Discussion clips covering topic we haven’t had time to cover on the podcast proper. Brief yourself on these topics via the enclosed 10–15 minute bursts, or become a PEL Citizen to listen to these bonus discussions in their full length. Mark is joined by Nathan Hanks to tell you how to get involved in a discussion yourself.
First, learn about Isaac Asimov’s story, “The Last Question” (1956) (his own favorite among his stories!) about the semi-existential dilemma whereby we recognize that the universe will end eventually due to entropy and worry about that. You can actually listen to Asimov read the story. Get the full discussion recording. Featuring Nathan with Daniel Cole, Cezary, Mary, and Laura: the current core of the Philosophical Fiction group.
Next, Mark led a group (featuring Michael Burgess, Marilynn L., Nick Halme, and Heath Adams) to continue PEL’s exploration of Karl Jaspers (from ep. 109), via the 1947 book Truth and Symbol. We discuss what a religious symbol is to Jaspers: it doesn’t refer to something in the world, and dwelling on it correctly is supposed to help achieve Jaspers’s recommended existential attitude. Read more about it. Get the full discussion.
Third, we hear from the long-running Philosophy and Theater group (Daniel Cole, Philip Cherny, and Carlos Franke), discussing the great playwright Bertold Brecht’s essay “Theatre for Pleasure or Theatre for Instruction” (ca. 1936) about “epic theater,” which is supposed to get rid of the false distinction between an amusing theater experience and an instructive one. Read more about it.
Then David Prentiss, Tim Clark, and Peter Oppenheim discuss Charles Sanders Peirce’s essay “The Fixation of Belief” (an explicit follow-up on our episode 20 on pragmatism; if you’re not a Citizen, you can hear a preview here). Peirce is a father of pragmatism, and is interested here in scientific inquiry as opposed to other ways of dispelling doubt. Get the full discussion.
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