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

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.

End song: "To Valerie" from The MayTricks' So Chewy (1993).

Direct download: PEL_ep_145_7-17-16.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CST

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? End song: "Forgive the Disco," a Nussbaum-inspired Mark vocal on an instrumental by Sean Beeson, interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #23.
Direct download: PEL_ep_144pt3_7-5-16.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CST

More interview on Anger and Forgiveness, now covering social justice, the role of anger and forgiveness in enacting justice and bringing about social change, and more on when Stoicism is legitimate or against human nature.
Direct download: PEL_ep_144pt2_7-5-16.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CST

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 utilitarian, or should they be retributive? Nussbaum thinks that anger necessarily involves the desire for payback, which is unhelpful. We should instead use anger to prevent future harm. Mark, Wes, and Dylan interview Martha and then discuss issues raised in the interview and the book.

End song: "Forgive the Disco," a Nussbaum-inspired Mark vocal on an instrumental by Sean Beeson, interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #23.

Direct download: PEL_ep_144_7-5-16.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 2:23pm CST

Guest Wes Alwan joins regulars Nathan Hanks, Mary Claire, Daniel St. Pierre, Laura Davis, and Cezary Baraniecki to discuss Mary Shelley's classic novel in this special cross-post from the newest member of the Partially Examined Life podcast network. Check out more episodes and be sure to subscribe at
Direct download: Phi_Fic_3_Frankenstein_by_Mary_Shelley.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CST

Continuing to discuss the views of Plato's Eleatic Stranger on sophistry, with a right turn into hardcore metaphysics with an exploration of falsity and its metaphysical correlate, non-being.
Direct download: PEL_ep_143pt2_6-21-16.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CST

On the later Platonic dialogue. What is a sophist? These were guys in Ancient Greece who taught young people the tools of philosophy and rhetoric. They claimed to teach virtue. In Sophist, "the Eleatic Stranger" (i.e., not Socrates) tries to figure out what a sophist really is, using a new "method of division." This Plato era provides a nice transition to the category man Aristotle, and the whole concern with sophistry is certainly still relevant today!

End song: "Dumb," by Mark Lint and the Fake from the album So Whaddaya Think? (2000).

Direct download: PEL_ep_143_6-21-16.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CST

Continuing on Plato's dialogue, diving into Socrates's myth-laden speech on the nature of love. With guest Adam Rose.
Direct download: PEL_ep_142pt2_6-5-16.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 1:06am CST

Socrates hangs out in the country flirting with his buddy Phaedrus. And what is this "Platonic" love? Using the enticement of desire not to rush toward fulfillment, but to get you all excited about talking philosophy. Socrates critiques a speech by renowned orator Lysias, who claimed that love is bad because it's a form of madness, where people do things they then regret after love fades. Socrates instead delivers a myth that shows the spiritual benefits of loving and being loved. With guest Adam Rose.

End song: "Summertime" by New People, from Might Get It Right (2013).

Direct download: PEL_ep_142_6-5-16.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 5:12pm CST

Concluding on Simone de Beauvoir's The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947). The full discussion starts with ep. 140. We turn to political dilemmas: Embracing our freedom means willing the freedom of others, but what if the other person is (according to Beauvoir's formula) failing at freedom by oppressing you or someone else?
Direct download: PEL_ep_141pt2_5-19-16.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 7:00am CST