Closereads: Peter Railton’s “Moral Realism” (Part One)

Sign up for Closereads at patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy to get future parts on this reading, as well as our previous and future installments of this podcast. We're reading a 1984 essay by Mark's U. of Michigan undergrad advisor, included among the most cited philosophy papers in some list that Wes found. Railton's goal is to give a naturalistic account of ethics (i.e.  Continue Reading …

Closereads: Isaiah Berlin on Liberty (Part One)

Sign up for Closereads at patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy to get future parts on this reading, as well as our previous and future installments of this podcast. Mark and Wes read through the beginning of "Two Concepts of Liberty" (1969). What are the various ways we can conceive of freedom, and is the concept necessarily political? Can you legitimately say you've been  Continue Reading …

Closereads: Aristotle Against Platonic Forms (Audio Part One), aka PEL Ep. 335 (Part Three for Supporters)

Sign up for Closereads at patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy to get future parts on this reading, as well as our previous and future installments of this new podcast. Aristotle offers a critique of Plato's theory of forms at a few points in his Metaphysics, and in this and the following part of this series, we'll be tackling this by reading part of book 1, ch. 9. Read  Continue Reading …

Closereads: Hegel on Jesus and Kant (Audio Part Five + Reflections on Recent PEL Episodes)

Sign up for Closereads at patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy to get the previous four parts on this reading, as well as our previous and future installments of this new podcast. Hey, PEL supporters: Since there's no part three for Fear and Trembling (nor will there be one for our next episode on Marcel, we thought we'd share with you the conclusion of our Closereads  Continue Reading …

Closereads: Hegel on Jesus and Kant (Part Three)

We've now recorded four (out of five) sessions on Hegel's "The Spirit of Christianity and its Fate," and starting on this one, we're also reading directly from Matthew V, i.e. the Sermon on the Mount, which Hegel is giving a commentary on. His purpose is to contrast the legalism of Judaism, and by extension Kant with his emphasis on duty, with Jesus' emphasis on love, which he  Continue Reading …

Ep. 329: Kierkegaard on Irony (Part Four for Supporters/Closereads Part Two)

Continuing from the previous installment, Mark and Wes conclude our read-through of the final section of The Concept of Irony, "Irony as a Controlled Element, the Truth of Irony." How can a controlled level of irony help us gain health and truth? Read along with us, starting at PDF p. 324 in the middle. Closereads supporters (see patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy) can  Continue Reading …

Ep. 329: Kierkegaard on Irony (Part Three for Supporters/Closereads Part One)

Mark and Wes Closeread the conclusion to Soren Kierkegaard's On the Concept of Irony (1841), "Irony as a Controlled Element, the Truth of Irony." The discussion starts with the role of irony in good art, and then moves on to discuss the proper role of irony as an existential strategy in a well-grounded, thoughtful life. Read along with us, starting at PDF p. 321. You can  Continue Reading …

Closereads: Hume on Passions (Part One)

Sign up for Closereads at patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy to get additional parts of this reading, as well as our previous and future installments of this new podcast. On Book II of A Treatise of Human Nature (1739), this time reading sections 1 and 2 in Part I, "Pride and Humility." How does David Hume deal with human emotions, given his empiricism that begins with the  Continue Reading …

Closereads: Forms in Plato’s “Republic” (Part One)

Sign up for Closereads at patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy to get additional parts of this reading, as well as our previous and future installments of this new podcast. Toward the end of Book VI and into Book VII of the Republic, Plato gives a series of metaphors for the role "the good itself" plays in our knowledge and values. We read here starting at line 507b of the  Continue Reading …

Ep. 325: Paul Grice on Meaning and Conversation (Part Three for Supporters/Closereads Part One)

Mark and Wes Closeread through the 1975 ordinary language philosophy paper. What are the assumptions behind everyday conversation? When someone violates a conversational norm by, e.g., giving too much information or stating something literally untrue, what are the strategies by which we try to make sense of what they're saying as still a sensible contribution to the  Continue Reading …

Closereads: Epictetus’ “Discourses” (Part One)

Sign up for Closereads at patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy to get part 2 of this reading, as well as our previous and future installments of this new podcast. For the first time since 2015, we return to this foundational Stoic figure, reading through ch. 1 of this series of informal lectures written down by Epictetus' student Arrian in around 108 C.E. What is it about  Continue Reading …

Ep. 324: Plato’s “Cratylus” on Language (Part Three/Closereads)

Mark and Wes do a Closeread on the latter part of the dialogue, where Socrates argues to Cratylus that even if names (words) were devised to somehow depict the things they stand for, that wouldn't guarantee that they ACCURATELY describe the world. You can't look at the definitions of words to learn about the world; you have to actually investigate the world directly. Follow  Continue Reading …

Closereads: Reason in Hobbes’ “Leviathan” (Part One)

Sign up for Closereads at patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy to get parts 2 and 3 of this reading, as well as our previous and future installments of this new podcast. We've covered a lot of rationalists (I'm including the Romantics in this, strangely enough) and wanted to turn back to one of the original Enlightenment empiricists, Thomas Hobbes. His Leviathan (1651) is best  Continue Reading …

Closereads: How to Hear and Watch Emerson’s Oversoul Parts Two, Three and Four (and Future Installments)

Continuing from part one, we took three more sessions to get through the rest of the essay. You can hear these if you sign up to support Closereads via Patreon at patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy. You can listen to audio previews of all the episodes there as well (here's part two). I'm not going to keep making posts like this on this site to tantalize you, but the plan is  Continue Reading …

Closereads on Emerson’s Oversoul: Audio and Video Podcast Premiere

Subscribe to get this discussion ad-free, plus tons of bonus content. Are we underlyingly all really a single, unified organism? Or do we just have a lot in common? We begin unraveling this puzzling claim by reading Ralph Waldo Emerson's 1841 essay "The Over-Soul." Read along with us. This is the public premiere of a new weekly series by the most verbose of your PEL  Continue Reading …

Closereads: Hegel on Spinoza (Part Three)

We conclude our Closeread of the Spinoza section from Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy (1830) by getting into some heavy metaphysical issues. Read along with us. Start with parts one and two. Watch the video: Sign up to the new Closereads Patreon: patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy, to get every episode of the new endeavor. We've provided this first series  Continue Reading …