Terry Gross has an interesting interview with neuroscientist David Eagleman, author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain (Incidentally, if you’re in Boston you can catch him at Harvard Bookstore on Friday). Eagleman’s book is about, among many other things, the neuroscience of unconscious processes and their importance to our behavior (something of the […]
Archives for May 2011
Though I’ve not yet actually posted the topic announcement yet (we’re still dithering about which chapters to focus on), episode 40 will be on Plato’s Republic, wherein Socrates states unequivocally that those controlled by reason (i.e. the philosophers like Socrates) are just plain better than the rest of the people, and a just state will […]
Today’s musical nugget is called “Words & Numbers,” as recorded by Madison Lint. New readers may not remember my 1/2 year music blog, wherein I forced myself to complete, or digitize, or remix or remaster a song from my past every week. The point of that was to get me to finish up a couple […]
We hope to be dipping back to more Ancient Greeks (e.g. the Pre-Socratics, more Plato, more Aristotle, the Stoics and Skeptics) in some future episodes, at least one of which will come very soon. If you have done graduate work in this area and are the type of guy that memorizes the various Greek words […]
Watch on youtube. A big name-drop during the middle of the Russell episode was the sad story of Georg Cantor and his insanity-inducing continuum hypothesis. Anyone unaware of Cantor and his contributions might want to look at this clip from the Dangerous Knowledge BBC documentary. I thought it provided a good visual explanation of higher […]
This fascinating New York Times Magazine articles tells the story of conjoined twins Krista and Tatiana, who share part of their brains; specifically, there is a bridge of neural tissue joining their thalami. The thalamus is something like a switchboard for routing sensory information. While the twins have two distinct minds and personalities, each can […]
Discussing Russell’s Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (1919), ch. 1-3 and 13-18.
How do mathematical concepts like number relate to the real world? Russell wants to derive math from logic, and identifies a number as a set of similar sets of objects, e.g. “3” just IS the set of all trios. Hilarity then ensues.
Discussing Russell’s Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (1919), ch. 1-3 and 13-18. With guest Josh Pelton.
We’ve bashed NY Times columnist David Brooks before on this blog for his attempts at philosophy, and I absolutely feel for the guy from a logistical perspective: he’s not an academic that can take a sabbatical and hole up to write and revise. He’s more or less a blogger who has to fumble around every […]
Historian Jackson Lears has an interesting attack on Sam Harris in The Nation. I’m not endorsing everything in this everything-but-the-kitchen sink assault (on both Harris’ religious and moral theories), but it’s interesting and worth a read. — Wes
Via openculture.com, check out this writeup on 15 courses by this controversial figure. “Intellectual godfather of the neo-conservative political movement,” y’all! -Mark Linsenmayer
I received an e-mail today that gives me a bit of pause: I discovered your podcast a couple of weeks ago. I liked it right away, because it was three friends talking about a favorite subject… Plus, it seemed like a good way to learn about the philosophers I’d never read, like an audiobook, but […]
For those of you that enjoyed Seth’s comments on wine and philosophy, look here for an interview with Matt Lawrence, Philosophy Prof at Long Beach City College. Lawrence’s new bookpairs 48 philosophical puzzles with 48 beers, covering historical and modern figures from both the West and East. For more about the book, here’s Lawrence’s site; […]
You can watch what appears to be all the lectures of a Yale introduction to political philosophy course from Steven B. Smith. The first is lecture is here but at this point, I want to call attention to his lectures on Locke, the first of the three being the following: Watch on youtube. I’ve not […]
Ta-nehisi Coates, a senior editor for The Atlantic, recently opened up a discussion on Locke’s Second Treatise, with respect to the discussion of slavery. A fairly intelligent debate thread followed in the comments section. Check it out if you found that section of PEL’s Locke episode interesting. Some of the better comments in the thread debated […]
On our not-yet-released Russell episode, Wes dismisses Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy as pretty bad overall, but we also comment on that episode that Russell was a great admirer of Locke, so maybe he didn’t do as badly in that part of the book. In any case, some nice gentleman has posted a recording […]
Not all atheists are on board with ‘the four horsemen’ of the New Atheism: Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens. Julian Baggini, podcaster and author of Atheism: A Very Short Introductionpoints out their generally unsophisticated grasp of religion. I met Baggini in New York last December when he came to speak to a small group of […]
On the Locke episode, I invited folks listening to us outside of the U.S. to chime in on the relevance of Locke to their national ideologies (or mythologies). I’ll extend that here to invite general shout-outs from any of you folks out of the country in response to this post. What’s the philosophical climate like […]
Passing on this bit of loveliness. Thanks to Paul, who posted this to our Facebook group. Watch on youtube. -Mark Linsenmayer
An interesting debate. And it continues on Prosblogion. Update: Now that I’ve listened to the whole thing, I have to say Craig is in over his head and Kagan makes minced meat of him. I wish they had been more evenly matched. Update II: Here’s an interesting article by Wes Morriston (who linked to it […]
Friedrich Schleiermacher, a contemporary of Hegel, bought into Kant’s views on ethics and the division between scientific and religious realms, but didn’t like Kant’s ultimate view of religion, i.e. that its only support is an indirect (and really pretty flimsy) appeal to what we have to as a practical matter believe for ethics to really […]
A New York Magazine article about the value of higher education, “The University Has No Clothes” is making the rounds on FB and Twitter. It’s a decent length article that explores the issue in some depth but the thesis boils down to this: a college or university education is a huge investment for a young […]
Discussing John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government (1690).
What makes political power legitimate? Like Hobbes, Locke thinks that things are less than ideal without a society to keep people from killing us, so we implicitly sign a social contract giving power to the state. But for Locke, nature’s not as bad, so the state is given less power. But how much less? And what does Locke think about tea partying, kids, women, acorns, foreign travelers, and calling dibs? The part of Wes is played by guest podcaster Sabrina Weiss.
Discussing John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government (1690). With guest Sabrina Weiss.
This month lots of people are celebrating David Hume’s 300th birthday, including our friends at The Philosopher’s Zone and Philosophy Bites. Both have dedicated a series of podcasts to this most important thinker in our tradition and if you aren’t a Humeophile or don’t know that much about him, I’d definitely recommend checking out their […]