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
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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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 CST

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.
Direct download: PEL_ep_155pt1_12-15-16.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am CST

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.
Direct download: PEL_ep_154pt2_12-7-16.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am CST

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.
Direct download: PEL_ep_154pt1_12-7-16.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 6:00am CST