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The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

Updated 12 days ago

Arts
Comedy
Education
Society & Culture
Literature
Philosophy
Read more

The Partially Examined Life is a philosophy podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a short text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flippancy. You don't have to know any philosophy, or even to have read the text we're talking about to (mostly) follow and (hopefully) enjoy the discussion. For links to the texts we discuss and other info, check out www.partiallyexaminedlife.com.

Read more

The Partially Examined Life is a philosophy podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a short text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flippancy. You don't have to know any philosophy, or even to have read the text we're talking about to (mostly) follow and (hopefully) enjoy the discussion. For links to the texts we discuss and other info, check out www.partiallyexaminedlife.com.

iTunes Ratings

1448 Ratings
Average Ratings
1236
85
53
34
40

Bro indeed

By Alba White - Jul 03 2019
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At last, what no one has been asking for - bros who are into philosophy. To the bros, liking philosophy doesn’t redeem painful rambling. Definitely doesn’t make you funny.

Really nice

By TrentonNZ - Oct 29 2018
Read more
I appreciate the discussion, great way to build information.

iTunes Ratings

1448 Ratings
Average Ratings
1236
85
53
34
40

Bro indeed

By Alba White - Jul 03 2019
Read more
At last, what no one has been asking for - bros who are into philosophy. To the bros, liking philosophy doesn’t redeem painful rambling. Definitely doesn’t make you funny.

Really nice

By TrentonNZ - Oct 29 2018
Read more
I appreciate the discussion, great way to build information.
Cover image of The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

Updated 12 days ago

Read more

The Partially Examined Life is a philosophy podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a short text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flippancy. You don't have to know any philosophy, or even to have read the text we're talking about to (mostly) follow and (hopefully) enjoy the discussion. For links to the texts we discuss and other info, check out www.partiallyexaminedlife.com.

Rank #1: Ep. 222: Debating Functionalism (Block, Chalmers) (Part Two)

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Continuing on Ned Block's "Troubles with Functionalism" (1978) and David Chalmers's "Absent Qualia, Fading Qualia, Dancing Qualia" (1995).

What would it be like to be halfway between person and machine? If you think the machine can't have consciousness, then Chalmers thinks that there's no sensible way to describe such an experience, ergo the machine (if functionally equivalent to the person) must have consciousness after all.

Listen to part one first, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition. Please support PEL!

End song: "Machine" by Helen Money as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #101.

Sponsors: Visit thegreatcoursesplus.com/PEL, mintmobile.com/PEL, and omnifocus.com.

Subscribe to Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast at prettymuchpop.com.

Aug 05 2019
56 mins
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Rank #2: Episode 119: Nietzsche on Tragedy and the Psychology of Art

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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! With guest John Castro.

Includes a preview of the Aftershow feat. Greg Sadler.

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

Jul 06 2015
2 hours 46 mins
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Rank #3: Ep. 222: Debating Functionalism (Block, Chalmers) (Part One)

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On Ned Block's "Troubles with Functionalism" (1978) and David Chalmers's "Absent Qualia, Fading Qualia, Dancing Qualia" (1995).

If mental states are functional states, there couldn't be zombies. Yet Block claims that there could be zombies: for example, a functional duplicate of you whose components are actually citizens of China obeying algorithmic rules. Even if the resulting system acts like you, it obviously isn't conscious. Chalmers argues that you'd then need to explain the experiences of a creature half way between you and the zombie, but you can't, so Block's argument doesn't work and functionalism is left standing. What do you think? Do you hate weird thought experiments like these?

Don't wait for part two! Get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!

Sponsor: Visit the St. John's College Graduate Institute: partiallyexaminedlife.com/sjcgi.

Subscribe to Mark's new podcast at prettymuchpop.com.

Jul 29 2019
53 mins
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Rank #4: Part 1 of Episode 1: “The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living.”

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Discussing Plato's "Apology." Does studying philosophy make you a better person? No.
May 13 2009
42 mins
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Rank #5: Episode 213: Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Part One)

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On Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, books 1 and 2 (1883).

What is wisdom? In this text whose style parodies the Bible, we get pithy advice and allegorical imagery to guide us away from self-defeating, life-denying attitudes and orient us towards creative self-overcoming (i.e. exertion of the Will to Power). The Last Man who no longer knows how to give birth to a dancing star is a rotten egg!

Don't wait for part 2! Get your ad-free, unbroken Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!

Sponsors: St. John's College Graduate Institute: partiallyexaminedlife.com/sjcgi. Listen to the Hi-Phi Nation podcast at hiphination.org.

Apr 15 2019
55 mins
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Rank #6: Episode 87: Sartre on Freedom and Self-Deception

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On Jean-Paul Sartre's "Existentialism is a Humanism" (1946), "Bad Faith" (pt. 1, ch. 2 of Being & Nothingness, 1943), and his play No Exit (1944).
Jan 01 2014
1 hour 56 mins
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Rank #7: PREVIEW-Episode 32: Heidegger: What is “Being?”

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Discussing Martin Heidegger's Being and Time (1927), mostly the intro and ch. 1 and 2 of Part 1.
Feb 08 2011
32 mins
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Rank #8: PREVIEW-Episode 61: Nietzsche on Truth and Skepticism

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On Friedrich Nietzsche's "On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense" (1873). What is truth? This essay, written early in Nietzsche's career, is taken by many to make the extreme claim that there is no truth, that all of the "truths" we tell each other are just agreements by social convention. WIth guest Jessica Berry, who argues that that Nietzsche is a skeptic: our "truths" don't correspond with the world beyond our human conceptions; all knowledge is laden with human interests. Get the full discussion at partiallyexaminedlife.com.

Aug 15 2012
31 mins
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Rank #9: Ep. 218: The Hard Problem of Consciousness (Chalmers et al) (Part One)

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On "Consciousness and Its Place in Nature" by David Chalmers (2003), with special guest Gregory Miller from the Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast.

Can we explain human experience using the terms of brain physiology? Chalmers thinks not, and lays out the arguments against this and the range of positions philosophers have taken in response to these objections. 

Continues on part two, or get the full, ad-free Citizen Edition now. Please support PEL!

Sponsor: Visit thegreatcoursesplus.com/PEL for a free trial of The Great Courses Plus Video Learning Service.

Jun 17 2019
56 mins
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Rank #10: PREVIEW-Episode 80: Heidegger on our Existential Situation

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On Martin Heidegger's "Letter on Humanism" (1949).

What's our place in the world? What is it, really, to be human? Heidegger thought that being human hinges on having a proper relationship to Being, which is more basic than particular beings like people and tables and such, yet it being so close, Heidegger thinks it's hardest to see, and easy to be distracted from.

Looking for the full Citizen version?

Aug 08 2013
30 mins
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Rank #11: Episode 124: The Stoic Life with Epictetus

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On the Manual of Epictetus, aka The Enchiridion (135 CE). What's a wise strategy for life? Stoicism says that the secret is mastering yourself. Nothing external can break your spirit unless you let it. So, how weird and misguided is that advice? With guest Alex Fossella.

End song: "But I Won't" by Mark Lint from Spanish Armada: Songs of Love and Related Neuroses (1993).

Sep 21 2015
2 hours 8 mins
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Rank #12: Episode 178: Nietzsche as Social Critic: "Twilight of the Idols" (Part One)

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On Friedrich Nieztsche's 1888 book summarizing his thought and critiquing the founding myths of his society. He defends "spiritualized" instinct and frenzied creativity, but also Napoleon and war. We try to figure out what kind of social critic he'd be today. Would we actually like him?

Dec 04 2017
55 mins
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Rank #13: Episode 192: "The Closing of the American Mind": Allan Bloom on Education (Part One)

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On Allan Bloom's 1987 best-selleing polemic. What is the role of the university in our democracy? Bloom thinks that today's students are conformist, relativistic, and nihilistic, and that great books and thinking for thinking's sake are the cure.

Continued on part 2, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition plus an exclusive follow-up discussion. Please support PEL!

Sponsor: Visit thegreatcoursesplus.com/PEL for a one-month free trial of The Great Courses Plus Video Learning Service.

Jun 11 2018
53 mins
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Rank #14: Episode 116: Freud on Dreams

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On Sigmund Freud's On Dreams (1902) and other stuff. Are dreams just random, or our best key to understanding the mind?

After you listen to this, check out the Aftershow.

End song: "Sleep" by Mark Lint. Read about it.

May 25 2015
2 hours 25 mins
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Rank #15: PREVIEW-Episode 35: Hegel on Self-Consciousness

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On G.F.W. Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), Part B (aka Ch. 4), "Self-Consciousness," plus recapping the three chapters before that (Part A. "Consciousness"). With guest Tom McDonald.
Apr 02 2011
29 mins
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Rank #16: PREVIEW-Episode 81: Jung on the Psyche and Dreams

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On Carl Jung's "Approaching the Unconscious" from Man and His Symbols, written in 1961.

What's the structure of the mind? Jung followed Freud in positing an unconscious distinct from the conscious ego, but Jung's picture has the unconscious much more stuffed full of all sorts of stuff from who knows where, including instincts (the archetypes) that tend to give rise to behavior and dream imagery that we'd have to call religious. We neglect this part of ourselves at our psychological peril!

Looking for the full Citizen version?

Aug 29 2013
31 mins
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Rank #17: PREVIEW-Episode 70: Marx on the Human Condition

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On Karl Marx's The German Ideology, Part I, an early, unpublished work from 1846. What is human nature? What drives history? How can we improve our situation? Marx thought that fundamentally, you are what you do: you are your job, your means of subsistence. All the rest, this culture, this religion, this philosophy, is just a thin layer over our basic situation. Ideas are not primarily what changes the world; it's economics. Get the full discussion at partiallyexaminedlife.com.

Jan 30 2013
30 mins
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Rank #18: Episode 105: Kant: What Is Beauty?

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On Critique of Judgment (1790), Part I, Book I. What is beauty? Disinterested pleasure!
Nov 15 2014
2 hours
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Rank #19: Episode 164: Dostoyevsky’s “The Idiot” on Perfection (Part One)

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On Fyodor Dostoyevsky's philosophical novel from 1869. Could a morally perfect person survive in the modern world? Is all this "modernity," which so efficiently computes our desires and provides mechanisms to fulfill them, actually suited to achieve human flourishing? Dostoyevsky's Russian existentialism says no! Visit Talkspace.com/examined; use code "EXAMINED" for 30% off your first month of online therapy. Donate to the Turtle Island Research Cooperative at partiallyexaminedlife.com/turtle.
May 15 2017
59 mins
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Rank #20: Episode 189: Authorial Intent (Barthes, Foucault, Beardsley, et al) (Part One)

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On four essays about how to interpret artworks: “The Intentional Fallacy” by W. K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley (1946), "The Death of the Author" by Roland Barthes (1967), "What is an Author?" by Michel Foucault (1969), and “Against Theory” by Steven Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels (1982). When you're trying to figure out what, say, a poem means, isn't the best way to do that to just ask the author? Most of these guys say no, and that's supposed to reveal something about the nature of meaning.

No need to wait for part 2. Support us for access to the ad-free, unbroken Citizen Edition plus a one-hour follow-up conversation.

Sponsors: Rover.com/partiallyexamined, code "partiallyexamined" = $25 off pet care, storyworth.com/pel for $20 off. partiallyexaminedlife.com/sjc to learn about St. John's College.

May 07 2018
57 mins
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