About the Podcasters


Mark Linsenmayer has lived in Madison, WI since 2000, has two kids

, and works from home writing about transportation research. He’s got a band called New People, a big catalog of work with previous bands, and dabbles in fiction (read this). When in grad school for philosophy, he mostly studied continental philosophy and philosophy of mind, with interests in phenomenology and explanations of consciousness. He more recently taught an ethics course for several semesters at Lakeland College.

After growing up as an Air Force brat Seth Paskin went to Reed College in Portland, OR for undergrad and UT @ Austin in 1992 for grad school. Taking a leave of absence from his dissertation he never went back and has spent 16 years in various roles in the technology industry. Seth is strongly committed to the Austin community, previously serving on the Board of an offender re-entry NGO and currently on the Advisory Board of African Leadership Bridge. In grad school he focused on German philosophy, particularly Martin Heidegger and spent some time looking at the intersection of Jewish and Western thought.

HeadshotWes Alwan (wes@partiallyexaminedlife.com) lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he works at home as a writer and researcher. Born in Savannah, GA, he spent part of his childhood in England and Ireland, and has also lived in Maryland, Texas, Manhattan, Maine, and Virginia. In grad school he focused on Ancient philosophy and then Kant and Nietzsche. For his undergraduate degree he attended a small liberal arts (“great books”) school in Annapolis Maryland, called St. John’s college, where he studied the history of science and mathematics, philosophy, and comparative literature.

Dylan Casey studied physics and political philosophy as an undergrad at Michigan State University and experimental high energy particle physics as a graduate student at the University of Rochester, working primarily on the Dzero experiment at Fermilab in Illinois. For the past ten years he’s been on the faculty at St. John’s College. He has abiding interests in pragmatism, field theory, and the notion of authority. He’s currently on leave, living in Middleton, WI, doing research in radiation therapy delivery. He’s also Mark’s brother-in-law. Dylan is the newest “regular” on the ‘cast, but appeared as a guest as far back as episode 13.


Alan Cook is the managing editor for the Partially Examined Life blog. He has an B.A. from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin. In long-term recovery from a forced conversion to analytic philosophy, he lives, works, and writes in Austin, Texas.



We include guest participants on many of our episodes, and can often rope those folks into contributing to this blog as well. To learn about any of these people, just do a search on this site to find the episode the person appeared on, which will typically link to his or her blog or other web page. If you would like to appear on the ‘cast and/or contribute to the blog, you can pitch yourself to us via e-mail.




  1. Chris Pieper

    June 2, 2014

    Hey guys,

    I love your podcast, and wish you had your own NPR show. I can’t think of a better service to democracy (and society generally) than an entertaining and well-prepared discussion of philosophy in the public sphere.

    I’m a sociologist and benefit enormously from your unpacking of much of the continental philosophy that ultimately gave rise to the social theory we use every day. I wonder if you would consider an episode (or series) on mainstream social theorists, such as Anthony Giddens (influenced by Wittgenstein), Jurgen Habermas (Kant and Marx), or even a classical guy like Emile Durkheim?

    Thanks for your excellent, and Wes — I am so envious of sonorous baritone voice. I hope you are able to make money off that one day. :)

    Keep up the great work!


    • Profile photo of Mark Linsenmayer

      Mark Linsenmayer

      June 2, 2014

      Hi, Chris,

      We’ve long had at least Durkheim on the list to cover, and Habermas too. It’d be nice to have a real sociologist as a guest for one of those… shoot me an email if you’re interested.

      Thanks, -Mark

      • Dave Seiver

        October 13, 2014

        I’d love to be on the show if you ever need a REAL amateur philosopher and a professional chemical engineer on the show. Doubt that combo would ever be needed, but if the subject of refining, gasoline, or anything mundane as that is needed, I’m your man. I will say that I think Thoreau stole my theory on how useless it is to focus on news and current events. If he was still around, I would so be sueing that guy….! :)

        • Profile photo of Mark Linsenmayer

          Mark Linsenmayer

          October 14, 2014

          Is there a philosophical work in the area of chemistry that would be good for us to cover?

          • David Seiver

            March 15, 2015

            I noticed you replied to my post back in 2014, sorry I never followed-up. I’m not sure of any particular philosophy applicable to chemistry where I would be of any value above Dylan. Just wanted to say I love your podcast and appreciate your insights. I have one philosophical view which I’m sure is not novel but can’t find out which philosopher might have elaborated on “you can’t have the good without the bad”. To me this is a very fundamental philosophical concept that has huge implications. If you could take up this concept more fully, I’d love to help financially sponsor that episode.

          • Profile photo of Dylan Casey

            Dylan Casey

            March 16, 2015

            One of the nicest I’ve read is “The Periodic Table: Its Story and Its Significance” by Scerri. Gives a nice history with a lot of thought of the philosophical evolution of the table

    • Dave Seiver

      October 13, 2014

      Agree they need their own NPR show!

      • David Seiver

        March 15, 2015

        Teknon, I found that as well, on the philosophy of chemistry but did not find anything that compelling. Thanks though.

  2. Dren Suljevic

    September 2, 2014

    Hi all,

    I am totally hooked on your PEL podcasts, it is the best thing on the internet by far (except for porn and gambling). I am doing a long distance mixed degree focusing mainly on philosophy and I’ve found your podcasts extremely helpful and insightful, particularly the ones on Hume and Locke.

    It’s a shame that you guys don’t have a more mainstream exposure and enable the average zombie on the street to get engaged with philosophical thinking. Compared to some of the shite regularly consumed by the masses today, PEL would really be a welcome and a refreshing change.

    Keep up the good work guys!!


  3. Marc van Oostendorp

    September 6, 2014

    Greetings from the Netherlands! I discovered your podcast just a few weeks ago, and am not working my way through your archives. You have already done a few things on language every once in a while (I am a linguist); maybe it would be interesting for you to have a look one day at the work of Noam Chomsky. The Journal of Philosophy had a special issue (December 2013) with three lectures in which Chomsky summarizes his positions underlying both his work on language and that on politics. It’s available for free at http://www.journalofphilosophy.org/

  4. Kristoffer

    September 25, 2014

    I downloaded the first few podcasts and thoroughly enjoyed them. Thank you for making philosophy accessible, down-to-earth, and fun. It feels like I’m just hanging out with friends talking about cool topics. Thanks again.


  5. Nat Sheehan

    November 3, 2014

    Hey guys.
    Ive been a fan for a while now and really appreciate all your efforts.
    Hope you and your families have a great Christmas.
    Boonah, Australia

  6. Christopher

    November 4, 2014

    I’m a new listener who’s been working through the archives. Love the podcast.

    First, I want to second the request for a Chomsky episode, and the recent Journal of Philosophy issue mentioned in a above comment seems a perfect place to start.

    Also, an episode on John Searle would be great. I especially recommend his excellent, recent book Making the Social World: The Structure of Human Civilization.

    Another fantastic book for an episode would be Paul Boghossian’s Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism.

    And finally, please consider an episode on Charles Mills’ important book, The Racial Contract. I think you guys could get a lot of mileage out of this text.

    I’ll cut the recommendations here and keep listening. Thanks again guys!

  7. Christie

    November 19, 2014

    Would be nice to hear a woman’s voice on this podcast….

    • Profile photo of Mark Linsenmayer

      Mark Linsenmayer

      March 15, 2015

      If you look through the back episodes you’ll see that we’ve had several female guests (on Locke, our 2nd Kant, feminism, Foucault, science advisers, skepticism, neurophilosophy, our 2nd Nietzsche, and I’m probably forgetting some).

  8. Profile photo of Tom Kerns

    Tom Kerns

    November 21, 2014

    Any chance of you guys doing a session on Paul Tillich’s The Courage To Be, one of my favorite books of all time?


  9. Dino E.

    December 2, 2014

    Hey guys.

    I just want to say how academically and practically life-changing your podcast has been to me. Ground rules or none, I think you guys provide an invaluable service to those doing philosophy within the world of academia, and to those who don’t but just have a genuine appreciation and enthusiasm for the field. On behalf of so many who see the value of philosophy, thank you.

    By the way, I especially enjoyed the episodes on Wittgenstein and Kuhn. I was wondering if you guys could do an episode on Wittgenstein’s “On Certainty”….

    Anyway, more power to you guys.

  10. Profile photo of Victoria Adams

    Victoria Adams

    December 3, 2014

    I listen to you a lot when I drive from Washington DC down to North Carolina to see my daughter. I come bubbling full of ideas and ready to talk and am dismissed by the certainty of a 25 year old artist. You are a wonderful break from the long I-81. Especially loved the Hegel podcast – felt I finally started to get it. I also really enjoy your sense of humor. Very, very good. Keep up the good work.

  11. Matt Thompson

    January 18, 2015

    Congrats to you guys for your excellent discussions. They are really fresh – wonderful having the range of attitudes instead of one lecturer – and they help a lot in getting into material I’d otherwise struggle to read (given that there are only so many hours in the day for reading the often turgid prose of people who aren’t Nietzsche or (late) Freud).

    While gardening yesterday I listed to your podcasts on Emerson and then Sartre, whom I have my doubts about.

    I’m in Australia and discovering the Partially Examined Life has been a tonic. There was a guy here called Alan Saunders who had a PhD in philosophy and thought and spoke very well in hosting a philosophy show on ABC Radio National, but he died abruptly and couldn’t really be replaced. So it’s been a real bummer but now I’ve found PEL, so do us all a favour and don’t die abruptly anytime soon.

    I’m coming at this as someone who left newspaper journalism (the Sydney Morning Herald) to write philosophically-driven reportage. My last book, “Running with the Blood God”, is inspired by Freud’s “Civilization and its Discontents” along with Nietzsche’s concepts of the free-spirit and the “philosopher of the future”. Starting in Iran during the crackdown of 2009 and winding up in Portland, Oregon, I travelled around spending time with people pushing back against social limits.

    The reason I went from totalitarianism to freewheeling Portland (via Serbia, Kosovo, and the Philippines) was to see what happens to the human spirit when overt oppression and danger are lifted – so much gravitas and dignity comes out of resistance, so what are we when you can do what you like? Is life then relatively childish? I did find a remarkable free-spirit in Portland, but it took some work to get to the real thing beneath all the people in free-spirit costumes.

    Have you guys had anything to do with Alexander Nehamas? His books are like fine wine to me.

  12. Profile photo of younghee lowrie

    younghee lowrie

    March 31, 2015

    thanks for the great work, I have enjoyed your pod casts and am a big pusher of your work to all my friends and as well as social media friends. I think I annoy people immensely with pushing you guys. I often down load lectures and go on long solo- rock climbing journeys. If I blow the solo, know that your voices will be the last ones I hear. hahah ps. easy on Lacan.

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