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 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.

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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).

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End song: Carrie Akre's "Last the Evening" from the album of that name from 2007. Hear Carrie interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music Ep. 17.

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.

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Direct download: PEL_ep_158pt1_1-16-17.mp3
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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?

Listen to part 1 first, though you should probably just get the ad-free, unbroken Citizen Edition.

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