Name-Dropping: An Apologetic (Mead and the Intersubjective Self)

[Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a listener submission by Adam Arnold, graduate student at the University of Warwick. You too can be a guest blogger.] During the Buddhism Naturalized episode, the guest Owen Flanagan (as well as Mark, not unusually for him) may have dropped more names than in any other podcast. I have this […]

David Burrell on Nietzsche and “Trust”

Stony Brook University’s Templeton Research Lectures series features several lectures from early 2007 by David Burrell, an Emeritus Professor in philosophy and theology from Notre Dame University, as well as a Catholic Priest. His specialty appears to be Medieval Studies, focusing on the ties between the various Abrahamic religions, and the lectures on Maimonides and […]

The Problem with Academia Today: Corporatism, Not Identity Politics

Andrew Delbanco, author of his own book on what ails today’s university, gives the thumbs down to another critique that tilts at feminists and queer theorists: The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind. Delbanco is sympathetic to the notion that identity politics has taken its toll on […]

A Personal Philosophy for Michael the Belgian Beer Connoisseur

This Personal Philosophy was commissioned by a Ms. Jennifer Dorsey for her friend Michael S. for his birthday. Apparently, he likes Nietzsche and Belgian Beer. You can have one too if you’re into that kind of thing. A Personal Philosophy for Michael the Belgian Beer Connoisseur* Did you know that according to Herodotus, the ancient […]

Robert Solomon on Nietzsche on Truth

For another take on Nietzsche’s theory of truth, here’s a lecture from Prof. Robert Solomon, one of the stars of The Great Courses series. Solomon describes Nietzsche’s concept of truth as perspectivist rather than relativist. (Though, unlike Rick Roderick, Solomon is willing to concede that other Nietzsche interpreters have — rightly or wrongly — gone farther.) […]

Fake Nietzsche Live and Insane

Jessica in our Nietzsche on truth episode did a good job making Nietzsche sound nice and sane. On this episode of the Dead Authors Podcast (a Paul F. Tompkins vehicle performed live on stage), comedian/impressionist James Adomian portrays him as certifiably insane. It appears that some research went into this faux interview (which also features […]

“Be Reasonable!”

I wanted to expand a bit on the critique of reason as mentioned in my previous post on Rand, and readers should keep in mind that this is chiefly a response to a strain I’ve picked up on in popular culture which may or may not accurately capture anything Rand actually said (though it does […]

Contemporary Neuroscience and Free Will

Contemporary neuroscience is not a challenge to free will, according to Eddy Nahmias: Most scientists who discuss free will say the story has an unhappy ending—that neuroscience shows free will to be an illusion. I call these scientists “willusionists.” … Willusionists say that neuroscience demonstrates that we are not the authors of our own stories […]

Rick Roderick on Nietzsche on Truth and Lie

As usual, Rick Roderick proves to be a great go-to guy on Nietzsche.  In this series of videos (one lecture put together by Daniel Horne), he takes on the accusation that Nietzsche is taking a relativist stance towards truth, or as it can be labeled, a ‘perspectivist’ stance.  Roderick does an (as usual excellent) exposition […]

Will PEL Ever Do an Ayn Rand Episode?

We get this question often enough that I thought a general announcement that I could refer back to in the future might be in order. What’s said here is my take and shouldn’t be taken to speak for Wes, Seth, or Dylan. I recognize the cultural influence of Ayn Rand and that it would be […]

Nietzsche, Pragmatism and the Fact-Value Distinction

[From David Buchanan, frequent blog and Facebook contributor and participant in our ZAMM episode.  See if that doesn’t make sense after reading this.] Richard Rorty opened one of his talks by pointing out that as Europeans see it, Pragmatism is just what the Americans could get out of Nietzsche. This joke suggests that there are […]

Scientism and Scientific Sensationalism

Not long after I wrote this post linking to Isaac Chotiner’s negative review of Johah Lehrer’s Imagine and its “fetishization of brain science,” Lehrer was forced to resign from The New Yorker for fabricating Bob Dylan quotes. A lot has been written about the meaning of Lehrer’s transgression; but I was bothered less by the distortion of relatively […]

Episode 61: Nietzsche on Truth and Skepticism

Friedrich Niezsche

On Friedrich Nietzsche’s “On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense” (1873). What is truth? This essay, written early in Nietzsche’s career, is taken by many to make the extreme claim that there is no truth, that all of the “truths” we tell each other are just agreements by social convention. WIth guest Jessica Berry, who argues that that Nietzsche is a skeptic: our “truths” don’t correspond with the world beyond our human conceptions; all knowledge is laden with human interests. Learn more.

End song: “Stupidly Normal,” from Mark Lint & the Fake Johnson Trio (1998).

The Veil of Opulence

Benjamin Hale sum up why it is Americans end up voting for policies that actually thwart their interests: they make decisions about justice according to a “veil of opulence,” the opposite of the “veil of ignorance” advocated by Rawls: Those who don the veil of opulence may imagine themselves to be fantastically wealthy movie stars or […]

Sailing Philosophy

Every August for the past ten years my family and I have spent a couple of weeks on a smallish lake in northwest Michigan. I say small, but it’s about 1800 acres, plenty big for most purposes, if tiny compared to the big water of Lake Michigan just five miles away. Most every afternoon the […]

Our Negative Incapability: Optimism, Knowingness, and American Exceptionalism

In light of our recent recording on Voltaire’s Candide (to be published in a few weeks), I’ve been thinking lately about the role of optimism in contemporary American culture (Candide critiques a kind of optimism in vogue at Voltaire’s time that he associated with Leibniz’ “best of all possible worlds” theory). A recent piece by Oliver Burkeman defends negative […]

Nietzsche and the “Death of God.”

Nietzsche tattoo on

In connection with Episode 61, I submit the following discussion by The Big Ideas podcast concerning Nietsche’s famous but often misunderstood claim that “God is dead.” The several participants in the discussion each address Nietzsche’s pronouncement from different angles. Giles Fraser argues that the “God is dead” revelation is that humanity can only become free […]

Bertrand Russell on Aristotle’s Politics

Listen on YouTube. Like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate. Even so, Bertrand Russell’s prose is entertaining enough to make this audio chapter on Aristotle’s Politics a worthwhile supplement to PEL’s Politics episode. -Daniel Horne

A Personal Philosophy for Kevin the Nice Canadian

This here Personal Philosophy was commissioned by a Mr. John Williamson for his brother Kevin on the occasion of his birthday. You too can order one for yourself, a friend, a loved one, enemy, celebrity, co-worker, someone you want to do, and/or your pet. Why would you delay in doing this? I can imagine no […]

The Christlike Subversiveness of Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”

In 1979, John Cleese and Michael Palin had a debate about Monty Python’s film The Life of Brian with two defenders of the Christian faith  — one an English bishop. The question is whether the film’s parody of institutionalized religion and religious hypocrisy amounts to ridiculing the personage of Jesus and Christianity in general.

Philosophy and the Gender Gap

Gender gap at Education Next

[From Chris Mullen, frequent blog and Facebook contributor] A few days ago I was reading an interview in 3 A.M. Magazine with the philosopher Elizabeth Anderson. The second question of the interview turned to the “..the treatment of women in professional philosophy.” 3:AM: Why is academic philosophy seemingly a worse place for women than in […]

The Negation of the Negation or Detecting the Truth

Columbo from the Ultimate Columbo site

[From Douglas Lain – see biographical note below for more details about Doug!] In Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit there is a procedure to which Hegel subjects every positive proposition called dissolution.  This process or procedure of dissolution doesn’t belong to Hegel alone.  In fact, the Phenomenology seems to be Hegel’s attempt to demonstrate how all the […]

The Science of Storytelling

Adam Gopnik reviews yet another attempt to apply evolutionary psychology to the humanities — Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal — and finds it wanting: It is one thing to think that psychology may solve problems that baffle philosophy or criticism; it well may. But to think that the invocation of empirical studies on a subject frees […]

Eco Locating Meaning

 Every now and then you find something that is, on the one hand, unexpected. The thought of it hadn’t occurred to you, neither as a fact found through the memes of popular culture nor as an extrapolation from your current knowledge. On the other hand, the discovery isn’t so much a surprise as simply new […]

Norm Schultz (Mile High Sanity Project) on Aristotle’s Ethics

In preparation for our Aristotle Politics episode, I checked out a new semi-philosophy podcast called the Mile High Sanity Project, as they had an episode on Aristotle’s ethics. I say “semi-philosophy,” because the podcast is made up of three guys in different disciplines. They trade off being the lead guy on episodes, so the philosophy […]