The recent boom of interest in alternative currencies has generated a dizzying amount of economic speculation, with a corresponding amount of confusion. The question that economists are asking right now is: what is the value of these currencies? Mainstream economics points to scarcity and utility as the primary sources of value, but these explanations don’t always yield satisfactory answers. The labor theory of value provides an alternative perspective on alternative currencies, one that might show us something of real worth in the emerging digital economy.
To what extent has our podcast changed in reaction to current politics? Mark, Seth, Wes, and Dylan reflect back on our year, discuss how we select texts, and give some thumbnail sketches of potential topics. Also, does authorial intent matter, and how to talk philosophically about works that aren’t philosophical texts.
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Jherek started off as bassist in the late ’90s for the Seattle art rock bands The Dead Science and Parenthetical Girls, and has released about five solo albums (and other things) since 2006, the last two being full-on orchestral works.
We discuss the title track from Cistern (2016), “The Nest” featuring Mirah from Composed (2012), and “Blackstar,” featuring Anna Calvi, from a David Bowie tribute with Amanda Palmer called Strung Out in Heaven (2016). We conclude by listening to “Eyes” feat. David Byrne, also from Composed. Opening/closing music: “Automatism” from Cistern. For more info, see jherekbischoff.com.
Continuing on Eichmann in Jerusalem, on how ordinary people can do—or acquiesce to—horrific things. How do people rationalize this? What can we apply from this to ourselves? Also, how was genocide a new type of crime, and what’s the best rationale for punishing it? We talk justice, revenge, and ways that we too might be morally mass-confused.
End song: “Hiding from the Face of God”; hear Mark talk to singer/songwriter Jeff Heiskell on Nakedly Examined Music eps. 5 and 63.
The monster represents the return of a devitalized creator, where the loss of vitality represents a failure of creativity—driven by an inability to tolerate the imperfection of the creative process. The solution involves reconciling the fact of being a creature with that of being a creator.
Perfect childhoods are deadly traps, but neglecting one’s family—in favor of one’s creative ambitions—is no escape.
In a previous article, we finished our exploration of Michael Allen Gillespie’s Theological Origins of Modernity. One of the things I tried to show, on the basis of Gillespie’s argument, was that modern intellectual history can be mapped, more or less exhaustively, according to a three-part diagram, where the axes are defined by the place where explanation stops. The medieval Continue Reading …
Creative commitment and perfectionism do not mix: There is nothing like a perfect childhood to produce the perfect monster.
In their “workshop of filthy creation”—in which their endeavors are monstrously incomplete—how do artists remain committed?
In a competition with already-famous poets, one of whom was her future husband, an 18-year-old Mary Shelley was asked to create a ghost story. Instead, she created a story of the perils of creative ambition, and the possibility that it might lead to a ghosting of the self.
On Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (1963).
Are we still morally culpable if our entire society is corrupt? Arendt definitely thinks so, but has a number of criticisms of the handling of the 1961 trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. The Israelis were committed to the view that Eichmann was a monster, when the reality, says Arendt, is more frightening.
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Mike fronts a hard-working Madison power trio in the glam rock vein that’s put out 7 albums and 7 EPs since 2000. He also runs (and records a new song every week for) a podcast about the occult.
We discuss “Sulfur” from The Wilderness of Almost Was and Never Were (2017), “Saturday Night Gospel” from Dangerous Times (2014), and “Prozac Girl” from Loser of the Year (2003). We conclude by listening to “We Are the Darkness” from The Slingshot Effect (2011). Opening music: “Stardust (Acoustic)” from Arthuriana (2013). More: sunspotuniverse.com and othersidepodcast.com.
One thing that quickly becomes apparent in discussions about science and religion is that there are a lot of stories out there. Some of them are quite good. Too good, even. Consider, for instance, Myth #8 in Galileo Goes to Jail, an essay anthology edited by historian of science Ronald L. Numbers. According to this myth, Galileo was imprisoned in Continue Reading …
Concluding on William James’s Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892). We briefly cover emotions and spend the bulk of our time on will. James’s introspective method allows us to distinguish reflex or coerced actions from voluntary, free-seeming ones, and gives us the vocabulary to attribute moral virtue to those who have enough willpower to keep those inconvenient truths in mind (if you eat this, you’ll get fat!) that allow us to successfully resist temptation.
End song: “Join the Zoo/Live Again” by Craig Wedren; listen to him on Nakedly Examined Music #15.
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Part of the way the prestige of science has been established in our own time is through the rhetoric of favorable contrasts. In previous articles, we’ve seen one instance of this contrast in the tripartite division of European history: rational inquiry flourished in the ancient world, withered in the medieval times, and was revived again in the time of the Continue Reading …
On Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892), chapters on “The Self,” “Will,” and “Emotions.”
Continuing from ep. 179, we talk about the “Me” (the part of me that I know) vs. the “I” (the part of me that knows), including personal identity. James thinks that emotions are just our experience of our own physiology. Finally, we tackle will, veering into ethics, free will, and more.
To celebrate year #2, previous guests return: Bradley (see #32) talks “Duet” from Take Out the Poison, Jeff (see #5) presents “Still Life with Broken Heart” from Emotional Terrorism, and Steve (see #6) discusses “Wind of Change” from A Tribute to the Bee Gees ’66 to ’78. Finally, hear Tyler Hislop (see #24) about his “Wounds and Nihilism (Feat. Mark Lint).” Opening music: “Dawning on Me” by Mark Lint.
Mark joins the folks at the Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast for a two-part holiday special on everyone’s favorite yuletide character, Friedrich Nietzsche!
Continuing on Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892), completing “The Stream of Thought” and covering the chapter on “Habit.”
James thinks that psychologists focus too much on those parts of consciousness that get picked out by substantive words. He describes habit as part of a general natural pattern in which things that happen once tend to create pathways for themselves in surrounding material to allow the same thing to happen again more easily. Be careful what you do, because your organism is recording all of your bad behavior and corrupting your character!
End song: “Drowning Mind (feedback overload)” by AMP, as interviewed on Nakedly Examined Music #57.
How should human life be valued? Is death something to suffer, or something that provides relief? Jeff, Lise, and Brian discuss those questions and more in examining this short story by Anton Chekhov.