Pretty Much Pop #171: The Traitors – A Multi-National Reality Game Show Phenom

Mark, Lawrence, Sarahlyn, and Al discuss the American version, and to a lesser extent the British and Australian versions, of this reality game show that originated in 2021 in the Netherlands, based on the party game Mafia (aka Werewolf), plus Survivor-like challenges and a gothic tone. How does such a simple (stupid?) concept end up creating compelling TV? Are we cruel for  Continue Reading …

Ep. 339: Brian Ellis on the Metaphysics of Science (Part Two for Supporters)

Continuing from part one on The Philosophy of Nature: A Guide to the New Essentialism (2002), still with guest Chris Heath. We get further into the text, covering Ellis' argument for scientific realism (as opposed to scientists just constructing models as a shorthand for displaying their data without actual metaphysical commitments), his strict criteria for a natural kind,  Continue Reading …

Ep. 339: Brian Ellis on the Metaphysics of Science (Part One for Supporters)

On The Philosophy of Nature: A Guide to the New Essentialism (2002), featuring Mark, Wes, Seth, and guest Chris Heath. What kind of metaphysics underlies chemistry and physics? Ellis says that mainstream philosophy of science is still under the spell of Descartes, Newton, and their contemporaries, especially Hume. According to this view, the fundamental metaphysical  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #73: Family Whêtspät w/ Colleen Doyle

The co-host of the Those Who Aunt podcast joins Mark and Bill to joke about the family as the fundamental political unit and its special place in ethics. On the flip side, what questions should you ask yourself about your character at the start of a scene? Plus, Jan. 6, Platonic eugenics, transcending physical desire, a story that doesn't quite get started, a military  Continue Reading …

NEM#213: Paul Chastain (Velvet Crush): Flavors of Brightness

Illinois singer/bassist Paul had his first release in 1985 and joined with drummer Ric Menck to form a band that was eventually called Velvet Crush, which released six studio albums from 1991-2004. He has since played a lot in Matthew Sweet's band and has now released two albums with drummer John Richardson under the name The Small Square. We discuss "Can’t Let Go (Oh,  Continue Reading …

Ep. 338: Aristotle on Potential vs. Actual and the Unmoved Mover (Part Two)

Subscribe to get parts 1 and 2 of this ad-free, plus tons of bonus content. To conclude our discussion of Aristotle's Metaphysics, we finish discussing potency by talking about our potential to learn, i.e. the Meno problem: How can we learn something (have the potential to know it) unless we already in some sense know it? Aristotle dismisses this as "sophistical": we have  Continue Reading …

Ep. 338: Aristotle on Potential vs. Actual and the Unmoved Mover (Part One)

Subscribe to get parts 1 and 2 of this now, ad-free, plus tons of bonus content. For our fourth and final discussion of Aristotle's Metaphysics, Mark, Wes, and Dylan read portions of books 9 (Theta) and 12 (Lambda). Sponsors: Get a $1/month e-commerce trial at shopify.com/pel. Buy Philosophers on God: Talking about Existence feat. Dan Dennett, William Lane Craig, et  Continue Reading …

Ep. 338: Aristotle on Potential vs. Actual and the Unmoved Mover (Part Two for Supporters)

To conclude our discussion of Aristotle's Metaphysics, we finish discussing potency by talking about our potential to learn, i.e. the Meno problem: How can we learn something (have the potential to know it) unless we already in some sense know it? Aristotle dismisses this as "sophistical": we have the potential to kick off the learning process and then actually learn through  Continue Reading …

Ep. 338: Aristotle on Potential vs. Actual and the Unmoved Mover (Part One for Supporters)

For our fourth and final discussion of Aristotle's Metaphysics, Mark, Wes, and Dylan read portions of books 9 (Theta) and 12 (Lambda). The first of these covered Aristotle's notion of energeia, sometimes translated as actuality, but by our translator Joe Sachs as "being-at-work." An example of this is eudaimonia, the word we've discussed as the goal of ancient Greek ethics:  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #170: Poor Things and Other Yorgos

Mark, Lawrence, Sarahlyn, and Al discuss the 4-Oscar-winning film Poor Things as well as the other creations of writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos, including most notably The Lobster, Dogtooth, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer. These films mix high concepts, purposively stilted line-readings, and increasingly rich cinematography with horror and gross sex. Watch the dance scene  Continue Reading …

PEL Nightcap w/ Chris Sunami (March 2024)

Mark, Seth, and Dylan are joined by the editor of our new book (see partiallyexaminedlife.com/book) to talk a bit about his background, meeting celebrities (or being met qua celebrity) and more generally how a writer or performer's real personality relates to their work, various things we're reading and watching, scientists' attitudes towards philosophy, and the usual musings  Continue Reading …

PvI#72: Spock Fever w/ Cole Nasrallah and Chris Rathjen

It's another TEAM PLAY episode, with our returning champions, star of improv stages and podcasts Chris and College of Southern Nevada philosophy prof Cole receiving NOT THE INFORMATION THEY EXPECT and gettin' all rational and such when consoling a friend and wrangling about a math quiz. Luxuriate in the rich characters and philosophy tools! Cole photographs nature (her Insta  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #169: Doctor Who? (When?)

Do you Who? Did you Who back in the day, or just from the point of the 2005 revival? Did you Who through Tennant, Smith, Capaldi... Were you still on board for Whittaker, and now as Disney+ and revival creator Russell T. Davies attempt to make this more readily accessible in all ways with the transition to Ncuti Gatwa? Mark, Al, and Lawrence are joined by our special guest,  Continue Reading …

NEM#212: Graham Parker’s Hard Graft

Graham is the quintessential British singer-songwriter. Though often compared to Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson, he started before either of those guys, with his first album as Graham Parker & the Rumour coming out in 1976. He released five albums with them by 1980 and then went solo for another 15 albums (sometimes with a backing band, sometimes entirely solo). Then The  Continue Reading …

Ep. 337: Aristotle on Primary Being (Part One)

Subscribe to get parts 1 and 2 of this now, ad-free, plus tons of bonus content. Continuing for our third session on Aristotle's Metaphysics, now covering Book 7 (Zeta). Start your journey with ep. 335. We're back to the full four hosts for this discussion. Sponsor: Get a $1/month e-commerce trial at shopify.com/pel. In our last episode, we explained Aristotle's  Continue Reading …

Ep. 337: Aristotle on Primary Being (Part Two for Supporters)

Continuing from part one on Aristotle's Metaphysics, Book 7 (Zeta), on essences and what sorts of things have them. Contrasting with Plato, Aristotle believes that some changing, visible things have forms. How do they get them? Well, they're received from some previous thing that has a comparable form, e.g. a child from its parents, or perhaps a form could come from a  Continue Reading …

Ep. 337: Aristotle on Primary Being (Part One for Supporters)

Continuing for our third session on Aristotle's Metaphysics, now covering Book 7 (Zeta). Start your journey with ep. 335. We're back to the full four hosts for this discussion. In our last episode, we explained Aristotle's position about how to talk about being (what it is for something to exist), which, since it doesn't actually contrast with anything (not even nothingness,  Continue Reading …