Our Texas Profs Revisited

Galen of Pergamon from apexbeat.com

We have on occasion had reason to call attention to our former professors and colleagues from UT.  Yesterday I was hit with a blast from the past when I heard R.J. “Jim” Hankinson interviewed on The History of Philosophy podcast.  He was, of course, talking about Galen.  I’m pretty sure he’s the world expert on […]

Alan Watts on Buddhist and Christian Mythographies

Watch on YouTube. I liked the meta-discussion that kicked off the second PEL naturalized Buddhism episode, specifically on what knowledge we gain by assessing the supernatural “rules” contained within “religious” Buddhism. Even after rejecting a supernaturalist stance, there’s value in reviewing the form of life revealed within Buddhism’s supernatural tenets. In that spirit, I enjoyed Boddhisatva’s Brain most for its […]

What Does Depth Mean in Buddhism?

I’m writing this as an open letter to the DharmaRealm guys, but am hoping to garner some responses to this question from Buddhism fans of various stripes. To say someone is “deep” typically means that the person thinks long and hard about philosophical problems. It’s not a term that philosophers themselves tend to use about […]

Timothy Brennan On Baruch Spinoza and Giambattista Vico

[Editor’s Note: Here’s a post by Chris Mullen, one of our frequent Facebook group posters.] Not too long ago I purchased a cheaply priced, used copy of Vico’s The New Science, which I recently started to read (there are two things in life that I can always find justification for spending money on: beer and […]

Stephen Batchelor and Treatment of Magic on Buddhist Podcasts

In preparation for our Flanagan discussions, I listened to several episodes of both The Secular Buddhist and Buddhist Geeks. I still don’t feel like I’ve really at bottom decided what I think of either of them, but both have articulate hosts and interview lots of people apparently big in the Western Buddhist community (I can’t […]

More Voices on Buddhism and Science

If the dialogue between Buddhism and American intellectuals like Owen Flanagan is part of a fashionable trend, then it has to be one of the longest lasting fads in history. Henry David Thoreau published the Lotus Sutra in the first issue of The Dial in 1844. William James was absorbing Transcendentalist ideas at the family […]

The Fantastic in Literature and Philosophy

I’ve written a couple of posts in the past on philosophical themes in Tolkien (Incidentally, there’s a thread going at the Philosophy Forums/Online Philosophy Club discussing philosophical themes in Lord of the Rings right now), and had fun going off on the supernaturalism tangent on our last episode, even though I don’t see the force […]

Erik R. Douglas, RIP

Erik was the very first PEL guest participant, acting as our more-knowledgeable-than-we-about-Eastern-philosophy go-to guy, and was actually one of those I’d spoken to before launching the podcast altogether as a potential host, but I thought that having to adjust to his British time zone would complicate things too much. Here he is on our Taoism […]

Zen and the Brain

Watch on Vimeo One way to naturalize Buddhism is to discern the moral lessons it might offer after shedding its metaphysics. Another way is to scrutinize the physiological effects of its practices. As Owen Flanagan explained on PEL’s first “naturalized Buddhism” episode, not all Buddhist sects practice meditation. But of course, many do, particularly within the […]

A Personal Philosophy for Lucy Lawless

Longtime readers may recall a flurry of so-called Personal Philosophies let loose from this site ’round the end of old ’10. While every one of these was cherished and beloved and wrapped in a special extra-thick paper and put in the bottom of an ornate chest and filed under “H” for “heirloom,” that does not […]

Some Questions on Buddhism and Science

Check out this video: Buddhism and Science: A Brief History from The Berkley Center. Often reading Buddhism into science and vice-versa can be very misleading. This talk by Thupten Jinpa is in dialogue with David Lopez’s excellent book, Buddhism and Science: A Guide For the Perplexed. Dr. Jinpa pretty much states the historical Tibetan relationship […]

Philosophy of Race through Comedy

[Editor’s Note: This post is a follow-up on some of the discussion near the end of ep. 52.] I have often found that great comedy can be deeply philosophical. Wittgenstein once said that one could write a substantial work of philosophy consisting only of jokes. This is certainly true when it comes to philosophy of […]

America’s Epidemic of Enlightened Racism

John Derbyshire has been fired from the National Review for an openly racist column on how white people should advise their children with respect to “blacks”: for the most part, avoid them. Because on the whole, they are unintelligent, antisocial, hostile, and dangerous. Or as he puts it, avoid “concentrations of blacks” or places “swamped with […]

Topic for #55/#56: Wittgenstein on Language

Over two episodes, we discussed Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations,Part I, sections 1-133 and 191-360. Here’s a version from the web. The full crew was present along with Philosophy Bro for episode 55, and that group minus Seth (who went to Portugal) was there for #56. The Investigations was published posthumously in 1953; book one was […]

Naturalized Phenomenology?

Here’s a conference-lecture by Dan Zahavi (of the “Center for Subjectivity Research” at the University of Copenhagen/Danish National Research Foundation) that asks whether it’s a good idea to try to “naturalize” phenomenology. Watch on YouTube. He distinguishes early on what Flanagan means by phenomenology (referring to Owen by name), i.e. reports on what things seem […]