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.

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.

For more, see davidbrookings.net. Hear more Nakedly Examined Music. Like our Facebook page. Please support the podcast at patreon.com/nakedlyexaminedmusic.

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.

Continue with part 2 or get your unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!

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.

Go to blueapron.com/PEL for three free meals with free shipping. Enroll in The New School's Open Campus for the term starting Aug. 28 at opencampus.newschool.edu. And check out the St. John's College Graduate Institute: partiallyexaminedlife.com/sjcgi.

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!

Get The Rise and Fall of Dodo at nealstephenson.com.

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: partiallyexaminedlife.com/sjcgi. 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 patreon.com/partiallyexaminedlife, or publicly sharing the post from our FB page for this episode. 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.
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 nakedlyexaminedmusic.com. 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 Talkspace.com/examined (use code "EXAMINED") and blueapron.com/PEL.
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 Talkspace.com/examined; use code "EXAMINED" for 30% off your first month of online therapy. Donate to the Turtle Island Research Cooperative at partiallyexaminedlife.com/turtle.
Direct download: PEL_ep_164pt1_4-27-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CDT

Continuing our interview about Natural Kinds and Genesis: The Classification of Material Entities. Buy Stewart's book at www.rowman.com and use the code LEX30AUTH17 to get 30% off.
Direct download: PEL_ep_163pt2_3-25-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CDT

On Natural Kinds and Genesis: The Classification of Material Entities (2016). Are general terms like "water" or "dog" just things that we made up to order the world? Aristotle thought that some universals constitute natural kinds, with a nature that explains their behavior. "Kinds" were replaced with "laws," but Stewart wants us to reconsider, and bring back "natural philosophy" in the process.
Direct download: PEL_ep_163pt1_3-25-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CDT

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.
Direct download: PELSpecial_Phi-Fic_ep_012_3-26-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CDT

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?
Direct download: PEL_ep_162pt2_3-21-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CDT

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?
Direct download: PEL_ep_162pt1_3-21-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CDT

Continuing with guest Law Ware on the philosophical underpinnings of the rhetoric of white privilege, with readings as listed in part 1.
Direct download: PEL_ep_161pt2_3-6-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CDT

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.
Direct download: PEL_ep_161pt1_3-6-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CDT

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."
Direct download: PEL_ep_160pt2_2-21-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CDT

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?
Direct download: PEL_ep_160pt1_2-21-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CDT

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!
Direct download: PEL_ep_159pt2_2-5-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

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.
Direct download: PEL_ep_159pt1_2-5-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

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).
Direct download: PEL_ep_158pt2_1-16-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

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.
Direct download: PEL_ep_158pt1_1-16-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

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.
Direct download: PEL_ep_157pt2_1-4-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

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?
Direct download: PEL_ep_157pt1_1-4-17.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

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.
Direct download: PEL_ep_156pt2_12-20-16.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

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!
Direct download: PEL_ep_156pt1_12-20-16.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:40am CDT

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.
Direct download: PEL_ep_155pt2_12-15-16.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

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.

End song: "The Ghosts Are Alright" from The Bye-Bye Blackbirds (Houses and Homes, 2008), as discussed on Nakedly Examined Music #32.

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Direct download: PEL_ep_155_12-15-16.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

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