Here are the most recent comments on our blog posts, i.e. the active discussions at this time. Jump into a thread and say your peace! If you want to start a conversation yourself, join our Facebook Group and go right ahead. For more ongoing, awesome, filtered discussion on readings/topic you can choose, check out our Not School option.
Note that the first time you post (or if you post from a different IP than your usual, I think), it goes into moderation, i.e. we have to approve it, so you won’t see your comment immediately, but we’re pretty quick about approving things. It should go without saying that if you get very nasty and belligerent, we reserve the right to remove any post and ban you (though that’s only happened maybe twice in three years of doing this). Think “with this comment I am elevating the level of the discussion” and you’ll be OK.
- Apr 17, 4:02 pm - "Modern Day Philosophers": Reading Wikipedia with Comedians
Thanks Maggie for such a detailed response to Modern Day Philosophers and I love and am always open to constructive criticism on how I can make the show better. I am working on making the show more like what you were hoping it would be. It's a constant evolution and I'm always experimenting trying to find the right balance between the comedy and philosophy. I strive to make the show funny and accessible and have the guests persona shine through while still honoring the philosophy side of it as well. Please stay with it and always feel free to email me with ideas on how to improve. Best, Danny
- Apr 17, 2:32 pm - Episode 92: Henri Bergson on How to Do Metaphysics
"If nothing is, but is only becoming, then the past is bleeding into the future, everything that has ever happened is still happening, in the same way that the universe is still being bathed in the background radiation left over from the big bang. I was bowled over by your flourish of prose, seeing Bergson, Buddha, and Whitehead all unified with a theory of everything. I read it to my wife, who patiently suffers through my verbal grappling w/ process thought, and she said, "If nothing is, then there is no past." Busted. The objectified past is, and it's no longer becoming. Every bit of it at one present-time subjectively experienced its own duration of becoming a determinate thing out of the possibilities it felt its past presented to it. How such a past determinate acted thus becomes a datum to influence future occasions of becoming. But it seems that the objective past cannot act, but be the ground for action in present experience. A long traffic jam is the present effect of a distinctly different past accident event. The sunlight striking us now has an 8 minuite history of photon experiences since its genesis on ole' Sol. In a...
- Apr 17, 11:24 am - Podcast Episodes
It's been suggested previously, but Karl Jasper's' Way to Wisdom is a lucid, digestible piece spanning various topics. Though he may not provide anything systematic, his original and flowing prose are certainly worth a look at. The podcasts are excellent!
- Apr 17, 5:53 am - Episode 90: Sci-Fi and Philosophy with Guest David Brin
Chalk up one more first time commenter and I certainly do regret now not having written something before when I had something more positive to say. I've read a little of Brin's stuff before and expected he'd have all kinds of interesting things to say, instead it was an hour and a half of him making assertion after assertion, all either unfalsifiably vague or downright wrong and facing only the most megre of challenges. I get that he's a big name but I'd say that means he should be held to a higher standard, not lower!. One example - the thing he was saying about how conservatives don't like being challenged to expand their "sense of loyalty", leftists like it too much and liberals like it but also like to keep their old loyalties. How exactly would you test this hypothesis? How could it be falsified? It's the kind of thing a hack columnist would come up with - trite and almost meaningless. I think of all the problems the most irritating thing is the way Brin seems to pause after telling one of his jokes to give everyone time to laugh and applaud. I spent the whole podcast making...
- Apr 16, 1:37 pm - Episode 92: Henri Bergson on How to Do Metaphysics
Intuitive understanding came suddenly on the second listen. Duration, and the slap that is still happening. My old concept of linear time, and what 'now' means was suddenly blown away. If nothing is, but is only becoming, then the past is bleeding into the future, everything that has ever happened is still happening, in the same way that the universe is still being bathed in the background radiation left over from the big bang. The paradoxes of how things could ever come into or go out of existence are seen entirely differently now. We are already beginning to die, even before we are fully formed. Cosmic, dude.
- Apr 16, 7:12 am - "Modern Day Philosophers": Reading Wikipedia with Comedians
I am a lover of comedy and philosophy so I was thrilled to hear that a podcast took the two and married them. Sadly after my first listen to Modern Day... I was frustrated at how the intention of the podcast was eclipsed by the common open format of a bro-out sesh or in the case of a female guest like Maria Bamford (one of my most favorite comics btw) a stream of consciousness conversation podcast. The title of the podcast led me to believe that I would be invited into a dialog about how contemporary comedy can be both funny and philosophical that humor in our day and age is a cathartic experience and a springboard for deeper examination into human behavior and thought. I expected something clearly structured and informative like a less robotic sounding ted talk lecture. Informative, entertaining, and leaving a string for me to follow and bat at for more. No such luck. Despite my clear disappointment I do not turn my back on the podcast or the hosts of it or the comedians, I want to humbly suggest to Danny and Alex that they stop acting like philosophy is so high fuluten and snobby...
- Apr 16, 5:16 am - Episode 91: Transhumanism (Plus More on Brin)
Haven't read the book but it sounds incredibly interesting, the way you describe it almost mimics my general musings. RE: the TSP thing, it's more about NP problems in general no? I am not particularly familiar with transhumanist goals, however I would be wary of what anybody tells me is possible many years from now. I mean seriously we know the entire limitations of the universe already? Damn that was fast. I thought we were just beginning... Many things may be algorithmically impossible, however, I would say there is evidence that not everything is algorithmic. No Turing machine can ever solve the halting problem. However to say nothing can solve the halting problem is obviously untrue, because I can. Yet the brain requires input to produce output. No matter how you want to twist it, there is a physical representation of the brain, which gives rise to cognition. You can argue it is more than that if you wish but that would merely be an emergent feature of the physical representation. Perhaps i'm drawing a weak/logically faulty link here. But at some point somewhere something which is remarkably similar to computation is taking place. And whatever the process is, it...
- Apr 15, 9:03 pm - Henri Bergson and William James on Vicious Intellectualism
Wonderful. Fascinating. Thank you for this essay David. Re the last quote: it seems to me the fixity of philosophy as asserted in the aristotelian and platonic traditions, is so very necessary. Within the tornadoes of change where we live, change which is primary, unstoppable, of existence not without it--humanity needs a force, an oak to hold onto in the chaos, so it doesn't disappear.
- Apr 15, 9:11 am - Topic for #93: Free Will and Moral Responsibility (Strawson Father vs. Son)
The fascinating thing about philosophical discussions on free will is how the ones partaking in the discussion don't always realize how they inevitably get drawn into two fields that one would not normally associate: metaphysics and ethics; the question of free will forces one to somehow reconcile these two categories that seem at first glance to be wholly unrelated. It makes for very interesting philosophical discourse indeed. I look forward to it.
- Apr 14, 11:39 pm - "Modern Day Philosophers": Reading Wikipedia with Comedians
Lovin the WTF reference. Get Marc Maron on this podcast. Something philosophy of mind might work maybe.
- Apr 14, 4:14 pm - Theater and Ritual: Discussing Richard Schechner and "Dionysus in '69" in Not School
You are welcome. My reaction to Schechner has been similar to yours since I first encountered him a few months ago, but I hadn't had time and a good occasion to revisit and discuss Dionysus and the essay, so I am really glad you guys went along with it. I still haven't read the essay "The End of Humanism" and don't really know what to expect from it, but it is only 11 pages long, so we can easily combine it with something less imponderable. Perhaps with some other texts from the book "The end of Humanism", or one of the essays "From ritual to theater and back: the efficacy-entertainment braid" and "Towards a poetics of performance", which were recommended to me.
- Apr 14, 6:16 am - "Modern Day Philosophers": Reading Wikipedia with Comedians
Hi Mark, I understand your interest in the idea, it is an intriguing proposition. I think it would work if you took the idea seriously and did not just do it for intertwinement value. The discourses you engage in are very valuable, more then I think you realize from the inside and I would not want you to lose sight of the potential in the PEL podcasts because of some reality show upstart using marketing to steel attention. I am not saying you should not try it, just saying the synergy between the core group is enough for me, the humor and seriousness and the confusion that arise is more than enough keep me entertained as a long time licenser. Just my buck and a half, inflation you know! By the way, did I say you are all great, I think of you all as friends, and I would not want to lose that feeling! Gregory
- Apr 14, 5:37 am - Episode 92: Henri Bergson on How to Do Metaphysics
One of the best. What Dylan said of Feynman's approach to understanding by becoming the experient of study (particles, in this case) is a great example of why we need a good metaphysics. This is what I was talking about in another combox - that we must be mindful that all of creation is a sea of emotion experienced in finite durations (Dylan might see a Feynman diagram as a visual analog). No more sole focus on the human consciousness for a serious metaphysics. On Relativity, remember that ANW knew the ins and outs - the limits - of the mathematics; whereas, Einstein was more just using a tool. What is the fabric of aetherless space that the math says is curved by mass? (This is akin to the mind-body question raised in another bad metaphysics.) Einstein never liked being told to dismiss the aether. Dark energy is the new aether, perhaps.
- Apr 13, 6:55 pm - Episode 92: Henri Bergson on How to Do Metaphysics
Thanks, Phil! We will keep the central mission in mind even as I inevitably push us into trying more dumb stuff. :)
- Apr 13, 6:53 pm - Episode 90: Sci-Fi and Philosophy with Guest David Brin
Ah, I getcha. Yes, when we have a server crash or someone hacks the site or something like that, we call Brian to fix it. But the architecture of the site with its 47 plugins is our own Frankenstein creation, and if our ecommerce stops working or something like that, it's up to us, typically Dylan.
- Apr 13, 6:12 pm - Episode 90: Sci-Fi and Philosophy with Guest David Brin
The ad says that when you have IT issues, you don't have anyone to call. In the discussion, you say that when you have IT issues, you call Brian.
- Apr 13, 4:48 pm - Please Stop Contributing to the Publish-or-Perish Landfill
Publish or parish was the old skeme. From what I here from academics I run across nowadays, it is write a grant proposal. What we have is academia unconsciously biased to provide for the needs of the Roman extraction grid or the military banking global corporatoctracy.
- Apr 13, 2:58 pm - Episode 92: Henri Bergson on How to Do Metaphysics
Excellent episode. This more than makes up for episode 90. This is what PEL is about to me: very intriguing philosophical discussion from all participants dealing with an interesting philosophical text/topic, not some scientistic single man lecture by someone with an inflated ego who talks a shitload, but says so little. Thank you gents, I have a bit of knowledge on Bergson, but this discussion has convinced me to definitely give some more time to him (at least his earlier/mid works). This discussion was lively and raised thought provoking points on the topic (from everyone, I especially enjoyed that…that everyone had some unique very interesting philosophical perspective on the text/topic). Definitely one of the best PEL episodes (even close to episode 79 for me, and that is saying allot) so far for me; it also helps that all involved were quite pleased with the text and enjoyed it. And thanks to Matt; great guest; you guys should have him on again. These types of episodes is what makes me more than happy to donate ad-hoc to you (which I have done various times, but under different email and nick than what I use here) as well as be a PEL...
- Apr 13, 2:42 pm - Episode 92: Henri Bergson on How to Do Metaphysics
Classic PEL episode... One for the books. Deserves multiple listenings. You mofos rock!
- Apr 13, 1:51 pm - Episode 61: Nietzsche on Truth and Skepticism
Acknowledging up front that my commenting on this podcast two years after its release is not helping my appearance as the loon defending post-structuralism, that is exactly what I will try to do. More than anything I want to clear up the ever-present misconception that Derrida's dismissal of any arrival at truth is synonymous with a dismissal of the pursuit of truth. Not only did he never say that, but in fact, "Structure, Sign and Play" goes to great lengths to encourage the pursuit of truth despite the impossibility of reaching an unmediated conclusion. To me, that sounds quite a bit like what Nietzsche is saying here in regard to "owned," or "thumbprinted" truth. Secondly, the idea that one interpretation is as good as another, for most post-structuralists, including Barthes, Derrida, Foucault, and Eco, is only true on a personal level. They absolutely believe that there are interpretations that can locate more pillars of support in a text than others. The more important thing, I think, for them is that these well-founded interpretations do not dismiss the possibility or legitimacy of more stretched or anachronistic readings. A post-structuralist can say "read this analysis first" without implying that all others are...
- Apr 13, 12:58 pm - Win $20k from Sam Harris
Dan's absolutely right. There's no doubt sam harris is writing to a popular audience. I think he would admit that freely (pun intended). That's also precisely the point. He's trying to remove this idea that MOST take as a given and throw it into doubt, in a way that is easy to understand but still defensible in reason. We could use more philosophers and pHD neuroscientists willing to engage so freely in public discourse (IMO).
- Apr 13, 12:47 pm - "Modern Day Philosophers": Reading Wikipedia with Comedians
I would LOVE to hear Maynard James Keenan from TOOL on the show. A lot of his lyrics and Tool's themes seem inspired by philosophy -- most notably the title "AEnima" coming from Jung's "Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious" (wherein he talks about the Anima), and a reference to Jung's "shadow" concept in the song "Forty Six and Two." Their album "Lateralus" features a song structured according to the Fibonacci Sequence. I'm sure there are numerous other instances but I'll spare everybody. He would be an interesting guest though.
- Apr 13, 10:12 am - Episode 92: Henri Bergson on How to Do Metaphysics
- Apr 13, 9:48 am - Episode 92: Henri Bergson on How to Do Metaphysics
this was one of the better shows, helpful guest when things got sticky, and the group workings to get a grip on the text very useful in fleshing out the concepts at hand, bravo. http://monoskop.org/images/2/2d/Deleuze_Gilles_Bergsonism.pdf
- Apr 12, 4:23 pm - Episode 92: Henri Bergson on How to Do Metaphysics
Awesome!!! I'm going to have to listen to this again. much respect to all