, unbroken Citizen Edition of this episode.
01/05/2340m 10s

PREMIUM-Ep. 315: Mengzi (Mencius) on Virtuous Leaders (Part Two)

To conclude our treatment of this seminal Confucian text, we consider a particularly puzzling passage about ethics and then move to politics and economics. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
24/04/2310m 12s

Ep. 315: Mengzi (Mencius) on Virtuous Leaders (Part One)

Continuing from ep. 314, we go further into the collected teachings of this early Confucian (aka Ruhist) from the late 4th century BCE. What's the best way to be a virtuous person and hence an effective leader? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion, including a supporter-exclusive final part to this discussion.
17/04/2337m 48s

PREMIUM-PEL Nightcap April 2023

Recorded 4/3/23 as we prepped for our live show, Mark, Wes and Dylan talk about The Last of Us and possible future episodes on animal ethics and/or animal consciousness, the death drive, plus the already tentatively scheduled episodes about the Romantics and Kierkegaard. In the course of this, we consider the relationship between philosophy and scientific fact. If you're not hearing the full version of this discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
14/04/2312m 53s

Ep. 314: Mengzi (Mencius) on Moral Psychology (Part Two)

Continuing on the teachings of Mengzi from ca. 350 BCE, without our guest. We go into textual quotes, covering the "sprouts" of virtue, whether human nature is good or simply malleable, whether tastes are universal, and more. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including a supporter-exclusive part three to this discussion. Sponsor: Secure your Internet and get three extra months free at ExpressVPN.com/PEL.
10/04/2346m 2s

Ep. 314: Mengzi (Mencius) on Moral Psychology (Part One)

On the greatest early philosopher interpreting and expanding on Confucius, from ca. 350 BCE. with guest Krishnan Venkatesh of the St. John's College Eastern Classics program. We talk about the challenges of connecting ancient Chinese and Greek philosophies and explore Mencius' distinctively Chinese take on respecting your parents. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Get your streaming or in-person ticket to our April 15 live show at partiallyexaminedlife.com/live.
03/04/2340m 52s

PREMIUM-Ep. 313: Mozi's Political Ethics (Part Three)

We get into quotes from Mozi about his arguments against fatalism and Confucianism, support for meritocracy and identifying with superiors, and description of the Will of Heaven.  If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
02/04/2310m 35s

Ep. 313: Mozi's Political Ethics (Part Two)

Continuing on the central Mohist text, with guest Tzuchien Tho. We talk about Mozi's ideas about encouraging morality, preventing war, restricting music and elaborate funerals, plus the Will of Heaven, identification with one's superiors, and fatalism. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and a supporter-exclusive part three to this discussion. Sponsors: Check out the Continuing the Conversation web series by St. John's College at sjc.edu. Check out the Hermitix podcast at hermitix.net.
27/03/2351m 38s

Ep. 313: Mozi's Political Ethics (Part One)

On selections of the central Mohist text, from ca. 430 B.C.E., with guest Tzuchien Tho. Mozi claims that we should regard everyone on the same level as our family and believe whatever doctrines will be most beneficial to the people. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including a new Nightcap discussion relevant to this episode about tributes to the dead. Sponsors: Check out the Continuing the Conversation web series by St. John's College at sjc.edu. Check out The Daily Shower Thoughts Podcast at https://bit.ly/DailyShowerThoughts. Get your streaming or in-person ticket to our April 15 live show at partiallyexaminedlife.com/live.
20/03/2347m 22s

PREMIUM-PEL Nightcap Late March 2023

Mark, Seth, and Dylan talk about what makes for a fitting tribute for those departed, mourning customs, how Daoism has personally affected us, and more. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
20/03/238m 51s

Ep. 312: The Dao De Jing on Virtue (Part Two)

Concluding our discussion of the Daodejing with guest Theo Brooks. We cover some more ambiguous cosmological passages and return to political philosophy.  Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
13/03/2339m 29s

Ep. 312: The Dao De Jing on Virtue (Part One)

For our second full discussion on the Daodejing by Laozi, we talk about the actions and attitudes that characterize the Daoist sage. With Theo Brooks. Topics include being virtuous vs. just following rules, Daoist tranquility, achieving without trying too hard, and more. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including our Nightcap discussion about philosophy as self-help. 
06/03/2345m 44s

PREMIUM-PEL Nightcap Early March 2023

Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Seth reflect on the interpretive challenges of the Daodejing, and in the full Nightcap, take on the question of whether philosophy works as self-help. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
05/03/238m 55s

Ep. 311: Understanding the Dao De Jing (Part Two)

Continuing on the central Daoist text with guest Theodore Brooks. We explore practical vs. metaphysical interpretations of the Dao, the relation of things to their opposites, emptiness, and "straw dogs." Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
27/02/2341m 33s

Ep. 311: Understanding the Dao De Jing (Part One)

On the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching) by Laozi (ca. 500 BCE), with guest Theodore Brooks. We talk about the wildly different, interpretive translations of this foundational Daoist (Taoist) text, its political views, and what the Dao might actually be. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
20/02/2348m 8s

PREMIUM-PEL Nightcap February 2023

Mark, Wes, and Seth anticipate our Dao De Jing and Dostoevsky recordings and talk about Russian literature. In the full episode, we also talk about covering Hebrew ethics, and, of course, Chat f-ing GPT. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.  
18/02/2312m 3s

Ep. 310: Wittgenstein On World-Pictures (Part Two)

Concluding our discussion of On Certainty, with guest Chris Heath. We try one last time to get a handle on Wittgenstein's philosophy of science. How do people actually change their minds about fundamental beliefs? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including a new Nightcap discussion.
13/02/2344m 12s

Ep. 310: Wittgenstein On World-Pictures (Part One)

We continue with Ludwig Wittgenstein's On Certainty (written 1951), with guest Christopher Heath. What is Wittgenstein's philosophy of science as it's reflected in this book? We talk about Weltbilds (world pictures) and how these relate to language games, relativism, verification, paradigms, testimony, and more. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
06/02/2344m 12s

PREMIUM-PEL Nightcap January 2023

We compare translations of Dostoyevsky in prep for our April live show, discuss future show topics, and go over insights from our past discussions on Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
31/01/2310m 22s

Ep. 309: Wittgenstein On Certainty (Part Two)

Continuing to discuss On Certainty, we get deeply into textual quotes. How does he actually respond to Moore's argument about his hand? How does he extend his account to talk about mathematical and scientific statements? Is Wittgenstein a pragmatist? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including a new Nightcap discussion that talks more about Wittgenstein.
30/01/2339m 22s

Ep. 309: Wittgenstein On Certainty (Part One)

Discussing the notes Ludwig Wittgenstein made at the end of his life in 1951 that were published as On Certainty in 1969. Can we coherently doubt propositions like "physical objects exist," "the world is more than 50 years old," and "this is my hand"? Wittgenstein looks at these questions via his framework of language games. Is doubting one of these a legitimate move in a game? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
23/01/2341m 25s

Ep. 308: Moore's Proof of Mind-Independent Reality (Part Two)

We quickly complete our treatment of G.E. Moore’s "Proof of the External World" (1939) and move on to consider "Certainty" (1941). Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus content.
16/01/2345m 26s

Ep. 308: Moore's Proof of Mind-Independent Reality (Part One)

On G.E. Moore’s "Proof of the External World" (1939) and "Certainty" (1941). Moore shows you his hands and says "these are my hands, which are physical objects, and thus the external world exists!" Does this defeat skepticism? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
09/01/2344m 14s

PREMIUM-PEL Nightcap 2022 Wrap-Up

Recorded by Mark, Wes, and Dylan before our Moore discussion, we play one more listener appreciation clip that leads us into an examination of whether you listeners should try to read the texts we cover yourselves. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
05/01/2310m 11s

Ep. 307: G.E. Moore Defends Common Sense (Part Two)

Continuing on "A Defense of Common Sense" (1925). Moore argues that physical facts are not dependent on minds and considers the various ways of analyzing the act of seeing and identifying your hand. Yes, he really does this! Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including our year-end Nightcap discussion. Sponsors: Check out The Mad Scientist Podcast at themadscientistpodcast.com. Get a highly effective donation of up to $100 matched at Givewell.org, pick PODCAST and enter THE PARTIALLY EXAMINED LIFE at checkout.
02/01/2349m 58s

Ep. 307: G.E. Moore Defends Common Sense (Part One)

On "A Defense of Common Sense" (1925), featuring Mark, Wes, Seth, and Dylan. Moore defends our pre-philosophical certainty in beliefs about the existence of physical objects and other minds against skeptics and idealists. Is his apparently simple argument effective or just glib? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
26/12/2241m 48s

PREMIUM-Ep. 306: Dworkin and the Dobbs Decision (Part Three)

Concluding on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2021) Supreme Court decision. We talk more about the rationale for the decision and in particular the dissent by Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
24/12/2212m 18s

Ep. 306: Dworkin and the Dobbs Decision (Part Two)

Continuing on Ronald Dworkin's "Unenumerated Rights: Whether and How Roe Should be Overruled" (1992) and the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (2021) decision featuring guest Robin Linsenmayer. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including the supporter-exclusive part three to this episode.
19/12/2249m 26s

Ep. 306: Dworkin and the Dobbs Decision (Part One)

Does the U.S. Constitution guarantee the right to an abortion? We discuss Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (2021) and Ronald Dworkin's "Unenumerated Rights: Whether and How Roe Should be Overruled" (1992). With guest Robin Linsenmayer. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
12/12/2241m 53s

PREMIUM-Ep. 305: Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" (Part Three)

To conclude our discussion of Blood Meridian, we talk about the roles of maturation and regression in the novel, plus more on Judge Holden's philosophy, and more. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
10/12/2211m 4s

Ep. 305: Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" (Part Two)

Continuing on McCarthy's 1985 novel, we discuss the philosophy of war held by the character Judge Holden, plus whether the book's violence is gratuitous and why it might be unfilmable. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including the supporter-exclusive part three to this episode.
05/12/2247m 6s

Ep. 305: Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" (Part One)

On McCarthy's 1985 anti-Western novel, featuring Wes, Seth, and Dylan. How does violence play a role in the way the world works? This novel about a rogue band of scalp hunters presents a pessimistic, nihilistic philosophy where violence is central to the human condition and is the way to self-knowledge. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
28/11/2240m 42s

PREMIUM-PEL Nightcap November 2022: Listener Testimonials

We recently put out a call among our supporters for some short audio clips of folks telling us about their relationship to PEL, and here they are. Mark, Seth, and Dylan play and respond to some of these. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
27/11/229m 14s

Ep. 304: Dworkin v. Hart on Legal Judgment (Part Two)

Continuing on Roland Dworkin's "The Model of Rules" (1967) and Scott J. Shapiro's "The 'Hart-Dworkin' Debate: A Short Guide for the Perplexed" (2007), plus some of Dworkin's "Hard Cases" (1977). How do Hartians respond to Dworkin's initial attack? Can Hart's theory incorporate the fact that judges consult their culture's moral standards without making the law dependent on morality? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including the supporter-exclusive part three to this episode.
21/11/2246m 9s

Ep. 304: Dworkin v. Hart on Legal Judgment (Part One)

On Ronald Dworkin's "The Model of Rules" (1967) and Scott J. Shapiro's "The 'Hart-Dworkin' Debate: A Short Guide for the Perplexed" (2007). How do judges make decisions in hard cases? When the law "runs out" and doesn't definitively decide an issue, do judges then just draw on their personal moral judgments? Dworkin says no, that moral principles are (contra Hart) built into the legal principles which guide judges, even if these principles are not written out in legal rules. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
14/11/2239m 28s

PREMIUM-Ep. 303: H.L.A. Hart on the Foundations of Law (Part Three)

On The Concept of Law (1961), ch. 6, "Foundations of a Legal System," on Hart's concept of a rule of recognition that ultimately determines what will count as a law in a given society. This ends up being more complicated than merely "The Constitution," but the action itself of officials respecting, obeying, and enforcing that Constitution. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
11/11/2210m 30s

Ep. 303: H.L.A. Hart on the Foundations of Law (Part Two)

Continuing on "Positivism and the Separation of Law and Morals" (1958) and The Concept of Law (1961), ch. 5 and 6. If law is not based on morality, then why obey the law? What makes a legal system exist at all, as opposed to a lawless state? Is saying something is legally required just a way of predicting that people will generally obey it? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including the supporter-exclusive part three to this episode.
07/11/2251m 1s

Ep. 303: H.L.A. Hart on the Foundations of Law (Part One)

On "Positivism and the Separation of Law and Morals" (1958) and The Concept of Law (1961), ch. 5 and 6. What's the relationship between law and morality? If law isn't founded on morality, what is it founded on? Hart's legal positivism makes a sharp distinction between law as a human invention and morality. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
31/10/2243m 10s

PREMIUM-Ep. 302: Erasmus Praises Foolishness (Part Three)

Mark, Wes, and eventually Dylan recap The Praise of Folly, getting into Erasmus' ambivalent take on asceticism. In the full episode, we get seriously personal and cover his sexism and comments on love, the folly of fandom, and the role of humor in philosophy. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
29/10/2210m 30s

Ep. 302: Erasmus Praises Foolishness (Part Two)

Continuing on The Praise of Folly with guest Nathan Gilmour. Can foolishness actually make us more prudent? Is it necessary for us to all get along in the world and accomplish things? Erasmus critiques pretentious, performative theologians among many others. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including the supporter-exclusive part three to this episode.
24/10/2247m 11s

Ep. 302: Erasmus Praises Foolishness (Part One)

On Desiderius Erasmus' The Praise of Folly (1509), featuring Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Nathan Gilmour from the Christian Humanist podcast. Does some amount of foolishness enhance life? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. Sponsor: Visit Shopify.com/pel to start your free trial growing your business.
17/10/2246m 5s

PREMIUM-PEL Representation Nightcap October 2022

Mark, Wes, and Dylan explore the question, "Is it necessary for us to have representatives of an affected group with us as guests when we talk about an issue in philosophy that affects that group?" What do you think? If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
14/10/2216m 33s

PEL Presents PvI#40: Rules and Voices with Stephen West (Philosophize This!)

Stephen West from the juggernaut Philosophize This! podcast joins Mark and Bill to learn to say no and talk about reason vs. emotion in grounding ethics. What do the voices in your head (or at your lunch table) say to you? Mark philosophizes at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Bill improvises (and teaches) at chicagoimprovstudio.com. Hear more at philosophyimprov.com. Support the podcast to get all our post-game discussions and other bonus stuff.
13/10/2250m 6s

Ep. 301: Is Abortion Morally Permissible? (Part Three)

Jenny Hansen joins us to cover "On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion" by Mary Anne Warren (1973), with more thoughts on "A Defense of Abortion" (1971) by Judith Jarvis Thomson. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including a supporter-exclusive Nightcap discussion of representation on our episodes: Is having a woman join us essential for a topic like this? Sponsor: Get 10% off a month of therapy at BetterHelp.com/partially.
10/10/2249m 7s

Ep. 301: Is Abortion Morally Permissible? (Part Two)

Continuing on Judith Jarvis Thomson's "A Defense of Abortion" (1971), plus Don Marquis' "Why Abortion is Immoral" (1989) and a summary of Mary Anne Warren's "On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion" (1973), which we'll continue next week in part three with Jenny Hansen. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
03/10/2243m 23s

PEL Presents NEM#181: Robyn Hitchcock Forgets Himself, Sharply

Robyn has been producing a distinctive flavor of very British rock with surrealist lyrics for 35+ albums since 1979. We discuss "The Raging Muse" (and close by listening to "The Shuffle Man") from Shufflemania (2022), "Mad Shelly's Letterbox" from Robyn Hitchcock (2017), "Television" from Spooked (2004), and "Glass" from Fegmainia! (1985). Intro: "I Wanna Destroy You" by The Soft Boys from Underwater Moonlight (1980). More at robynhitchcock.com. Hear more Nakedly Examined Music. Like our Facebook page. Support us on Patreon. Sponsor: Upgrade your showering at nebia.com/nem (code NEM).
30/09/221h 14m

Ep. 301: Is Abortion Morally Permissible? (Part One)

We discuss widely read papers about abortion, including an excerpt from Roe v. Wade (1973) and Judith Jarvis Thomson's "A Defense of Abortion" (1971). Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
26/09/2249m 16s

PREMIUM-Ep. 300: Nietzsche on Relating to History (Part Three)

Mark, Wes, and Dylan conclude our discussion of “On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life” (1874). What is the practical upshot of Nietzsche's recommendations for using history well and not letting it overwhelm you? If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
23/09/2211m 5s

Ep. 300: Nietzsche on Relating to History (Part Two)

Continuing on "On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life" (1874), we get into the antiquarian use of history and the critical approach to history and Nietzsche's humanistic goals in his essay. How can we use history to help refine human nature? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including the supporter-exclusive part three to this episode.
19/09/2241m 10s

Ep. 300: Nietzsche on Relating to History (Part One)

In this live-streamed show, we discuss “On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life” (1874), aka Untimely Meditation #2. What is the healthiest way to relate to our history? Nietzsche describes some approaches to history which meet human needs but which can also become oppressive. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
12/09/2244m 1s

PREMIUM-Ep. 299: Philosophy in Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens" (Part Three)

Mark, Wes, and Dylan conclude our discussion of Shakespeare's play. Chiefly, we talk about the exchanges about art in the play: How does art relate to life and to commerce? If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
03/09/2211m 40s

Ep. 299: Philosophy in Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens" (Part Two)

Continuing to discuss the play, now with guest Sarah Manton. We get into Cynicism, the Alcibiades sub-plot, a feminist angle on the play, and more. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including the supporter-exclusive part three to this episode.
29/08/2251m 19s

Ep. 299: Philosophy in Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens" (Part One)

Jonathan Bate, editor of the new RSC complete Shakespeare, joins us to talk about the role of money in the play, the psychology, cynicism, and more. Listen to our performance of the play first. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
22/08/2242m 37s

Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens" Audioplay (Part Two)

Continuing our performance of William Shakespeare's play, finishing things up with acts 4 and 5 plus some post-performance discussion with the cast. Start with part one. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion. We'll be live-streaming video for our big ep. 300 on Friday, Aug. 19 at 8pm ET. More info at partiallyexaminedlife.com/pel-live. Sponsors: Maximize the impact of your charitable giving via GiveWell.org; choose "podcast" and enter "Partially Examined Life." Download the Zocdoc app free to find a top rated doctor at Zocdoc.com/PEL.
15/08/221h 19m

Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens" Audioplay Feat. Jay O. Sanders, Michael Ian Black, and Michael Tow (Part One)

The PEL players do an unrehearsed reading of Shakespeare's least popular play, which is about money and cynicism. This part includes Acts 1-3. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
08/08/221h 22m

PREMIUM-Ficino-Flavored Nightcap Early August 2022

Mark and Wes consider more passages from Ficino's Commentary on Plato's Symposium on Love, getting into Ficino's religious psychology and how this relates to Kierkegaard's. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion (in which we cover more of Ficino, plus PEL Live, our upcoming audioplay, podcast listenership rankings, and more), sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
05/08/2212m 38s

Ep. 298: Marsilio Ficino on Love (Part Two)

Continuing on Commentary on Plato's Symposium on Love with guest Peter Adamson. We consider F's views on beauty and fill out his neo-Platonic epistemology. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
01/08/2250m 18s

Ep. 298: Marsilio Ficino on Love (Part One)

On Commentary on Plato's Symposium on Love (1475), with guest Peter Adamson. What is the role of love in the universe? Ficino tries to combine Plato's theory of love as reproduction in the presence of beauty with an unorthodox take on Christian theology. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion..
25/07/2245m 46s

PREMIUM-Ep. 297: Heidegger on the Human Condition (Part Three)

Concluding our close reading of Being and Time, on ch. 3, sec. 15 and 16 on the world as "ready to hand" or equipment. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
23/07/2210m 40s

Ep. 297: Heidegger on the Human Condition (Part Two)

We continue on Being and Time, now in ch. 2 on what "the world" is in our Being-in-the-World and so what it is for us to encounter objects and how this is different than, e.g. the interaction of two physical objects. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including the supporter-exclusive part three to this episode.
18/07/2244m 0s

Ep. 297: Heidegger on the Human Condition (Part One)

We continue on Being and Time (1927), now into ch. 1 (sec. 9) on Existenz and how our way of Being is different than that of the objects of science, and what this means for authenticity and choice. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
11/07/2241m 1s

Ep. 296: Heidegger Questions Being (Part Two)

Continuing with our close reading of Being and Time, we talk about why time is the focus of Heidegger's analysis of the human condition, what are phenomena, and so what his phenomenological method looks like and why it must investigate us in our "average everydayness." Hear more PEL at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Get episodes ad-free with tons of bonus content at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
04/07/221h

Ep. 296: Heidegger's Questions Being (Part One)

Continuing from our overview in ep. 32, we do a close reading on selections from the introduction of Martin Heidegger's Being and Time to consider Heidegger's Being in relation to Aristotle's Categories, what questioning means, and some of Heidegger's basic terms. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
27/06/2249m 49s

PREMIUM-Ep. 295: Kant on Preventing War (Part Three)

Concluding on Kant's "Perpetual Peace," plus Jurgen Habermas' "Kant's Idea of Perpetual Peace, with the Benefit of Two Hundred Years' Hindsight." If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
18/06/229m 59s

Ep. 295: Kant on Preventing War (Part Two)

Continuing on Immanuel Kant's essay "Perpetual Peace," we go further into how Kant's politics relate to his ethics and consider his actual policy proposals: each state must be a republic, they should join in a federation, and we all owe each other hospitality as a cosmopolitan right. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including the supporter-exclusive part three to this episode.
13/06/2245m 26s

Ep. 295: Kant on Preventing War (Part One)

On Immanuel Kant's essay "Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch" (1795). Do nations have the "right" to go to war? What principles ground just international relations, and are there structures and agreements that we can embrace to prevent prevent future wars? Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
06/06/2239m 49s

PREMIUM-Ep. 294: Quine on Science vs. Epistemology (Part Three)

Concluding on W.V.O. Quine's "Epistemology Naturalized" (1969). We talk more about the attempt to found epistemology on psychology.  If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
03/06/2214m 6s

Ep. 294: Quine on Science vs. Epistemology (Part Two)

Continuing on "Epistemology Naturalized" (1969), we work further through the text, getting into what this new psychology-rooted epistemology might look like and how Quine changed empiricism. Plus, more of us trying to figure out his claims about the indeterminacy of translation. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion including the supporter-exclusive part three to this episode.
30/05/2234m 57s

Ep. 294: Quine on Science vs. Epistemology (Part One)

On W.V.O. Quine's "Epistemology Naturalized" (1969). What justifies scientific theory? Not theory-free observations, as Quine shows us by considering how we figure out foreign languages. Instead of basing science on epistemology, Quine thought we need to make epistemology part of science. Get more at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to get ad-free episodes and tons of bonus discussion.
23/05/2244m 43s

Philosophy vs. Improv #32: "On the Standard of [Bad] Taste" w/ Babette Babich

Babette teaches at Fordham and recently edited the collection "Reading David Hume's 'On The Standard of Taste,'" which Mark made use of for PEL#289. So, more philosophically beefy than our typical PvI episode, and yet also live and hence unpredictable. Taste it!  Mark philosophizes at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Bill improvises (and teaches) at chicagoimprovstudio.com. Hear more at philosophyimprov.com. Support the podcast to get all our post-game discussions and other bonus stuff.
22/05/2254m 57s

PREMIUM-Ep. 293: Donna Haraway on Feminist Science (Part Two)

Continuing on "Situated Knowledges" and other essays with guest Lynda Olman. We try to get at the practical import of Olman's scheme and get further into her use of metaphors and what those mean for her critical stance. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
16/05/2210m 45s

Ep. 293: Donna Haraway on Feminist Science (Part One)

On "Situated Knowledge" (1988), "A Cyborg Manifesto" (1985), etc. featuring guest Lynda Olman. What is scientific objectivity? Haraway rejects both relativism and traditional, "god's eye" objectivism in favor of a "cyborg" view that looks for alternate ways of seeing and acknowledges the ways that science and technology are tied to politics. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts.
09/05/2254m 12s

PREMIUM-Ep. 292: Langer on Symbolic Music (Part Two)

Concluding on Susanne Langer's Philosophy in a New Key (ch. 8-10). We continue discussing whether and how music is symbolic. Sing along with us! If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
02/05/2214m 58s

Ep. 292: Langer on Symbolic Music (Part One)

On Susanne Langer's Philosophy in a New Key (1942), ch. 8-10. Is music (the supposedly non-representational artform) a language? If it's "expressive," what exactly does it express? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts.
25/04/2247m 45s

PREMIUM-Ep. 291: Cassirer and Langer on Myth and Ritual (Part Two)

Continuing our discussion on the symbolic value of religion and its antecedents, primary at this point discussing Susanne Langer's Philosophy in a New Key, ch. 7. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
18/04/2213m 5s

Ep. 291: Cassirer and Langer on Myth and Ritual (Part One)

On Ernst Cassirer's An Essay on Man (1944), ch. 6-7, and Susanne Langer's Philosophy in a New Key (1942), ch. 6-7. Why do people produce ritual, mythology, and religion? According to our authors, these are spontaneous, symbolic modes of self-expression. They're not opposed to rational, scientific thought, but are necessary preconditions for it. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts. Sponsors: Get one month's access to a huge library of guided meditations at Headspace.com/PEL. Get 10% off a month of therapy at BetterHelp.com/partially. Learn about St. John's College at sjc.edu/pel.
11/04/2244m 47s

PEL Presents NEM#170: Bob Mould From Hüsker Dü to Sugar to Now

Bob has released 20+ albums since the early '80s. We discuss  "Forecast of Rain" from Blue Hearts (2020), "I Don’t Know You Anymore" from Beauty & Ruin (2014), "JC Auto" by Sugar from Beaster (1993), and "In A Free Land" by Hüsker Dü, 1982 singe remixed for Savage Young Du (2017). End song: the title track to his new acoustic EP, The Ocean. Intro: "If I Can't Change Your Mind" by Sugar from Copper Blue (1992). For more see bobmould.com.  Hear more Nakedly Examined Music. Like our Facebook page. Support us on Patreon. Sponsors: Upgrade your showering at nebia.com/nem (code NEM). Get 15% off at at MasterClass.com/examined.
11/04/221h 3m

PREMIUM-Ep. 290: Susanne Langer on Our Symbol-Making Nature (Part Two)

Continuing on Philosophy in a New Key (1942), ch. 1-5. Is symbolism the software running on the hardware of our senses, or are symbols baked even into that hardware? We talk pictures vs. symbols, types of symbol-pictures, and what it means for experience to be symbolic. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
04/04/2212m 29s

Ep. 290: Susanne Langer on Our Symbol-Making Nature (Part One)

On Philosophy in a New Key (1942), ch. 1-5, plus as background most of us looked at Ernst Cassirer's An Essay on Man (1944), ch. 1-5. What does it mean to say that humanity is homo symbolicus, the symbol-making creature? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts.
28/03/2249m 6s

PREMIUM-Ep. 289: Aesthetic Sense Theory: Hume (Part Two)

We get into more detail on David Hume's "The Standard of Taste" (1760). How does he resolve the paradox that it seems both that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yet some judgments about beauty are obviously wrong? If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
21/03/2212m 58s

Ep. 289: Aesthetic Sense Theory: Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Hume (Part One)

How do we know what opinions about beauty are correct? We read The Moralists: A Philosophical Rhapsody (1709) by Anthony Ashley-Cooper, aka the third Earl of Shaftesbury, Part III section 2 "Beauty," and An Inquiry Concerning Beauty, Order, Harmony, Design (1725) by Francis Hutcheson, and "The Standard of Taste" by David Hume (1760).  Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts.
14/03/2251m 51s

PEL Presents Philosophy vs. Improv #28: Enhanced Interrogation w/ Adal Rifai

Today's episode is about questioning: how one might question, what sets the parameters for a proper answer, and how to give those answers in an informative and/or dramatically effective way. Watch out for dream pigs! Also, how to get into the VIP room at Stuckey's. Perhaps a pair of paralegals can help. In the post-game, included JUST THIS ONCE for public enjoyment, we reflect on improv in the real world and some potential spin-off improv podcasts from our episode. Mark philosophizes at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Bill improvises (and teaches) at chicagoimprovstudio.com. Hear more Philosophy vs. Improv. Support the podcast to get all our post-game discussions and other bonus stuff.
11/03/221h 9m

PREMIUM-Ep. 288: Scruton on Ethical Art (Part Two)

Concluding on Beauty (2009). Why would we be attracted to beauty if on Scruton's account it takes so much work? We consider the form/function distinction as it applies to architecture and human beauty. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
07/03/2211m 45s

Ep. 288: Scruton on Ethical Art (Part One)

On Roger Scruton's Beauty (2009), ch. 5-9. Scruton argues against aesthetic relativism on moral grounds: That the "flight from beauty" in modern art and the crassness of popular art deny important things about being human. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts.
28/02/2246m 16s

PREMIUM-Ep. 287: Roger Scruton on Beauty (Part Two)

Continuing on Beauty (2009), ch. 1-4. Does apprehending beauty really have to involve reason, or can it be merely sensory? If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
21/02/2211m 26s

Ep. 287: Roger Scruton on Beauty (Part One)

On Beauty (2009), ch. 1-4. What truths about beauty does any theory of beauty have to acknowledge? Scruton argues that appreciating beauty is a cognitive act: something we argue about, and not just "in the eye of the beholder." Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts.
14/02/2247m 48s

PREMIUM-Ep. 286: Malebranche on Causality and Theology (Part Three)

Concluding on On Dialogues on Metaphysics and Religion (1688), with consideration of his explanation for why we can't prove the existence of the external world, but that we can reasonably take this on faith. Also, theodicy! If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
07/02/2213m 13s

PREMIUM-Ep. 286: Malebranche on Causality and Theology (Part Two)

Continuing on Dialogues on Metaphysics and Religion (1688), dialogue 7 where he gets into his occasionalist theory of causality. How does this relate to mind-body interaction and concepts in physics like inertia? What is the metaphysical relation of natural law to things in the world? If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
31/01/2211m 49s

Ep. 286: Malebranche on Causality and Theology (Part One)

On Dialogues on Metaphysics and Religion (1688), dialogues 5-7. We get clearer on M's rationalist epistemology and into his occasionalist theory of causality. Is M's theory as archaic as its theology makes it sound? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts.
24/01/2250m 20s

PREMIUM-Ep. 285: Nicolas Malebranche on Knowledge (Part Two)

Continuing on Dialogues on Metaphysics and Religion (1688), ch. 1-4. We talk about the character of the intelligible world, how we generate general concepts, the existence of God, seeing God, original sin, and more. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
17/01/2212m 28s

Ep. 285: Nicolas Malebranche on Knowledge (Part One)

On Dialogues on Metaphysics and Religion (1688), ch. 1-4. We walk through M's rationalist (post-Descartes, pre-Leibniz) epistemology with its surprising implications for the metaphysics of causality and the role of God in nature. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts.
10/01/2247m 51s

PEL Special: Nightcap New Year's Party to Welcome 2022

Welcome to an extra special, intentionally public edition of Nightcap to catch you up on what Mark, Wes, Seth, and Dylan are all up to personally and intellectually and hash out what we want to potentially cover on the show over the next year.
02/01/2247m 25s

PREMIUM-Ep. 284: Mark Twain’s Philosophy of Human Nature (Part Two)

Continuing on "What Is Man" (1905). We work through Twain's metaphors for human nature, say what he means by "instinct," contemplate his notion of identity and why he thinks you are apparently different from your body-machine, and gauge the practical upshot of his stances. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
27/12/2110m 53s

Ep. 284: Mark Twain’s Philosophy of Human Nature (Part One)

On "What Is Man" (1905). Twain describes a person as a machine. We have no free will and always act to win our own self-approval. This was a bleak enough picture that the essay was not printed until after Twain's death. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts.
20/12/2140m 9s

PREMIUM-Ep. 283: Alain Badiou on Love (Part Two)

Continuing on "What Is Love?" (1992). We consider B's account of love as resolution of a paradox: The positions of man and woman in no way overlap, yet all truth is generic, i.e. accessible to everyone. Love makes it happen! If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
13/12/2110m 47s

Ep. 283: Alain Badiou on Love (Part One)

On "What Is Love," which is ch. 11 of Conditions (1992). We see what it means to call love a "truth procedure": It's a new way of seeing, through the eyes of the Two, not the merger of two souls or the loving of god through another. Does B's pseudo-mathematical language about this make sense? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts. Get it now or listen to a preview.
06/12/2143m 56s

PREMIUM-Ep. 282: Alain Badiou: What Is Philosophy? (Part Two)

Continuing on Conditions, "The (Re)turn of Philosophy Itself." What makes philosophy possible? The four "conditions," i.e. mathematics, politics, art, and love, generate the truths, and philosophy is the pincers that gather these together in thought. But how exactly? If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
29/11/2112m 7s

Ep. 282: Alain Badiou: What Is Philosophy? (Part One)

On Conditions (1992), Ch. 1 "The (Re)turn of Philosophy Itself." Against post-structuralists who deny Truth, Badiou argues that truths are generated by the truth conditions (politics, art, love, and science/math) which philosophy then thinks into a unified vision. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts. Get it now or listen to a preview.
22/11/2149m 41s

PREMIUM-Ep. 281: Paul Feyerabend's Anarchist Philosophy of Science (Part Two)

Continuing on Against Method (1975) about the non-rational progress of science. Given that according to F., epistemological conformity can't proceed by an appeal to reason, how does it proceed? Through indoctrination, propaganda, and coercion, even when our goal is to encourage freedom and rationality. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
15/11/2113m 2s

Ep. 281: Paul Feyerabend's Anarchist Philosophy of Science (Part One)

On Against Method (1975). In dialogue with Lakatos, Feyerabend claimed that scientific progress can not be explained rationally, so how does it progress? Is F. just arguing against the possibility of any philosophy of science? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts. Get it now or listen to a preview.
08/11/2150m 23s

PREMIUM-Ep. 280: Imre Lakatos on Scientific Progress (Part Two)

Continuing on "Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes" (1970). We distinguish various kinds of falsificationism and give more details about Lakatos' concept of a scientific research program. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
01/11/219m 41s

Ep. 280: Imre Lakatos on Scientific Progress (Part One)

On "Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes" (1970). In what way is scientific progress rational? Lakatos splits the difference between Popper and Kuhn to argue that some scientific research programs are more progressive than others, meaning that they make dramatic, unexpected predictions. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts. Get it now or listen to a preview.
25/10/2152m 18s

PREMIUM-Ep. 279: Aristotle's "Categories" of Being (Part Two)

Continuing on the Categories, considering artifacts, social construction in cutting up the world, different kinds of properties, and more. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
18/10/219m 38s

Ep. 279: Aristotle's "Categories" of Being (Part One)

On the Categories (ca. 350 BCE), which purports to describe all the types of entities that exist. We mostly talk about substances, as A's presentation raises interesting questions about, e.g. the status of the species of substance, and the rest of the categories (e.g. quality, quantity, relative) rely on substances existing. So how exactly do these other categories relate to substances, and why does A divide the world the way he does? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts. Get it now or listen to a preview. Sponsors: Get a free month of Great Courses lectures and lots of other great content at Wondrium.com/PEL. Get a free month's access to a vast library of guided meditations at Headspace.com/PEL.
11/10/2154m 28s

PREMIUM-Ep. 278: Derrick Bell on the Dynamics of Racism (Part Two)

Continuing on Faces At the Bottom of the Well (1992), with guest Lawrence Ware. We discuss "The Racial Preference Licensing Act" (ch. 3). If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
04/10/2110m 54s

Ep. 278: Derrick Bell on the Dynamics of Racism (Part One)

On Faces At the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism (1992), a foundational text in critical race theory that presents thought experiments in the philosophy of law, including "The Space Traders." With guest Lawrence Ware. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts. Get it now or listen to a preview.
27/09/2145m 55s

PREMIUM-Ep. 277: Hegel on Our Understanding of Physics (Part Two)

Continuing on The Phenomenology of Spirit, ch. 3, "Force and the Understanding." We start off by considering the players in force: the thing exerting the force and the thing receiving. By arguing that these are not so different, Hegel moves to arguing that knowledge and the world are likewise not sharply distinguished. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
06/09/2111m 48s

Ep. 277: Hegel on Our Understanding of Physics (Part One)

On The Phenomenology of Spirit, ch. 3, "Force and the Understanding." What is "force" as physics describes it? And scientific law? Do these terms denote objects in the world, or models for how we describe the world? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts. Get it now or listen to a preview.
30/08/2153m 53s

PEL Special: Nightcap Early September 2021

A little political ranting precedes a consideration of what we might read in aesthetics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of sport. What do we remember about emotions? Finally, Seth's morbid interests and Devo. If you enjoy this kind of free-form discussion, you can get it on the reg by becoming a PEL Citizen via one of the methods identified at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
29/08/2130m 9s

PREMIUM-Ep. 276: Hegel on Perception (Part Two)

Focusing on The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), ch. 2 "Perception." Hegel's critique of the adequacy of perceptual knowledge has metaphysical aspects: The relation of substance to properties, properties to each other, and things to other things and to the perceiver all create difficulties that call for more active participation by the mind. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
23/08/2110m 48s

Ep. 276: Hegel on Perception (Part One)

On The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), ch. 1 "Sense Certainty" and ch. 2 "Perception." We walk through the first step in considering Hegel's dialectical analysis of theories of knowledge. Sense-certainty claims that we have direct access to sensory particulars which can act as foundational. But can we really refer or point to a particular thing without bringing some universal concepts to bear, like "this" (which can refer to any number of things), as well as "here", "now" and even "I"? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts. Get it now or listen to a preview.
16/08/2158m 6s

PEL Presents Philosophy vs. Improv #7: Meritocracy Now!

Does it make sense to try to have everyone get what they "deserve"? Your hosts Mark Linsenmayer and Bill Arnett (Chicago Improv Studio) act out the desert machine but yet get no predictable cake. Hear more PvI at philosophyimprov.com. Support the podcast to get bonus stuff and good karma!
15/08/2139m 2s

PREMIUM-Ep. 275: Hegel's Project in the "Phenomenology of Spirit" (Part Two)

Continuing on the Introduction, we get into more detail on Hegel's goal and his tricky terminology. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
09/08/2111m 51s

Ep. 275: Hegel's Project in the "Phenomenology of Spirit" (Part One)

On G.W.F. Hegel's 1807 opus: A series of treatments of various theories in epistemology (among other things), seeing how they're internally incoherent, which then moves us to more sophisticated theories. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts. Get it now or listen to a preview. Don't miss Mark's new podcast Philosophy vs. Improv.
02/08/211h

PREMIUM-Ep. 274: Schelling on Self-Consciousness (Part Two)

Concluding on Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism (1800), Parts 1 and 2. What sort of self is created in the act of self-consciousness that according to Schelling grounds all knowledge? We further consider this primordial act. To hear the full second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
26/07/219m 3s

Philosophy vs. Improv: An Introductory Trailer

What is Philosophy vs. Improv? Hear about the new podcast by Mark Linsenmayer (The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast) and Bill Arnett (Chicago Improv Studio, The Complete Improviser author). Go listen to the show at philosophyimprov.com or subscribe via Apple, Audible, Stitcher, Spotify, or however you get your podcasts. Get more episodes than are now publicly available plus supporter-only content at patreon.com/philosophyimprov, or you can sign up for a premium subscription to the Mark Lintertainment channel on Apple Podcasts, which gets you bonus content and ad-free episodes for not only this new podcast, but also Mark's other efforts, Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast and Nakedly Examined Music. Thanks to our announcer, Erica Spyres. Logo by Solomon Grundy.
22/07/211m 54s

Ep. 274: Schelling on Self-Consciousness (Part One)

On Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism (1800), Parts 1 and 2. What is self-consciousness, and how did Schelling think that it grounds all of knowledge? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
19/07/2146m 11s

PREMIUM-Ep. 273: Friedrich Schelling's Foundationalist Idealism (Part Two)

Continuing on the Introduction to Friedrich Schelling's System of Transcendental Idealism (1800), focusing on the harmony between mind and world and imputing intelligence to nature. To hear the full second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
12/07/2110m 4s

Ep. 273: Friedrich Schelling's Foundationalist Idealism (Part One)

On Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism (1800). What's the relationship between mind and world? Schelling thought that our minds produce the world, but also that the perceiver-world dichotomy comes to us as a single piece. "Transcendental philosophy" is an exploration of the internal logic of that revelation. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
05/07/2148m 30s

PREMIUM-Ep. 272: Fichte's Idealist Theology (Part Two)

Continuing on The Vocation of Man (1799), Book II. We focus on how ethics fits in with Fichte's epistemology in a unified theology with humans literally united (in this world or the next) in a shared, divine Will. To hear the full second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
28/06/219m 5s

Ep. 272: Fichte's Idealist Theology (Part One)

Our second full discussion on The Vocation of Man (1799). What are the ethical implications of believing that the world is all in our minds? You could be a solipsistic nihilist, but Fichte thinks the path of faith is unavoidable for a reasonable person: faith that the world is real and matters, that other people have moral status, and yes, he's going to argue for God and heaven, though unconventionally. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
21/06/2156m 18s

PREMIUM-Ep. 271: Johan Gottlieb Fichte's Transcendental Idealism (Part Two)

Continuing on The Vocation of Man (1799), Book II. In this preview, we clarify whether Fichte is trying to keep the notion of a "real world" beyond our experience or not. It's part of the progression of the text that while at first he assumes that there must be something real behind this experienced world we as individuals create, he gives up that notion in the middle of Book II. So how does he get to his startling reversal? To hear that full second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
14/06/219m 37s

Ep. 271: Johan Gottlieb Fichte's Transcendental Idealism (Part One)

On The Vocation of Man (1799), Books I and II. What is reality? Fichte's armchair journey starts him considering nature and thus himself as determined, but then he backtracks to say that actually, experience doesn't tell us whether we're determined or free. In Book II, he argues that since our experience is always of something going on in ourselves, then causality, the external world, the self, etc. must be our own mental creations. So we're free after all, yet everything is drained of significance! Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
07/06/2151m 11s

PREMIUM-Ep. 270: Classical Indian (Vedanta and Nyaya) Design Arguments for God (Part Two)

Continuing (without Stephen Phillips) on God and the World’s Arrangement: Readings from Vedanta and Nyaya Philosophy of Religion. What does this treatment give us that's fundamentally different than the Western version of the design argument? We talk about these readings in the context of liberation and reflect on reason vs. revelation in this milieu. To hear that full second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
31/05/2110m 48s

Ep. 270: Classical Indian (Vedanta and Nyaya) Design Arguments for God w/ Stephen Phillips (Part One)

On God and the World's Arrangement: Readings from Vedanta and Nyaya Philosophy of Religion with one of its translators, Stephen Phillips. Does nature require an intelligent designer? Śaṅkara (710 CE) and Vācaspati Miśra (960 CE), commenting on the Brahma-sūtra (ca. 200 CE) and Nyāya-sūtra (ca. 200 BCE), argue that it does against atheistic Buddhists, Sāṃkhya believers in a primordial matter that acts on its own, and the Mīmāṃsā conservatives who so venerated scripture that they ruled out a God who created it. But if we're all Brahman (God), just trying to discover that we are and so escape the cycle of rebirth, then where is there room for a particular deity who created us? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
24/05/2159m 16s

PREMIUM-Ep. 269: Arendt on Totalitarianism (Part Two)

Continuing on two of Hannah Arendt's 1953 essays on totalitarianism. We further discuss its logic and in the full episode get into its relevance for contemporary political movements. To hear that full second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Sponsor: See headspace.com/PEL for a free month's access to a library of guided meditations. Try The Class X Podcast on Spotify or Apple, or look it up wherever you listen.
17/05/2110m 30s

Ep. 269: Arendt on Totalitarianism (Part One)

On "On the Nature of Totalitarianism" and On the Origins of Totalitarianism ch. 13 (both from 1953). Is totalitarianism just an especially virulent form of tyranny, or something unique to the modern age? Arendt says that unlike other forms of government, totalitarianism is not animated by an active psychological principle that motivates its participants. Instead terror is designed to make citizens incapable of agency altogether. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
10/05/2147m 16s

PREMIUM-Ep. 268: Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death" (Part Two)

Continuing on Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business with guest Brian Hirt. Is the written word really so much more suited for providing context than television? To hear the full second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
03/05/2113m 21s

Ep. 268: Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death" (Part One)

On Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (1985) with guest Brian Hirt. How does the form in which we receive media affect how we think? Education theorist Postman (building on Marshall McLuhan) claimed that television has eroded our capacity to reason and given us the expectation that everything in the world must entertain. Is this a viable piece of social construction theory? How does the critique apply to the Internet age? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
26/04/2144m 42s

PREMIUM-Ep. 267: Avicenna on God and Soul w/ Peter Adamson (Part Two)

Continuing on Avicenna's arguments for the existence of God and on the soul's immateriality. What metaphysical and epistemological picture grounds these views? To hear the full second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
19/04/219m 13s

Ep. 267: Avicenna on God and Soul w/ Peter Adamson (Part One)

On selections and commentary about Avicenna's argument from around 1020 C.E. for the existence of God as a necessary being, plus arguments to prove that God has the person-like properties that Islam imputes to him, and his "flying man" argument for the soul's essential independence from matter. Featuring Mark, Dylan, and our guest Peter Adamson from the History of Philosophy podcast. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
12/04/2156m 27s

PREMIUM-Ep. 266: Jonathan Lear's Plato: Psyche and Society (Part Two)

Continuing on Lear's Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul (1988). Our highlight is about the relation between the three parts of the soul: which (if any) is basic? To hear the full second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
05/04/2110m 50s

Ep. 266: Jonathan Lear's Plato: Psyche and Society (Part One)

On essays from Lear's Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul (1988): "Inside and Outside the Republic," "Eros and Unknowing: The Psychoanalytic Significance of Plato’s Symposium," and "An Interpretation of Transference," which compares Socrates' questioning with psychotherapy. Is Plato's analogy between mind and state in The Republic a good one? What can we learn from it about what makes for a stable, healthy character? How does eros (desire) fit into this picture? Lear gives a creative, helpful reading of Plato informed by psychoanalysis. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
29/03/2151m 5s

PREMIUM-Ep. 265: Plato's "Phaedo": Philosophy as Training for Death (Part Two)

Continuing on the Phaedo, we start with a point from Plato's physics that's supposed to hep prove the immortality of the soul, then lay out his theory of Forms. To hear the full second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
22/03/2110m 52s

Ep. 265: Plato's "Phaedo": Philosophy as Training for Death (Part One)

On Plato's middle dialogue depicting the death of Socrates (390 BCE) depicting the death of Socrates. Should philosophers fear death? In the course of giving arguments for the immortality of the soul, we get an elaboration of the recollection theory of knowledge (from the Meno) into Plato's first full account of Forms. But how literally are we supposed to take the words of Socrates as he comforts himself facing mortality? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
15/03/2142m 24s

PREMIUM-Ep. 264: Plato's "Timaeus" on Cosmology (Part Two)

Continuing on the Timaeus, we consider some quotes and details starting at the beginning of the dialogue where Plato argues for differences between the perceived, created, impermanent world and its perfect model.  To hear this second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
08/03/219m 55s

Ep. 264: Plato's "Timaeus" on Cosmology (Part One)

On the later Platonic dialogue from around 360 BCE. How is nature put together? Plato speaks through the fictional Timaeus (not Socrates) to give a "likely story" about the universe, physics, and biology involving a Craftsman (Demi-Urge) who created everything based on a pre-existing perfect model (the Forms!). Timaeus derives his whole story from the principle that the world is good, and so the Craftsman must necessarily optimize creation, with any imperfections being introduced only by the necessity involved when a perfect blueprint gets embodied to create ever-shifting, impermanent matter. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
01/03/2142m 5s

PREMIUM-Ep. 263: Lise Van Boxel's "Warspeak" on Strategies for Valuing (Part Two)

Continuing on Warspeak: Nietzsche's Victory Over Nihilism with guests Jeff Black and Michael Grenke. To hear this second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
22/02/2112m 50s

Ep. 263: Lise Van Boxel's "Warspeak" on Strategies for Valuing (Part One)

On Warspeak: Nietzsche's Victory Over Nihilism (2020) with Dylan, Seth, and guests Michael Grenke and Jeff Black. What's a viable counter-ideal to the asceticism that Nietzsche thought is so pervasive? Lise's book works out strategies for re-valuing that emphasize Nietzsche's positive comments about the feminine and the power of words. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview. Sponsors: Get 50% off The New Yorker and a free tote bag at NewYorker.com/PEL. Use Uber.com/pel to get $50 credit to buy rides or meal deliveries. Visit TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/PEL for a free 14-day trial of unlimited access to The Great Courses Plus Video Learning Service. Organize your Inbox: Get a free trial and save $25 at sanebox.com/pel. Learn about St. John's College at SJC.edu.
15/02/2141m 14s

PREMIUM-Ep. 262: Nietzsche on Self-Denial (Part Two)

More on essay three of Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals on the meaning of ascetic ideals. How does asceticism fit into N's overall morality, and how does he use it to critique scientists? To hear this second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
08/02/2111m 49s

Ep. 262: Nietzsche on Self-Denial (Part One)

On Friedrich Nietzsche's The Genealogy of Morals (1887), "Third essay: what do ascetic ideals mean?" Self-regulation, where we tamp down certain aspects of our personality, is necessary for disciplined action, but it can clearly go too far. Nietzsche uses this concept of asceticism to analyze both geniuses and the masses. It is a chief tool of the will to power, highly dangerous to human flourishing but also unleashing many new capabilities beyond our animal nature. Does this picture of motivation and greatness make sense? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
01/02/2146m 6s

PREMIUM-Ep. 261: Derek Parfit on Personal Identity (Part Two)

More on Parfit's Reasons and Persons (1984), ch. 10-13. In this preview, we consider how Parfit deals with Bernard Williams' materialist thought experiment to show that the whole concept of personal identity doesn't make sense. Also, split brains! To hear this second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. 
25/01/2112m 23s

Ep. 261: Derek Parfit on Personal Identity (Part One)

On Reasons and Persons (1984), ch. 10-13. What makes a person persist over time? After using various sci-fi examples to test the Lockean (personhood=psychological continuity), physicalist (same brain=same person), and Cartesian (same soul=same person) theories, Parfit concludes that the whole notion is incoherent and isn't actually what we care about when wondering "will I die?" Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
18/01/2150m 43s

PREMIUM-Ep. 260: Locke on Moral Psychology

One last take on John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689), covering Book II, ch. 21 and 28. What makes a moral claim true? Do we have free will? What makes us choose the good, or not? In this coda to our long treatment of Locke's opus, we bring together all he has to say about morality, which is strangely modern yet also just strange. This is but a preview, less than a third of what you'll get in the full discussion by signing up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
11/01/2119m 47s

Ep. 259: Locke Clarifies Misleading Complex Ideas (Part Two)

More on Book II (ch. 22-33) of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding.  On relations, then personal identity, with more on substances (spiritual and material), the various ways in which ideas can go wrong, and how mental association can entrench irrationality that disrupts clear thinking. Listen to part one first, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition, which will also get you the end-of-year PEL Nightcap that you'll hear a preview for here. Please support PEL!
04/01/211h 4m

Ep. 259: Locke Clarifies Misleading Complex Ideas (Part One)

On Book II (ch. 22-33) of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689). Simple ideas get complex quickly when you put them into words, and can give rise to various philosophical problems that are either easily cleared up when you figure out how the complex idea is built out of simple ideas, or if they can't be so broken down, then we really don't know what we're talking about and should just shut up. Don't wait for part two, get the ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!
28/12/2042m 27s

Mark Lint's PEL Network Holiday Party 2020: Merry Chatting and Songs

Join the office party, where Mark holds mini conversations on philosophy, art, and life with all PEL and PMP co-hosts, plus Ken Stringfellow, Jenny Hansen, and the members of Mark Lint's Dry Folk, whose 12 tunes are presented in succession with nary a partridge in sight. Will these 12 spirits turn you (or Mark) from errant ways? BYOB!
24/12/202h 5m

Ep. 258: Locke on Acquiring Simple Ideas (Part Two)

Continuing on Book II (through ch. 20) of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689). How do we acquire our ideas of pain and pleasure, duration and motion? We talk primary (shape, size) and secondary (color, sound) qualities, the former of which are supposed to be actually in objects, and the latter just in our mind. Plus, is Locke really an atomist about experience? Start with part one or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Sponsors: Organize your Inbox: Save $25 sanebox.com/pel. See headspace.com/PEL for a free month of guided meditations. Have your donation matched up to $250 at givewell.org/PEL (choose podcast and partially examined life at checkout).
15/12/2055m 49s

Ep. 258: Locke on Acquiring Simple Ideas (Part One)

On the first half of Book II of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689). How do we get our ideas? Simple ideas must come in through perception, but this doesn't just mean the senses; also reflection on our own minds, and this added layer of complexity allows us to bring in memory, concepts, time, and more. Don't wait for part two; get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!
07/12/2040m 46s

Ep. 257: Locke Against Innate Ideas (Part Two)

Continuing on Book I of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689). We consider Locke's arguments that since there are no universally agreed upon principles, therefore there are no beliefs that we're all born with, or that we all (without the need for experience) immediately recognize as true as soon as we gain the use of reason or are otherwise equipped to understand them. Start with part one. Hear the whole discussion with no ads and get access to our latest Nightcap: Join us at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
30/11/2049m 3s

Ep. 257: Locke Against Innate Ideas (Part One)

On Book I of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689). How do we know things? Locke thought all knowledge comes from experience, and this might seem uncontroversial, but what are the alternatives? We consider the idea that there are some ideas we're just born with and don't need to learn. But what's an "idea," and how is it different from a principle? Clearly we have instincts ("knowhow") but is that knowledge? We consider occurrent vs. dispositional nativism, the role of reason, and what Locke's overall project is after. Don't wait for Part Two; get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!
23/11/2048m 34s

PREMIUM-Ep. 256: Kropotkin's Anarchist Communism (Part Two)

Mark, Wes, Dylan, Seth get into specific points and textual passages from Peter Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread (1892). In this preview, we start by considering that Kropotkin is right that mutual aid is a natural tendency and so communism is very much feasible, why hasn't it happened already? In the full discussion, we discuss K's version of the "you didn't build that" argument, plus guaranteed minimum income, identity and criminal justice in a stateless world, religion, and more. To hear this second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. 
16/11/207m 37s

Ep. 256: Kropotkin's Anarchist Communism (Part One)

On Peter Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread (1892). If we want an egalitarian society, do we need the state to accomplish this? Kropotkin says no, that in fact the state inevitably serves the interests of the few, and that if we got rid of it, our natural tendencies to cooperate would allow us through voluntary organizations to keep everyone not only fed and clothed, but able to vigorously pursue callings like science and art. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
09/11/2047m 51s

PREMIUM-Ep. 255: Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" (Part Two)

If you'd like to hear more of the discussion on Sun Tzu that we started in part one, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Here are some exchanges from part two, where we continue with Brian Wilson working through the text, considering Sunzi's strategies and assumptions, and how these might (or might not) apply to competing in the business world.
02/11/208m 41s

Ep. 255: Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" (Part One)

On the Chinese military treatise from around the 5th century BCE. How does a philosopher wage war? The best kind of war can be won without fighting. The general qua Taoist sage never moves until circumstances are optimal. We talk virtue ethics and practical strategy; how well can Sunzi's advice be applied to non-martial pursuits? With guest Brian Wilson. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
26/10/2047m 56s

PREMIUM-Ep. 254: Michael Sandel Against Meritocracy (Part Two)

Mark, Wes, Dylan and Seth continue the discussion on The Tyranny of Merit to talk further about how social values can and do change, and whether these changes can be engineered in the way that Sandel seems to want. We interviewed Michael Sandel in part one. To hear this second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. This preview includes a couple of exchanges from near the beginning to give you a flavor of what to expect.
19/10/2011m 6s

Ep. 254: Michael Sandel Interview: Against Meritocracy (Part One)

On The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good? (2020). Do people get the wealth and status they deserve? And if they did, would that be good? Michael critiques the meritocracy: It's not actually fair, leaves most people feeling humiliated, and makes those on the top arrogant and disconnected. The commitment to meritocracy is shared by both political parties and helps explain our current dysfunction. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
12/10/201h 5m

PREMIUM-Ep. 253: Leibniz on the Problem of Evil (Part Two)

If you'd like to hear more of the discussion on Gottfried Leibniz’s Theodicy that we started in part one, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. This is just a few tantalizing snippets from part two, wherein we talk about the metaphysical status of evil and about the multi-layered character of will.
05/10/206m 32s

Ep. 253: Leibniz on the Problem of Evil (Part One)

On Gottfried Leibniz’s Theodicy (1710). Why does God allow so many bad things to happen? Leibniz thought that by the definition of God, whatever He created must be the best of all possible worlds, and his theodicy presents numerous arguments to try to make that less counter-intuitive given how less-than-perfect the world seems to us. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
28/09/2047m 28s

PEL Special: Nightcap Late September 2020

We're releasing JUST THIS ONE Nightcap to the wider public so induce you all to go support us and so gain the ability to hear these free-wheeling, feeling-sharing, email-reading fiestas between every regular episode. This time we gripe about Habermas and reflect on what secondary sources we use. We consider whether to have an episode on anarchism and if we should ever have guests on who are hard-core adherents of the philosophy we're discussing. We reveal which reading we've covered has pleasantly surprised each of us the most. Finally, we talk about how to front-load our episodes so that folks who do not sign up to hear the part 2's still get a satisfying, self-contained experience.
21/09/2023m 17s

PREMIUM-Ep. 252: Habermas on Communication as Sociality (Part Two)

If you'd like to hear more of the discussion on Jürgen Habermas' "Actions, Speech Acts, Linguistically Mediated Interactions, and the Lifeworld" (1998) that we started in part one, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. We're just sharing a few minutes of part two here to get you all hot and bothered. You're welcome!
21/09/205m 14s

Ep. 252: Habermas on Communication as Sociality (Part One)

On Jürgen Habermas' "Actions, Speech Acts, Linguistically Mediated Interactions, and the Lifeworld" (1998), with guest John Foster. What's the relation between individuals and society? Habermas says that language has ethics built right into it: I'm trying to get you to agree with me, to engage in a cooperative enterprise of mutual understanding. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
14/09/2050m 53s

Ep. 251: Simone Weil's Ideal Society

On "Theoretical Picture of a Free Society" (1934). What's the ideal living situation for us all, given the peculiarities of human nature? Weil describes fulfillment as coming from being able to picture goals and plans and knowingly put them into effect, so social groups need to maximize that power by being small and cooperative. End song: "Libreville" by Bill Bruford, as interviewed for Nakedly Examined Music #25. Get this episode ad-free with a PEL Citizenship, which also gets you access to our PEL Nightcaps and future Part Two episodes.
07/09/201h 10m

Ep. 250: Simone Weil on Human Needs (Part Three)

Concluding on "The Needs of the Soul" from The Need for Roots (1943). This time we cover punishment, security, risk, private property, collective property, freedom of opinion, and truth. Start with part one or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition. Supporting PEL will also get you access to our PEL Nightcaps End song: "Even Though the Darkest Clouds" by liar, flower. Mark interviewed KatieJane Garside on Nakedly Examined Music #127.
31/08/2054m 16s

Ep. 250: Simone Weil on Human Needs (Part Two)

Continuing on "The Needs of the Soul" from The Need for Roots (1943). We got started in part one with our need for order, and in this part we add liberty, obedience, responsibility, equality, hierarchy, and honor. We'll conclude with part 3, covering freedom of speech, punishment and more, but you needn't wait: Get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition now. and you'll also get our Nightcap recordings.
24/08/2051m 54s

Ep. 250: Simone Weil on Human Needs (Part One)

On "The Needs of the Soul" from The Need for Roots (1943) and "Meditation on Obedience and Liberty" (1937). What are our needs that should then drive what kind of society would be best for us? Weil says we need liberty yet obedience, equality yet hierarchy, security yet risk... and none of these words mean quite what you'd think. And to start off, why do the many obey the few? Don't wait for Part Two; get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL! Support for this discussion came from listener Charles, who dedicates it to Temple Grandin. 
17/08/2047m 38s

Ep. 249: Dewey on Education and Thought (Part Two)

Continuing on John Dewey's Democracy and Education (1916) ch. 1, 2, 4, and 24 with guest Jonathan Haber. How is education different than mere conditioning, and how does it relate to habits and growth? We discuss how much of what Dewey recommends lines up with liberal education and multiculturalism. Also, can education change taste? Start with part one, or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition, which will also get you our PEL Nightcaps. End song: "Too Far to Turn Around" by The Ides of March; Jim Peterik appears on Nakedly Examined Music #126. Sponsors: Get 15% off game-changing wireless earbuds at BuyRaycon.com/pel. Visit SJC.edu to learn about St. John's College. Visit TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/PEL for a free trial of unlimited learning from the world's greatest professors.
10/08/201h 7m

Ep. 249: Dewey on Education and Thought (Part One)

On John Dewey's How We Think (1910) ch. 1 and Democracy and Education (1916) ch. 1, 2, 4, and 24. What model of human nature should serve as the basis for education policy? Dewey sees learning as growth, and the point of education as to enable indefinite growth. With guest Jonathan Haber. Don't wait for part two; get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!
02/08/2048m 38s

Ep. 248: Racism and Policing (Al-Saji, Merleau-Ponty, et al) (Part Two)

Continuing on Alia Al-Saji’s “A Phenomenology of Hesitation” (2014) and other things with guest Phil Hopkins.  Can we restructure our (and the police's) reactions and live with each other? We further explore the psychology of habit and Al-Saji's notion of hesitation. How does it compare to other types of heistation recommended by philosophies and religions? Start with part one, or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition. Includes a preview of our Citizen Hang. End song: "Every Man's Burden" by Dusty Wright, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #89.
27/07/201h 7m

Ep. 248: Racism and Policing (Al-Saji, Merleau-Ponty, et al) (Part One)

On Alia Al-Saji’s “A Phenomenology of Hesitation” (2014), bits of Maurice Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception (1945), and Linda Martín Alcoff’s Visible Identities (2006), plus Alex Vitale's The End of Policing (2017). Is there sub-conscious racism, and how might we root it out and fix our policing problems? Ex-cop Phil Hopkins joins to look at how phenomenology can help. Don't wait for part two, get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!
20/07/2050m 54s

Ep. 247: Aristotle on Rhetoric and Emotions (Part Two)

Continuing on the Rhetoric (ca. 335 BCE) book 1, ch. 1–6 and book 2, ch. 1–5, 18–24. We finish up with enthymemes (rhetorical arguments), maxims, and signs. We then move to emotions, where we chiefly talk about anger: Is it always a matter of status injury, or is frustration equally (or more) foundational? Begin with part one, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL! End song: "Reason with the Beast" by Shriekback, whose leader Barry Andrews was interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #107.
13/07/2050m 18s

Ep. 247: Aristotle on Rhetoric and Emotions (Part One)

On the Rhetoric (ca. 335 BCE) book 1, ch. 1-6 and book 2, ch. 1-5, 18-24. What role does persuasion play in philosophy? Aristotle (contra Plato) argues it can and should be used for good: in law courts, political debates, public speeches. He describes the arguments forms used in rhetoric ("enthymemes") and analyzes the emotions that an audience might have so that speakers know what points are worth dwelling on and how to best argue them. Don't wait for part two! Get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!
06/07/2053m 10s

Ep. 246: Susan Sontag on Interpreting Art (Part Two)

Continuing on Sontag's essays “On Style” (1965) and "The Death of Tragedy” (1963). Mark, Wes, Seth and Dylan keep talking about the appropriate distance to retain (or not) to a work of art, which is supposed to be relevant to moral action in the world. We also spell out how this is relevant to our recent episodes on tragedy. Start with Part One or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Mela" by Julie Slick, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #115.
29/06/2052m 16s

Ep. 246: Susan Sontag on Interpreting Art (Part One)

On Sontag's essays “Against Interpretation” (1964), “On Style” (1965), and "The Death of Tragedy” (1963). What is it to understand a work of art? Sontag objects to critics' need to decode art into its "meaning" or "content," divorcing it from how this content is embodied. She argues that the content vs. form distinction isn't tenable; that the style of a work is an essential part of experiencing it. Sontag thinks we're too analytical, too divorced from our instincts, and a direct encounter with art is essential to enliven us. Please support PEL!
22/06/2045m 44s

Ep. 245: Fashion (Derrida, Foucault, Sontag) w/ Shahidha Bari (Part Two)

We conclude with Foucault's "The Ethics of the Concern of the Self As A Practice of Freedom" (1984) and add Susan Sontag's "On Style" (1965). After our guest's departure, we give some concluding remarks about her book Dressed: A Philosophy of Clothes (2020) and Derrida's "The Animal That Therefore I Am" (1999). Start with part one or get the ad-free, unbroken Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Clothe Me in Ashes" by K.C. Clifford, interviewed for Nakedly Examined Music #121.
15/06/2048m 58s

Ep. 245: Fashion (Derrida, Foucault) w/ Shahidha Bari (Part One)

On Jacques Derrida's "The Animal That Therefore I Am" (1999), Michel Foucault's "The Ethics of the Concern of the Self As A Practice of Freedom" (1984), and our guest's Dressed: A Philosophy of Clothes (2020). Philosophy devalues appearances, but our changing dominant metaphysics (there is no "underneath" but rather a complex built out of appearance itself) should have changed this. Our guest provided us with readings that elaborate this change, arguing for our continuity with animal nature (Derrida) and the ethical importance of self-care (Foucault). Please support PEL!
08/06/2051m 3s

Ep. 244: Camus on Strategies for Facing Plague (Part Two)

Continuing on Albert Camus's 1947 novel, covering the old functionary Grand, the criminal (or just paranoid?) Cottard, and more of our narrators Dr. Rieux and his doomed friend Tarrou, plus more on the overall message of the book and how it might relate to our current situation. Start with part one or get the unbroken Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "You Will Kill the One You Love" by Jack Hues, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #122.
01/06/201h 5m

Ep. 244: Camus on Strategies for Facing Plague (Part One)

On Albert Camus' existentialist novel The Plague. How shall we face adversity? Camus gives us colorful characters that embody various approaches. Yes, the plague is an extreme situation, but we're all dying all the time anyway, right? Join Mark, Wes, Dylan and Seth to tease out Camus' positions from this bleak yet colorful text. Don't wait for part two; get the unbroken Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!
25/05/2047m 17s

Ep. 243: Aristotle's "Poetics" on Art and Tragedy (Part Two)

Continuing on the Poetics from around 335 BCE, on the structure of plot (every element must be essential!), the moral status of the heroes, Homeric poetry, the difference between tragedy and history, and how Aristotle's formula may or may not apply to modern media. Begin with part one or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Structure of a Tragedy" by Mark Lint. Read about it.
18/05/2053m 47s

Ep. 243: Aristotle's "Poetics" on Art and Tragedy (Part One)

These notes from 335 BCE are still used in screenwriting classes. Aristotle presents a formula for what will move us, derived from Sophocles's tragedies. What is art? The text describes it as memesis (imitation), and tragedy imitates human action in a way that shows us what it is to be human. Aristotle has lots of advice about how to structure a plot optimized to our sensibilities. Join Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Seth to see if you think he's right. Don't wait for part two; get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!
11/05/2048m 57s

PEL Presents PMP#42: Star Trek Lives Long and Prospers (Intermittently)

In light of Star Trek: Picard, Brian, Erica, Mark, and Drew Jackson discuss our most philosophical sci-fi franchise. What makes a Trek story? How do you world-build over generations? How did Picard measure up? Plus Trek vs. Wars and step-children like The Orville and Galaxy Quest. For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.
06/05/2056m 30s

Ep. 242: Stanley Cavell on Tragedy via King Lear (Part Two)

Continuing on Cavell's essay "The Avoidance of Love: A Reading of King Lear" (1969), shifting away from Lear in particular to a more general discussion of tragedy and Cavell's psychological insights. Begin with Part One or get the ad-free, unbroken Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Out of Your Hands" by Gretchen's Wheel, i.e., Lindsay Murray, as interviewed for Nakedly Examined Music #81.
04/05/2043m 35s

Ep. 242: Stanley Cavell on Tragedy via King Lear (Part One)

On Cavell's essay "The Avoidance of Love: A Reading of King Lear" (1969). Can money buy you love? What is tragedy? With guest Erin O'Luanaigh. Don't wait for part two; get the full Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!
27/04/2043m 41s

Ep. 241: Political Philosophy and the Pandemic

How should we think politically about the current global crisis? Do extreme circumstances reveal truths of political philosophy or do they reinforce whatever it is we already believe? Mark, Wes, Seth, and Dylan talk about applying philosophical insights to real-life situations rife with unknowns, John Rawls' veil of ignorance and Adam Smith on our interconnectedness, utilitarianism, libertarianism, and more. A source we used was "How Coronavirus Is Shaking Up the Moral Universe" by John Authers. Please support PEL! End song: "Date of Grace" by Rob Picott, as discussed on Nakedly Examined Music #80.
20/04/201h 4m

Ep. 240: David Lewis on Possible Worlds and Language Games (Part Two)

On "Scorekeeping in a Language Game" (1979) and "Truth in Fiction" (1978). Lewis's account of possible worlds can be applied to conversation: As we speak, each sentence adds to the "conversational score" (the set of assumptions that enable us to understand each other) while reducing the field of possible worlds that the picture we're painting together could potentially represent. What are the gravitational forces within this kind of scorekeeping? Also, when an author creates a fictive "world," how do facts about that world logically relate to those of the actual world? With guest Matt Teichman. Start with part 1 or get the unbroken Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Real Life" by Matt Wilson, as interviewed for Nakedly Examined Music #118.
13/04/201h 10m

Ep. 240: David Lewis on Possible Worlds and Language Games (Part One)

On Ch. 4 of Lewis's book Counterfactuals (1973) and the essays “Scorekeeping in a Language Game” (1979) and “Truth in Fiction” (1978). What makes a sentence about possibility true? Lewis things that we need possible worlds that really exist in order to make sense of our modal intuitions. He uses this possible world talk to make sense of conversations and the worlds created by fiction writers. With guest Matt Teichman from Elucidations. Please support PEL!
06/04/2052m 30s

Ep. 239: Montesquieu Invents Political Science (Part Two)

Continuing on The Spirit of the Laws (1748) by Charles Louis de Secondat, aka Baron de Montesquieu. Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Seth talk more about the "motive force" behind each type of government and the separation of powers. Begin with part 1 or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "King of the Hill" by MINUTEMEN. Listen to Mark interview Mike Watt on Nakedly Examined Music #108.
30/03/2050m 47s

Ep. 239: Montesquieu Invents Political Science (Part One)

On The Spirit of the Laws (1748) by Charles Louis de Secondat, aka Baron de Montesquieu. What keeps a society functioning? Montesquieu, though of course not the first political philosopher, was perhaps the first to systematically explore correlations between characteristics of a government, its people, its climate, dominant industries, religion, and other factors. Some of his ideas directly influenced the American Constitution, and some of them are very very weird. Please support PEL!
23/03/2043m 24s

Ep. 238: Lingering Questions

Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Seth summarize thoughts about our recent series on social construction, gender and sex, and Judith Butler's notion of "grievable lives." Should we stop covering so much contemporary work and/or political topics? End song: "The Size of Luv" by Mark Lint from Mark Lint's Dry Folk (2018). Get this and every episode ad-free with a PEL Membership. Please support the podcast!
16/03/201h 14m

Ep. 237: Walter Benjamin Analyzes Violence (Part Two)

Continuing on Benjamin's "Critique of Violence" (1921). Mark, Wes, and Seth keep trying to figure out this difficult essay. Is Benjamin really advocating a workers' revolution to end the state, or just reflecting on a hypothetical to explore the limits of the concept of violence? According to Judith Butler's interpretation of the essay, the takeaway is the alternative to motivation through force, i.e. speech, which Benjamin (in other essays) gives some religious significance, but the way he actually concludes the essay is in a discussion of "divine violence" as somehow transcending means-end analysis and the corruption inherent in violence. Begin with part one or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Jericho" from hackedepiciotto, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #116.
09/03/2045m 17s

Ep. 237: Walter Benjamin Analyzes Violence (Part One)

On "Critique of Violence" (1921). What is violence? Benjamin gives us a taxonomy: law-creating, law-preserving, mythological, and divine. Then he deconstructs his own distinctions to demonstrate that all state power is rotten through its being founded on and continually re-established by violence or the threat of it. Don't wait for part two. Get the full ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!
02/03/2042m 42s

Ep. 236: Judith Butler Interview: "The Force of Nonviolence"

On The Force of Nonviolence: An Ethico-Political Bind (2020). What is it to be nonviolent in political activity? Most ethics allow for self-defense, but Judith has a problem with defining "self" as well as "violence," and offers a full critique of the individualism that underlies typical Western approaches to both ethics and politics. Mark, Seth, and Wes interview Judith about these issues and the connection to Gender Trouble. End song: "Dancing with Death," discussed on Nakedly Examined Music #111 with Marty Willson-Piper. Get this episode ad-free with a PEL Citizenship. Please support PEL!
24/02/201h 3m

PEL Presents: PMP#32: Judging "The Good Place"

Mark, Erica, and Brian discuss Michael Schur's NBC TV show. Is it good? Does it actually teach moral philosophy? We talk sit-com tropes, TV finales, the show's convoluted structure, the puzzle of heaven, and more. For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.
19/02/2045m 18s

Ep. 235: Judith Butler's "Gender Trouble" (Part Three)

Concluding "Gender Trouble" (1990), with just Mark, Wes, and Seth going carefully through pt I, sec v: "Identity, Set, and the Metaphysics of Substance," and pt III, sec iv: "Subversive Bodily Acts: Bodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions." Start with part one or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "I'm a Boy" by Lys Guillorn as interviewed for Nakedly Examined Music #44.
17/02/201h 6m

Ep. 235: Judith Butler's "Gender Trouble" (Part Two)

More Gender Trouble (1990) with Jennifer Hansen. We get into the metaphysics of substance (is gender an attribute that a person has, or is there a better way to describe the situation?), performatives, Beauvoir vs. Irigaray on femininity, and the available mechanisms for changing gender norms. Start with Part One or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL!
10/02/201h 6m

Ep. 235: Judith Butler's "Gender Trouble" (Part One)

On Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990). Is gender socially constructed, and if so, how? Butler describes gender not as an essential quality of a person, but as "performed," as habits of acting in certain ways in accordance with customs. Her idea of social construction is so totalizing that even biological sex itself is constructed. With guest Jennifer Hansen. Please support PEL!
03/02/2051m 37s

PEL Presents PMP#29: Martin Scorsese the Auteur w/ Colin Marshall

We consider The Irishman in the context of Scorsese's body of work and the styles and themes that his films tend to exhibit. Writer/podcaster Colin Marshall joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about connecting with Scorsese's sensibility and their status as "art films." Plus S's use of music, comments on Marvel, CGI age alternation, and more. For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.
29/01/2055m 51s

Ep. 234: Beauvoir on Romance in "The Second Sex" (Part Two)

Concluding Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949): "The Woman in Love" and "Myths" with guest Jennifer Hansen. We continue on the ailments of women under patriarchy as well as the existential problems that we're all subject to. Are we doomed to isolation, or does existentialism allow for intimacy? Is marriage in "bad faith"? We also talk narcissism, abjection, and the film Marriage Story. Start with part 1 or get the Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Easier than Leaving" by Michaela Anne, interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #114.
27/01/2058m 37s

Ep. 234: Beauvoir on Romance in "The Second Sex" (Part One)

On Simone De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949): "The Woman in Love" and "Myths" with guest Jennifer Hansen. What is love under patriarchy? We all want to achieve solidity in another's eyes, but the Othered woman wants to live through the man, and the man sees the woman as his rejected corporeal character. Party time! Please support PEL!
20/01/2049m 29s

PEL Presents PMP#27: For the Love of Star Wars

Mark, Erica, and Brian talk about the unique place these films have in the brains of people of a certain age, how we grappled with the prequels, and why we feel the need to fill in and argue about the details. We focus primarily on The Mandalorian and The Rise of Skywalker. For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.
15/01/2047m 46s

Ep. 233: Plato's "Protagoras" on Virtue (Part Two)

Continuing on the dialogue, where Socrates argues that Protagoras doesn't actually know what virtue is, because he thinks that the various virtues (especially courage) are distinct, a claim that Socrates refutes in several (logically suspect) ways. Start with part one, or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Make It Clear" by Feelies; hear Glenn Mercer on Nakedly Examined Music #41.
13/01/201h

PEL Presents PMP#26: We Watch "Watchmen" w/ David Pizarro (Very Bad Wizards)

Covering Alan Moore's 1986 graphic novel, the new HBO series and the 2009 film. Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by David, psych prof at Cornell and host of Very Bad Wizards. How does Moore's style translate to the screen? How well did the show handle politics? Should there be a second season? For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.
08/01/2056m 21s

Ep. 233: Plato's "Protagoras" on Virtue (Part One)

On the Platonic dialogue written around 380 BCE about an encounter between Socrates and one of the leading Sophists of his day. What is virtue ("the political art" according to Protagoras), and can it be taught? What are the relations of the various virtues to each other? Do they really amount ultimately to one and the same thing, i.e. wisdom? In this entertaining dialogue, Socrates and Protagoras swap positions, and Socrates seems to parody the Sophists' style. Don't wait for part two; get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL! Sponsor: Visit thegreatcoursesplus.com/PEL for a free trial of The Great Courses Plus Video Learning Service.
06/01/2053m 56s

Ep. 232: Simone De Beauvoir's "The Second Sex" (Part Two)

Continuing Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949) with guest Jennifer Hansen. How does one become a Subject and how do women traditionally get shut out of this process? We get into Vol. 2, "Lived Experience" where Beauvoir details how this drama unfolds in various stages of life. Also, religion, logic, the relation of biology to situation, and more. How do we modernize Beauvoir's critique given the evolution in women's positions since the book was written? Start with part one or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Wrong Side of Gone" by Beth Kille as discussed on Nakedly Examined Music #13.
29/12/191h 3m

Ep. 232: Simone De Beauvoir's "The Second Sex" (Part One)

On Simone De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949): the intro, conclusion, “Woman’s Situation and Character” and parts of “Lived Experience," with guest Jennifer Hansen. According to Beauvoir, Woman is historically conceived of by society (and herself) as "Other," as not a Subject who creates and makes decisions. Her life is pre-determined, revolving around marriage and child-bearing, and is so deformed by this situation. Don't wait for part two; get the unbroken Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!
23/12/1953m 53s

Ep. 231: Descartes's "Discourse" on Wisdom and Certainty (Part Two)

Continuing on Descartes’s Discourse on Method, looking closely at part 4 (his proto-Meditations) and his "provisional" Stoic ethics. Listen to part one first or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "My Real Fantasy" By Joe Louis Walker, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #110.
16/12/191h 8m

Ep. 231: Descartes's "Discourse" on Wisdom and Certainty (Part One)

On René Descartes’s Discourse on Method (1637), an overview of his work that distills his method, outlines his famous Meditations, presents a provisional (Stoic) ethics, and considers whether he wants to be a public intellectual. This is all meant as a preface to scientific publications on geometry, optics, and meteors. Please support PEL!
09/12/1939m 55s

Ep. 230: Bruno Latour on Science, Culture, and Modernity (Part Two)

Continuing on Latour's We Have Never Been Modern (1993) with guest Lynda Olman. Latour rejects the idea of objective truth totally apart from perceivers, so is he an idealist? We lay out the "Constitution" of modernity that keeps science and politics separate, how it makes it difficult for us to address issues like climate change, and what Latour thinks should replace it. Start with part 1 or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Mono No Aware" by Guy Sigsworth, as discussed on Nakedly Examined Music #109.
02/12/1957m 34s

Ep. 230: Bruno Latour on Science, Culture, and Modernity (Part One)

On Latour's We Have Never Been Modern (1993) with guest Lynda Olman. What's the "modern" ideology of science, and is there something we should critique about it? Latour wants us to think about science not abstractly through the eternal truths it supposedly discovers, but through the concrete practices of scientists. He investigates the Modern Constitution by which science and politics are kept conceptually separate, a myth that he claims we've never fully bought into. Don't wait for part two; get your unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!
25/11/1945m 23s

Ep. 229: Descartes's Rules for Thinking (Part Three)

Concluding René Descartes's Rules for Direction of the Mind (1628). We finish rule 12 through the end, talking about simples, the faculties of intuition and judgment, perception and imagination, necessary vs. contingent truths, and how to do Cartesian science, including what constitutes a "perfectly understood problem." Start with part one, or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Perfect Design" by Ian Moore, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #94.
18/11/1952m 1s

Ep. 229: Descartes's Rules for Thinking (Part Two)

Continuing on René Descartes's Rules for Direction of the Mind (1628), covering rules 7 through the first part of the lengthy rule 12. We try to figure out what he means by "enumeration;" the faculties of imagination, sense and memory; the virtues of perspicacity and sagacity; his psychology of the senses, the "common sense" where all sense data comes together, and the understanding; how Descartes recommends we do scientific investigation; why syllogisms stink; and whether some people are just better at philosophy than others. Start with part 1. You don't need to wait for part 3; get the full, Citizen Edition now. Citizen Edition now? Please support PEL!
11/11/1951m 49s

Ep. 229: Descartes's Rules for Thinking (Part One)

On René Descartes's Rules for Direction of the Mind (1628). Is there a careful way to approach problems that will ensure that you'll always be right? What if you just never assert anything you can't be sure of? This is Descartes's strategy, modeled on mathematics. We likewise carefully move step-by-step through this text. This is part 1 of 3; get the whole discussion now via the Citizen Edition now? Please support PEL!
04/11/1949m 8s

PEL Presents PMP#17: Comedy as Philosophy w/ Daniel Lobell

Are stand-up comedians the Modern Day Philosophers? This is the premise of Daniel's podcast, but really, only some comedians express original claims; many just tell jokes. Are those exceptional comics philosophizing? Does telling the whole, tragic truth rule out being funny? Daniel, Mark, Erica, and Brian consider Carlin, Gadsby, Chappelle, and others. For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by openculture.com. Sponsor: Visit Keeps.com/EXAMINED for a free month of hair loss treatment.
29/10/1945m 35s

Ep. 228: Social Construction of Race (Appiah, Mills) (Part Two)

Continuing on Kwame Anthony Appiah's "Race, Culture, Identity: Misunderstood Connections" (1994), Charles Mills's "But What Are You Really?, The Metaphysics of Race" (1998), and Neven Sesardic's "Race: A Social Destruction of a Biological Concept" (2010) with guest Coleman Hughes. Racial classifications vary geographically, therefore race is socially constructed. Given this, can we retain the positive aspects of group-identification without hierarchies and what Appiah calls "imperialism of identity?" Start with part one or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Tired Skin" by Alejandro Escovedo, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #60.
28/10/1945m 43s

Ep. 228: Social Construction of Race (Appiah, Mills) (Part One)

On Kwame Anthony Appiah's "Race, Culture, Identity: Misunderstood Connections" (1994), Charles Mills' "But What Are You Really?, The Metaphysics of Race" (1998), and Neven Sesardic's "Race: A Social Destruction of a Biological Concept" (2010). With guest Coleman Hughes. Please support PEL!
21/10/1938m 58s

Ep. 227: What Is Social Construction? (Hacking, Berger) (Part Two)

Continuing Ian Hacking’s The Social Construction of What (1999) and Peter Berger's “Religion and World Construction" (1967). We break down Hacking's typology of construction arguments: Are they exploring where our ideas came from or trying to change things? Are they trying to state facts about nature vs. nurture or essentially political solicitations for us to reconceptualize in healthier ways? Plus, more about the supposed divide between science wars and the culture wars and Berger's picture of the nomos (custom) defining what it is for us to live a meaningful life. Please support PEL! End song: "The ConstruKction of Light, Part 1" by King Crimson; listen to Mark with Trey Gunn on Nakedly Examined Music #21.
14/10/191h 4m

Ep. 227: What Is Social Construction? (Hacking, Berger) (Part One)

On Ian Hacking’s The Social Construction of What (1999) and Peter Berger's “Religion and World Construction" (1967). Guest Coleman Hughes from Dilemma joins us to survey the types of social construction arguments: the "culture wars" (e.g. race, gender) and the "science wars" (scientific findings are not read off the world but emerge from history). Something can be constructed, yet still be an objective truth we have to deal with. Please support PEL!
07/10/1945m 5s

Ep. 226: Francis Bacon Invents Science (Part Two)

Continuing on Sir Francis Bacon's New Organon (1620). We cover more of Bacon's "idols" and how Bacon divides religion from science (and what this means politically). We then move on to book 2, including Bacon's novel update of the term "form," and take a look at Bacon's method of doing science by filling out tables before actually doing experiments. Start with part one or get the full, unbroken Citizen Edition. Please support PEL, like, get Patreon's feed for a mere $1/month. End song: "Stuck in a Cave" by Chrome Cranks; hear Mark talk to singer/songwriter Peter Aaron on Nakedly Examined Music #93.
30/09/191h 1m

PEL Presents PMP#12: Once Upon a Tarantino Film w/ Wes Alwan

Wes joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to discuss Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood in the context of Tarantino's other films. We consider T's strange sense of pacing, his comic violence, his historical revisionism, and casting choices. Is this a brilliant film or a fundamentally misguided idea badly in need of an editor? For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by openculture.com.
24/09/1947m 13s

Ep. 226: Francis Bacon Invents Science (Part One)

On Sir Francis Bacon's New Organon (1620). Bacon claims to have developed a new toolset that will open up nature to inquiry in a way that wasn't possible for ancient and modern natural philosophy. Mark, Wes, and Dylan consider how much what Bacon describes resembles modern scientific method, talk through Bacon's "four idols" that interfere with impartial inquiry, and consider how Bacon's method fits in with his larger political-ethical-religious views. Please support PEL!
23/09/1943m 39s

Ep. 225: Simone Weil on War and Oppression (Part Two)

Continuing on Simone Weil's essays "The Iliad, or the Poem of Force" (1939) and "Analysis of Oppression" (1934) with guest Corey Mohler. We talk about the self-contradictions of power, why oppression and war are so intractable, and her positive solution (what there is of it here). Weil cuts through our left-right political dichotomy in a way that might interest you. Plus, why the Iliad is so great. Start with part one or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Throw Down the Sword" from Wishbone Ash; hear Andy Powell on Nakedly Examined Music #51.
16/09/1958m 38s

Ep. 225: Simone Weil on War and Oppression (Part One)

On Simone Weil's essays "The Iliad, or the Poem of Force" (1939) and "Analysis of Oppression" (1934). How do circumstances oppress and dehumanize us? Weil describes the mechanisms that keep people at war and maintain oppression even through revolutions as inherent to the logic of power. With guest Corey Mohler. Please support PEL!
09/09/1947m 16s

Ep. 224: Kierkegaard Critiques The Present Age (Part Two)

Continuing on "The Present Age" (1846), plus Hubert Dreyfus’s "Nihilism on the Information Highway: Anonymity vs. Commitment in the Present Age" (2004) with guest John Ganz. Does K's critique actually apply to our present age? We address K's view of humor, romance, authenticity, actual community vs. "the public," the leveling that occurs without anyone specific actually doing it, and the virtue of silence. Start with part one or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Wry Observer" by Aaron David Gleason, as discussed on Nakedly Examined Music #71.
02/09/191h 4m

PEL Presents PMP#8: Spider-Man: Far From Home (and Elsewhere)

Mark, Erica, and Brian discuss the function of super-hero films and how this new one fits in. Do we need "realism" in such stories? When does a premise like this get too old to keep recycling? For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode, and more episodes in advance, at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by openculture.com.
27/08/1949m 33s

Ep. 224: Kierkegaard Critiques The Present Age (Part One)

On Soren Kierkegaard's essay "The Present Age" (1846) and Hubert Dreyfus’s "Nihilism on the Information Highway: Anonymity vs. Commitment in the Present Age" (2004). What's wrong with our society? Kierkegaard saw the advent of the press and gossip culture as engendering a systematic passivity and shallowness in his fellows, and Dreyfus thinks this is an even more apt description of the Internet Age. With guest John Ganz. Please support PEL!
26/08/1947m 38s

Ep. 223: Guest Ned Block on Consciousness (Part Two)

We talk with Ned about a second Blockheads (2019) article, Michael Tyle's “Homunculi Heads and Silicon Chips: The Importance of History to Phenomenology," which provides a variation off of the David Chalmers fading qualia argument, and then Mark, Seth, Dylan, and Wes continue exploring the details uncovered by our interview after Ned leaves. Please support PEL! End song: "Your So Dark Sleep/Goodbye" by The Black Watch, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #102.  
19/08/1954m 42s

Ep. 223: Guest Ned Block on Consciousness (Part One)

The climax and denouement of our summer philosophy of mind series: Ned Block visits to fill in the gaps about functionalism and attributing consciousness to machines and discuss essays from Blockheads (2019), focusing here on Brian McLaughlin’s “Could an Android be Sentient?” Please support PEL!
12/08/1950m 19s

Ep. 222: Debating Functionalism (Block, Chalmers) (Part Two)

Continuing on Ned Block's "Troubles with Functionalism" (1978) and David Chalmers's "Absent Qualia, Fading Qualia, Dancing Qualia" (1995). What would it be like to be halfway between person and machine? If you think the machine can't have consciousness, then Chalmers thinks that there's no sensible way to describe such an experience, ergo the machine (if functionally equivalent to the person) must have consciousness after all. Listen to part one first, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Machine" by Helen Money as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #101.  
05/08/1951m 50s

Ep. 222: Debating Functionalism (Block, Chalmers) (Part One)

On Ned Block's "Troubles with Functionalism" (1978) and David Chalmers's "Absent Qualia, Fading Qualia, Dancing Qualia" (1995). If mental states are functional states, there couldn't be zombies. Yet Block claims that there could be zombies: for example, a functional duplicate of you whose components are actually citizens of China obeying algorithmic rules. Even if the resulting system acts like you, it obviously isn't conscious. Chalmers argues that you'd then need to explain the experiences of a creature half way between you and the zombie, but you can't, so Block's argument doesn't work and functionalism is left standing. What do you think? Do you hate weird thought experiments like these? Please support PEL!  
29/07/1949m 13s

PEL Presents PMP#3: CONFORM w/ Yakov Smirnoff

Is media trying to brainwash us into being ALL THE SAME? Are the excesses of the mob scaring us into conformity? Mark, Erica, and Brian muse on cultural homogenization and are joined by comedian Dr. Yakov Smirnoff to talk about growing up in a repressive society and the shadow of political correctness over comedy. For more about this podcast, see prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode, and more episodes in advance, at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This podcast is curated by openculture.com and The Partially Examined Life Podcast Network.
23/07/191h 14m

Ep. 221: Functionalist Theories of Mind (Putnam, Armstrong) (Part Two)

Continuing on functionalism with David M. Armstrong’s "The Causal Theory of the Mind" (1981). Your four hosts start afresh the day after Part One on Putnam to discuss this version of functionalism that is supposed to clear the way for the scientific identification of mental states with brain states. Mental states are defined by their causal relations with other states and with behavior, and the content of a mental state is exhausted by its intentional object, e.g. the content of a perception is the thing you're perceiving which (normally) causes the perception. So what about things like colors and sounds that aren't really out in the world? Can functionalism explain how these seem to us? Listen to part one first or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Pain Makes You Beautiful" by Jeff Heiskell's JudyBats, as featured on Nakedly Examined Music #5.
22/07/191h 9m

Ep. 221: Functionalist Theories of Mind (Putnam, Armstrong) (Part One)

On Hilary Putnam's "The Nature of Mental States" (1973). What is the mind? Functionalist theories identify the mental with not with the brain exactly, but with something the brain does. So some other creature without a brain (maybe a computer) might be able to do that same thing if it could duplicate the structure of what our brains do. Is this a satisfying account of the mind? Please support PEL!
15/07/1950m 4s

PEL Presents PMP#1: Pop Culture vs. High Culture

What is pop culture? Does it make sense to distinguish it from high culture, or can something be both? Welcome to this new pop culture podcast hosted by Mark Linsenmayer, Erica Spyres, and Brian Hirt. This episode also features Tyler Hislop, our editor. For more, see prettymuchpop.com. Get involved from the start at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. We'll solicit your input for our episodes, release them early for supporters, and provide bonus content with every episode; there's already some waiting for you now. Presented by openculture.com and the Partially Examined Life podcast network. End song: "High Rollin' Cult" written by Mark just for this release, featuring Erica. Theme music by Mark and Erica. PMP logo by Ken Gerber.  
09/07/1943m 50s

Ep. 220: 10-Year Retrospective of The Partially Examined Life

Mark, Seth, Dylan, and Wes reflect on the changing state of podcasting and public philosophy over the last decade, how our goals and interests have changed since we started we started. Why don't colleges pay their faculty to educate the public through regular, broadcasted conversations like ours? If you think we're snarky, take a look at actual philosophy faculty! Should we continue to do more literature, poetry, and other topics that are not strictly philosophy? Also, the stalled state of the PEL book. Thanks so much to each and every Partially Examined Life listener for making it worth our time to do this! End song: "High Rollin' Cult" by Mark Lint with Erica Spyres, celebrating a new attempt to capture the fun of the beginning of PEL: Pretty Much Pop.
05/07/191h 2m

Ep. 219: The Harder Problem of Consciousness (Block & Papineau)

On Ned Block's "The Harder Problem of Consciousness" (2002) and David Papineau's "Could There Be a Science of Consciousness?" (2003). What would give us sufficient reason to believe that a non-human was conscious? Block thinks this is a harder problem that we might suspect. We can't know for sure exactly what consciousness in us is, so we can't know for sure what such a being might require (a brain? certain patterns of behavior?) for them to be enough like us that we could safely apply our own experience of our own conscious states to them. Papineau diagnoses this as a fundamental vagueness in the concepts we use to describe our conscious states. This conversation continues from ep. 218, with guest Gregory Miller from the Panpsycast still with us.  End song: "Mindreader" by Phil Judd as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #98.
01/07/191h 23m

Ep. 218: The Hard Problem of Consciousness (Chalmers et al) (Part Two)

Continuing on "Consciousness and Its Place in Nature" by David Chalmers (2003). We finish Chalmers's account of the types of physicialism, then move on to dualism (including epiphenomenalism), and finally dally with panpsychism, the specialty of our guest, Gregory Miller from the Panpsycast. Listen to part 1 first or listen to the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Georgia Hard" by Robbie Fulks, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #36.
24/06/1950m 8s

Ep. 218: The Hard Problem of Consciousness (Chalmers et al) (Part One)

On "Consciousness and Its Place in Nature" by David Chalmers (2003), with special guest Gregory Miller from the Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast. Can we explain human experience using the terms of brain physiology? Chalmers thinks not, and lays out the arguments against this and the range of positions philosophers have taken in response to these objections.  Please support PEL!
17/06/1955m 14s

(sub)Text #1: Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”: Poesis as Revenge Forsaken

At last, the full, public release of this discussion between Wes Alwan and Bill Youmans covering Shakespeare's 1611 play about revenge, forgiveness, and authorship. Or maybe it's about exploitation, or how we react to changes in status, or perhaps how a liberal education can give you magical powers! Listen and decide for yourself!
08/06/191h 10m

Episode 217: Discussing Calderón's "Life Is a Dream"

On the 1636 comedy by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, considering destiny (Christian vs. Ancient Greek), skepticism, meta-theater, and the ethic of honor. Listen to our performance first. With guests Bill Youmans and Erica Spyres. End song: "Pulling Apart" by Jonathan Segel. Hear him on Nakedly Examined Music #38.
03/06/191h 44m

Glimpse: Machiavellian Politics (for Partially Examined Life #14)

Does politics have to be Machiavellian? Do you have to be ruthless to succeed? Given our treatment of Game of Thrones and Life Is a Dream, and the way in which end-justifying-the-means logic plays endlessly in our real-life political situation, it's time we looked back on our episode 14 on Machiavelli. Mark Linsenmayer reviewed that episode and recorded a little essay about practicing Machiavellian politics to get you back in this spirit.
02/06/198m 58s

PEL Audioplayers: "Life Is a Dream" by Pedro Calderón de la Barca

Your hosts are joined by real actors to do an unrehearsed read of Calderón's 1636 comedy La Vida Es Sueño, using Stanley Appelbaum's 2002 translation. Ep. 217 will cover the philosophical issues the play raises. Recorded in NYC on 4/7: Talene Monahon (Rosaura), David Epstein (Segismundo), Bill Youmans (Clotaldo), Erica Spyres (Estrella), Chris Martin (Basilio), Mark Linsenmayer (Clarín), Seth Paskin (Astolfo), Dylan Casey (soldier 1 and servant 1), and Wes Alwan (soldier 2 and servant 2). Music by Jonathan Segel, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #38. Please help us to do more audioplays by supporting PEL. 
27/05/192h 17m

PREMIUM-Ep 216 Game of Thrones' Fantasy Politics (Part Two)

Get teased re. Mark and Wes's post-finale, spoiler-filled continuation of the discussion of the show. How does its conclusion affect its overall political message? Does it make sense to be performing feminist critiques on a show based on the premise of people murdering each other for power? To hear the full discussion, become a PEL Citizen or $5 Patreon supporter. For more about these options see partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Listen to our part one first, of course.  
23/05/194m 44s

Episode 216: Game of Thrones' Fantasy Politics

Discussing the TV show (2011-2019) based on the books by George R.R. Martin. What's the role of a mass-consumed fantasy series in today's society? Is it our "fantasy" to have all these horrible things happen to us? Is this an edifying prompt to engage in public moral thinking, or a spectacular distraction of the kind that those Marxist theorists keep warning us about? We get into the function of fantasy and how a more "realistic" show plays with that, the extent to which we're supposed to identify with the characters, depiction of moral complexity, low art vs. high art, identity issues, and more. With guest Sabrina Weiss. End song: "Fire and Blood" by Sacrifice Feat. Mark Lint; hear the interview on Nakedly Examined Music #24. Don't miss the Citizen-only spoiler-filled follow-up discussion between Mark and Wes.
20/05/191h 22m

Episode 215: Brave New World: PEL Live 10th Anniversary Show

On Aldous Huxley’s 1932 dystopian novel, recorded at Manhattan's Caveat on 4/6/19, with audience participation. If we harness the power of society to employ available technologies to really focus on making people happy, what would the result be? This is Huxley's thought experiment, but is it in all respects a dystopia, and is it a fair test of the ideal of social improvement or merely of a flawed view of human nature? You can watch this episode instead. End song: "Brave New World" by Mark Lint. Read about it. Get the commemorative T-shirt, and save $10 with the coupon code revealed at the beginning of the Citizen Edition of this episode. Please support PEL! Contact us to share your PEL stories.
13/05/191h 36m

Episode 214: More Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Part Two)

Concluding Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1885). What's the wise way to live? We start in earnest into part three, treating the "spirit of gravity" where socially-imposed values cover over your uniqueness, omni-satisfaction vs. being choosy, "Old and New Tablets" where Nietzsche explores various ethical and meta-ethical issues (e.g. is self-overcoming a matter of one-time self-actualization or is it continual?), and more on the Overman and eternal recurrence. Listen to part one first, or get the ad-free, unbroken Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Upright Man" by Rachel Taylor Brown, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #91.
06/05/191h 19m

Episode 214: More Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Part One)

On the remainder of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1885). How can we keep our spirits up and avoid nihilism? We consider Nietzsche's "solution" of eternal recurrence, why he uses a poetic, allegoric style, and more. Please support PEL!
29/04/1949m 22s

Glimpse: Nietzsche's Last Man (for Partially Examined Life #213)

Is technology making us complacent? Are we in danger of becoming Nietzsche's famed "last men" who are no longer capable of creativity and independent thought? Mark Linsenmayer from the Partially Examined Life philosophy podcast lays out Nietzsche's idea and argues that on the contrary, having our basic needs met by technology can free us up to pursue the creative endeavors that Nietzsche saw as the pinnacle of human achievement This is but a Glimpse. To hear the full Partial Examination of this book, visit partiallyexaminedlife.com.
22/04/198m 22s

Episode 213: Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Part Two)

Continuing on Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, books 1 and 2 (1883). We talk through Nietzsche's symbolism (tightrope walkers and gravediggers and snakes, oh my!), the path toward the overman, his screed against the state, the Will to Power as the will to overcome oneself by reconciling oneself with the past, and more. Listen to part one first or get the ad-free, unbroken Citizen Edition. Please support PEL!
22/04/191h 12m

PREMIUM-(sub)Text#6: Melanie Klein's "Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms"

Wes Alwan is joined by Dr. Glenn Mobray to discuss this classic 1946 psychoanalytic text. This is a preview of a 63-minute discussion. You can listen to the whole thing by becoming a PEL Citizen or $5 Patreon supporter. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to learn how. Listen to more (sub)Text.
21/04/199m 54s

Episode 213: Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Part One)

On Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, books 1 and 2 (1883). What is wisdom? In this text whose style parodies the Bible, we get pithy advice and allegorical imagery to guide us away from self-defeating, life-denying attitudes and orient us towards creative self-overcoming (i.e. exertion of the Will to Power). The Last Man who no longer knows how to give birth to a dancing star is a rotten egg! Please support PEL!
15/04/1952m 27s

Glimpse: Sartre on Literature (for Partially Examined Life #212)

  Should literature be political? Jean-Paul Sartre thought that all literature is political, because of what literature is. That's a very weird-sounding view. Mark Linsenmayer from the Partially Examined Life philosophy podcast tries to make it sound like something you should at least consider. This is but a Glimpse. To hear the full Partial Examination of this book, visit partiallyexaminedlife.com.
11/04/198m 24s

Episode 212: Sartre on Literature (Part Two)

Continuing on What is Literature? (1948). Sartre gives a phenomenology of reading and writing that makes reading into a creative act of completing the writer's work, and calls this cooperation ethical: the work is an appeal to the reader's freedom, and also the reader's responsibility to then know what the work reveals. Are you shirking, all you skimmers? Start with part one, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Things I Shouldn't Have Told You" by Sam Phillips, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #90.
08/04/191h

Episode 212: Sartre on Literature (Part One)

On Jean-Paul Sartre's What is Literature (1948), ch. 1 and 2. What's the purpose of literature? Why write prose as opposed to poetry? Sartre argues that while poetry is about the words themselves, prose is about the ideas, so it's necessarily political. A written work is essentially an ethical appeal for a reader to apply his or her own faculties and experiences to complete the work through the act of reading. Please support PEL!
01/04/1949m 36s

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

Moving finally on to Jean-Paul Sartre's "Black Orpheus" (1948), where he introduces a book of black poetry by praising its revolutionary spirit as embodied in "negritude." Is this a legitimate consciousness-raising exercise or a weird fetishization of blackness? Listen to parts one and two first, or get the ad-free, unbroken Citizen Edition, which will also get you access to (sub)Text#5 on Checkhov's Uncle Vanya Please support PEL! End song: "Punch Bag" by Godley & Creme as discussed on Nakedly Examined Music #3. Sponsor: Visit TheGreatCoursesPLUS.com/PEL for two months of unlimited learning for 99 cents.
25/03/191h 5m

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

Continuing on Jean-Paul Sartre's Anti-Semite and Jew: An Exploration of the Etiology of Hate (1946). Is there an "authentic" way to respond to persecution? As part of his critique of anti-semitism, Sartre criticized the responses of some Jews to this situation, e.g. denying that the persecution exists, pretending to not be Jewish, or in any way accepting the terms of anti-semitism and setting up one's life in reaction to it. Sartre instead recommends solidarity and "concrete liberalism," which we try to figure out. Listen to part one first. Please support PEL!
18/03/1944m 9s

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

On Jean-Paul Sartre's Anti-Semite and Jew: An Exploration of the Etiology of Hate (1946) and "Black Orpheus" (1948). How can we best understand the psychology of racism? Sartre condemns anti-Semitism as denying the facts of the human condition: the responsibility for fixing problems and not blaming them on a demonized other. But he also criticizes "the democrat" for a humanism that pretends we're in a post-racial world, calling instead for "concrete liberalism" that treats Jews not as abstract individuals but as real people in an an oppressed situation. Please support PEL! 
11/03/1954m 20s

PEL Presents Constellary Tales #6: Philip K. Dick's "Minority Report" w/ Mark Linsenmayer

PEL's Mark Linsenmayer joins hosts Ken Gerber and Brian Hirt to weigh in on the philosophical implications of precognitive crime fighting in Philip K. Dick's "The Minority Report." Brian quizzes Mark and Ken on PKD movie trivia. Get more Constellary Tales podcasts, and read original sf in the magazine at constellary.com. Listen to PEL #175 on Blade Runner.
11/03/1959m 7s

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

Continuing on Black Skin White Masks (1952), starting with the influential ch. 4 "The Fact of Blackness." Are the successive coping strategies to racism (including "anti-racist racism" and embrace of negritude) that Fanon describes necessary steps in a dialectic which should be encouraged, or would it be best to learn from his "mistakes" and jump right to the humanistic end-point? With guest Lawrence Ware. Start with part 1 or get the ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL!  End song: "Malaika" by John Etheridge and Vimala Rowe; hear John interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #85.
04/03/1959m 55s

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

On Black Skin White Masks (1952). How does growing up in a racist society mess people up? Fanon's "clinical study" includes phenomenology, poetry, and a lot of existentialism, which means that the "let's embrace negritude in the face of bigotry" solution isn't ultimately available to him: We're all radically free, with no race-specific essence, whether positive or negative. With guest Lawrence Ware. Please support PEL!
25/02/1951m 3s

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

Morgan DeLisle, writer for the PodChaser "Behind the Streams Blog," interviewed Mark for a feature of our podcasts. Learn about the origins of PEL and NEM, how we make the shows, and what's coming up. Listen to all of the PEL network podcasts at partiallyexaminedlife.com, or subscribe to them individually on Apple Podcasts or via your preferred player.
23/02/1939m 20s

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

Continuing on Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment (2018). Fukuyama recommends a "creedal national identity" as a solution for tribalism; does this work? Is this "demand for recognition" that he describes foundational for the act of making an ethical claim? For self-consciousness itself? How does ideology prejudice the sort of theorizing that Fukuyama engages in? Listen to part one first, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Cornerstone" by Richard X. Heyman, as discussed on Nakedly Examined Music #61.
18/02/191h 22m

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

Talking to the author about Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment (2018). What motivates people? Frank points to thymos, the demand for recognition, as at the root of both the "end of history" (i.e., democracy as demand for equal recognition) and our current tribalist stalemates, involving desires to be seen—in virtue of group membership—as superior. Thymos may in fact be central to self-consciousness, ethics, and the origins of political association. Please support PEL!
11/02/191h

Episode 208: Epicurus on Seeking Pleasure (Part Two)

More on the ethics-related fragments of Epicurus and accounts by Martha Nussbaum and Tim O'Keefe. What would a purely therapeutic philosophy consist of? Does philosophy as pursuit of pleasure mean that you eschew political action or other substantial goals? Mark, Wes, and Dylan try to figure out which of our desires are vain and whether society is compatible with human happiness. Listen to part one first or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "The Language of the Body" by Ant-Bee as discussed on Nakedly Examined Music #68.
04/02/1954m 26s

Episode 208: Epicurus on Seeking Pleasure (Part One)

On the extant fragments of Epicurus (341–270 BCE) dealing with ethics, including his "Letter to Menoceus," “The Principal Doctrines,” and “The Vatican Collection of Epicurean Sayings.” Plus Tim O’Keefe’s Epicureanism (2010) and Martha Nussabum’s The Therapy of Desire (1994). How are we supposed to act once we understand nature as atoms bouncing and swerving around in the void, temporarily producing order through fortuitous collisions? Ruling out demanding gods means ethics is dictated by human nature: we avoid pain and pursue pleasure. However, we're very bad at this, and Epicurus wants to fix all of us! Please support PEL!
28/01/1946m 50s

Episode 207: Herder on Art Appreciation (Part Two)

Continuing on Johann Gottfried von Herder's “The Causes of Sunken Taste among the Different Peoples in Whom It Once Blossomed” (1775), then moving to “On the Influence of the Belles Lettres on the Higher Sciences” (1781), “Does Painting or Music Have a Greater Effect? A Divine Colloquy” (1785), and and some of Critical Forests: Fourth Grove (written 1769). With guest rock god John "Jughead" Pierson. What grounds good taste in a society? Can an aesthetic education ground abstract thought? What would such an education consist in? Which is more affecting, music or painting? Start with part 1, or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL!
21/01/191h 23m

Episode 207: Herder on Art Appreciation (Part One)

On Johann Gottfried von Herder's “The Causes of Sunken Taste among the Different Peoples in Whom It Once Blossomed” (1775), “On the Influence of the Belles Lettres on the Higher Sciences” (1781), “Does Painting or Music Have a Greater Effect? A Divine Colloquy” (1785), and some of Critical Forests: Fourth Grove (written 1769). With guest rock god John "Jughead" Pierson. What is aesthetic taste, and why do some societies (e.g. ancient Greece) seem particularly rife with genius? Herder has some definite ideas about aesthetic, sensual education as grounding for abstract thinking, rages against attempts to copy another culture's art-forms, and likes melody over harmony. Plus he coined the term "zeitgeist!" Continue with part two or get the full, unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL!
14/01/1954m 16s

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

Mark and Wes go into more textual detail re. Lucretius’s take on atomism and the metaphysical and epistemological problems it entails. Start with Part one. This is a preview; become a PEL Citizen or $5 Patreon supporter to get the full, 50 minute conversation.
13/01/1914m 25s

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

More on Lucretius’s poem about Epicurean science: On the Nature of Things from the first century BCE. We talk more about how macroscopic phenomena are supposed to come out of the interaction of atoms, including mind and its processes of knowledge and illusion, including the illusion of love. One conclusion: life after death is not possible. Can the properties of the atoms themselves be explained? Listen to part one first or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition; this will also get you the follow-up discussion. Please support PEL. End song: "Came Round" by Mark Lint. Read about it and get the new album.
07/01/191h 14m

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

On Lucretius’s poem about Epicurean science: On the Nature of Things a.k.a. De Rerum Natura from the 1st century BC. How does the world work? Lucretius presents a system that is surprisingly modern, and raises philosophical issues that are still on point today: What are the basic building blocks of the universe? How could these give rise to minds? What ethical views does a mechanistic world-view imply? Continued on part two, or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition, as well as the Citizen-only follow-up discussion. Please support PEL!
31/12/1854m 28s

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

Mark and Wes discuss Durkheim's Suicide (1897), getting into more of the details of his account and exploring comparative modes of explanation: Are there really "sociological facts" distinct from mere generalizations about psychological facts? Get the full discussion as a PEL Citizen or $5 Patreon supporter!
31/12/1819m 41s

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

More on philosophical and psychological interpretations of and judgments about suicide with guest Drew Pinsky. Is suicide an epidemic or a choice? Could it be both? Socrates didn't fear death and inspired Stoics and others to see suicide in some circumstances as brave. Or is it always cowardly? Does meaninglessness motivate suicide? Listen to part one first or get the Citizen Edition, which will also get you access to the follow-up discussion. End song: "Disappear" by Chris Cacavas as heard on Nakedly Examined Music #87. Please support PEL!  
22/12/1851m 50s

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

We are rejoined by Drew Pinsky to discuss philosophical and psychological readings by Seneca, Arthur Schopenhauer, Sigmund Freud, Emile Durkheim, Albert Camus, plus two 2017 survey papers on predictors of suicide. Is suicide ever morally permissible? If it's a symptom of mental illness rather than a chosen behavior, is it even appropriate to morally evaluate it? Check the PEL Store for new offerings including Mark's new album, tutoring, and your very own Personal Philosophy. Visit DrDrew.com. He has interviewed Wes and Mark. Please support PEL!
17/12/1844m 21s

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

More on this classic text by (perhaps) Vyasa, with guest Shaan Amin. Should we acquire good karma or behave "beyond good and evil"? How can everything be Krishna while Krishna is also the an element of virtue we're supposed to pursue? How does this compare with Stoicism? Plus, behold Krishna unveiled and be freaked out! Listen to part one first or get the full, unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL. End song: "Om Hari Om 1" by Tim Jordan Kirtan feat. Michael Manring. Hear Michael on Nakedly Examined Music #31.
10/12/1857m 0s

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

On the classic Hindu text (ca. the 3rd century B.C.E.), part of the Indian Epic poem Mahabharata, attributed to Vyasa, using Keya Maitra's 2018 translation/commentary. What is it to live wisely? What grounds duty? Listen as the supreme God Krishna convinces archer hero Arjuna that it's OK for him to kill his relatives because, you know, reincarnation and determinism and caste-related duties. Lots of metaphysical complications! With guest Shaan Amin. Please support PEL.
03/12/1853m 46s

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

Concluding on Julia Kristeva's Powers of Horror (1980) and focusing on H.P. Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu" (1928). Does Lovecraft's presentation of nameless terror capture (or improve upon) what Kristeva means by "abjection"? End song: "The Other" by Mark Lint feat. Lucy Lawless from Mark's Lint's Dry Folk. Listen to part one first, or go back to ep. 202 first. Become a PEL Citizen to get the full, ad-free experience. Please support PEL!
26/11/181h 5m

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

More on Julia Kristeva's Powers of Horror (1980) plus H.P. Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu" (1928). What is the object of fear? Mark, Seth, and Dylan get clearer on Kristeva's view of the establishment and loss of the integrity of the self, what the "object" of abjection is, and what this all might have to do with feminism. Most of the Lovecraft goodness is in part 2. Please support PEL to get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition, along with Mark's Kristeva Close Reading.  Sponsor: Visit thegreatcoursesplus.com/PEL for a one-month free trial of The Great Courses Plus Video Learning Service.  
19/11/1853m 34s

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

Mark takes a very close look at pages 1–4 of the first chapter of On Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (1980) as a supplement to episode 202. Get the full, 55-minute experience as a PEL Citizen, or get it by supporting us on Patreon for a mere $1!
18/11/1817m 2s

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

Continuing on Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, ch. 1 and 2. We try to get clearer on Kristeva's talk of "object," the relationship between language and abjection, how Kristeva is advancing on Freud, how to be a mom that allows a kid to separate in a healthy way, and how abjection plays into religion and writing. Listen to part one first, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition, and don't miss Mark's Close Reading, available to Citizens and $1+ Patreon members. End song: "Eyes of Fire" by Jill Freeman, as discussed on Nakedly Examined Music #28.
12/11/181h 17m

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

On Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (1980), ch. 1 and 2. Kristeva writes about "abjection," where we violently reject things like corpses, bodily wastes and other fluids, and the Lovecraftian unnameable that lurks at the edge of our awareness. Her book is also all about the self, suggesting modifications to Freud's Oedipal complex and Lacan's mirror-stage story. With guest Kelley Citrin. Continue on part 2, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition, as well as Mark's Close Reading, which we've made available to Patreon supporters at the $1 level. Please support PEL!
05/11/1846m 35s

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

Mark and Seth get further into the specifics of Marcus's metaphysics and how this is supposed to relate to behavior. Can his directives really come solely "from reason" as he claims? How does this interact with the behaviors that we pursue "by nature," i.e., without conscious deliberation required? Seth is concerned with how individualistic the philosophy is. Mark is concerned that if you discard the metaphysics (as modern skeptics largely do), why should you expect the rest of the philosophy to be coherent? Become a supporter to get the full discussion.
05/11/1813m 35s

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

More on The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (ca. 180 CE) plus Ryan's The Daily Stoic (2016). We talk Stoicism as "pre-mourning," love of fate, the divine plan, political ethics, ethical models, and overwriting your brain with the Stoic operating system. Hear part 1 first, or get the full, unbroken Citizen Edition, as well as the follow-up discussion. Please support PEL! End song: "Any Way the Wind Blows" by MIR; listen to Mark talk with Asif Illyas on Nakedly Examined Music #33.
29/10/1859m 41s

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

On The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (ca. 180 C.E.) plus Ryan's The Daily Stoic (2016). What does Stoicism look like in practice, in both ancient and modern contexts? You might think that eschewing the shallow, out-of-our-control trappings of fame and wealth in favor of personal cultivation would make one unambitious, but Ryan uses Marcus as a prime example of how to be a Stoic while trying to accomplish great things. Continue on part 2, or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition now along with the Citizen-only follow-up discussion getting more into the text of Marcus. Please support PEL!
22/10/1857m 16s

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

Continuing on "What Is Enlightenment" by Immanuel Kant (1784), "On Enlightening the Mind" by Moses Mendelssohn (1784), and "What Is Enlightenment" by Michael Foucault (1984). We finish up Kant (the courage to know!) and lay out the Mendelssohn (cultivation vs. enlightenment) and Foucault (ironically heroize the present!). Will this conversation enlighten you? Who knows? Listen to part one first or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Holy Fool" by Love and Rockets. Listen to singer Daniel Ash on Nakedly Examined Music #35.
15/10/181h 6m

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

On "What Is Enlightenment" by Immanuel Kant (1784), "On Enlightening the Mind" by Moses Mendelssohn (1784), and "What Is Enlightenment" by Michael Foucault (1984). At the end of the historical period known as The Enlightenment, a Berlin newspaper asked what exactly that is, and Kant and Mendelssohn responded. Both were concerned with whether too much enlightenment among the public can cause social unrest, and so whether there should be freedom of speech and opinion. Foucault thinks that we're not yet Enlightened, that it's an ongoing process of critique.  Continue on part 2, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!
08/10/1844m 48s

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

Wes Alwan is joined by Tracy Morgan and Louis Scuderi to discuss Freud's classic 1917 essay. Note: Part two will NOT be appearing on this feed. Become a PEL Citizen to get the full discussion. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to learn how. Listen to more (sub)Text.
08/10/1835m 39s

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

Mark, Wes, Seth, and Dylan continue to discuss “What Is the Point of Equality?” (1999) and how it lays foundations for Private Government (2017). What is democratic equality, and can a Rawlsian/liberal/neutral-with-regard-to-defining-the-good state consistently advocate for this ideal? Our interview starts in Part One. You can get all three parts together, and more with a PEL Citizenship or $5 Patreon pledge. Please support PEL! End song: "Straight Job" by Rod Picott. Hear him on Nakedly Examined Music #80.
01/10/181h 5m

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

Continuing on Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (2017) and “What Is the Point of Equality?” (1999). Should the amount of respect that a worker gets be proportional to his or her market value? Our guest tells us more about how all citizens have the right to have their interests considered and what this means for how the relationship between employers and employees might change. We talk health care, income inequality, Tyler Cowen, libertarianism, and more. Start with part one. We'll do some post-guest discussion in part 3, but you needn't wait: Get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL. If you enjoyed Mark's music on our episodes 1–149, please contribute to the new album through patreon.com/marklint.  
24/09/181h

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

The U. of Michigan prof joins us to discuss Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don't Talk about It) (2017) and “What Is the Point of Equality?” (1999). What is a government? Liz argues that this includes companies, and that we should thus apply political science concepts in evaluating their power. Her egalitarianism involves everyone retaining a minimum level of inalienable autonomy, and we should resist encroachments on this not just by the state but from employers as well. Continue on parts two and three, or get them together via the ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL!
17/09/1853m 1s

PREMIUM-Ep 198 Plato's "Parmenides" (Part Three)

Mark and Seth continue our conversation from ep. 198 by going through the arguments in the second half of the dialogue. This puzzling section is largely a monologue by the character Parmenides, with the stated aim of showing the implications from first, the assumption that the One exists, and then that the One does not exist. But is this really Parmenides’s One or the Platonic Form of Oneness? Can these be the same thing?
13/09/1811m 33s

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

We get down to the specific questions considered this perplexing Platonic dialogue: Are there forms for all adjectives? Does the form of a property itself have that property? How do Forms connect with particulars? How can we mortals have any connection to heavenly Forms anyway? Listen to part one first or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition along with the follow-up episode. Please support PEL! End song: "Young and Lovely" by Jherek Bischoff. Hear him on Nakedly Examined Music #65.
10/09/181h 10m

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

On the most peculiar Platonic dialogue, from ca. 350 BCE. Are properties real things in the world, or just in the mind? Plato is known for claiming that these "Forms" are real, though otherworldly. Here, though, using Parmenides as a character talking to a young Socrates, Plato seems to provide objections here to his own theory. What's the deal? Please support PEL!
03/09/1845m 51s

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

Wes discusses the film by Steven Spielberg with philosophy professor David Kyle Johnson. What is there to fear in artificial intelligence? How does this shed light on what it means to be fully human? Note: Part two will NOT be appearing on this feed. Become a PEL Citizen to get the full discussion. Visit partiallyexaminedlife.com/support to learn how.
02/09/1834m 12s

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

Continuing with guest Peter Adamson with "On Nature" (475 BCE). We finally get to fragment 8, which describes why Being must be singular and eternal, given that the notion of Non-Being is nonsense. But how could we as individuals be asking these questions then? Does his "Way of Seeming" work to explain the appearances, as opposed to reality? Listen to part one first, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Circle" by Gareth Mitchell, as discussed on Nakedly Examined Music #4.
27/08/1850m 38s

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

On the fragments referred to as "On Nature" from ca. 475 BCE, featuring guest Peter Adamson from the History of Philosophy without Any Gaps podcast. Parmenides gives "the Way of Truth," which is that there is only Being, and talking of Non-Being is nonsense. So everything you experience is wrong! Continue on part two or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL!
20/08/1854m 58s

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

Continuing with Simon on his book On Truth (2018). We move to part two of the book, where we get down to the procedures used to obtain truth in art, ethics, and science. Yes, truth is objective, but it's not best described as correspondence, and in fact this elaboration of how truth is actually obtained is more enlightening than any abstract definition meant to cover all the different types of truth-seeking. Listen to part one first, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition, and also Wes's bonus conversation on Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. End song: "with you/for you" from the new cold/mess EP by Prateek Kuhad, interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #79.
13/08/181h 3m

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

The Cambridge/etc. prof joins Mark, Wes, and Dylan to discuss his book On Truth (2018). What is truth? Simon's view synthesizes deflationism and pragmatism to avoid relativism by fixing on the domain-specific procedures we actually engage in to establish the truth of a claim, whether in ethics, science, art, or whatever. A gift of clarity after two episodes threshing through the jungles of analytic philosophy! Please support PEL!
06/08/1848m 32s

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

Continuing on "Truth" by J.L. Austin and "Truth" by P.F. Strawson both from 1950. We proceed to the Strawson article, which critiques the notion of a "fact" as explaining why a sentence might be true. A "fact" is not a thing in the world! So what do we add when we change "The cat is on the mat" to "'The cat is on the mat' is true?" Listen to Part One first, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Troof" by Shawn Phillips, as interviewed for Nakedly Examined Music #77. 
30/07/181h

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

On two articles in the "ordinary language" tradition of philosophy called "Truth" from 1950 by J.L. Austin and P.F. Strawson. Is truth a property of particular speech acts, or of the propositions expressed through speech acts? Does truth mean correspondence with the facts, or does the word "fact" make this definition totally uninformative? Does saying "is true" add any information content to a sentence over and above just stating that sentence? Please support PEL!
23/07/1859m 28s

Episode 194: Alfred Tarski on Truth (Part Two)

Continuing on Tarski's “The Semantic Conception of Truth and the Foundations of Semantics" (1944), Hartry Field's “Tarski's Theory of Truth” (1972), and Donald Davidson's “The Folly of Trying to Define Truth” (1977). What was Tarski really doing? What are the implications of his project? Does it even make sense to define "truth," and what should a definition look like? Listen to part one first, or get the ad-free Citizen Edition. Look out for the Citizen-only bonus discussion of Shakespeare's Tempest, posting soon! Please support PEL! End song: "In Vino Vertias" by Sunspot; Mark interviewed Mike Huberty on Nakedly Examined Music #64.
16/07/181h 10m

Episode 194: Alfred Tarski on Truth (Part One)

On Tarski's “The Semantic Conception of Truth and the Foundations of Semantics" (1944), Hartry Field's “Tarski's Theory of Truth” (1972), and Donald Davidson's “The Folly of Trying to Define Truth” (1977). What is truth? Tarski gives a technical, metaphysically neutral definition for truth within a particular, well-defined language. So how does that apply to real languages? He thought he was defining truth (a semantic concept) in terms of more primitive (physical?) concepts, but Field and Davidson think that actually, truth as a general concept is indefinable, even though it's still helpful for Tarski to have laid out the relations among various semantic concepts. Please support PEL!
09/07/1854m 40s

PREMIUM-Eps 192-193 Allan Bloom & Liberal Education Follow-Ups

Hear highlights from two supporter-only discussions: Allan Bloom on Nietzsche/Freud/etc. and Leo Strauss vs. Richard Rorty on liberal education and democracy.
07/07/1816m 37s

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

Continuing with Pano Kanelos on articles on liberal education by Jacob Klein, Sidney Hook, and Martha Nussbaum. What's the practical application of a liberal education? Is it really liberating or indoctrinating? We continue discussion of the Great Books model. Listen to part 1 first or get the ad-free Citizen Edition along with the follow-up discussion. Please support PEL! End song: "Preservation Hill" by The Bevis Frond; Mark interviewed Nick Saloman on Nakedly Examined Music #75.
02/07/1851m 48s

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

Pano Kanelos, the president of St. John's College, Annapolis joins us to discuss Jacob Klein's “The Idea of a Liberal Education” (1960) and “On Liberal Education” (1965), plus Sidney Hook’s “A Critical Appraisal of the St. John’s College Curriculum” (1946) and Martha Nussbaum’s “Undemocratic Vistas” (1987). What constitutes a liberal education? Should we all read the Western canon? Klein (and our guest) think that we need to wonder at the familiar, to explore the ancestry of our current concepts in order to avoid their sedimentation. Please support PEL!
25/06/1848m 14s

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

Continuing on Allan Bloom's 1987 book critiquing the current fragmented structure of the university that promotes technical and professional education over the ability to think philosophically. Does Bloom's vision require aristocracy, or can a Great Books education be available for all? Listen to part 1 first, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Your Citizenship will also get you access to an exclusive follow-up discussion. Please support PEL! End song: "Greatness (The Aspiration Song)"