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‘Identification’ with/in Music

A thesis advanced in our songwriting episode was that we appreciate music by “identifying” with it. There are a few possible meanings of this that I wanted to explore, especially in light of the charge that the ethic outlined in our discussion was too specific to rock ‘n’ roll.


The Epicurean Nag Hammadi

Philodemus of Gadara’s masterpiece On Death, preserved in the ruins of Herculaneum, catalogues in detail the ethical repercussions of the Epicurean doctrine that death is nothing to us and produces a beautiful, life-affirming, world-loving, secular philosophy of life that does not deny, mask, or run away from the reality of death. On Death helps us to develop a fully consistent, naturalist account of death that rejects superstitious and primitive fear.


Bonus Discussion: Franz Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony”

The Philosophical Fiction Not School Group read the short story by Franz Kafka “In The Penal Colony” for our conversation in May. It’s about a traveler visiting a penal colony who meets the officer in charge of a justice system. (Saying anything more would spoil it; just read it!) I talked with Daniel Cole, Cezary, […]

by  Jillian Nickell

Grossman vs Lewis: A Trip to an Atheist Narnia

by Chris Sunami

Lev Grossman, author of the bestselling Magicians trilogy, imports entire set pieces from C.S. Lewis’s Narnia. But he has a higher aim behind his thievery: he interrogates the elements of the Narnia myth one-by-one, sussing out their weaknesses and inconsistencies, and tirelessly searching, along with his characters, for the secret of exactly where the magic lies.


Contemplations on Tao Series

The parallels between Taoism and Epicurean philosophy which become evident when we study Taoism and read the Tao Te Ching. Sometimes the insights we get from both traditions mirror, complete and complement each other.

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