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Episode 116: Freud on Dreams (Citizen Edition)

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On Sigmund Freud’s On Dreams (1902), a bit of The Interpretation of Dreams (1899), and the lecture, “Revision of the Theory of Dreams” (1933).

Are dreams just a bunch of random crap? Freud says, no, they’re actually the first and best way to figure out the structure of the mind, which (surprise) involves the unconscious and how repressed, anti-social desires get (sort of) revealed to us, albeit smashed together through chains of association with what seems like random crap. How can Freud support such a view? Is it science? What are its implications for our capacity to philosophize?

End song: “Sleep” by Mark Lint.

Precognition of Ep. 95: Gödel

Precognition

Guest Adi Habbu lays out Kurt Gödel’s famous incompleteness theorems and describes some highlights from “Some Basic Theorems on the Foundations of Mathematics and their Implications” (1951) and “The Modern Development of the Foundations of Mathematics in Light of Philosophy” (1961).

Not School Digest #4: Sartre, Heidegger, Zizek, Marx, and Theater

Not School

Excerpts from PEL podcaster & listener discussions on Sartre’s Nausea, Heidegger’s “The Question Concerning Technology,” Slavoj Zizek’s Year of Dreaming Dangerously, Marx and Engels’s “Communist Manifesto,” Peter Schaffer’s play Equus, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Sunset Limited: A Novel in Dramatic Form. Plus an interview with Hillary Sydlowski, leader of the Not School Introductory Readings in Philosophy Group.

Not School Digest Jan 2013: A Bonus Quasisode

Not School

Excerpts of discussions about Deleuze & Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, an article on emergence called “More Is Different” by Nobel Prize Winning physicist P.W. Anderson, John Searle’s Mind: A Brief Introduction, and Italo Calvino’s trippy science fantasy novel Cosmicomics.

Episode 30: Schopenhauer on Explanations and Knowledge (Citizens Only)

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Discussing Arthur Schopenhauer’s On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, published in 1847 (as an expansion of his doctoral thesis from 1813). What kinds of explanations are legitimate? S. thought that causal and logical explanations are often confused, resulting in philosophical errors. In laying out the four types of explanation — the four versions of the principle of sufficient reason — he clearly elaborates his modernized Kantian epistemology.

End song: “The Answer,” by New People from Impossible Things (2011)

Episode 29: Kierkegaard on the Self (Citizens Only)

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Discussing Soren Kierkegaard’s “The Sickness Unto Death” (1849). What is the self? or K. we are a tension between opposites: necessity and possibility, the finite and the infinite, soul and body. With guest Daniel Horne.

End song: “John T. Flibber” by the MayTricks from Happy Songs Will Bring You Down (1994)

Episode 27: Nagarjuna on Buddhist “Emptiness” (Citizens Only)

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Primarily discussing “Reasoning: The Sixty Stanzas” and “Emptiness: The Seventy Stanzas,” by the 2nd century Indian Buddhist Nagarjuna. Is the world of our experience ultimately real? If not, does it have something metaphysically basic underlying it? For Nagarjuna, the answers are “no” and “no… well… not that we can talk about.” With guest Erik Douglas.

End song: “Nothing in this World” by by Mark Lint.

Episode 24: Spinoza on God and Metaphysics (Citizens Only)

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Discussing Spinoza’s Ethics (1677), books 1 and 2. God is everything, therefore the world is God as apprehended through some particular attributes, namely insofar as one of his aspects is infinite space (extension, i.e. matter) and insofar as one of his aspects is mind (our minds being chunks or “modes” of the big God mind).

End song: “Spiritual Insect,” by Mark Lint and the Fake from So Whaddaya Think? (2000).

Episode 22: More James’s Pragmatism: Is Faith Justified? What is Truth? (Citizens Only)

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On William James’s “The Will to Believe,” and continuing our discussion on James’s conception of truth as described in his books Pragmatism and The Meaning of Truth. Does pragmatism give ground for religious belief, like if it feels good for me to believe in God, can that justify belief? Is belief in science or rationality itself a form of faith?

End song: “Who Cares What You Believe?” by Madison Lint (2001).

Episode 20: Pragmatism – Peirce and James (Citizens Only)

C.S. Peirce

On Pragmatism (1907) by William James and “The Fixation of Belief” (1877) and “How to Make Our Ideas Clear” (1878) by Charles Sanders Peirce. Is truth a primitive relation between our representations and things objectively in the world, or is it an analyzable process by which propositions “prove their worth” by being useful in some way, like by fitting well with other portions of our experience or being delicious?

End Song: “Friend” by Mark Lint and the Fake Johnson Trio (1998)

Episode 18: Plato: What Is Knowledge? (Citizens Only)

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Discussing Plato’s Theatetus and Meno. In the Theaetetus, Plato considers and rejects a series of mostly very lame conceptions of knowledge and replaces them at the end with… NOTHING. In the Meno, knowledge is “remembrance” (maybe).”

End song: “Obvious Boy,” by Mark Lint and the Fake from So Whaddaya Think? (2000).

Episode 16: Danto on Art (Citizens Only)

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Discussing three essays by Arthur Danto from The Philosophical Disenfranchisement of Art (1986): the title essay, “The Appreciation and Interpretation of Works of Art,” and “The End of Art.” I understand you may not have heard of Danto, and you may think modern art is goofy, but you’ll definitely enjoy this discussion and the reading anyway. Note that Danto listened to this episode and liked it.

End song: “This Night Before the End” by Mark Lint and the Simulacra.