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

David has recorded seven albums since 2000. Usually one wants to avoid the term "Beatlesque," but David is a Beatles freak who once recorded his performances all 209 Beatles songs over 209 days. We discuss "Time to Go" from David Brookings and the Average Lookings (2016), "Dead Battery" from Chorus Verses the Bridge (2005), and the title track from Obsessed (2007). We conclude by listening to "If I Don't Make It Back" from The Maze (2013). Opening music: "You’re So Right, It Went So Wrong" from the current album.

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Direct download: NEM_ep_053_6-30-17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:09am CDT

More on the 1967 Situtationist book. Do we buy Debord's critique? Is any merely partial critique (i.e. no revolution) just more spectacle? Is technology inherently dehumanizing? Don't these passivity/anti-technology arguments even apply to books? Could Debord's model of authenticity catch on in society as a whole?

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End song: "Millionaire" by The Mekons (1993); Jon Langford appears on Nakedly Examined Music #22.

Direct download: PEL_ep_170pt2_7-27-17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am CDT

What is culture? In modern capitalism, Debord’s 1967 book describes it as all about the economy. It’s not just our jobs that keep us trapped, but our life outside of working hours is also demanded by “the system” via our activity as consumers, and this commoditization infiltrates every corner of our lives. Debord wants us to WAKE UP, break our chains, and live lives of immediacy, vitality, and authenticity.

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Direct download: PEL_ep_170pt1_7-27-17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am CDT

More on Darwin's famous book. Why does it matter for philosophy, beyond providing an alternative to intelligent design? Is it really anti-religious? How can well tell if it's really a scientific theory? Talking about a species evolving trait X to enable survival sounds teleological; is it really, and is that bad? Why would the mind develop through natural selection?

Continues from part 1, or just get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL!

End song: "I Live" by Jason Falkner, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #47.

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Direct download: PEL_ep_168pt2_6-26-17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am CDT

Continuing on the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670), ch. 1–11. We go more into natural laws vs. ordinances; does it make sense to say that God makes rules for people? Also, how does Spinoza deal with alleged miracles given that natural laws are absolute regularities?

Continued from part 1, or get the ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!

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Direct download: PEL_ep_165pt2_5-16-17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am CDT

On Benedict de Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670), ch. 1–11. For Spinoza, the Bible was a political issue, and he was interested in a way to read it that didn't lead to people fighting wars and persecuting each other. Spinoza argues that a respectful reading is one that looks for the central message and doesn't paper over many places where the text was tailored to its original audience's prejudices, or where for historical reasons we can't now really know what it meant to them. Don't wait for part two! Get your unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL! Get a Spinoza T-Shirt! Please visit the St. John's College Graduate Institute: Also, check out the Patterson in Pursuit philosophy podcast.
Direct download: PEL_ep_165pt1_5-16-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CDT

Discussing Spinoza's Ethics (1677), books 1 and 2. God is everything, therefore the world is God as apprehended through some particular attributes, namely insofar as one of his aspects is infinite space (extension, i.e. matter) and insofar as one of his aspects is mind (our minds being chunks or "modes" of the big God mind). A 2010 discussion with a new intro by Dylan and Mark. Get ep. 25 that continues this discussion by becoming a PEL Citizen, a $1 subscriber at, or publicly sharing the post from our FB page for this episode. Check out the St. John's College Graduate Institute: Visit; use code "EXAMINED" for 30% off your first month of online therapy.
Direct download: REISSUE-PEL_ep024_8-2-10.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 9:12am CDT

PEL Network crossover magic, featuring clips (a full song plus explanation) from four recent episodes of Mark's other podcast. Hear the full episodes and many more at Steve was the guitarist for Genesis in the 70s, Nik wrote 80s hits like "Wouldn't It Be Good," Ken played with The Posies, Big Star, and R.E.M., and Robbie will change the way you think about country music. Read the NEM FAQ.
Direct download: NEM_Highlights_Spring_2017.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

More on the novel with guest Corey Mohler, considering Dostoyevsky qua existentialist in terms of his analysis of the crisis of meaning and his consequent views on religion. Listen to part 1 first, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Get a Dostoyevsky T-shirt! End song: "Don Quixote" by Nik Kershaw, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #37. Please visit (use code "EXAMINED") and
Direct download: PEL_ep_164pt2_4-27-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CDT

On Fyodor Dostoyevsky's philosophical novel from 1869. Could a morally perfect person survive in the modern world? Is all this "modernity," which so efficiently computes our desires and provides mechanisms to fulfill them, actually suited to achieve human flourishing? Dostoyevsky's Russian existentialism says no! Visit; use code "EXAMINED" for 30% off your first month of online therapy. Donate to the Turtle Island Research Cooperative at
Direct download: PEL_ep_164pt1_4-27-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CDT