Partially Naked Self-Examination Music Blog, Week 30

As I hit the big 30 here, let me thank you for your indulgence, to the extent that you’ve actually been reading/listening. I’m marking this round number with another whole album, this time the debut full album by The MayTricks from 1992, cleverly entitled The MayTricks. As this was really the first full-length album I […]

Pragmatism is a tool of the devil!

I can’t embed this video, as whoever posted it deauthorized that feature, probably so you have to go to the site and see the giant Google ads and things (I see a big ad for Estee Lauder myself) hovering next to the video. Here we see that even though William James gave an extensive […]

Partially Naked Self-Examination Music Blog, Week 29

At last, here’s the final tune from the 1991 MayTricks demo (which I’ve made a new page for), “Her Skin Is Only Warm.” The song was written by Steve and was our most bombastic. It was modeled on The Rolling Stones’s “Steel Wheels” album, meaning it has kind of awkward “Rock! Rock!” lyrics, but it […]

Later Pragmatists: Robert Brandom on language

OK, at this point I’m just going on youtube searches for “pragmatism;” I was not previously familiar with Brandom, though he is apparently well known and studied under Rorty and Princeton and has a beard that looks stunning when backlit. He has some interesting comments here about the historical point at which pragmatism as we […]

Baggini interviews “new atheist” AC Grayling

We’ve gotten into a little discussion of the new atheist movement, an area well covered by other podcasts (meaning we likely won’t devote substantial time to it on our podcast, though we’ll certainly discuss religious philosophy). To get clear on one of its key arguments, that it’s religious moderates that create a climate where extremism […]

Historical note about the Pragmatist Revival

This was news to me, that pragmatism was eclipsed by the 1940s until Richard Rorty and Hilary Putnam, though note that the video says they were eclipsed by positivism, i.e. the idea that philosophical statements need to be cashed out in terms of sense verifications, which is a species of a view we attributed on […]

Later Pragmatists: Rorty on truth

Maybe the most famous current pragmatist is Richard Rorty. He doesn’t like William James’s redefinition of the word “truth,” but he thinks that virtually everything James said about it could be better applied to the word “justification.” Plus, you get to see subtitles in (I think) Dutch!

Later Pragmatists: Quine on mind

In our discussions on William James, we alluded to later pragmatists and the relationship of pragmatism to verificationism (logical positivism). Does being a pragmatist, who tries to reduce philosophical problems to problems of how we should most intelligently act in the face of world, mean that you have to discount claims that can’t be verified […]

Episode Pitch: Karen Armstrong on how the Bible was produced

Typically, we decide what to talk about on the podcast by saying “we should do some Spinoza,” and then ask “what’s his most famous work?” or “which work did we already have to read in some class?” which is typically the same work. When dealing with newer, non-canonical writers, though, and sometimes even with other […]

Episode 22: More James’s Pragmatism: Is Faith Justified? What is Truth? (Citizens Only)


On William James’s “The Will to Believe,” and continuing our discussion on James’s conception of truth as described in his books Pragmatism and The Meaning of Truth. Does pragmatism give ground for religious belief, like if it feels good for me to believe in God, can that justify belief? Is belief in science or rationality itself a form of faith?

End song: “Who Cares What You Believe?” by Madison Lint (2001).

Partially Naked Self-Examination Music Blog, Week 28

Three songs today: cover tunes by The MayTricks from 1992 or so. Specifically, the Police’s “Can’t Stand Losin’ You” (which I sing) and Talking Heads’ “And She Was” and The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” (both of which Steve sings). These are actual, multi-track studio recordings done with probably as much care as many of […]

Partially Naked Self-Examination Music Blog, Week 27

Correcting my previous post, apparently this is my first recorded original composition: “The Funny Train.” While I had always assumed this to be a traditional melody, a quick web search reveals no previous versions, so I hereby claim it. However, I note that “There was a little man, and he had a little can” appeared […]