Reviewage

Jan 312014
 

About half way through the BBC’s 1962 production of No Exit, I started rewriting it in my head. The reason? I got tired of watching the same four white-washed walls, the same three benches, and the same half-dozen paintings which make up the film’s only set. Yes, I know, it’s based on a play, but Read more…

Jan 272014
 
Win $20k from Sam Harris

Think back a few years. If you frequented The Partially Examined Life during that time, you’ll remember the heated debate inspired by Sam Harris’s The Moral Landscape (TML).The arguments in posts and comment sections across the blogosphere eventually took on a particularly impressive rancor. The ambient controversy helped land Harris on The Daily Show with Read more…

Jan 082014
 
Kuhn, Black Swans, and Antifragility

Late into the recent episode about Thomas Kuhn, the conversation settled into the apparent threat of relativism looming in Kuhn’s ideas. This led to a tone of “been there, done that,” especially in highlighting the psychological reality of the confirmation bias. This isn’t a term used directly during the episode, but it captures precisely what was Read more…

Jan 042014
 
“Liquid Surveillance As Post-Panoptic”

Back in the Foucault episode, the PEL gentlemen and guest Katie McIntyre explored the concept of the panopticon. Their discussion stuck pretty closely to Foucault’s text, and current day surveillance only came up briefly, but we heard plenty about it throughout the rest of 2013.  There’s the ongoing NSA saga, the encroaching “internet of things”(for Read more…

Dec 272013
 
Strange Bedfellows? Kuhn & Intelligent Design

[From Seth Crownover, Friend of the Podcast] If we got anything from the last episode it’s that Thomas Kuhn is sort of a big deal and for good reason. His picture of scientific progress as a human rather than divine endeavor is, it seems to me, plainly true in a general sense if not in all Read more…

Dec 222013
 
Is Rawls' Difference Principle Egalitarian?

[From PEL Citizen and friend of the podcast Roy Spence] The publication of John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice in the early 1970s led welfare economists to derive various interpretations of the Rawls’ second principle of justice, generally known as the “difference principle.  By way of background, a primary objective of “welfare economics” is to provide Read more…

Nov 232013
 
Nietzsche the Hydra

[Editor's Note: Thanks to Randall Miron for this post. Randall's a long-time audio editor of ours and has been helping edit blog posts here recently as well.] In his short book Nietzsche, subtitled “Nietzsche’s Voices,” Ronald Hayman argues that, “Like Kierkegaard, who made copious use of pseudonyms and personae, Nietzsche was exploring his ambivalence.” This Read more…

Oct 272013
 
You Can’t Talk About Zen: A Discussion of Zen

[A post from Jason Durso] The popular understanding of Zen philosophy is that it is painfully frustrating, contrived and lies outside the realm of rational discourse. Rather than offering some sort of platform for discussion or some set of assertions which can be systematically analyzed and negotiated into a personal system of meaning the proponents Read more…

Oct 192013
 
The Subject: A Brief History

[A post from Michael Burgess.  This reiterates some of the first half of our Popper episode.] The Cartesian subject, the “I” of the “I think”, sits apart from the world, receiving it. Descartes’ 17th Century inheritors, the British Empiricists took “the world” to be little more than a series of sense perceptions, perhaps perceptions of something Read more…

Sep 282013
 
The Jung and the Restless

…I cannot outline the spiritual problems of modern man without giving emphasis to the yearning for rest that arises in a period of unrest… It is from need and distress that new forms of life take their rise, and not from mere wishes or from the requirements of our ideals.” When Carl Jung’s Modern Man Read more…

Sep 232013
 
Robert Skidelsky on Work

Robert Skidelsky in How Much is Enough?: Money and the Good Life (2012) uses a 1930 essay from John Maynard Keynes (which you can read here) as a jumping-off point to argue, like Bergmann, that productivity gains enabled by past technological advances make it totally reasonable that we now should be working fewer hours than Read more…

Aug 152013
 
The Truth (and some lies) About Art

“A bad work of art is an oxymoron,” Patrick Doorly says, “like bad skill.” He thinks there’s no such thing as bad art because the term does not refer to a class of objects or a category of activity. Art simply refers to excellence or to any “high-quality endeavor,” a phrase he borrows from Robert Read more…

Aug 142013
 
Jeremy Rifkin's Policy Suggestions for the End of Work

I’ve continued to get jazzed about this “work” topic such that it looks like we’ll be covering some selection of readings in this area for episode #83. My question about this on the Facebook group has gotten a lot of responses, and I’m starting to get clearer on the spectrum of questions and positions here. Read more…

Jul 312013
 
Back to the Father: The Incest-Driven Plot of “Back to the Future”

Let’s pause for a moment to do proper homage to the remarkable fact that during the 1980s, there was a blockbuster family film in which large parts of the plot revolved around the subject of incest. That film was Back to the Future, which I recently discussed with Dan Calvisi and William Robert Rich on Read more…

Jul 122013
 
The Fountainhead (1949) - Movie Review

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Noah Dunn for this submission. Readers with some writing chops who have resources and/or thoughts to share relevant to the current PEL episode (or past ones) are always invited to contribute to this blog. We also welcome submissions covering current events in philosophy (e.g. reviews of recently released books or philosophical Read more…

Jun 162013
 
Why can't life always be beautiful?

[A blog post from friend of PEL Phillip C.  It's a bit longer than our normal posts and is heavy with the name drops but I'm going to let it go because it's on art, is related to a discussion group and I make the editing decisions around here - Seth] “What strikes me is Read more…

May 212013
 
Virtual Insanity: Social Media with Jacques Lacan

[A post from Peter Hardy, longtime fan and contributor] For a couple of years I have been lurking on PEL’s Facebook group, biding my time for the perfect moment to pounce on this blog.  Recently I got to thinking about the philosophical ramifications of social media. Especially as we’ve just been looking at Jacques Lacan, Read more…

May 132013
 

When we interpret a text, are we uncovering a hidden meaning? Or are we imposing a meaning from the outside? Film scholar David Bordwell’s book Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema confronts this question head on in a rigorous and analytical way. His chief question is: how are interpretations made? Although Read more…

Apr 292013
 
Zizek! - The Elvis of Cultural Theory [Review]

Zizek! is one of those documentaries centered around one really, really interesting person. For that reason it’s more like Crumb or Bukowski - Born Into This than more famously philosophical movies like Waking Life. Zizek!’s structure is simple: The director and a small crew simply follow Slavoj Zizek as he goes about his daily business, which pretty Read more…

Apr 132013
 
The Not School discussion of Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death

In the first week of the “Not School” group devoted to Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, it’s clear that a tension runs through the book that – with only a little bit of investigation – can be seen running through Postman’s entire career. It’s a function of what he called the “thermostatic view.” “In Read more…