On Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice (2016). What role should we allow anger to play in our public life? Should systems of punishment be strictly impartial, or should they be retributive, i.e., expressive of public anger? Nussbaum thinks that anger necessarily involves the desire for payback, and that this is nearly always unhelpful. We should instead use anger to look toward the future and prevent future harm. Mark, Wes, and Dylan interview Martha and then discuss issues raised in the interview and the book.
On the later Platonic dialogue. What is a sophist? These were guys in Ancient Greece who taught young people the tools of philosophy and rhetoric. They claimed to teach virtue. In Sophist, “the Eleatic Stranger” (i.e. not Socrates) tries to figure out what a sophist really is, using a new “method of division.” This leads to a long digression on the nature of “not-being” as a necessary component of false beliefs, which is what the Stranger claims that sophists provide.
Socrates hangs out in the country flirting with his buddy Phaedrus. And what is this “Platonic” love? Using the enticement of desire not to rush toward fulfillment, but to get you all excited about talking philosophy. Socrates critiques a speech by renowned orator Lysias, who claimed that love is bad because it’s a form of madness, where people do things they then regret after love fades. Socrates instead delivers a myth that shows the spiritual benefits of loving and being loved. With guest Adam Rose of Great Discourses.
End song: “Summertime” by New People, from Might Get It Right (2013).
A seminar given by Adam Rose about Plato’s “Apology” and “Phaedrus,” and a bit from one on “Crito.” This is what it’s like to be in a Great Discourses seminar; PEL Citizens get 20% off admission into any of these at greatdiscourses.com with the promo code PELCITIZEN16. Join the Great Discourses Not School group for more info.
More on The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947), this time on part III. Ep. 140 laid out man’s “ambiguity,” but what does that mean in terms of practical decision making? De B. talks about the practical paradoxes of dealing with oppression and what it might mean to respect the individual given that there’s no ultimate, pre-existent moral rulebook to guide us, nothing we can point to to excuse the sacrifice of someone to a “greater good.”
End song: “Indiscretion (Mess Things Up)” from the 1993 Mark Lint album Spanish Armada: Songs of Love and Related Neuroses.
Another 15 minutes of conversation between Mark and the Hammerbox singer, immediately following our Nakedly Examined Music episode, bookended by “Waiting” the Rockfords’ EP of that name (2003) and “Trafalgar Sqare” from Carrie’s last solo album to date, Last the Evening (2007).
On The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947), parts I and II. We return to existentialism! Instead of describing our predicament as “absurd,” de Beauvoir prefers “ambiguous”: We are a biological organism in the world, yet we’re also free consciousness transcending the given situation. Truly coming to terms with this freedom means not only understanding that you transcend any label that you or anyone else has put on you, but also recognizing that your freedom requires the freedom of others. The full foursome discuss whether this attempt to argue for an existentialist ethics works.
End song: “Reasonably Lonely,” by Mark Lint.
On Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism (1981) and Black Looks: Race and Representation (1992, Intro, Ch. 3, 11).
How do these pernicious forces interact? hooks describes black women as having been excluded from both mainstream historical feminism (led by white women) and black civil rights struggles (permeated with patriarchy), and this “silencing” creates challenges for self-actualization and social justice. The solution: media critique of stereotyped images and personally connecting to a historical narrative of liberation. With guest Myisha Cherry, host of the UnMute Podcast.
We interview John about Seeing Things As They Are (2015). What is perception? Searle says that it’s not a matter of seeing a representation that is then related to things in the real world. We see the actual objects, with no mediation. But then how can there be illusions? Well, it’s complicated, but not too complicated, just some funny terminology that this episode will teach you.
Searle lays out his theory for us and amusingly dismisses much of the history of philosophy in the first half, and then Mark, Wes, and Dylan continue the discussion to make sure we understood what was just said and chase down some threads of the conversation.
End song: “Flesh and Blood” from The MayTricks’ Happy Songs Will Bring You Down (1994). Download the whole album for free.
Following on our Nakedly Examined Music episode, Mark and Beth trade some basic musical career information, Beth talks about rude dudes and being a woman on stage, and she shares her passion for inspiring others to make music. And more songs: Gin & Chocolate” from Gin, Chocolate & Bottle Rockets (2014) and “North Star” from Beth Kille and Erik Kjelland’s North Star Sessions.(2015)
Following up to the Nakedly Examined Music interview, Mark talks more with Phil about the state of the music industry, playing live, how many pieces to use in a string arrangement, and more.
On Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste (1979), introduction, ch 1 through p. 63, conclusion, and postscript.
How do our tastes in music, art, and everything else reflect our social position? This philosophically trained sociologist administered a few detailed questionnaires in 1960s France and used the resulting differences in what people in different classes preferred and how they talked about these preferences to theorize about the role that taste plays in our social games. With guest Tim Quirk, recently featured on Nakedly Examined Music.
End song: “When She Took Off Her Shirt” from Tim’s band Wonderlick’s Topless At The Arco Arena (2005).
On Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer’s “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception” from Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), plus Adorno’s “Culture Industry Reconsidered” (1963).
How does the entertainment industry affect us? Adorno (armed with Marx and Freud) thinks that our “mass culture” is imposed from the top down to brainwash us into being submissive workers.
End song: “All Too Familiar,” from around 1992 with all instruments by Mark Linsenmayer, released on The MayTricks
The first session of the newly revived group, led 3/20/16 by Brian Wilson of Combat & Classics fame (a St. John’s thing). Featuring Steve Kurtz, Stacey Morris, Roger Crandy, Nick Eddy, Justin Modra, James Lee, and Cathy Reisenwitz.
More convesation from my interview with Nick van Eede for Nakedly Examined Music ep. 10, about learning about music from your older siblings, completionism, and changes in the way we listen. Featuring the track “Hard on You” from Cutting Crew’s Grinning Souls (2005) and “The Broadcast” from from Broadcast (1986).
Here’s more footage from the Nakedly Examined Music ep. 9 interview with Sky Cries Mary’s Roderick Romero, where he talks about his divorce from his co-lead-singer, writing a song for a movie about Jim Morrison that never got made, the 2015 SCM reunion show, his first album recorded with Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of The Posies, being in the Seattle music scene as it was blowing up, and more.
We’re unveiling here two more tracks from the One Point Moment Still project: “Riot on the Moon” (with music by Roderick’s sister Nicole Wolgamott) and “Prayers and Curses” (with SCM drummer Ben Ireland). We also hear “Bath House” from that first album Until the Grinders Cease (1989), and finally the original studio version of “Gliding” from Moonbathing on Sleeping Leaves (1997), with accordion by Krist Novoselic (bassist for Nirvana).
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.
We talk about playing against Spanish poetry, the musician’s ego, and listen to Gary’s work with Captain Beefheart, Jeff Buckley, and Betty Boop cartoons.
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.