Podcast Episodes

You can also see them organized by topic. For episodes marked "Preview," you can access the full episode at our store, or you could become a PEL Citizen and get them from our Free Stuff for Citizens page.
  1. Episode 8: Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (and Carnap): What Can We Legitimately Talk About?


    Continuing last ep’s discussion of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus with some Rudolph Carnap (a logical positivist from the Vienna Circle: “The Rejection of Metaphysics” from his 1935 book Philosophy and Logical Syntax) about what kind of crazy talk is outside of legitimate discourse.…Read more »

  2. Precognition of Ep. 82: Popper


    A summary of the first three essays in Karl Popper’s collection Conjectures and Refutations, read by Dylan Casey.

  3. Precognition of Ep. 87: Sartre


    Mark Linsenmayer lays out some themes from Jean-Paul Sartre’s “Existentialism is a Humanism” and the “Bad Faith” chapter (Part 1, Ch. 2) of Being & Nothingness.

  4. Episode 94: Schopenhauer on Reading, Writing, and Thinking


    On Arthur Schopenhauer’s essays, “On Authorship and Style,” “On Thinking for Oneself,” and “On Genius” (all published 1851). Is the best way to do philosophy (or any art) to self-consciously build on the work of others to advance the genre? Schopenhauer says no!

  5. Episode 95: Gödel on Math


    On two unpublished essays considering the implications of Godel’s incompleteness theorems and asserting mathematical realism. With guest Adi Habbu.

  6. Episode 96: Oppenheimer and the Rhetoric of Science Advisers


    Discussing Lynda Walsh’s book “Scientists as Prophets: A Rhetorical Genealogy” (2013) with the author, focusing on Robert J. Oppenheimer. What is the role of the science adviser? Should scientists just “stick to the facts,” or can only someone with technical knowledge make decisions about what to actually do?

Next up will be Michael J. Sandel, then Robert Nozick and Plato's Symposium.


  1. Kelvin

    May 9, 2013

    !!!Important Post Alert!!!

    For some unknown reason, I think of you guys as corresponding to Seinfeld characters. Roughly, my mind correlates Mark = Jerry, Wes = George, Seth = Elaine, Dylan = Kramer. Sometimes I wish that Jerry had a little more Kramer but Kramer is Kramer and not Elaine. As for George, he mixes two parts Jerry with a pinch of Elaine and a sprinkling of Kramer. Elaine is amusing despite being a minor character from time to time.

    !!!End Important Post!!!

    • Hwzer

      July 19, 2013

      Not too sure if that makes sense:here is what I think
      Seth is Kramer for his use of logic and reason and for his patience
      Mark Is Kramer KRAM-MARK
      Wes is Also Kramer
      and Dylan is Jerry….
      That guy that guested on one of the eps about Deleuze, the really annoying guy that talked about himself and his classes…. blah blah… the interrupter guy…. hes Bania and Newman.

  2. ipso facto

    May 24, 2013

    Some suggestions: John Balguy, Ralph Cudworth******, Samuel Clarke, Richard Price (all these 4 wrote important works on morality, which I can refer you to, but Cudworth and Clarke had important things to say about metaphysics, etc.).

    Also: Suarez, Malebranche, Arnauld, Louis de La Forge, Arnold Geulincx, Pufendorf.

    Locke’s ‘Essay’… Leibniz’s ‘New Essays’…etc.

    • Avatar of Mark Linsenmayer

      Mark Linsenmayer

      May 25, 2013

      Thanks for the suggestions. However, tell me a bit about what major themes we’re missing by not covering these folks. The only ones I’m really familiar with here are the moral rationalists you mention, which I tried to cover enough for our purposes in the Hume on moral sense episode. Likewise I tried to get some juice out of Locke in covering Hume on epistemology, though we have a perpetually planned ep on personal identity that would pull out another chunk of Locke’s essay. More Leibniz is definitely a possibility, and if we ever do a series on the history of logic we’d hit Arnauld, but the rest of those guys aren’t on our radar; give me some more motivation to consider one or two of them seriously!

  3. Alexander

    May 31, 2013

    Any chance for an episode on the Marquis de Sade? Interested to hear a discussion about an amoralist and how his ideas represented the most extreme rejection of society, morality and religion. The historical context is intruguing, as Enlightenment ideals and the idolization of reason by the likes of Rousseau were facing turbulent chaos amidst the French Reolution. In a way, de Sade’s chaotic ideas were a clever satire of Rousseau and the historical context itself seems to manifest these ideas.

      • Alexander

        July 8, 2013

        There are 3 in particular I had in mind, I’d love it if you guys did it on at least one.

        1. Justine or the Misfortunes of Virtue
        2. Philosophy in the Bedroom
        3. Dialogue Between A Priest And A Dying Man

        All three of these sum up much of the Marquis’ philosophy, but if I had to choose one it’d be Justine. He was most notorious for this one in his time (and lead up to his arrest, personally ordered by Napoleon).

        All have philosophical ideas interwoven in their words, the second and third are dialogues and Justine is a novel. Anyways, I’m glad you guys got Ayn Rand out of the way, good riddance.

  4. Reply a Leave

    June 16, 2013

    Ok, some more ideas:

    Anscombe’s – Intention
    Kripke’s – Naming and Necessity
    Kant’s Critique of Judgement
    Aristotle’s Metaphysics
    Sartre’s Being and Nothingness
    A unitary episode of German (the metaphysics of Hegel, Fichte and Schelling) and British (McTaggart [his Unreality of Time in particular], Bradley [excerpts of his Appearance and Reality]) Idealism
    And an episode dedicated to the pre-Socratics and/or the various Greek philosophers (Parmenides, Heraclitus, the Pythagoreans, Diogenes, Epicurus, Sextus etc.) maybe…

    • Avatar of Mark Linsenmayer

      Mark Linsenmayer

      June 28, 2013

      Hmmm. If you care to help us narrow down some exact selections for your metaphysics idea, that would be helpful. I wouldn’t mind reading some tiny bits of Hegel, Fichte and Schelling rather than having another full Hegel episode soon.

      I had wanted to hit that McTaggart essay at some point but haven’t been sure what else to do (more things on time, I expect) with it, assuming it’s not a full meal in itself. It seems a bit much to try to do it with the Germans as you suggest.

      Philosophy Bro will be coming back (this fall?) for an Anscombe episode. Not sure which book.

      B&N is way too long and difficult to get a hold on for our purposes, I think, but we’ll have some more Sartre coming up pretty soon.

      • Joel

        July 18, 2013

        I suggest something from Rorty, maybe y Gasset?. Also, The Passions by Robert Solomon like you said on the second Spinoza episode.

  5. Toby K

    June 27, 2013

    An episode on anarchism would be awesome. You could read Proudhon’s ‘What is Property?’, Bakunin’s ‘God and the State’ and Kropotkin’s ‘The Conquest of Bread’.

    • Avatar of Mark Linsenmayer

      Mark Linsenmayer

      June 28, 2013

      Thanks, Toby. Those are certainly the names I keep hearing; I’ve noted your list and we’ll hopefully schedule it for this fall some time.

  6. Michael McVeigh

    June 28, 2013

    Any chance of tackling Wilfrid Sellars’s Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind?

    • Avatar of Mark Linsenmayer

      Mark Linsenmayer

      June 28, 2013

      Yes! That and Naming & Necessity are the next “analytic” ones on my list, though at this point I can’t say exactly when we’ll be returning to that path.

      • Michael McVeigh

        June 28, 2013

        Looking forward to it!

    • Glen

      June 30, 2013

      good call

      talking about rigid designators and whether ‘richard nixon’ refers to richard nixon in all possible worlds is actually pretty fun, particularly when you try to push the intuition pumps to their limits.

      i remember kripke’s example of kurt goedel where when we use that term, we still somehow refer to the guy who wrote the famous incompleteness theorem and not the guy we mistakenly believe is goedel

      my god analytic philosophy

  7. Glen

    June 30, 2013

    Have you guys found someone to do a rorty/neopragmatism episode? If not, how would I get on the short list of candidates?

    • Avatar of Mark Linsenmayer

      Mark Linsenmayer

      June 30, 2013

      Hi, Glen,

      Thanks for the interest… Talking internally, it looks like we’ll do that one sans guest. (However, we can always use bloggers to support the presentation when the time comes.)

  8. Billiot

    July 8, 2013

    You’re so cool! I do not believe I’ve truly read through anything like this before.
    So nice to discover another person with some genuine thoughts
    on this subject matter. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up.

    This website is one thing that is required on the web, someone with a bit
    of originality!

  9. Yannick Kilberger

    July 28, 2013

    Hi guys!

    Tried to do the PEL citizen thing via Paypal but it froze in the middle so I don’t know if I succeeded (lots of rain and thunderstorm right now). Guess I’ll retry tomorrow. No problems on your side?

  10. Avatar of Yannick Kilberger

    Yannick Kilberger

    July 29, 2013

    It worked today, plus I guess I did post in the wrong place. Sorry!

  11. Erin Schwartz

    August 7, 2013

    Hey guys, love PEL, I got turned onto this about a year and half ago and have listened to every episode. I’m an ABD doctoral student in Interdisciplinary Arts. I wish I’d known about this podcast during our Seminars. There are some texts/authors I’d love to hear you discuss, though they might not really be in your area(s):

    Umberto Eco: I’m thinking something like The Limits of Interpretation, though any of his novels (I love Foucault’s Pendulum) would also be interesting.

    Judith Butler: Gender Trouble or Bodies that Matter, I know Butler has a reputation for being an impenetrable author, but honestly I think that’s not a fair assessment and her analysis of gender has always been valuable in my research.

    Roland Barthes: many to choose from, Mythologies is well known, though I’ve always had a real fondness for Camera Lucida.

    Theodore Adorno (and Max Horkheimer): whenever I read Dialectic of Enlightenment I’m always startled how much it still rings true, especially the section on the Culture Industry.

    anyway, keep up the awesome show!

    • Avatar of Seth Paskin

      Seth Paskin

      August 7, 2013

      Thanks Erin! All of those names are on our radar. We’ll be getting to Adorno/Horkheimer before the rest I suspect. Welcome aboard!

    • Lukasz Stafiniak

      March 24, 2014

      Regarding Umberto Eco, I would suggest reading him as part of a semiotics episode. Say, his “A Theory of Semiotics”. Perhaps together with more recent cognitive semiotics / linguistics? (George Lakoff, John R. Taylor)

  12. Rupert

    August 20, 2013

    Excellent pod! Thank you!

    I would also like to hear something about critical realism (Roy Bhaskar et. al), a full fledged philosophy of science, and how it critiques positivism as well as subjectivist oriented philosophies.

    Also Althusser and Badiou.. And the speculative realist and Object Oriented Ontology stuff (Brassier, Harman, Meillassoux).

  13. Mark

    September 14, 2013

    I would highly recommend this podcast if your goal is to psychoanalyze the hosts from their jaded and opinionated verbosity on GENERAL philosophical topics, but I doubt that is why anyone tunes in to a philosophy podcast. While the podcasters keep it light and conversational and supposedly make the texts accessible to those who are unfamiliar with the “big” philosophical questions, I believe that these guys fail to discuss the texts and ideas in a generous or reserved manner. Their knowledge of philosophy is equivalent to a systematic philosophy survey course that provides all of the terms, trends, and theories without having to dig for the meat of the texts. I’m glad that I did not waste my tuition dollars to attend their philosophy department—that is, of course, assuming that the reason they did not complete their studies is not because they simply couldn’t handle the rigor in the field.

    If you hope to develop a general understanding of the big philosophical themes, arguments, or ideas as most academics understand them, I recommend looking elsewhere. These guys present Aristotle’s ethics as close to the real thing as a pumpkin is close to being a carriage. Everyone tends to bring interpretational baggage to historical texts and ideas, but these three stooges approach the text in such an idiosyncratic fashion that even Kant and Heidegger would roll over in their graves. And I know that they are not about “fetishizing a bunch of dead philosophers”, but approaching texts with humility, you know, that posture which demonstrates personal reservations about your understanding of the text because you might be wrong, is not an action that demonstrates awe and reverence for the texts as if each is holy writ.

    Also, their apparent disgust for all things religious and theistic is at best immature and at worst absolutely discriminatory and pathetic. This goes to show that they are not as open-minded and liberal as they may have you to believe. I recall Mark’s comment about MacIntyre as one that opposes Christian sentiments in the field of ethics, not knowing that MacIntyre is Catholic! How informed are they about the material?

    I recommend approaching this podcast in an informed fashion with the purpose of enjoying a few guys comically (I might have guessed satirically) ranting about complex ideas from their personal, severely biased opinions in a manner that is irrelevant to the popular academic discourse, because looking to these guys for fair and accurate assessments of philosophical ideas is like believing that an anxious, hormonal teenage boy that is looking for freedom and social acceptance when shopping for his first car will make a mature, informed decision when his proclivity depends on his knowledge of cars that consists only of which cars are cool and fast, but lacks all understanding a car’s mechanics. If you want a mature decision when buying a car, you have an experienced car buyer help the boy make the decision, and you might even take the car to an honest and seasoned mechanic.

    All in all, I listen to the podcast to hear what might be the inexperienced philosophy student’s opinion of popular philosophical ideas and texts, and perhaps you could take away a simple enjoyment of hearing three old friends ramble on about difficult ideas. I must say that I do admire their stamina and willingness to put themselves out their—that takes balls.

    • Avatar of Mark Linsenmayer

      Mark Linsenmayer

      September 15, 2013

      Hi, Mark,

      Thanks for your feedback. Made me chuckle.

      You may be somewhat more enthusiastic about our more recent episodes as far as the whole being-charitable-towards-the-text thing goes. Your review sounds like you haven’t ventured past the first dozen episodes. Still, there is an ideological difference expressed here; for the record, I have recently tried to defend/analyze our methodology re. textual analysis: http://www.partiallyexaminedlife.com/2013/07/18/speaking-across-history-two-models-of-reading/, but if you simply thing we’re not scholarly enough to be qualified to talk about any of these topics knowledgeably based on (in many cases) simply giving the text a careful reading, then I doubt I’ll convince you otherwise.

      Even looking at the early episodes, I find it difficult to accept the criticism that we didn’t take on the meat of the text when, e.g. struggling with the Tractatus or Spinoza’s Ethics or Hegel’s Phenomenology for two episodes. The Aristotle ep itself is one that I don’t recall us previously getting much if any flack about, and part of this process is that go the apparently expert listener should go to the blog post for the episode (in this case http://www.partiallyexaminedlife.com/2009/07/16/episode-5-aristotle%E2%80%99s-nichomachean-ethics/) and say something specific and helpful so that people wanting to learn more about it will then see your helpful comment. So please contribute to the discussion!

      We do have a whole 1.3 episodes later on MacIntyre, and while I don’t remember that specific comment about him in the Aristotle ep, it’s still clear that he thinks we don’t need an explicitly religious basis for ethics (if you want to argue that he’s covertly relying on a religious viewpoint, however, I’d agree).

      Also, re. the religious, you may want to listen to eps 43-44; we were pretty harsh on the new atheists and had a bona fide theist on with us.

      So I’m impressed that we elicited enough of a reaction out of you to warrant your lengthy comment, but find your choice of speech act here peculiar and think you probably have a little more work to do to accurately psychoanalyze us if that is in fact your intent in listening. Your grade = B- , softened however by a smiley :)



      • Mark

        September 16, 2013

        First, let me thank you for allowing my tongue-in-cheek post and for responding to the criticism. I hope that everyone reads my comment as having been written in the same spirit as that in which the podcast is recorded. Perhaps I should have noted my intended tone before spouting my profuse “profundity”.

        Second, you are absolutely right, Mark, I only listened through the first 5 episodes and skipped around to a few other episodes after that. I will definitely check out your more recent episodes. I only began to listen to them because a couple philosophy students that I tutor have been listening to the podcast and raved to me about its excellence, but they received re-writes on their papers for Aristotle’s Politics because they were more influenced by you guys than the IEP and SEP articles to which I referred them–and I LIKE TO THINK that it was in no way my fault that they misunderstood the material.

        Third, in my comment about MacIntyre, I was referring to episode 58 where you referred to the possible Christian’s response to MacIntyre at 1:50:00, but did not yourself realize that MacIntyre further develops a Thomistic theory (which is found in his work Three Rival Versions). The other guys immediately corrected you, but I was concerned that you were unaware of the fundamental beliefs that influenced MacIntyre’s writings.

        Fourth, when I listen to Wes, I cannot help but to picture the character Paul Kinsey from Mad Men wearing a cardigan and smoking his pipe.

        Fifth, I am not posting to contend against you guys and to draw you into some sort of academic discourse; I commented only so that listeners with the proclivity to rely on secondary sources will think twice before using the contents of this podcast to inform their essays in a Phil 101 course. If my intentions were to cultivate constructive dialogue, I would have approached it in a different manner.

        And finally, I would comment on the specific episodes if I had enough time; it really is not constructive nor is it fair for me to give such a general criticism, but again, my only intention in commenting was to lend some advice to those who are wondering what listeners think about the podcast as a whole.

        What you guys have here is pretty cool, and although it goes without saying, keep it up.

    • Avatar of Wayne Schroeder

      Wayne Schroeder

      September 15, 2013

      Mark, as a response to your criticism’s I have somewhat summarized from Episode 0, the purpose of PEL’s podcasts:

      “We do not assume any prior philosophical knowledge, not that you have taken a course, not that you’ve read the text that we are talking about. You may read the text in order to better interact with the podcast. We will try to keep the conversation jargon free enough and name dropping free enough so you can follow. As we do more podcasts, over time you will eventually understand what we are talking about even if we do name drop and try to explain along the way. The podcast is meant to be educational but not boring–like going out with friends and talking over a beer, a discussion in the dorm room, not the lecture hall–the fun parts of our academic days. Since we have dropped out of philosophy academically and have gotten jobs elsewhere, which gives us a certain objectivity about the craziness that is this self-referential edifice that is academia. We provide perspective on the idiosyncrasies of academic professors’ strange lectures which are weird and of no interest to anyone who is not a philosopher. We represent the common man’s perspective on philosophy.”

      Mark, it sounds like you are an academic who was offended by PEL’s anti-academic stance, and accounts for the negative comments you make while providing little corroborating evidence–a polemical rather than academic critique.

      It doesn’t help to critique apples (PEL) with oranges (Academic Philosophy). The first question is if PEL achieves its purpose (stated above) well or not. Apples are the purpose, not oranges. In fact the purpose of apples (PEL) seems to be clear communication of significant (philosophical) issues. Apples are meant to be different from oranges.

      Secondarily, one can ask if oranges are better than apples:

      1) Oranges: The History of Philosophy is an astounding record of human intellectual capacity. The field of philosophy has made philosophy possible (as opposed to the field of academia/power).

      2) Apples: Philosophy as practiced academically can not only retard the goals of good philosophy, but hyperfocus on the inessential, leaving a wide-open need for approaches such as PEL.

      3) I personally argue for both oranges and apples, minus the negatives of academia.

      So Mark, if you could bring whatever philosophical chops you have and add to PEL’s efforts to clearly communicate significant philosophical concepts, I for one would appreciate your contributions. –Wayne

      • Mark

        September 16, 2013

        Great points. Read my above reply to Mark. Please note that I am not offended by their discussions. See my original post as a review of the podcast rather than as a critique.

  14. Ovidiu O.

    September 15, 2013

    I was hoping to find more Freud.
    I was disappointed there wasn’t any Marx or Engels (or Lenin, or Trotsky, the Frankfurt School, Althusser… ).

  15. Michael Juravlyov

    September 25, 2013

    Thank you guys This is such a .great resource
    I may suggest “Difference and repetition ” by Deleuze and later Heidegger

  16. Johnny

    October 8, 2013

    I know you guys have done a lot of Plato, but any chance you could squeeze in Phaedo? Words can’t express how much I love that one.

  17. Diogenes

    October 9, 2013

    Could you guys maybe do Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy?

  18. Bena

    October 18, 2013

    I would love to hear a episode devoted to the Marxism of Louis Althusser. I have long believed under his opaque and obscurantist style of writing (BS in short), there is something of real substance there.

  19. Joseph

    November 15, 2013

    As a very ignorant person still learning and actively seeking the perspectives of others, I cannot thank you enough for these podcasts. I work nights and have been trying to catch up on an undergrad philosophy program without actually attending a university (I have a degree, just in the wrong field), so I will set up my computer, listen to your podcasts, and think. Now, thirty-two episodes in, I am wishing I had read along with you guys! It’s ridiculous how much I don’t know because I didn’t do the work. I’ll get there, though.

    Anyway, thank you so much for your time and for making philosophy personal instead of academic (although, I would argue, the people who listen are probably both by nature).

    And, Seth should talk more! He’s not Jesus (the silent listener to every conversation!)

    • Avatar of Seth Paskin

      Seth Paskin

      November 15, 2013

      Thanks for the positive feedback and the vote of confidence. Glad you are enjoying and finding the podcast interesting.

      My participation varies, yes, but consider we’ve recorded these over 4+ years. Can’t always be “on”…:)

  20. Sean

    November 18, 2013

    Something by Ralph Waldo Emerson or Karl Jaspers? Even F.H Bradley…..

      • Sean

        December 9, 2013

        Karl Jaspers Way of Wisdom

        F.H. Bradley Appearance & Reality

        Emerson On Nature

  21. Mitch

    November 30, 2013


    Why haven’t you covered any Nozick yet?


  22. Michael Ficus

    December 7, 2013

    How about an episode on Bernard Lonergan’s “Insight”?

  23. Sean

    December 9, 2013

    Parmenides’ Way of Truth, Plotinus’ The Enneads, Nishida Kitaro’s Last Writings: Nothingness and the Religious Worldview?

  24. Avatar of Donald


    December 15, 2013

    Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America.

  25. JW

    January 2, 2014

    G. Spencer Browns’ “Laws of Form”. A classic in universe creation including space and time as emergent (necessary but not sufficient) qualities of any universe. Goes into Godel’s Incompleteness theorem as another necessary component of existence.

  26. its no funny

    January 14, 2014

    When will you do Malebranche’s “Search After Truth” and “Dialogues on Metaphysics”?

    • Avatar of Mark Linsenmayer

      Mark Linsenmayer

      January 15, 2014

      Pitch it to me! Convince us that it’s worth our while!

      (In other words, I’m open to it, but it’s not currently on the list.)

      • its no funny

        January 21, 2014

        If you’ve ever read Malebranche, it should be plainly obvious why it’s worth your while. He was a big influence on both Berkeley and Hume, and regarded as one of the best philosophers of the age by Leibniz, Bayle, and Locke. I see you haven’t covered Berkeley either…

        • Avatar of Mark Linsenmayer

          Mark Linsenmayer

          January 22, 2014

          Berkeley will be #89. We didn’t cover him earlier because while he’s important historically, he’s pretty obviously wrong, and so not that interesting. However, we’ve now gone way beyond covering only philosophers we think are right, and idealism comes up so often in so many contexts that we thought we have to do that now.

          I only read a little Malebranche way back in the day, and from what I understand he was a Cartesian with some idiosyncratic concerns that I’m not sure speak to any live philosophical debates. So, I’m not trying to crap on your suggestion, and of course I can just go read the Stanford Encyclopedia on him, but since you brought it up, I’m asking you what in particular you think is so awesome.

          • jp

            April 21, 2014

            Bayle! atheist or fideist? critical thinker par excellence, and pious? maybe/maybe not.

  27. Tim Anderson

    January 23, 2014

    First, let me say I’m a big fan.

    I’d love to see you guys do a podcast on Augustine or Aquinas. As a doctoral candidate in specializing in political theory, it has been my experience that these medieval thinkers often get overlooked which is a shame because I think they have genuine philosophical merit still today. I also think it would be cool for you guys to cover one (or both) of these medievals because it’s an important period in the history of philosophy that you guys haven’t really covered yet.

    May I suggest:
    Augustine’s “Confessions,” or “City of God.”
    Aquinas’s Summa Theologica (selected passages)

    • the holy taco

      February 4, 2014

      I’ve done work on Aquinas at the graduate level. There’s a lot of good things in the “Summa Theologiae”, but I recommend especially Aquinas’ “On Being and Essence” above any other work. Aside from that, there’s Aquinas’ short and excellent work on truth: “De Veritate”. Covering Aquinas is such a huge case, like covering Aristotle or Kant. His “Summa Theologiae” is overemphasized, especially the five ways. If you cover him, and want to pick a smaller topic, or want to do a few episodes on him, I’d definitely recommend some of the selections from this short book, that brings together some of the most illuminating writings by Aquinas on metaphysics that no one ever reads: http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Metaphysics-St-Thomas-Aquinas/dp/089526420X …covering anything from that along with his “On Being and Essence (there’s a wonderful commentary on it by Bobik) would give you enough material to talk for years. Aquinas’ “On Being and Essence” is about 20 pages long: http://faculty.fordham.edu/klima/Blackwell-proofs/MP_C30.pdf

      As for Augustine, I’d suggest that you cover his short dialogue on the freedom of the will, and related parts of his work on the trinity.

      I’d really like it if you cover St. Anselm. There’s a book coming out in 1 month via Harvard University Press offering new insight on his ontological argument: http://www.amazon.com/Anselms-Other-Argument-A-Smith/dp/0674725042

      You haven’t covered any medieval philosophers yet………………some of the best philosophy was done during this period.

      • Avatar of Mark Linsenmayer

        Mark Linsenmayer

        February 4, 2014

        Hey, Mr. Taco,

        You sound like a good candidate to be our guest/guide for an Aquinas episode. Drop me a line using a real email address if you’re interested. -Mark

  28. Γιαννης απο την Ελλαδα

    January 23, 2014

    I second Emerson (or Thoreau), and could you guys maybe also do a comparative episode where you try and find common ground between continental (especially postmodern) and analytic philosophy? I think there’s a lot of room for dialogue instead of all the hostility we’ve had and this’d be the perfect place to get that going. Also maybe some Adorno? I recommend Aesthetic Theory and Negative Dialectics. There’s actually some pretty cool metaphysics and epistemology hidden behind all the social commentary in the latter. Also if in 40 years you have the stomach to do more Heidegger and Sartre, they both have works on philosophy of literature that are worth looking at. And if you do anymore philosophy of religion, you should maybe take a look at “What Would Jesus Deconstruct?” by John Caputo, and anything out of the Kyoto School, which integrates Heidegger and Continental stuff with Mahayana (especially Zen) Buddhism. Nikolai Bardyaev also has some cool existentialism from an Eastern Orthodox Christian perspective instead of a Western Christian one (which is a much bigger difference than you’d think).

    I really love what you guys are doing, thank you for this wonderful service, keep up the good work!

    • Avatar of Wayne Schroeder

      Wayne Schroeder

      January 24, 2014

      Hey, Giannis from Greece–
      I second your reguest for “common ground between continental (especially postmodern) and analytic philosophy.”

  29. Koki

    February 4, 2014

    I have to say I absolutely love your podcasts. I would like to request, however, an episode on Arendt’s Human Condition. Not only because it’s an incredible work, but also because she’s an important woman in the “revised” canon, of which there are far too few.

    But thanks for your hilarious episode on Rawls and making Kant intelligible to me! I listen to your podcasts all day long.

    • Avatar of Seth Paskin

      Seth Paskin

      February 4, 2014

      Thanks! So glad you are enjoying the fruits of our labors.

      Arent has been requested many times and she is on the list. The long, long list. I’m sure we’ll cover her, not sure when.

  30. Boris

    February 12, 2014

    When are you going to do Slavoj Zizek. He is awsome. He does Lacan throu the lens of Hegel. Basicly he demasks postmodern ideology:

  31. Avatar of Johnny


    February 13, 2014

    I’d love to hear you’re take on Guy Debord.

    • Sasha

      May 4, 2014

      Yes, Debord!

    • dmf

      May 4, 2014

      is there something in Debord that later thinkers like Baudrillard or Deleuze fail to update?

  32. Kelvin

    February 16, 2014

    I, in general, am not in favor of people making suggestions to you guys about potential future episodes, but I think a Zizek episode would be fascinating. Partially because I find his exact ideas impenetrable, but more importantly, it would give me supreme delight to hear Wes destroy him in a surgical fashion.

    • Avatar of Mark Linsenmayer

      Mark Linsenmayer

      February 16, 2014

      Zizek is now probably THE most suggested figure for us to cover. This will for sure happen some time in 2014. (It might be one that Wes can’t be on, though… sorry in advance if that’s the case.)

      • Avatar of Wayne Schroeder

        Wayne Schroeder

        February 16, 2014

        I recommend you include Michael Burgess in the Zizek episode.

      • Avatar of klbillin


        February 16, 2014

        A Zizek episode without Wes is like eating candy without sugar. I’m obviously kidding but it would be great if Wes did make it. Either way, I really appreciate your reply Mark.

        • Avatar of Mark Linsenmayer

          Mark Linsenmayer

          February 18, 2014

          OK, the particular slot (very soon) that Wes won’t be in got filled with Nozick instead, so I will entreat Wes not to miss Zizek.

  33. Toby K

    February 21, 2014

    Have you guys considered going back to texts that you’ve covered only part of in previous episodes? For example Being and Time or Hegel’s Phenomenology. I’m not necessarily advocating for it, just curious. I understand that you have so much to cover that it’s unlikely to happen any time soon.

  34. RX

    March 25, 2014

    Thanks for all these great podacasts. How about some neo-pragmatism? Perhaps Rorty/B Williams – great reads in NYRB archive and LRB (they try to shred each other, politely). And then Rorty/Dennet.

  35. Arlene Decker

    April 2, 2014

    I’m currently reading Henri Lefebvre’s The Production of Space and would love to hear an episode on it!

    • Avatar of Johnny


      April 22, 2014

      Haven’t read him but very curious. Second.

  36. Quest-ioning

    April 17, 2014

    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!

  37. Guerra

    April 30, 2014

    just heard the No country for old men… nietzschean episodes are the best

    I’d like to listen a Walden or a marxist podcast Karel Kosik or Marcusse would be great

    • Avatar of Toby Keymer

      Toby Keymer

      May 4, 2014

      Agreed, an episode or two on Western Marxism would be fantastic. A Zizek episode is planned, so there’ll be Marxism in that, but what I’m pining for is some Frankfurt School stuff.

  38. Sasha

    May 4, 2014

    I would love an episode on Situationism/Situationists International/Lettrist International/Psychogeography/Debord, et al. Essentially, something Debord related that doesn’t focus explicitly on the “spectacle”, but probes into the greater work that the Situationists did!

  39. Avatar of Wayne Schroeder

    Wayne Schroeder

    May 6, 2014

    I request a PEL episode on John Dewey–noted for pragmatism (versus foundationalism or empiricism) and interactive naturalism:

    Because of his process-oriented and sociologically conscious opinion of the world and knowledge, his theory is considered sometimes as a useful alternative to both modern and postmodern theory. Dewey’s non-foundational method pre-dates postmodernism by more than half a century.

    Dewey’s pragmatic theory attempted to show that knowledge is a product of an activity directed to the fulfillment of human purposes, and that a true (or warranted) belief is known to be such by the consequences of its employment rather than by any psychological or ontological foundations

    Dewey’s claim in Experience and Nature that the collection of meanings that constitute the mind have a social origin expresses the basic contention, one that he maintained throughout his career, that the human individual is a social being from the start, and that individual satisfaction and achievement can be realized only within the context of social habits and institutions that promote it.

    Regarding aesthetics, Dewey claims that the roots of aesthetic experience liein commonplace experience, in the consummatory experiences that are ubiquitous in the course of human life, not just in museums isolated from life.

    The social dimension and function of belief systems, explored by Dewey and other pragmatists, has received renewed attention by such writers as Richard Rorty and Jürgen Habermas.

    Dewey’s contributions to environmental studies, feminist studies, multicultural studies, and even cognitive science are the subject of ongoing investigation by a new generation of philosophers. Perhaps the most promising prospects for dealing with big problems of philosophy will come from the convergence of pragmatic and phenomenological approaches since they undercut skepticism, reject all forms of cognitive privilege, and freely admit the historical context of inquiry.

    For possible readings see: The Essential Dewey, Volume 1/2: Pragmatism/Ethics by Larry A. Hickman, Thomas M. Alexander

  40. Wade

    May 15, 2014

    You guys should do an episode on Shelly Kagan’s book Limits of Morality.

  41. Mihalis

    May 16, 2014

    Since it’s in the news so much, whenever you guys go on your economics kick could you maybe do an episode discussing some part of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century?

  42. Dan Harrington

    June 2, 2014

    Hi guys,

    Having been a listener for a couple of years now, I just wanted to say thank you for all the tremendous episodes I have enjoyed, and all the countless hours of preparation that doubtless went into each and every episode.

    I would like to make a recommendation… I have been reading my way through Adorno’s ouevre as part of my studies as a postgrad student, and think an episode on him would be really cool. Am not sure what part of his thought you might want to focus on, as he touches on a lot of different areas. Maybe his Aesthetic Theory or Negative Dialectics? Or, perhaps you could turn to the seminal expression of the Frankfurt School’s critical theory, which he wrote with Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment?

    I think in each case, previous episodes on for instance, Nietzsche, Hegel, Kant and Freud have all been expertly covered, and turning to Adorno would be very useful for a prospective episode on Zizek, who was deeply influenced by him.

    All the best

    • Avatar of Mark Linsenmayer

      Mark Linsenmayer

      June 3, 2014

      Hi, Dan,

      Let me know if you want to be our Adorno guest. We’ve definitely considered him, and he may be one of our next aesthetics episodes, but as with the other Frankfurt guys is stacked in our long Continental to-do list. Sounds like Dialectic of Enlightenment may be the place to start; if you can give us an episode-syllabus of sorts for each of those other options (aesthetics, negative dialectics) and help us understand what the benefits would be with one approach to him rather than another, that might raise the chances of an Adorno episode happening sooner. Thanks.

      • Dan Harrington

        June 4, 2014

        Thank you for the offer, I would be very happy to appear on an episode on him. I think it would probably be best to start with Dialectic of Enlightenment, and that is one I would feel I could contribute towards most usefully. Moreover, within the text you can get an insight into his later works, such as AT and ND. It is also an easier read than his later work, where his style becomes increasingly abstruse – I am quite a way off feeling like I could contribute usefully to his work on aesthetics, as I have only read a fraction of that text.

        I Think in that way, if you guys found Adorno interesting, that would give you somewhere to go with him in the future.

        I could provide a summary of the chapters of DoE if that would help with selecting which might be worth looking more closely at. I believe the two studies on enlightenment would be of interest, and also chapter 5, on the culture industry, which is perhaps what he is most well-known for, and provides an insight into his aesthetics.

        All the best

        • Avatar of Toby Keymer

          Toby Keymer

          June 19, 2014

          I’m very much looking forward to this prospective Adorno episode!

  43. Örkki

    June 11, 2014

    By the way, do you do much editing of your discussions? I mean as a non-native listener it sometimes sounds like someone (often Seth) speaks unnaturally fast, almost without any pauses between words. Maybe that’s just his style, but if it’s the result of editing please don’t overdo it.
    Anyway great shows you are putting out recently.

    • Avatar of Seth Paskin

      Seth Paskin

      June 11, 2014

      Hey Örkki–
      We do edit. We usually record about 2.5 – 3 hrs of conversation and edit it down to around 1.5 hours. Often because it’s an ad-hoc conversation we have long pauses while we speak or it may take one of us a little while to articulate a point which we whittle down to a more concise articulation. In so doing we try and cut down the dead air between words and thoughts. Perhaps we are a bit aggressive in doing so. I’ll talk to Mark.

      Additionally, we use multiple editors so there may be some variance. One thing I can guarantee you is that I don’t speak quickly – lol, quite the opposite.

      • Örkki

        July 25, 2014

        I messed up, I actually meant that Wes speaks fast. My apologies, I only noticed my mistake when I looked at your webcast.

        For some strange and stupid reason I had associated Seth’s face to Wes’s voice and vice versa. I had in my mind the voice of the fast speaking person and a mental image of his face, I went to your site to find a name for that face, and so picked the wrong name.

        Now there is a strange mismatch between the world and my mental image of the world.
        There must also be a philosophical question about the reference of proper names here somewhere.

  44. Attila

    July 8, 2014


    Nice podcast. I found it recently. You have lots of interesting topics.

    I would be happy if you did some more episodes about the philosophy of science:
    Imre Lakatos,Paul Feyerabend, Mary Hesse,…
    For Lakatos, his philosophy of mathematics would also be interesting.

    An episode of ancient skeptics, especially Sextus Empiricus, would be nice also.

    Also, ancient stoics: Cicero, Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius.

    And the dialogue Parmenides, by Plato. In which Plato fails to defend his own metaphysics.

    Some episodes on the philosophy of religion, especially the problem of evil would be also interesting: Hick, Mackie, Rowe, Plantiga,…

  45. Avatar of Joshua Lukasik

    Joshua Lukasik

    July 12, 2014

    Hey Mark I’m glad to hear the podcast will cover Slavoj Zizek. I’m no expert but from all my meager readings I find The Parallax View to be his most comprehensive philosophical text. Not only has he stated it as his magnum opus but I think it contains and builds upon his other two books The Sublime Object of Ideology and The Ticklish Subject. Those three in my view are the philosophical edifice that contains all his other discourses.

    I find Zizek needs to be explicated a bit and I can’t wait to hear you guys discuss him whether or not you agree. Zizek himself I think is a self-loathing figure who doesn’t care much about his political writings ala Living in the End Times or First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, but himself is convinced the rise of his popularity is correlated to his political theses rather than his philosophical ones.

    I’m not inventing this sentiment it’s clearly described in the documentary called Zizek! which is free on youtube, if anyone is interested.

    Keep up the good work!

  46. Steven Frattali

    July 14, 2014

    Enjoy your shows very much.

    I would second, or third, the vote for Naming and Necessity.

    And also for Lonergan’s Insight (which I think has points in common).

    For something completely different — the American phenomenologist Alphonso Lingis, especially his The Imperative.

  47. Jonathan

    July 15, 2014

    Two months ago, your podcast found my naive mind and tore every wall down. I became completely manic about philosophy. I have heard about 60 episodes now, and more importantly, the most interesting podcasts prompted me to read the originals. I binged trough 15 books and countless articles in these last 8 weeks. I read some philosophy before, but now I can see this giant project that all philosophers are, more or less, engaging with. At a certain point it was as if a gentle breeze of clarity and rigour began dwelling in my mind, along with sleep-deprivation. I’m not so uncritically fanatic about your podcast as I was at the start of this intellectual greed, but my admiration remains untouched for being my gateway drug to philosophy.

    Although the Schopenhauer episodes are brilliant for what they are, I really think you have focused on the redundant and less important aspects of his philosophy. Understanding his improvement / extension of the Kantian system was a catharsis for me. But I’m sure The World as Will and Representation is going to get it’s treatment in the next 100 episodes.

    I would make a priestly offering of self-integrity if you guys did an episode on Levinas’ Totality and Infinity.

    • Avatar of Seth Paskin

      Seth Paskin

      July 15, 2014

      The guys are looking to me to pick something from Levinas to read. I honestly don’t believe we could do Totality and Infinity. Not just because we wouldn’t be able to read it (or even a sub section) without serious struggle, but also because I think there is too much presupposed in the text that we don’t have. I have advocated doing the excerpts from Time and the Other or Ethics as First Philosophy from the Levinas Reader. Thoughts?

      • Steven Frattali

        July 17, 2014

        Try Existence and Existents. Short — 100 pages — gives many of his main themes, and has a nice intro by Alphonso Lingis.

      • Jonathan

        July 22, 2014

        I think Steven’s suggestion is a good one. Totality & Infinity is actually on of the two (also, Either / Or) books I read partially before my philosophical expedition. My rate was I think 2 pages an hour, but I still have not read many single sentences that contain so much as some of these Levinas constructs. I found it suddenly much less difficult after having read Magee’s “the Philosophy of Schopenhauer”, which worked for me as a mind bending introduction to philosophical reading in general. It learned me to read philosophy books as a graphic novel, even boring secondary literature reads now as a spectacle of omnipotent superheroes and doomed world-savings.

        I would like to add another suggestion to do an episode on Object Oriented Ontology. Adam Miller would be a terribly interesting person to interview in this regard. He is a mormon philosopher and not clinically confused. It’s pretty cool actually, he says he himself has never had any mystic encounter so he himself applies his faith only to the here and now, what is materially given, and acting gracefully to other’s who say they’ve seen “more”. Grace is the gift of being able to be insufficient and merciful to all given and pressing ‘objects’. And he talks about the metaphysical dilemma’s of shit and shitting in public mormon discourse which makes offended mormons retract their donations.
        ( http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2013/05/theoscatology/ unselfcensored version here http://speculativenonbuddhism.com/2012/07/28/sitting-full-of-shit/ )

        Most importantly, he wrote an introduction to OOO which is also a discourse on grace understood within this framework (which allows no transcendental entities and reductionism). Many non-mormon reviews consider this to be the most enlightened intro to OOO, I can’t comment on that since I read nothing else, but his prose is beautiful and to the point.

        It’s called Speculative Grace: http://www.questia.com/read/121796386/speculative-grace-bruno-latour-and-object-oriented

        I discovered this guy just three days ago, so take my enthusiasm with a grain of salt.

      • Akiva Mattenson

        July 26, 2014

        First, I want to just thank you and the rest of the PEL team for your wonderful discussions and insightful dialogue about some fascinating questions. Of course, I am not surprised that you were chosen to pick a selection from Levinas, given your partiality to the Continental tradition (a man after my own heart). If you want some pretty light, though somewhat substantive Levinas reading, you could use the book “Is it Righteous to Be? Interviews with Emmanuel Levinas.” The work includes an extensive biographical interview, a variety of interviews exploring his philosophical thought, and some touching upon his attitudes towards Judaism with reference to his more confessional writings on the Talmud. I think the book may be more accessible – though it is still somewhat difficult – to a wider audience.

        I also want to put in a request for some reading of Hans-Georg Gadamer, in particular his “Truth and Method.”

        Thank you again for all your work!

  48. David

    July 25, 2014

    The greatest philosopher of the 20th century, and a prophet of the new religious/spiritual movement, Alan Watts has yet to be discussed. Would love to here you guys discuss the ideas of Alan Watts. If you wanted a book to discuss, I would go with “The Book: the taboo against knowing who you are.” If you want to discuss one of his lectures, I’d go with his “nature of consciousness” lecture.

Add a comment

  1. Good Podcasts: The Partially Examined Life and Elucidations « Credo ut Intelligam11-29-11
  2. Quora04-15-12
  3. Is Aristotle necessary? | Crowhill Weblog07-19-12
  4. Philosophy Podcast « xapientia09-18-12
  5. Podcasts | Notas Acadêmicas02-15-13
  6. Podcast tip: Partially examined life | Lasse Kalheim’s weblog02-17-13
  7. Ok, I am going to write… | Christopher A Hoff03-16-13
  8. The Examined Life (Podcast 01 – 03) | ladydaryl07-22-13
  9. Philosophy on Youtube | Philosophy Prime08-16-13
  10. Podcasts | Updating Beliefs09-22-13
  11. The Spirituality of Work | PSL Blogs11-14-13
  12. Part 1 of Episode 1: “The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living.” | The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast | A Philosophy Podcast and Blog01-02-14
  13. Paletleme Amirliği – Podcast Özel Sayısı 2 | Emrah Göker'in İstifhanesi01-03-14
  14. Academy of Ideas » Introductory Philosophy Podcast01-30-14
  15. Philosophy and the Web: Philosophie to go? | Philosophie indebate03-25-14
  16. Podcasts sobre Filosofia | Inferential Gap07-05-14