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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.

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 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 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 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 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 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 53: Buddhism and Naturalism with Guest Owen Flanagan

Owen Flanagan

Discussing The Bodhisattva’s Brain: Buddhism Naturalized (2011) with Owen Flanagan. What philosophical insights can we modern folks with our science and naturalism (i.e. inclination against super-natural explanations) glean from Buddhisim? Flanagan says plenty: We can profitably put Buddhist ethics in dialogue with familiar types of virtue ethics. However, we need to be skeptical of any claims to scientific support the superior happiness of Buddhists.

Not School Digest Jan 2013: A Bonus Quasisode

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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.

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.

Precognition of Ep. 95: Gödel

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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).

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.

Episode 119: Nietzsche on Tragedy and the Psychology of Art (Citizen Edition)

Friedrich Niezsche

On Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy (1872), which was his first book. Nietzsche thought that you could tell how vital or decadent a civilization was by its art, and said that ancient Greek tragedy was so great because it was a perfect synthesis of something highly formal/orderly/beautiful with the intuitive/unconscious/chaotic. But then Socrates ruined everything, and it remains ruined! Can we recapture the magic? Probably not. With guest John Castro.

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End song: “Some Act” by Mark Lint and the Fake from “So Whaddaya Think?” (2000)

Episode 119: Nietzsche on Tragedy and the Psychology of Art (Part One)

On Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy (1872). Nietzsche thought that you could tell how vital or decadent a civilization was by its art, and said that ancient Greek tragedy was so great because it was a perfect synthesis of something highly formal/orderly/beautiful with the intuitive/unconscious/chaotic. But then Socrates ruined everything!

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Sponsors: thegreatcourses.com/PEL and St. John’s College Graduate Institute: partiallyexaminedlife.com/sjcgi.

Episode 119: Nietzsche on Tragedy and the Psychology of Art (Part Three)

Friedrich Niezsche

Pt 3 of 3 on Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy on the evils according to Nietzsche of “Socratism,” i.e. scientific optimism: Everything useful, beautiful, and good must be reasonable, fodder for scientific investigation. Why would Greek tragedy show us that this Enlightenment ideal is somehow misguided?

Attend Watch the Aftershow featuring Dr. Greg Sadler and Seth Paskin.

Listen to parts one and two.

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Episode 120: A History of “Will” with Guest Eva Brann (Part One)

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We discuss Un-Willing: An Inquiry into the Rise of Will’’s Power and an Attempt to Undo It (2014) with the author, covering Socrates, Augustine, Aquinas, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Sartre, compatibilism, the neurologists’ critque of free will, and more.

Become a PEL Citizen and get part 2 ad-free now, and be eligible for the 8/3 drawing to win Eva’s book.

Sponsored by St. John’s College Graduate Institute: partiallyexaminedlife.com/sjcgi. Visit pauldrybooks.com and enter “PEL” at check-out for 30% off your order & free U.S. shipping (or $25 max int’l).

Episode 120: A History of “Will” with Guest Eva Brann (Part Two)

Brann

Continuing our dicussion of Un-Willing with the author. We explore and critique Eva’s picture of the less-willfull life and try to figure out how her historically driven account relates to modern debates about free will. Listen to part one first.

Please visit thegreatcourses.com/PEL. Visit pauldrybooks.com and enter “PEL” at check-out for 30% off your order & free U.S. shipping (or $25 max int’l).

Episode 121: Augustine on Being Good (Part One)

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On The Confessions (400 CE), books 1–9. The question is not “What is virtue?” because knowing what virtue is isn’t enough. The problem, for Aurelius Augustinus, aka St. Augustine of Hippo, is doing what you know to be right.

Plus your weekly Not School update with Nathan Hanks.

Don’t wait for part two; get the Citizen edition.

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Episode 122: Augustine on Mind and Metaphysics (Part One)

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Yet more on The Confessions, now on books 10–13.

What is memory and how does it relate to time and being? Augustine thinks that memory is a storehouse, but it contains not just the sensations we put in it, but also (à la Plato’s theory of recollection) all legitimate knowledge. It’s our route to God, to real Being. Mark, Wes, and Dylan also discuss time, language, knowledge, the existence of evil, and more.

Attend the Aftershow on Sun., 9/6 at 3pm!

Don’t wait for part two: Get the Citizen Edition now.

Sponsors: St. John’s College Graduate Institute: partiallyexaminedlife.com/sjcgi and casper.com/pel (enter promo code PEL for $50 off your mattress).

Episode 122: Augustine on Mind and Metaphysics (Part Two)

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Concluding on The Confessions (400 CE), books 10–13. More on memory and how it relates to Plato’s “recollection,” Augustine’s take on will (Do we pursue something we take to be the good per Plato or do we intentionally pursue evil?), what it meeans to live as hooked up with God, and the kinds of answers Augustine gives to tricky questions like the origin of the universe and the nature of time.

Catch the Augustine Aftershow Sunday 9/6 at 3pm Eastern time! You can watch it happening live on YouTube or join its Not School group to attend.

Listen to part one first, and ep. 121 before that.

Please visit thegreatcourses.com/PEL.