The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

United States

A Philosophy Podcast and Philosophy Blog

Episodes

PEL Special: Phi Fic on James Baldwin’s Fiction  

On the short stories "This Morning, This Evening, So Soon" (1960) and "Sonny’s Blues" (1957). Mark joins the Phi Fic crew (go subscribe at phificpodcast.com!) to supplement PEL ep. 162 by delving into Baldwin's fiction, which is actually pretty similar to his biographical essays. Check out the St. John's College Graduate Institute: partiallyexaminedlife.com/sjcgi. Visit Talkspace.com/examined; use code "EXAMINED" for 30% off your first month of online therapy. And please donate to Turtle Island Research Cooperative at partiallyexaminedlife.com/turtle.

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

Continuing on I Am Not Your Negro, "Notes of a Native Son" (1955), and The Fire Next Time (1963). We (and Law Ware) discuss Baldwin's critique of the American dream, how to oppose the inhumanity of others without becoming inhuman yourself, and Baldwin's take on religion. Plus, was the the documentary actually good as a film? This continues part 1, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. End song: "Dawning on Me" by Mark Lint feat. Ken Stringfellow. Read about it. Sponsors: Visit Talkspace.com/examined; use code "EXAMINED" for 30% off your first month of online therapy. Get a free trial shaving kit (paying only shipping) at harrys.com/pel. Check out partiallyexaminedlife.com/shirts for new T-shirt designs in the PEL store. And please donate to Turtle Island Research Cooperative: info at partiallyexaminedlife.com/turtle.

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

On the film I Am Not Your Negro and the essays "Notes of a Native Son" (1955) and The Fire Next Time (1963). With guest Law Ware. Baldwin diagnoses our racism-related psycho-social maladies, but how can we best translate his observations into generally applicable philosophical theory? Don't wait for part 2! Get your unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! Visit Talkspace.com/examined; use code "EXAMINED" for 30% off your first month of online therapy.

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

Continuing with guest Law Ware on the philosophical underpinnings of the rhetoric of white privilege, with readings as listed in part 1. Get the Citizen version to hear this without commercials. Please support PEL! End song: "Power" by Narada Michael Walden from Thunder 2013, as interviewed for Nakedly Examined Music ep. 16. For $20 off luggage, visit away.com/PEL. Check out the St. John's College Graduate Institute: partiallyexaminedlife.com/sjcgi. Visit Talkspace.com/examined; use code "EXAMINED" for 30% off your first month of online therapy.

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

Is the rhetoric of "White Privilege" just the modern way of acknowledging historical and systemic truths of racism, or does it point to a novel way for acknowledging injustice, or does it on the contrary obscure these insights by involving confused claims about group responsibility and guilt? Readings include articles by Peggy McIntosh, Charles W. Mills, George Yancy, Tim Wise, Lewis R. Gordon, Lawrence Blum, and John McWhorter. With guest Law Ware. Don't wait for part 2! Get your full, ad-free Citizen Edition right now with your PEL membership. Please support PEL! Please visit audible.com/PEL. And check out the St. John's College Graduate Institute: partiallyexaminedlife.com/sjcgi. Visit Talkspace.com/examined; use code "EXAMINED" for 30% off your first month of online therapy.

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

Continuing with 1984. How does the book relate to real-world politics? Is this something that we should actually be afraid our society will turn into? Was he predicting history, or was it satire, or what? We discuss the the realms of intimacy vs. surveillance, how a state might "contain" a mind that it controls, and "doublethink." Listen to part 1 first, or get the ad-free Citizen Edition. End song: "Civil Disobedience" from Camper Van Beethoven's New Roman Times (2004), by Jonathan Segel as heard on Nakedly Examined Music ep. 38. Visit Talkspace.com/examined; use code "EXAMINED" for 30% off your first month of online therapy. Go to blueapron.com/PELfor three free meals with free shipping. Purify your ears at srslywrong.com!

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

On the novel 1984 (1949) and the essays “Politics and the English Language” (1946) and “Notes on Nationalism” (1945). What's the relation between language and totalitarianism? Orwell shows us a society where the rulers have mastered the art of retaining power, and one element of this involves "Newspeak," where vocabulary is limited to prevent subversive speech, and ultimately thoughts. Do our linguistic habits and the Orwellian lies of our leaders point to a slippery slope toward the world of 1984?

Episode 159: Confucius on Virtuous Conduct (Part Two)  

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

Episode 159: Confucius on Virtuous Conduct (Part One)  

On the Analects, compiled after 479 BCE. How should we act? What's the relation between ethics and politics? Can a bunch of aphorisms written in the distant past for an unapologetically hierarchical culture emphasizing traditional rituals actually give us relevant, welcome advice on these matters? Are we even in a position to determine the meaning of these sayings? With guest Tzuchien Tho.

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

Continuing on the Consolation, chiefly books 3 and 4, on virtue ethics (we all naturally aim at the good but can be mistaken about it or too weak to follow it), theodicy (even the apparent bad is actually good from God's perspective), and the weird way in which those interact (fame, pleasure, wealth are really all the same thing, i.e., happiness, i.e., God). End song: "Last the Evening" by Carrie Akre, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music Ep. 17.

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

On the Consolation, written as he awaited execution in 524 CE. Do bad things really happen to good people? Boethius, surprisingly, says no, for Stoic (anything that can be taken away can't be of central importance; you can't lose your virtue in this way), Aristotelian (all things tend toward the good, and the best thing for a person is achieving his or her innate potential, which is to be virtuous), and Christian (God's unknowable plan means that even the stuff that seems bad really isn't) reasons. Get 30% off Godaddy.com domain names and other services with the coupon code PEL30. Also visit Talkspace.com/examined; use code "EXAMINED" for 30% off your first month of online therapy.

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

Continuing on Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in 20th Century America (1998). We talk more about Rorty's description of the conflict between the "reformist left" and the "cultural left." Do political-comedy shows serve a a positive political purpose? Can an enlightened political viewpoint really be a mass movement at all? Is it better to pursue specific political campaigns or be part of a "movement?" Can Rorty's diagnosis cure Seth's malaise? End song: "Wake Up, Sleepyhead," by Jill Sobule, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #11.

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

On Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in 20th Century America (1998). What makes for efficacious progressivism? Rorty argues that reformism went out of fashion in the '60s in favor of a "cultural left" that merely critiques and spectates, leaving a void that a right-wing demagogue could exploit to sweep in, claiming to be a champion of regular working people. Sound familiar?

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

Continuing our liberal bubble-bursting exercise, the core foursome address more directly the question of how philosophy is supposed to shape one's political views and actions. On a non-partisan "public good" and rhetorical strategies in the face of an apathetic and/or ignorant public. End song: "Better Days" from The Getaway Drivers' Bellatopia; check out Mark's interview with singer/songwriter Bob Manor on Nakedly Examined Music ep. 11.

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

How does studying philosophy help you to make sense of the political landscape? Wes, Mark, Dylan, and Seth play pundit and reflect on political rhetoric, elitism, and much more. There is no text for this episode! Freedom!

Episode 155: Richard Rorty Against Epistemology (Part Two)  

Continuing on Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Ch. 3–4. Rorty claims that Kantians improperly read Kantian concerns (the connection between the senses and reason) back into the ancients. He thought that Sellars's "epistemological behaviorism" was right on, and despite what you may have heard does not give a bad rep to animals and babies. Plus, psychological nominalism! Woo hoo! End song: "The Ghosts Are Alright" from The Bye-Bye Blackbirds; check out the interview on Nakedly Examined Music #32.

Episode 155: Richard Rorty Against Epistemology (Part One)  

On Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Part II: "Mirroring." Is a "theory of knowledge" possible? Rorty thinks that any such account will be a fruitless search for foundations. Knowledge is really just a matter of social agreement, and beliefs must be justified from other beliefs, not from any alleged relationship to reality.

Episode 154: Wilfrid Sellars on the Myth of the Given (Part Two)  

Continuing on "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind." We consider a couple of Sellars's thought experiments, both of which are supposed to show that what we might think are primitive mental terms like "appearance" are really derivative and secondary relative to statements about the external world. With guest Lawrence "Dusty" Dallman. End song: "Senses on Fire" by Mercury Rev. Check out the interview with singer Jonathan Donahue in Nakedly Examined Music ep. 14.

Episode 154: Wilfrid Sellars on the Myth of the Given (Part One)  

On "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind" (1956). Is knowledge based on a "foundation," as Descartes, Locke, et al. thought? Sellars says no: The allegedly basic elements upon which knowledge would be built either have to be propositions, in which case they involve a lot of prior knowledge involved in language use and so aren't really basic, or they're "raw feels," in which case they can't actually serve as reasons for anything; reasons have to be propositional. With guest Lawrence Dallman.

Episode 153: Richard Rorty: There Is No Mind-Body Problem (Part Two)  

Continuing on Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Part I: "Our Glassy Essence." Rorty relates the immateriality of mind to the ontology of universals. Plus, the return of the semantic/syntactic distinction! With guest Stephen Metcalf. End song: "Wall of Nothingness" from Sky Cries Mary from This Timeless Turning (1994). Listen to Mark's interview with the band's frontman, Roderick Romero, in Nakedly Examined Music ep. 9.

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