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

On David Chalmers's book Constructing the World (2012). How are all the various truths about the world related to each other? David Chalmers, famous for advocating a scientifically respectable form of brain-consciousness dualism, advocates a framework of scrutability: if one knew some set of base truths, then the rest would be knowable from them. Get the full discussion at partiallyexaminedlife.com.

Direct download: PREVIEW-PEL_ep_068_12-4-12.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 9:29pm CDT

Excerpts of discussions about David Chalmers's The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory, Thomas Nagel's Mind and Cosmos, and Paul Auster's City of Glass.
Direct download: PEL_Not_School_Digest_Nov-Dec_2012.mp3
Category:Not School Report -- posted at: 5:38pm CDT

On Rudolph Carnap's The Logical Structure of the World (1928). What can we know? Carnap thinks that all the various spheres of knowledge are logically interrelated, that you can translate sentences about any of these into sentences about sets of basic, momentary experiences. This book, aka the Aufbau, is his attempt to sketch out how this system of linguistic reduction can work (it doesn't). With guest Matt Teichman. Get the full discussion at partiallyexaminedlife.com.

Direct download: PREVIEW-PEL_ep_067_11-15-12.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 11:01am CDT

On W.V.O. Quine's "On What There Is" (1948) and "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" (1951). What kind of metaphysics is compatible with science? Quine sees science and philosophy as one and the same enterprise, and he objects to ontologies that include types of entities that science can't, even in principle, study. Also, troubles with the concept of synonymy, i.e. "same meaning." With guest Matt Teichman. Get the full discussion at partiallyexaminedlife.com.

Direct download: PREVIEW-PEL_ep_066_10-21-12.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 9:52am CDT

Our highlight reel in thanks to all you listeners who have brought us to the milestone of approximately two million downloads.
Direct download: PEL_Highlight_Reel.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 11:43am CDT

On Alexander Hamilton/James Madison's Federalist Papers (1, 10-12, 14-17, 39, 47-51), published as newspaper editorials 1787-8, plus Letters III and IV from Brutus, an Anti-Federalist. What constitutes good government? These founding fathers argued that the proposed Constitution, with its newly centralized (yet also separated-by-branch) powers would be a significant improvement on the Articles of Confederation, which had left states as the ultimate sovereigns. Get the full discussion at partiallyexaminedlife.com.

Direct download: PREVIEW-PEL_ep_065_10-7-12.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 1:39am CDT

On Fame: What the Classics Tell Us About Our Cult of Celebrity by Tom Payne (2010). What's the deal with our f'ed up relationship with celebrities? Payne says that celebrities serve a social need that's equal parts religion and and aggression. TV's Lucy Lawless (Xena, Spartacus, Battlestar Galactica) joins us to discuss the accuracy of this thesis. Looking for the full Citizen version?

Direct download: PREVIEW-PEL_ep_064_9-10-12.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 11:14pm CDT

On philosophical issues in McCarthy's 2005 novel about guys running around with drug money and shooting each other, and about fiction as a form for exploring philosophical ideas. What can morality mean for people who have witnessed the "death of God," i.e. a loss in faith in light of the horrors of war? Who knows what McCarthy himself thinks? With guest Eric Petrie. Get the full discussion at partiallyexaminedlife.com.

Direct download: PREVIEW-PEL_ep_063_8-26-12.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 2:50pm CDT

On Candide: or, Optimism, the novel by Voltaire (1759). Is life good? Popular Enlightenment philosopher Leibniz argued that it's good by definition. God is perfectly good and all-powerful, so whatever he created must have been as good as it can be; we live in the best of all possible worlds. Voltaire loads this satirical adventure story up with horrific violence to demonstrate that Leibniz's position is just silly. Life is filled with suffering, and human nature is such that even in peace and prosperity, we're basically miserable. Yet we still love life despite this. Tend your garden! Get the full discussion at partiallyexaminedlife.com.

Direct download: PREVIEW-PEL_ep_062_8-3-12.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 11:38am CDT

On Friedrich Nietzsche's "On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense" (1873). What is truth? This essay, written early in Nietzsche's career, is taken by many to make the extreme claim that there is no truth, that all of the "truths" we tell each other are just agreements by social convention. WIth guest Jessica Berry, who argues that that Nietzsche is a skeptic: our "truths" don't correspond with the world beyond our human conceptions; all knowledge is laden with human interests. Get the full discussion at partiallyexaminedlife.com.

Direct download: PREVIEW-PEL_ep_061_7-17-12.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:11pm CDT