Has the Internet Transformed Us? Yes and No.

This Piece by Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker is very good and suitably conflicted concerning complaints about the social effects of technology: The odd thing is that this complaint, though deeply felt by our contemporary Better-Nevers, is identical to Baudelaire’s perception about modern Paris in 1855, or Walter Benjamin’s about Berlin in 1930, or […]

TV Review: “Being Human”

More ethics on TV! (Hear our discussion of “Walking Dead.”) “Being Human” is a Sci-Fi network show based on a British TV show (by the power of induction, I can pronounce the original better than this despite having never seen even a second of the British version) that follows in the footsteps of “Smallville” and […]

“New” Atheism as Cultural Movement

An article by Paul Pardi (“Philosophy News Service”) at the Huffington Post sums up the significance of “new atheism:” 1. The arguments of Harris, Dennett, Dawkins and Hitchens tend not to be “new” and don’t engage the actual arguments of liberal theologians. 2. As a social movement, they’re nonetheless affecting the perception that the mass […]

Montaigne on Self-Esteem

Montaigne’s Essays are a deeply personal investigation into ourselves and our lives that isn’t typically treated by philosophy books.  Here, in another great BBC series, Alain de Botton (a notable philosopher in his own right), talks about Montaigne’s notion of self-esteem and how philosophy can be a guide to happiness. It kicks off around 1 […]

Episode 33: Montaigne: What Is the Purpose of Philosophy?


Discussing Michel de Montaigne’s Essays: “That to Philosophize is to Learn to Die,” “Of Experience,” “Of Cannibals,” “Of the Education of Children,” and “Of Solitude” (all from around 1580) with some discussion of “Apology for Raymond Sebond.”

Renaissance man Montaigne tells us all how to live, how to die, how to raise our kids, that we don’t know anything, and a million Latin quotations. Montaigne put the skeptical fire under Descartes and both draws upon and mocks a great deal of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy. Plus, he’s actually fun to read.

Barbara Bolt on Art & Heidegger

I had not heard of Barbara Bolt until I stumbled upon this video lecture she gave at the University of Melbourne about Heidegger from an artist’s perspective.  [see my previous post about Australia being the most philosophical nation on earth – I stand by it.]  She’s both a practicing artist and publishing academic and I […]

Listening to P.E.L. Chronologically?

Listener Nathan J. writes: “I recently started listening to your podcast and came up with the idea of listening to them in the chronological order of when the source material was written. My theory being that doing this will be a way for me to see how philosophical thought has evolved over the years. Anyway […]

Malcom Gladwell on Plurality in Taste

Thanks to listener David Emerson for suggesting this video on plurality of tastes (in response to some of the things we said back on our Danto episode, but equally applicable to our other aesthetics one on Goodman): Watch on the TED site. The point is not that people’s tastes differ, that everyone has different favorites […]

Heidegger and Feuerbach

Ludwig Feuerbach commemorative stamp

There are lots of directions one can go in investigating influences on Heidegger or uncovering ideas he appropriated and reworked in Being and Time.  Hegel, Kant, Descartes, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, etc.  One of the more interesting might be Ludwig Feuerbach, a post-Hegelian and pre-Marxist who is most well known for a critique of Christianity (and later […]

Topic for #34: Frege on Language, Truth, and Logic

What is it about sentences that expresses truth or falsity? Gottlob Frege is considered one of the fathers of analytic philosophy, but it’s hard for someone with a general interest in philosophy to see much of his work as overtly philosophical. He did a lot of the work inventing modern symbolic logic, with an eye […]

Graphs about Philosophers

So here are at least two things you can find on Google when searching for images of Gottlob Frege: Images of Elodie Frege Blogspot sites by philophers that post crazy fun graphs Lite fare for the weekend… –seth

Grappling with Heidegger’s Biography

More than most other philosophers, Heidegger’s life is almost as much a subject of scrutiny as his writings.  Part of this comes with the territory of being a founding figure in Existentialism, but 99% has to do with his conduct during and immediately after the National Socialist era in Germany, particularly regarding his membership in […]

Bust a Philosopher

I just got a message from sculptor Robert Toth, who apparently creates busts of philosophers like Freud and Socrates (no Husserl yet, it appears!) and other cultural figures, and is also a very thoughtful guy. So, for instance, if you have a toy piano and want a life-size disembodied head of Beethoven to sit on […]

Science Proves Heidegger (Partially) Correct?

Irony so overwhelming I want to tweet about it with a #Heidegger hashtag: A scientific study recently found empirical support for Heidegger’s concept of zuhanden, which was discussed in the Being and Time podcast.* Wired Science covered the story last year, but the study itself is short enough that you can get through it during a lunch […]

Dreyfus on Heidegger

Hubert Dreyfus, Professor UC Berkeley

The preeminent Heidegger scholar in the US (and perhaps in the English language), is Hubert Dreyfus at the University of Berkeley.  Daniel did a post for the Husserl podcast linking to a series of videos of him being interviewed by Bryan McGee here.  In that series he actually talks more about Heidegger, so it’s worth […]

The New Album is Now Available

My band, New People, has now finally completed our second album. You can hear tracks and purchase it (if you’d like) here. You can also find details there about our CD Release Party tonight (Wednesday), for those of you in the Madison, WI area. Note the nifty art by Ken Gerber, who did the P.E.L. […]

Heidegger on TV

During the podcast, I mentioned some video of Heidegger from television back in the 70s.  I think I uncharitably characterized him as being a bit out of touch with a broader audience and arrogant.  You be the judge: (This is an excerpt from a longer piece which is (I think) in full available on YouTube, […]

Episode 32: Heidegger: What is “Being?”

Martin Heidegger

Discussing Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time (1927), mostly the intro and ch. 1 and 2 of Part 1.

When philosophers try to figure out what really exists (God? matter? numbers?), Heidegger thinks they’ve forgotten a question that really should come first: what is it to exist? He thinks that instead of asking “What is Being?” we ask, as in a scientific context, “what is this thing?” This approach then poisons our ability to understand ourselves or the world that we as human beings actually inhabit, as opposed to the abstraction that science makes out of this.

Personal Philosophies Wrap-Up (for the Moment)

As promised, here are the noted Personal Philosophies of (i.e. for) Seth and Wes respectively. During the period of this fund-raiser thingy, we got maybe a half-dozen nice donations, including those you’ve seen written about in this series plus another couple. I’ve not totaled up the cash intake, but given our modest expenses, it will […]

U. of Winchester Lecture on Husserl’s Phenomology

Here’s another Husserl lecture to listen to, which sets Husserl in historical context as a contemporary of Freud prior to World War Two. The unnamed lecturer (I’ll be happy to update this post if someone can figure out who this is) talks a little about the relationship between Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit and Husserl’s phenomenology. […]

The Wittgenstein Blues

This one’s self-explanatory. Nothing too weighty, but anyone who can work Wittgenstein into a catchy hook deserves all the exposure he can get: Watch on YouTube. -Daniel Horne

Tolkien (and Cory Olsen) on Fantasy as Transcendence

Listening to Dreyfus’s Heidegger lectures has gotten me looking around a bit among the “iTunes U” selections. It’s interesting to me that these are separated from podcasts generally when there is often little difference between the two types of selections, and that podcasts sanctioned by universities can still absolutely blow, particularly if they’re just unedited […]