Nationalism has a bad reputation. Varieties of nationalist thought have been responsible for many of the horrors of the last century. Nonetheless, important philosophers and political theorists have made the cases that more reasoned forms of nationalism can provide credible theoretical justification for determining the boundaries between those within a political community and those outside of it.
Continuing on the Nichomachean Ethics, bks 6–7. More on intellectual virtues (like nous or rational intuition), plus we finally get to weakness of the will (akrasia), which is much better than simply being a jerk with wrong moral beliefs.
Sponsors: Get your free month of The Great Courses Plus at thegreatcoursesplus.com/PEL. Also, check out Gulf Breeze Recovery at www.gulfbreezerecovery.com. Come to Stoicon (Wes will be there!) on Oct. 15 in NY. See howtobeastoic.org/stoicon.
Tyler (editor of this podcast!) can rap endlessly, and has filled up ten albums with his machine-gun musings on life and politics. A great intro to indie hip-hop for the ignorant (like me)!
Songs: “Negative Space,” “Long Way Down,” and “Ciphers” (feat Grimm) from Long Way Down (2015), and “Kids of the Earth” from Quest for Meaning (2008).
Hear more at soundcloud.com/sacrifice.
People from opposing ends of the political spectrum claim Jesus as their own. But is Jesus’s moral philosophy broad in scope, such that it includes a political morality, or narrower, consisting only of private virtues?
A look at performance artist Marina Abramović might shed some light on the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas.
On the Nichomachean Ethics (ca. 350 BCE), books 6–7. Is intelligence just one thing? Aristotle picks out a number of distinct faculties, some of which are relevant to ethics, and he uses these to explain Plato’s puzzle of how someone can clearly see what the good for him is, and yet fail to pursue it due to weakness of the will.
Sean writes music for video games. He uses five computers, with massively realistic orchestra sounds, and he performs every part with a breath controller for expression.
We discuss “Beyond the Desert” (from Empires Apart), “Mega Adventure Time” (from Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Game for Gear VR), and “Celestial Light” (from Stellar Wanderer).
We conclude by listening to a non-video-game tune, “Salve Regina” featuring Fr. Gabriel. Opening music is “Dr. Evil’s Lair of Doom.”
A look at how poverty was valued, in connection to virtue and to justice, within Jesus’s philosophy.
What is infinite responsibility? And can we live with it?
Concluding Levinas’s Time and the Other (1948), in which we talk about the present being freedom, before there’s even a will! Also: being encumbered by your own body, relating to the world as nourishment, and getting over yourself through good lovin.’
Jesus’s continued critique of the imperial economic system identifies what immoral uses of money look like.
Grab your hats: PEL will be doing a live recording at Brown University on October 27, 2016.
More Levinas, working this time through Time and the Other (1948).
What is it for a person to exist? What individuates one person from another, making us into selves instead of just part of the causal net of events? Why would someone possibly think that these are real, non-obvious questions that need to be addressed? Levinas gives us a phenomenological progression from the “there is,” terrifyingly undifferentiated Being, to becoming an individual through “hypostasis,” which is becoming an existent through a voyage out to the world and back to oneself. But this existing makes us solitary, not only in this weird ontological sense of being a distinct thing, but in a concrete, emotional sense. Overcoming this requires grasping the Other as a real Other, not as an object to fulfill our desires or get in our way. Really understanding this at our core takes some doing, and in the process, we gain a mature sense of time and of death, so, good for us!
Jesus’s critique of the imperial economic system presents an idea of how money can be used morally.
So, you think Lolita was Nabokov’s best? We humbly submit a solid contender. Structured as a 999-line poem followed by an extensive afterword and index, Pale Fire has been described by the critic Harold Bloom as “the surest demonstration of [Nabokov’s] genius…”
Check out more episodes and be sure to subscribe at phificpodcast.com.
Researchers at MIT are pooling our moral intuitions, and we need to talk about it.
Paulo Freire’s pedagogical philosophy was premised upon a notion of not just what it means to be human, but also what it means for humans to be incomplete beings, subjects in a dialectical relationship with the objective world, or social order, that shapes and yet can also be consciously transformed by us.
Continuing on “Ethics as First Philosophy” (1984) and other essays. We try to complete Levinas’s story on how revealing the flawed, aggressive character of our culture and personal attitudes can lead us to recognition of the ethical demand of the Other.
Listen to part 1 first, or get the ad-free Citizen Edition. Go “Share” the post for this episode on our Facebook page and we’ll send you the mp3 to our old Heidegger ep and you could win a free month of PEL Citizenship. Please support PEL!
Wes Alwan will be at STOICON 2016, an annual meeting of people interested in exploring Stoicism as a philosophy of life. You should come too.
It seems that an explanation is one kind of thing, given that all explanations share a name. The popular approach to scientific explanation is to treat all successful explanation as giving information about the relevant cause or causes of the phenomenon to be explained. But if we look to the natural and social sciences, we find explanations that look quite different. What scientists call “explanations” differ with respect to the form and structure of the explanation and with respect to the information given. Given that in many sciences there are explanations that refer explicitly to the function of a phenomenon and not its cause, we should ask: are functional explanations just another way of giving causal information, or are they noncausal?