Sam Harris Derives Ought from Is

Via OpenCulture.com, Sam Harris seems to think he has come across oughts in the wild. We just needed a big enough microscope to see them. As physicist Sean Carroll notes, there once was a man named Hume: Morality and science operate in very different ways. In science, our judgments are ultimately grounded in data; when it […]

Partially Naked Self-Examination Music Blog, Week 13

In honor of the death of one of my biggest musical influences, Alex Chilton, here’s me from the summer of ’94 performing his Big Star song “The Ballad of El Goodo” in an Ann Arbor coffee house. I’ve digitized it and done my best here with a heap of processing to mitigate the fact that […]

Thump Thump or Pump Pump? Fodor’s Confusion Explained.

This is an animated but polite discussion between Jerry Fodor and Elliott Sober — very interesting, and I think I understand Fodor a little better now (i.e., motivates what I believe to be his error — other than the fact that he’s worried about problematic teleological notions like function being necessary to natural selection as a […]

Are the majority of published scientific research claims false?

The epistemology vs. epidemiology (Odds Are, It’s Wrong – Science News): “There is increasing concern,” declared epidemiologist John Ioannidis in a highly cited 2005 paper in PLoS Medicine, “that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims.” … Nowhere are the problems with statistics more […]

Fodor, Darwin, and the Philosophy of Science

I had been looking forward to Jerry Fodor’s What Darwin Got Wrong (co-authored with Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini), not because I have anything against Darwin but because Fodor is a superb writer, the well-respected cognitive scientist who “laid the groundwork for the modularity of mind and language of thought hypotheses,” and a worthy opponent of the idiocy […]

The Dog: Civilization’s Best Friend (and a “true philosopher”)

The New York Times (my emphasis): Dog domestication and human settlement occurred at the same time, some 15,000 years ago, raising the possibility that dogs may have had a complex impact on the structure of human society. Dogs could have been the sentries that let hunter gatherers settle without fear of surprise attack. They may […]

Randinetics: The Modern Science of Permanent Adolescence

The Web seems to have broken out in a bad case of Ayn Rand in the last month or so. The original sin seems to have been The New Criterion’s rebuke of philosophical adolescents everywhere: Rand’s hero-worship is also Nietzschean in inspiration. It is deeply unpleasant. She entirely lacks the literary ability to convey anything admirable, […]

Is Humanities Graduate School a “Big Lie”?

Yes: Their daughter goes to graduate school, earns a doctorate in comparative literature from an Ivy League university, everyone is proud of her, and then they are shocked when she struggles for years to earn more than the minimum wage. (Meanwhile, her brother—who was never very good at school—makes a decent living fixing HVAC systems […]

Searches that Send Traffic to this Site

A surprising number of people google “partially examined life.” And then we get quite a bit of traffic from searches like “philosophy podcast” and “wittgenstein podcast.” But we also get hits from “grandpa bought a rubber.” Here are few more of my favorites: District 9 and Nietzsche Chuang Tzu Pronunciation Half examined life Partially good […]

Partially Naked Self-Examination Music Blog, Week 11

Another for the same album: “Not Too Late.” I added the vocals, acoustic, bass, percussion, and the big distorted background guitar all in the last couple of days, after not working on this since 2000. Written in late ’98 as my time in philosophy grad school was ending. Even as I entered grad school, I […]

Self-Justify or Die

Pennsylvania may get rid of a number of its Philosophy (and other useless) departments because they graduate fewer than 30 majors over five years. Unless they justify their existence. That’s an ironically philosophical task. Scheherazadian (a word which justifies its existence as legitimate by having 1,410 occurrences on Google, despite the fact that there no Merriam Webster […]

Self-Justify or Die

Pennsylvania may get rid of a number of its Philosophy (and other useless) departments because they graduate fewer than 30 majors over five years. Unless they justify their existence. That’s an ironically philosophical task. Scheherazadian (a word which justifies its existence as legitimate by having 1,410 occurrences on Google, despite the fact that there no Merriam Webster […]

What’s at stake in the Heidegger/Nazism debate?

So I have been established, or established myself, as the Heidegger ‘guy’ on this blog/podcast.  Why?  I read a bunch of his stuff in grad school, studied with one of his students (at the time a professor) in Germany, and wrote my Master’s thesis on “Ereignis”.  Wes just sent me a link to this review […]

Partially Naked Self-Examination Music Blog, Week 10

Another tune destined for the Mark Lint & the Simulacra album: “Night Before the End.” If you’ve listened to the podcast ep. 16, you’ve heard that Seth thinks that it’s boring when musicians interpret songs for you, so I won’t to that, and leave you merely to wonder what it would mean to be “bold […]

The Sound of One’s Voice

An unanticipated benefit of doing this podcast is getting the opportunity to analyze my speech when I do the editing (we rotate that responsibility).  Even though I find it painful at times, I use the word ‘benefit’ because it’s truly interesting and educational to hear the sound of one’s voice. I have known for some time that my […]

PEL is now on Twitter (+ other ways to share)

If you’d like to have links to our postings sent to you via Twitter, you can now do that; follow us at http://twitter.com/PartiallyExLife. If you re-Tweet our episode posts to the millions of Twitter followers you undoubtably have, then you’ll have our eternal gratitude. While I’m on the subject of spreading the word, why don’t […]