A whole second discussion on G.W.F. Hegel’s Encylopedia Logic, hitting sections 78–99 on the dialectic, Understanding vs. Reason, and then how the Concept of Being, when analyzed, shows itself to be identical to Nothingness, and how those in turn considered together “logically” lead to Becoming, which is the same as Determinate Being and also Quality. With guest Amogh Sahu.
On G.F.W. Hegel’s The Science of Logic (1812–1816), §1–§129 and The Encyclopaedia Logic (1817) §1–§25. “Logic” for Hegel isn’t about symbolic logic; it’s about how thought interacts with the world. Our thoughts about fundamental metaphysical categories bear the same relations to each other as the the categories themselves do. Just take Hegel’s many, many words for it! This is the first of two discussions on the Logic. With guest Amogh Sahu.
V-Day Special! On Fromm’s The Art of Loving (1956). What is love, really? This psychoanalyst of the Frankfurt school thinks that real love is not something one “falls” into, but is an art, an activity, and doing it well requires a disciplined openness and psychological health. Love is the answer to the deep human need to rid ourself of isolation, but a mere sexual union won’t provide real intimacy. To connect the center of your being with the center of another’s being, you need to really know yourself and know the other, and this knowing requires an overall openness that amounts to a love of humanity, a feeling of oneness with nature, and an overall orientation toward the good, which is what he considers a mature take on “love of God.”
End songs: “Kimmy” (1995) and “Kimmy 2002” by Mark Lint.
On selected “moral epistles” (from around 65 CE) by Lucius Annaeus Seneca: 4. On the Terrors of Death, 12. On Old Age, 49. On the Shortness of Life, 59. On Pleasure and Joy, 62. On Good Company, 92. On the Happy Life, 96. On Facing Hardship, and 116. On Self Control. We’re joined by Massimo Pigliucci of the How to Be a Stoic blog, who for a long time was on the Rationally Speaking podcast. How can one most profitably interpret weird-sounding Stoic recommendations about the emotions and about following nature?
End song: “I Lose Control” by The MayTricks from So Chewy! (1993).
Our second discussion of De Anima or On the Soul (350 BCE), this time on book 3.
What is the intellect? In ep. 130, we talked about Aristotle’s idea of the soul as the form of the body, and now we get to it’s highest part/function: nous, which has things in common with pereption (both use images), but which is really a “form of forms,” which is literally nothing until it thinks (just pure potential) and then takes on the forms of all the things it thinks. And it can survive death and is not actually yours or mine, but just the universal mind!
Attend the Aftershow on 1/31 6pm Eastern.
End song: “Wonderful You” (live 2001) by Mark Lint.
On De Anima or On the Soul (350 BCE), books 1 and 2, after some listener mail. What can this ancient text tell us about biological life? What counts as a scientific explanation? A. describes life as “the first actuality of a natural body which has organs,” so bodies express their nature only when they’re growing and reproducing and all that stuff that bodies do. The body is potential, and life is its actuality. So what the heck kind of explanation is that, and how does it tie into Aristotle’s convoluted metaphysics? Read along in the text or peruse this line-by-line commentary.
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End song: “Intermission Song” by Mark Lint from Spanish Armada: Songs of Love and Related Neuroses (1993).
Nathan Gilmour (Christian Humanist podcast) and Rob Dyer (God Complex Radio) join Mark and Wes for to discuss the reasonableness of religious belief reading Antony Flew’s “The Presumption of Atheism,” Norwood Russell Hanson’s “The Agnostic’s Dilemma,” Steven Cahn’s “The Irrelevance of Proof to Religion,” Alvin Plantinga’s “Is Belief in God Properly Basic?” Merold Westphal’s “Sin and Reason,” Basil Mitchell’s “Faith and Criticism,” Peter van Inwagen’s “Clifford’s Principle,” William Alston’s “Experience in Religious Belief,” Richard Swinburne’s “The Voluntariness of Faith” and “The World and Its Order,” and Paul Helm’s “Faith and Merit.” Learn more.
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End song: “Let Us Meet” by Mark Lint, setting an old poem by Kim Casey Linsenmayer.
On “The Meaning of Meaning” (1975). If meaning is not a matter of having a description in your head, then what is it? Hilary Putnam reformulates Kripke’s insight (from #126) in terms of Twin Earths: Earthers with H20 and Twin Earthers with a substance that seems like water but is different have the same mental contents but are referring to different stuff with “water,” so that word is speaker-relative in a certain way. With guest Matt Teichman. Learn more.
End song: “In the Boatyard” by Mark Lint & the Madison Lint Ensemble (2004, finished now).
On Experience and Nature (1925), through ch. 4. What’s the relationship between our experience and the world that science investigates? Dewey thinks that these are one and the same, and philosophies that call some part of it (like atoms or Platonic forms) the real part while the experienced world is a distortion are unjustified. Learn more.
End song: “Uncontrollable Fear” by The MayTricks So Chewy! (1993).
On Naming and Necessity (1980). What’s the relationship between language and the world? Specifically, what makes a name or a class term (like “tiger”) pick out the person or things that it does? Saul Kripke wanted to correct the dominant view of his time (which involved speakers having some description in mind, and it’s that description that hooks the word to the thing), and used modal language to do it: He talked about other possible worlds (other ways our world could have turned out, not literal other dimensions or something). His account had implications for metaphysics and science, in that he claimed that if we find a scientific truth like “heat is the motion of molecules,” then this would be true in all possible worlds. We might think that we could have discovered that heat was something else, but really, if we imagine a world in which that happened, what those scientists would have been looking at was actually not heat at all. With guest Matt Teichman. Learn more.
End song: “Reason Enough” by Mark Lint.
On The Human Condition (1958), Prologue and Sections 1 and 2. How has our distinction between the private and public evolved over time? Arendt uses this history, and chiefly the differences between our time and ancient Athens, to launch a critique of modern society. The fab four conducted this podcast live at the Pittsburgh Continental Philosophy Conference. Learn more.
What is it like to do philosophy in public? As prelude to our ep. 125 appearance at the Pittsburgh Continental Philosophy Network Conference on theory and public space, Mark, Seth, Wes, and Dylan sat down for questions by moderator Erica Freeman, conference host Justin Pearl, and numerous attendees.
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. If you let yourself be perturbed by things that happen to you, then you’re a slave to those external things. Your good lies only in the things you can (with practice) control, i.e., your own attitudes, judgments, and opinions. Even a slave can be free, according to this strategy: Nothing external can break your spirit unless you let it. So, how weird and misguided is that advice? With guest Alex Fossella. Learn more.
End song: “But I Won’t” by Mark Lint from Spanish Armada: Songs of Love and Related Neuroses (1993).
On F.A. Hayek’s “The Use of Knowledge in Society” (1945) and Amartya Sen’s On Ethics and Economics (1987). Is economics a pseudoscience? Are its assumptions by necessity too over-simplifying? Hayek objects to the idea of planning an economy, because the planners aren’t in a position to know enough, while Sen argues for more nuance and philosophical ethics to enter a rich picture of human economic behavior and the society we want to shape. With guest Seth Benzell. Learn more.
See us live in Pittsburgh on 9/26 or watch the simulcast: partiallyexaminedlife.com/PEL-Live.
End song: “People Who Throw Away Love” by Mark Lint
Guest Seth Benzell outlines Hayek’s “The Use of Knowledge in Society” (1945) and Sen’s On Ethics and Economics (1987).
A second discussion on The Confessions (400 CE), this time on books 10–13. What is memory and how does it relate to time and being? We also discuss discuss language, knowledge, hermeneutics, creation, and more on will and keeping God-oriented.
On The Confessions (400 CE), books 1–9.
The question is not “What is virtue?” because knowing what virtue is isn’t enough. The problem, for Aurelius Augustinus, aka St. Augustine of Hippo, is doing what you know to be right.
We discuss Un-Willing: An Inquiry into the Rise of Will’s Power and an Attempt to Undo It (2014) with the author, covering Socrates, Augustine, Aquinas, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Sartre, compatibilism, the neurologists’ critque of free will, and more.
End song: “I Insist” by Mark Lint
On Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy (1872), which was his first book. 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, and it remains ruined! Can we recapture the magic? Probably not. With guest John Castro.
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End song: “Some Act” by Mark Lint and the Fake from “So Whaddaya Think?” (2000)
Mark and Wes are joined by Victor Krummenacher and Jonathan Segel to discuss songwriting and authenticity in the age of Internet consumerism. Extended for Citizens consumption.
End song: “The Bastards Never Show Themselves” by the Monks of Doom