First, the Lucy Lawless episode is nearly done percolating. Most of you are going to really like it; a small percentage will be annoyed at our not having read a more substantial book or having more substantial things to say about it. Such is the price of fame.
Second, we’ve gotten an affirmative to being on our show from none other than David Chalmers (his words: “i’d be happy to do this.”), who is frankly one of the biggest stars among contemporary philosophers (watch him here). Now, with our last big-time philosopher guest, I refrained from announcing him until we’d actually recorded him, and several of the subsequent episodes were recorded in the aftermath of his interview, as in “what should we go read now in order to understand fully what was just said?” With Chalmers, I’d like to reverse the order.
In preparation for discussing his new book, Constructing the World, with him in a couple of months, we’re going to squeeze in a couple of episodes before then specifically to prep for this experience, tentatively on Quine and Carnap. (As a preview, Chalmers has a very interesting take on Carnap that minimizes the importance of his verificationism and reductionism, i.e. the things we were complaining about when we briefly considered Carnap during our Wittgenstein’s Tractatus podcast.)
This means that all of our other episode plans have gotten pushed forward to 2013 (Sorry, Marx! Sorry, Ayn Rand! Deleuze! Martin Buber! Rawls and Nozick!). So get ready for some hardcore analytic action (after the Federalist Papers)!
Even more exciting than these bits of news is the new part of our web site that we’re (meaning Dylan, with me whipping him and cursing) currently setting up. I’ve brought this up a bit on our Facebook site to some enthusiasm, and we have a few listeners and past podcast guests already on there trying it out as users. In short, we’re providing support for study groups: some forum space and other resources to help you find people to read a book (or take in some other philosophy media) together with. Unlike Facebook groups and the like, the groups are meant to have a specific structure: they last only a month, and they have specific, and manageable goals, like, for instance, “we’re going to read just these two chapters, use the group-specific forum space to chat about it during these two weeks, and maybe have a Skype chat about it at the end of the month if the group votes to do so at the time.”
This resource is intended both for people already into philosophy who want a bit of social pressure to force them to read things they keep not getting around to looking at, and to brand new philosophy readers, who just want some support in trying to tackle a nice introductory book. I realize the pace of our podcasts is fast, and probably none of you read along with us, but this is a chance to pick maybe just one topic that you enjoyed hearing about and get some people to focus on it with you, a bit at a time in month-long chunks, for as long as you feel like keeping it up. The cost will be a recurring $5/month donation to PEL, and we’re throwing in a lot of free documents and audio to assuage your impatience if it maybe takes a few weeks for us to reach the critical mass of users required to make this really really fun.
Stay tuned for our official launch announcement (which could come anywhere between a couple of days and a couple of weeks from now; we need to add some polish to the thing). I’ll provide plenty of info for you to read through before you decide on engaging in that weighty $5 financial investment!
(Oh, and if anyone is an experienced hand at BuddyPress/S2member configuration and would be willing to help us out with a few things, please let me know ASAP.)