The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

United States

A Philosophy Podcast and Philosophy Blog

Episodes

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

On Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Part I: "Our Glassy Essence." "The mind" seems to be an unavoidable part of our basic conceptual vocabulary, but Rorty thinks not, and he wants to use the history of philosophy as a kind of therapy to show that many of our seemingly insoluble problems like the relation between mind and body are a result philosophical mistakes by Descartes, Locke, and Kant. With guest Stephen Metcalf of Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast. Get a 2017 PEL Wall Calendar at

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

Democracy is in peril! So said Tocqueville in 1835 and 1840 when Democracy is America was published, and it's still true now. Democracy is always just one demagogue away from stripping us of our liberties, though certain structural and cultural features can make that more or less likely. He liked our volunteerism and innovation, but not so much our tendencies toward materialism and isolation and our lack of philosophical curiosity. Recorded live at Brown University 10/27/16 with audience Q&A. Watch the video! Check out the St. John's College Graduate Institute: partiallyexaminedlife.com/sjcgi.

Episode 151: Edmund Burke’s Conservatism (Part Two)  

More on Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), where Burke advocates for the nobility as a stabilizing element in society: These folks are driven by honor, groomed from youth to lead, and estates themselves provide continuity and give people something to protect. But could anyone really defend this system who wasn't himself benefitting from it at the expense of others? Reform not revolution! Listen to part 1 first, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen version with your PEL Citizenship. Visit Gulf Breeze Recovery at www.gulfbreezerecovery.com.

Episode 151: Edmund Burke’s Conservatism (Part One)  

On Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790). What relevance do the concerns of a monarchy-defending aristocrat have for us today? Surprisingly, a lot! The full foursome discuss possible conflicts between freedom, rights, and well-being. What is political freedom without public wisdom? The tyranny of the mob! Don't wait for part 2! Get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen version with your PEL Citizenship. Sponsors: partiallyexaminedlife.com/sjcgi for the St. John's College Graduate Institute and www.gulfbreezerecovery.com for Gulf Breeze Recovery.

PEL Special: Bill Bruford on Nakedly Examined Music #25  

NEM now features jazz, hip-hop, classical, folk, and more. Check out all the episodes at nakedlyexaminedmusic.com, where you can subscribe and follow on Facebook. Bill was the original drummer for Yes, a default member of King Crimson, and briefly played with Genesis and the late '70s supergroup U.K., but most of his output has been with his own jazz-inflected Earthworks and Bruford, as rock proved too confining for his rhythmic and tonal creativity. We discuss King Crimson's "One more Red Nightmare" from Red (1974), "Thistledown" from If Summer Had Its Ghosts by Bill Bruford, Eddie Gomez and Ralph Towner (1992), and "The 16 Kingdoms of the 5 Barbarians" from Every Step a Dance, Every Word a Song by Bill Bruford/Michiel Borstlap (2004). We also hear "Hell's Bells" and the title track of One of a Kind by Bruford (1979), plus "Five Per Cent for Nothing" from Fragile (1972) by Yes.

Episode 150: Peter Singer on Famine, Affluence, and Morality (Part Two: Discussion)  

Mark, Wes, Seth, and Dylan discuss our interview with Peter Singer. Does Singer's asserting such a heavy moral burden on us successfully condemn us to changing our priorities and/or feeling perpetually guilty, or is there something wrong with the argument? Even if we admit the moral demand is legitimate, can we soften Singer's position by seeking to balance the obligation to help the poor with numerous other obligations, even though the latter don't rise to the level of life and death? Listen to the interview itself first or get the whole thing unbroken and ad-free via the Citizen edition. Please support PEL! End song: "Ann the Word" by Beauty Pill (2015), explored in Nakedly Examined Music's ep. 19: nakedlyexaminedmusic.com. Sponsors: criquetshirts.com/pel (promo code pel) for 20% off awesome polo shirts, and Gulf Breeze Recovery at www.gulfbreezerecovery.com.

Episode 150: Guest Peter Singer on Famine, Affluence, and Morality (Part One)  

What do we owe the poor? Mark and Wes interview perhaps the world's most influential living philosopher. We discuss his ongoing work rooted in his 1971 essay "Famine, Affluence, and Morality," about the warped priorities of our consumerist society: We spend money on luxuries while innocent children overseas die from inexpensively preventable causes. For more about Peter, see www.petersinger.info. Don't wait for part 2! Hear the full episode, ad-free via the Citizen edition with your PEL Citizenship. Check out the St. John's College Graduate Institute: partiallyexaminedlife.com/sjcgi. Also, check out Gulf Breeze Recovery at www.gulfbreezerecovery.com.

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

Broadway stars Walter Bobbie and Bill Youmans perform Plato's dialogue in which Socrates awaits his execution. Should Socrates defy the verdict and try to escape the city? Socrates says no; that would be ungrateful to the city whose benefits he's enjoyed. Bill joins the full PEL foursome for a lively discussion. Share the Facebook post for this ep, and we'll send you our full ep. 40 on the Republic. Sponsors: criquetshirts.com/PEL (promo code PEL) for 20% off awesome polo shirts, and Gulf Breeze Recovery at www.gulfbreezerecovery.com.

Episode 148: Aristotle on Friendship and Happiness (Part Two)  

Concluding on Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics, books 8-10. Should you share your sorrow with your friends? Can you be friends with someone in a different social station? Do you really need to love yourself before you can be a friend? Why are real friendships in modern society so hard? Aristotle reveals it all! Plus, more on ethics, pleasure, and happiness: Do we all at some level know what's really good, even if we proclaim different ideas? Listen to part 1 first or get the ad-free Citizen Edition. Support PEL! Sponsors: Get your free month of The Great Courses Plus at thegreatcoursesplus.com/PEL. Also, check out Gulf Breeze Recovery at www.gulfbreezerecovery.com. Come to Stoicon (Wes will be there!) on Oct. 15 in NY. See howtobeastoic.org/stoicon.

Episode 148: Aristotle on Friendship and Happiness (Part One)  

On the final books 8–10 of Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics. What does friendship have to do with ethics? Aristotle thinks that friends are necessary for the good life and that the only true friend is a virtuous one. But the number one virtue is reason, and the chief activity for the good life for Aristotle is contemplation, so how does this connect with being a good friend? With guest Ana Sandoiu. Don't wait for part 2! Get the Citizen Edition now with your PEL Citizenship. Sponsors: Visit casper.com/pel (promo code PEL for $50 off your mattress). Also visit hover.com for your domain name (use checkout code ETHICS). Come to Stoicon on Oct. 15 in NY. More info.

Episode 147: Aristotle on Wisdom and Incontinence (Part Two)  

Continuing on the Nichomachean Ethics, bks 6–7. More on intellectual virtues (like nous or rational intuition), plus we finally get to weakness of the will (akrasia), which is much better than simply being a jerk with wrong moral beliefs. Listen to part 1 first, or better yet, get the ad-free Citizen edition. Support PEL! Sponsors: Get your free month of The Great Courses Plus at thegreatcoursesplus.com/PEL. Also, check out Gulf Breeze Recovery at www.gulfbreezerecovery.com. Come to Stoicon (Wes will be there!) on Oct. 15 in NY. See howtobeastoic.org/stoicon.

Episode 147: Aristotle on Wisdom and Incontinence (Part One)  

On the Nichomachean Ethics (ca. 350 BCE), books 6–7. Is intelligence just one thing? Aristotle picks out a number of distinct faculties, some of which are relevant to ethics, and he uses these to explain Plato's puzzle of how someone can clearly see what the good for him is, and yet fail to pursue it due to weakness of the will. This episode continues our discussion from way back in ep. 5, and was commissioned in honor of the wedding of Matthew Decker and Amanda Schloss. Don't wait for part 2! Get the Citizen Edition now! Sponsors: tommyjohn.com/PEL (checkout code PEL), audible.com/PEL, and Gulf Breeze Recovery at www.gulfbreezerecovery.com.

Episode 146: Emmanuel Levinas on Overcoming Solitude (Part Two)  

Concluding Levinas's Time and the Other (1948), in which we talk about the present being freedom, before there's even a will! Also: being encumbered by your own body, relating to the world as nourishment, and getting over yourself through good lovin.' Listen to part 1 first, or get the ad-free, unbroken Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! Sponsors: Get your free month of The Great Courses Plus at thegreatcoursesplus.com/PEL. Also, check out Gulf Breeze Recovery at www.gulfbreezerecovery.com.

Episode 146: Emmanuel Levinas on Overcoming Solitude (Part One)  

More Levinas, working this time through Time and the Other (1948). What is it for a person to exist? What individuates one person from another, making us into selves instead of just part of the causal net of events? Why would someone possibly think that these are real, non-obvious questions that need to be addressed? Levinas gives us a phenomenological progression from the "there is," terrifyingly undifferentiated Being, to becoming an individual through "hypostasis," which is becoming an existent through a voyage out to the world and back to oneself. But this existing makes us solitary, not only in this weird ontological sense of being a distinct thing, but in a concrete, emotional sense. Overcoming this requires grasping the Other as a real Other, not as an object to fulfill our desires or get in our way. Really understanding this at our cure takes some doing, and in the process, we gain a mature sense of time and of death, so good for us! Visit warbyparker.com/PEL for a home try-on kit of new glasses. Also, visit hover.com for easy domain name purchasing, using checkout code REASON for 10% off.

Episode 145: Emmanuel Levinas: Why Be Ethical? (Part Two)  

Continuing on "Ethics as First Philosophy" (1984) and other essays. We try to complete Levinas's story on how revealing the flawed, aggressive character of our culture and personal attitudes can lead us to recognition of the ethical demand of the Other. Listen to part 1 first, or get the ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL! Sponsors: Get your free month of The Great Courses Plus at thegreatcoursesplus.com/PEL. Also, check out Gulf Breeze Recovery at www.gulfbreezerecovery.com.

Episode 145: Emmanuel Levinas: Why Be Ethical? (Part One)  

On "Ethics as First Philosophy" (1984). More existentialist ethics, with a Jewish twist this time! Seth returns to join Mark and Wes in figuring out how to best leave off all this aggressive "knowing" and other forms of individual self-assertion to grasp the more primordial appearance of the Other in all his or her vulnerability, which Levinas thinks makes us wholly responsible for others right off the bat. Check out the Nakedly Examined Music Podcast at www.nakedlyexaminedmusic.com.

PREVIEW: Great Discourses on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance  

We are again publicizing our partnership here with Great Discourses, who are offering fall courses that include Ashvaghosha’s Life of the Buddha, Hegel and Dostoyevsky on Freedom and Happiness, Principles of Roman Stoicism, The Trial and Death of Socrates, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and more! Register at greatdiscourses.com, and use the code PELIFE for 15% off. Or become a PEL Citizen, join the Great Discourses Not School group, and you'll get a code for 20% off instead. The deadline for early bird registration (i.e. cheaper) is Monday, August 29. PEL Citizens can also hear the entirety of this course session.

Episode 144: Martha Nussbaum on Anger (Part Three: Discussion)  

Post-interview discussion of more aspects of Martha Nussbaum's Anger and Forgiveness. Is Nussbaum right in saying that payback should not play any part in our justice apparatus? We try to lay out what changes in policy she's pushing for and discuss her self-improvement regimen of limited Stoicism. Wes, Dylan, and Mark all have some issue with her fundamental analysis of anger, and we try to hash out our views here. Listen to parts (one and two), or listen to the whole thing ad-free with the Citizen Edition. Get your free month of The Great Courses Plus at thegreatcoursesplus.com/PEL, including Modern Intellectual Tradition.

Episode 144: Guest Martha Nussbaum on Anger (Part Two)  

More interview on Anger and Forgiveness, now covering social justice, the legitimate role (if any) of anger and forgiveness in enacting justice and bringing about social change, and more on when Stoicism is legitimate and when it runs contra to ineliminable and/or authentically valuable human sentiments. Listen to part 1 or get the Citizen Edition, which includes post-interview discussion. Sponsors: Blue Apron, a better way to cook: blueapron.com/PEL. Also, get a domain name at hover.com and use the code PELIFE at check-out to save 10% on your first purchase.

Episode 144: Guest Martha Nussbaum on Anger (Part One)  

On Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice (2016). What role should we allow anger to play in our public life? Should systems of punishment be strictly impartial, or should they be retributive, i.e., expressive of public anger? Nussbaum thinks that anger necessarily involves the desire for payback, and that this is nearly always unhelpful. We should instead use anger to look toward the future and prevent future harm. Get your free month of The Great Courses Plus at thegreatcoursesplus.com/PEL. Also, visit casper.com/pel (enter promo code PEL for $50 off your mattress, with a 100-night risk-free trial). Please support PEL!

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