The Quarrel Between the Thomists and the Straussians

Brian Leiter bizarrely endorses this idiotic review by Aristotle scholar Peter Simpson of Richard G. Stevens’ Political Philosophy: An Introduction. It’s clear that the logic behind this endorsement is that Simpson criticizes the book because it has been written by a Straussian, and Leiter despises Straussians. Unfortunately, the logic behind the review is that Simpson […]

Dworkin on Defining the Good Life

Mark’s posts on Frithjof Bergmann help lay the groundwork for the upcoming episode on Montaigne and what constitutes the “good life.” Coincidentally, there’s a similarly-themed article by Ronald Dworkin in this month’s New York Review of Books. I may disagree with Mark’s conclusions, and maybe even some of his premises. But I better appreciate Mark’s approach […]

More on Bergmann’s “New Work”

Here are the main elements of Frithjof’s Bergmann’s idea of “New Work” (introduced in this post) as he taught it back at U. of Michigan. 1. Developing a calling. Work can sap our will to live, but the right kind of work can be invigorating. If it’s an enterprise you can identify with, that’s meaningful […]

Topic for #33: Montaigne on Philosophy and the Good Life

What does philosophizing really get us? We can’t attain much in the way of certain knowledge. Knowing really doesn’t, contra Plato, make us virtuous. In fact, getting too sucked into parsing long and complex texts can cause us to lose perspective, i.e. miss the point of our interest in philosophy in the first place. 16th […]

Episode 31: Husserl’s Phenomenology

Edmund Husserl-filtered

Discussing Edmund Husserl’s Cartesian Meditations (1931).

How can we analyze our experience? Husserl thinks that Descartes was right about the need to ground science from the standpoint of our own experience, but wrong about everything else. Husserl recommends we “bracket” the question of whether the external world exists and just focus on the contents of our consciousness (the “cogito”). He thinks that with good, theory-free observations (meaning very difficult, unnatural language), we can give an account of the essential structures of experience, which will include truth, certainty, and objectivity (intersubjective verifiability): all that science needs. We’ll find that we don’t need to ground the existence of objects in space and other minds, because our entire experience presupposes them; they’re already indubitable.

EconTalk on the Technological Singularity

Our blogger and guest podcaster Daniel referred in response to my previous post that EconTalk with host Russ Roberts (pictured) and guest Robin Hanson of George Mason University did an episode on “The Technological Singularity.” The idea here is that at a few points in history, there’s been a technological breakthrough that fundamentally transformed how […]

The Personal Philosophy of (i.e. for) Kyle Walton’s Mom

We received another donation, this time from noted personage Kyle Walton, so that means it’s time for another custom crafted Personal Philosophy! Kyle would like to dedicate this to his mother Sylvia, who has of late gotten interested in Kierkegaard. Kyle’s Mom’s Personal Philosophy* Many mothers would be upset that their son is… well… different. […]

Bryan McGee and Hubert Dreyfus on Husserl and Heidegger

Daniel has already linked to this video in comments, but I wanted to make an actual post about it: Watch on youtube. The Husserl discussion here is pretty brief and not very revealing. Dreyfus, for one, is a Heidegger scholar and thinks that Husserl is only important insofar as he influenced Heidegger and showed (through […]

Welcome, Plus a Call for Specialists

I’ve sent out a few mass e-mails to graduate philosophy departments of late, and wanted to send out a special welcome to any new folks checking out the site. What you have undoubtedly come for is the podcast itself; you can see just the podcast episodes via this filter, but really should start with episode […]

When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong

A research physicist friend of mine who works at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is a bit of a global warming skeptic. When I brought up all the scientific research on the subject, he said, somewhat dismissively, “Yes, but anyone who gets a PhD in climate science goes into it with an agenda. No one goes […]

Robert Sokolowski audio on Husserl

In this clip (broken into five parts), Robert Sokolowski reads a paper in 2009 at a conference organized to celebrate Husserl’s 150th birthday: Listen on youtube. He describes Husserl’s place in the history of philosophy (there’s a lot of talk of ancient philosophy in here) and outlines his project, including more on the phenomenological reduction […]

Consciousness (Intentionality) as Transcendent

An important point on the Husserl episode that I was trying to get across was his notion that “intentionality” as he uses it doesn’t just mean that all conscious acts have a target, i.e. something you’re conscious of, but that this content is not itself something subjective. When we grasp something in consciousness, we’re not […]

The Personal Philosophy of (i.e. for) Danny C.

This feature will henceforth occur no more often than weekly, if that, unless this new policy suffers recursion problems, in that the policy itself as as adjunct entity to this type of post is by leakage subjected to that same policy and and so is only enforceable on a weekly basis, in which case additional […]

Colbert on the Argument from Design

Via Luke Muehlahuser’s Common Sense Atheism, we see Stephen Colbert ripping on Bill O’Reilly’s spurious use of the teleological argument for the existence of God. The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c Video Archive The obvious lesson here is that the argument from design is at the very least not so evidently persuasive […]

Massimo Pigliucci on In-Your-Face Atheism

Pigliucci strongly rebukes the organization of which he is a lifetime honorary member, for an ad calling all religions “scams”: First, the ad is simply making a preposterous claim that cannot possibly be backed up by factual evidence, which means that, technically, it is lying. Not a good virtue for self-righteous critical thinkers… Yet, several atheists […]

Guardian.UK Reviews Bakewell on Montaigne

In this Guardian.UK review of Sarah Bakewell’s How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer Nicholas Lezard characterizes the disorganized genius of Montaigne: So, just because Montaigne doesn’t have a plan, this doesn’t mean he can’t be ranked with the great philosophers, because what he is […]

Summarizing Schopenhauer in Under 600 Seconds

Here’s another documentary video clip on Schopenhauer, discussing his early disaffection from Christianity, and also some fun facts. For example, he always kept two statues in his study — one of Kant, and the other of Buddha. Watch in YouTube. This clip also paraphrases some amusing quotes from Volume II of Schopenhauer’s World as Will […]

New Statesman Reviews “Freud, the Reluctant Philosopher”

Here’s a review by Lesley Chamberlain of Alfred Tauber’s Freud, the Reluctant Philosopher,which connects Freud’s idea of the Id to Schopenhauer’s notion of Will, and also traces the lines of influence back to Nietzsche and Kant. Read the article. I enjoyed the summary here and the quick attempt to put Freud’s fallen star (as far […]

Take Acid and Understand Schopenhauer

Schopenhauer, like Nietzsche, is an amusing enough character to have engendered some semi-comic video tributes which I don’t find amusing enough to post here. I felt compelled, however, to post this, just to BLOW YOUR MIND, MAN! It’s pretty short, has only one idea in it (maybe half an idea), and may cause an embolism […]

Schopenhauer on Love

Here’s a nice little video, part of the “Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness” series, discussing Schopenhauer’s earnest but very unromantic theory of love, the point of which is to propagate the species (i.e. the will to life!). Watch on youtube. Did you know that tall people are attracted to short people so that their children […]

My Wish for the New Year

I hope that this celebration of the rotation of the calendar finds all PEL listeners/readers in good cheer, looking with unbridled optimism and hope at a vast array of positive opportunities in front of them.  As it is customary to reflect upon the past and project into the future on this occasion, I propose to […]

David Brooks Reviews Hubert Dreyfus/Sean Kelley

In a recent New York Times Op-Ed, conservative columnist David Brooks discusses the bookAll Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age, Read the review. As a review, it’s basically just a fancied up version of one of these blog posts (meaning he gets paid a lot of money to […]

More Audio About Schopenhauer

If you’re liking having Schopenhauer-related audio to listen to so you needn’t actually read him, here’s a clip with some introduction or other to the World as Will and Representation, which describes his place in the history of philosophy and states some high level points about his philosophy, and quite a bit more about his […]