The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast
The Partially Examined Life is a 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 We also feature episodes from other podcasts by our hosts to round out your partially examined life, including Pretty Much Pop (, covering all media), Nakedly Examined Music (, deconstructing songs), Philosophy vs. Improv (, fun with performance skills and philosophical ideas), and (sub)Text (, looking deeply at lit and film). Learn about more network podcasts at

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?

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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.

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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
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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!

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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
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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