Your Feedback Sought Re. Future Seminars

seminar!While we've scheduled our first online seminar on Nietzsche, we've since recorded two other episodes (on Voltaire, which will go up soon, and on No Country for Old Men, which will be a couple of weeks still), and we're already thinking ahead to what we might offer in that respect.

So, speak up. I get the feeling that many of you would rather listen to than sit in on seminars, and we'll keep this under advisement, but our point in offering this is to give folks a chance to get more actively engaged. Pretty much, until you voice your thoughts and have people react to them, you can't really know if you're making sense, which is why PEL is a dialogue instead of a monologue. We're open to offering these on old episodes as well as new ones, or even getting into areas not covered on the podcast, e.g. some of us are very familiar with McCarthy's Blood Meridian, so instead of having a discussion section on No Country for Old Men, we'd tossed around the idea of getting folks together to talk about that.

We're interested in your privacy concerns (we selected AnyMeeting for this first one, meaning you wouldn't be sharing your Skype or Google+ Profiles with your co-participants), how much you'd consider paying (if we cut it down to one PEL guide instead of two, or increased the number of participants to more than 12, or took some other measures, we could lower the entry fee), what topics you'd sign up for, whether you'd be more likely to attend an in-person seminar than an online one, and any other thoughts or requirements you might have regarding this new PEL thing.


  1. Tim says

    I’m actually reading Blood Meridian right now, so I’d definitely be interesting in hearing it discussed (though probably not in participating in the discussion)

  2. deelosofer says

    I’m not planning on doing the reading for the upcoming two episodes lol but I will likely participate in a seminar when a the topic is right! :)

  3. sojan says

    Interested in Blood Meridian for sure. Harold Bloom ranks it in his top 5 best novels of the last century, I believe, and that impresses me at least. I’ve also got an audio of it, which I am not ashamed to admit as I’ve found this to be a highly enjoyable and illuminating way to experience works of fiction, including novels (needless to say IF the reader’s got skills and you like their style).
    No Country for Old Men is not a bad idea either. Fascinating commentary, as usual, from the brilliant Jim Emerson over at his “Scanners” blog on that movie adaptation. (I fear Blood Meridian won’t make the transition to screen so well, btw.)
    Branching out to fiction and various art forms is an excellent idea. Look forward to it.

    I’d say I entirely agree that it is vital to have people to discuss your thoughts with! I damn well know. Going it alone sucks and huge amounts of time are utterly wasted. Philosophy might not always be done with other (living) people but it is better for most us of us people to have other brains to work with together and the history of philosophy shows this to be the case, I think.

    Issues: time -so I don’t know how y’all been about this, but a substantial heads-up is necessary so that I can have time to read the book and have some head space to formulate my questions/issues. And then of course clear my schedule for a meeting.
    Money: this necessarily limits the my activity, which sucks because I think discussions like this are best if done somewhat regularly like physical training or any practice done with the intent to grow/learn for that matter.

    • Tim says

      glad to see someone here mention Jim Emerson – reading his blog (along with David Bordwell’s) has taught me more about film than I learned in all 4 years of film school. and his NCFOM commentary really is some of the best out there. I think fans of PEL who are interested in film would be into it. Jim is obviously very philosophically literate, and he also writes in a style that doesn’t require any previous knowledge of film theory or technical jargon.

      for anyone who’s interested, you can read all of those posts here:
      I recommend starting with this one:

      I think that Bloom ranking may have set me up to expect more from Blood Meridian. I’m enjoying it, for sure, and there are certain passages that are just stunning, but I feel a little let down by the structure of the book. a lot of it feels like a shaggy dog story, and a lot of the scenes seem to repeat themselves without much thematic elaboration over the course of the book (and now there’s another apocalyptic hellscape; and now the Judge is doing some pseudo-mystical shit again; etc…). I know that probably 90% of the allusions and such are going over my head though (all of the gnostic stuff, for instance)

      • sojan says

        Glad to hear it. Couldn’t agree more. I learn so much from Jim Emerson and as he states on his blog, writing about films online gives him an opportunity to write about whatever he wants and to examine, well, everything. It really necessitates it. He would dig Partially Examined Life. That you’ve learned more from Emerson than film school is cool for me to hear (Chuckle).

        PEL, if you all ever discuss movies, invite Jim!

  4. Daniel McKay says

    I would be interested in discussing Heidegger and Blood Meridian, but I neither have much time or $$. I really appreciate the time and work you put into your podcast, and truly wish I had the money to donate to the cause, but right now we are running tight. I think perhaps putting out suggestions for questions regarding past or future podcast episodes may be helpful, and give insight to your audience’s interests.

    I do make periodical journeys to Madison, so if Mark and Dylan wish for a face to face, you can message me and I can try and see if the stars will align…

  5. Robin says

    I love the idea of taking part in a discussion like this, almost as a virtual study group, as there are very few opportunities (generally and locally) to do it in a structured setting. The primary concern I’d have about doing so would be in keeping up with the other folk!

    It would be fascinating to listen in on if not to take part…

  6. Laura says

    This interests me so much. I too find myself too alone in studying philosophy and long for study group. Time is a major issue. I find I am able to listen to your podasts right before bed (currently on Spinoza) but finding the time to read enough of the works is hard–with work and kids (teenagers on top of it)….anyway I would LOVE these seminars–maybe if it were a regular thing then one would have to set schedule to “do the work”–but I know $ is an issue. Anyway I think overall this is a terrific idea. I will try to make the Nietsche seminar tho I, like others, will only want to listen but if you all promise not to laugh, maybe I will say something.

    But really, this is a terrific idea.

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