General Announcements

Apr 222014
 
Tales from the Crypt: Transhumanism, wow!

The licence to speculate on the fringes of human progress is immediately issued when that which we hadn’t even imagined transitions to that which we merely know we do not fully understand. This transition point is the playground of the so-called “popular imagination”, the stage on which esteemed careers are built without the effort and determination of Read more…

Apr 172014
 
5,000,000 Downloads

In Nov 2012 we posted a retrospective mini-episode to celebrate 2 million PEL episodes downloaded according to libsyn (whom we haven’t hosted with since the beginning, so there are some additional ones from the first year or so in addition to whatever they tell us). We’ve now hit 5 million, and all you get is Read more…

Apr 152014
 
Henri Bergson and William James on Vicious Intellectualism

“If I had not read Bergson,” William James wrote in A Pluralistic Universe, “I should probably still be blackening endless pages of paper privately.” James had been engaged in a very long philosophical debate with the leading Idealists of his day, F.H. Bradley and Josiah Royce, when Bergson came to the rescue. James thought that Read more…

Apr 122014
 
Topic for #93: Free Will and Moral Responsibility (Strawson Father vs. Son)

Listen now to Tamler Sommers’s summary of the two Strawson articles. On 4/6, Mark, Wes, and Seth were joined by Tamler Sommers of the Very Bad Wizards podcast to discuss the following articles: 1. P.F. Strawson’s “Freedom and Resentment” (1960) 2. Galen Strawson’s “The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility” (1994) 3. Gary Watson’s “Responsibility and the Read more…

Mar 042014
 
Topic for #92 (and a Not School Group): Henri Bergson

Listen to Matt Teichman’s introduction to the reading. Henri Bergson is an early 20th century French philosopher that PEL listeners may recall from our philosophy of humor episode, and we’ll be tackling his philosophy proper via the entrance drug “An Introduction to Metaphysics,” a short essay from 1903 (freely available online) that is essentially pheonomenology Read more…

Feb 282014
 
Exclusive David Brin Text for Citizens and Topic for #91: Transhumanism Plus More on Brin's "Existence" (Without Brin)

We had a very pleasant recording with David Brin this last Tuesday, and he gave us permission in the course of that to post for our Citizenry an exclusive draft of a philosophical work he’s hashing out at present: “Sixteen Modern Questions About Humanity’s Relationship With its Creator in the Context of an Age of Read more…

Feb 262014
 
Why everyone who isn't Aristotle or Elizabeth Anscombe sucks, by Elizabeth Anscombe

[Even though for the podcast we read only the equivalent of three short papers by Anscombe, there was an awful lot of ground that we didn't cover, because Anscombe had so much to say about such a variety of topics. One thing we didn't cover was her dismissals of moral philosophers from Butler through Mill, which she Read more…

Feb 242014
 
Topic for #90: Science Fiction and Philosophy with Guest David Brin

Listen to Mark’s Precognition framing our discussion now. We talked on the evening of Tuesday 2/25 with David Brin, one of our most philosophical science fiction authors, whose most recent novel Existence (2012) certainly has a philosophical sounding name. But no, it’s not about ontology, about Being, or about existentialism, but about our continued existence Read more…

Feb 182014
 
Topic for #89: Bishop George Berkeley's Empiricist Idealism

Listen to Wes’s introduction and summary to this text. On Tuesday 2/18 we’re recording our episode on George Berkeley. Berkeley is the middle of the three “modern” (i.e. he lived in the early 1700s) empiricists that folks generally have to read in philosophy classes, the first being John Locke and the last being David Hume. Read more…

Feb 012014
 
Give me Liberty in the month of February!

This month’s Intro Group reading will be On Liberty by the nineteenth century British philosopher John Stuart Mill. There couldn’t be a topic more relevant  to our politics today. Consider the fact that in our national discussions communities that make life difficult for individuals (who don’t fit for one reason or another) are presumed to be oppressive and Read more…

Jan 232014
 
Topic for #88: G.E.M. Anscombe on Ethical Judgment and Action

On Wed. 1/24 we spoke with Philosophy Bro about Elizabeth (aka G.E.M.) Anscombe. Go listen now to Bro’s introduction to Anscombe. Anscombe was a student of Wittgenstein’s and is most famous for translating his Philosophical Investigations, and when Bro pitched this topic to me, he described her as the transition from Wittgenstein to Alasdair MacIntyre. Read more…

Jan 052014
 
"No Exit" Outtakes Posted for PEL Members

A few comments about our recent No Exit performance, in numbered list form, because I like numbered lists: 1. Thank you thank you thank you to Jaime Murray and Lucy Lawless, who were a lot of fun and made this easy. You can hear this on the 18-min outtakes reel I’ve now posted on the Read more…

Jan 022014
 
Topic for #87: Sartre on Human Nature and Freedom

Listen to Mark’s summary of the two main readings, then Listen to the PEL Players act out the play “No Exit.” At long last, we’re returning to existentialism after an initial foray into it with Camus. We’ve previously covered Sartre talking about phenomenology and the self, and also Kierkegaard talking about the self and values, Read more…

Dec 132013
 
The Priority of Justice-as-Fairness

We need rules for living together, we cantankerous human beings: this is one premise governing John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice, and one that governs social contract theory in general. As chaos is the point of departure for creation myths, so conflict has been for political theory. We need rules to establish peace and order Read more…

Dec 112013
 
Topic for #86: Thomas Kuhn on Scientific Progress

Listen now to Dylan’s introduction to the text. Science is just us accumulating more and more knowledge and getting a more and more accurate picture of the world, right? Not according to Kuhn, in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, first published in 1962. Yes, there’s progress, in terms of better and better answers to a Read more…

Nov 102013
 
Topic for #85: John Rawls's Theory of Justice

Listen now to Seth’s Precognition for this episode. On the evening of 11/10, we’re discussing John Rawls. What is justice? Rawls interpreted this question as asking what basic social rules and structures would result in a society that we’d consider fair. Justice is fairness, on a social level. Fairness, of course, is an intuitive notion, Read more…

Nov 012013
 
Q&A with Frithjof Now Posted

Thanks to all that submitted questions for the Frithjof Bergmann Q&A. I was able to get to the majority of them, though not all. It’s possible we’ll do another one of these, but where and how it gets posted is undermined at this point. Go listen to it here. -Mark Linsenmayer

Oct 172013
 
Submit Your Questions for the Frithjof Bergmann Q&A

I’ve tentatively scheduled a recorded Q&A session with just myself and Frithjof for next Wednesday, 8/23. We’d like to get YOUR questions (and challenges, and responses) that arose out of our interview with him in in PEL ep. 83. You can write them as comments to this post, or e-mail me directly. Details will the Read more…

Oct 132013
 
Help Us Hype Frithjof

So far the reaction to our Frithjof Bergmann interview has been fantastic. Instead of simply giving our amateur commentary on Plato or Nietzsche or someone that you can find out about in plenty of other places, we’ve exposed something new and exciting. Whether or not you agree with Frithjof’s vision, it sure as hell deserves Read more…