Release dates for PEL episodes refer to the release of the first half of the conversation. If you're a PEL Citizen, you'll get the whole thing on that date; if not, you'll have to wait another week for the second half.
The Next PEL Episodes
- Ep. 199: Private Government with guest Elizabeth Anderson. We are joined by the U. of Michigan prof to discuss her new book as well as her seminal 1999 article, "What Is the Point of Equality?" The point of equality is not primarily (per Rawls) to get equal and/or fair distribution of society's goods, but it's about dignity. Treating everyone with dignity requires a baseline (dependent on human nature but negotiated per society as in a social contract based on local conditions) of both negative and positive freedoms: We have basic needs, both physical and emotional, that must be met for us to truly be persons. Government exists to ensure these goods, by protecting us from each other and enforcing what we owe to each other out of this respect. In the current book, Anderson argues that "government" is not just the state, but all organized power relations; for example, parents govern children. Likewise, employers govern employees. All government should be public, i.e., it should be respondent to the needs and voice of the governed. The employer-employee relationship is underwritten by the state, and its state-enforced baseline is "employment at will," which in effect gives all power to the employer except the power to quit. As a practical matter, the worst that the employee can do to the employer (quit) is much worse for the employee than for the employer, particularly for less-skilled workers. So Anderson argues that we need to use the tools of political science to analyze this relationship and restructure the power balance so that the government of the employer is public to the employed.
- Episode 200: Kant et al on Enlightenment. In 1784, a Berlin newspaper put out a call for essays (a contest!) to answer the question "What Is Enlightenment?" Kant produced a famous answer, which is our primary text. In 1984, this essay was answered by Michel Foucault, so we're reading his response. The winner was Moses Mendelssohn, so we'll read his short essay too.
- Episode 201: Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. This will be Stoicism part three for us. Check out our episodes on Epictetus and Seneca.
- Episode 202: Julia Kristeva: "The Powers of Horror." Some cool psychoanalytic-flavored philosophy with a dash of feminism. We're planning to read the first three essays of her 1982 book.
- Episode 203: The Bhagavad-Gita. More Eastern philosophy at last! The translation we're reading is online.
- Episode 204: Epicurus. As with Parmenides, we only have certain fragments, so we'll read what there is and some secondary literature. Maybe skim here.
The Next Phi Fic Episodes
- To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
- Ulysses by James Joyce
- Elizabeth Costello by J.M. Coatzee