Philosophy vs. Improv #46: Seize the Day How Exactly? w/ Nick Riggle

What does the shortness of our lives and the beauty of the world actually entail in terms of behavior and philosophy? Nick is a former pro skater who teaches philosophy at U. of San Diego and has written This Beauty about this question, as well as On Being Awesome. Mark and Bill (your philosophy/comedy puppets, here eternally to dance for your entertainment) engage Nick via  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #45: Meaningful Road Trips w/ Dee Bradley Baker

Voice actor Dee, who has a background in both improv and stand-up, talks to Mark and Bill about the meaning of life and engages in THREE scenes all about a parent trying to get some kids into a vehicle and on the road. Also, does COVID cause ennui? Hear more PvI. Support the podcast! You'll get all of our post-game discussions and other exclusive bonus content, including the  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #44: Stand-Up vs. Improv w/ Matty Goldberg

As our first stand-up comedian (albeit one on sabbatical) guest, Matty has inspired us to largely ignore the philosophy on this one and instead look at these two different ways of producing comedy. Do the motivations of improv folks and comics differ? Which group is more annoying? Mark philosophizes at partiallyexaminedlife.com. Bill improvises (and teaches) at  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #43: Return Policy Violations

It's back to just Mark and Bill today. We talk about the lost art of prank phone calls and act out some "customer service nightmares" with an eye to the foundations of law and creativity that defies artistic rules. The scenes are longer and riskier than normal. Long-overdue apologies to Dirwin Zook. The image is by apparently a pretty disturbed child and somehow came up when  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #42: The Worth of a Human Life w/ Carneades the YouTube Star

The anonymous policy wonk who runs the Carneades.org YouTube channel joins Mark and Bill to discuss the core concept of his new book, Are All Lives Equal?: Why Cost-Benefit Analysis Values Rich Lives More and How Philosophy Can Fix It. Should economics really be measuring the value of life at all? Can it do this in any principled way? Can economists really understand how  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #41: Situatedness in Three Persons w/ Sarah Shockey

What is personhood? How can a group best collaboratively invent a scene? Sarah is a host of Marty and Sarah Love Wrestling and a repeat guest on Hello From the Magic Tavern. We fit in THREE scenes, some discussion of the various layers of what it is for something to be (or not be) person, and some musings about the weather and such. Follow us @sarahjoyshockey, @btarnett, and  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #40: Rules and Voices with Stephen West (Philosophize This!)

Stephen West from the juggernaut Philosophize This! podcast joins Mark and Bill to learn to say no and talk about reason vs. emotion in grounding ethics. What do the voices in your head (or at your lunch table) say to you? The image came from this site, somehow depicting what went on in both of our improv scenes here. Audio edited by Tyler Hislop. Hear more PvI.  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #39: Cutting Edge Post-Patternation

Mark and Bill break former patterns by each bringing in not a lesson but a question, which we knew about beforehand, and those questions are about pattern-breaking and about what current philosophers worry about. With special surprising scenes conveying cutting-edge podcasting/instructional techniques. Image snatched from this page. Edited by Tyler Hislop. Hear more PvI.  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #38: The Bones of Tragedy with Jay O. Sanders

Jay Sanders, famed not only for his appearances on Law & Order: Criminal Intent and The Day After Tomorrow and many many other screens and stages, joins us to talk tragedy, how he's applied the lessons of improv to his scripted acting, and more. Jump into the improv maelstrom with us! In the post-game, which just this once, we're sharing with the general public, we  Continue Reading …

PvI#37: Season One Final Round

It's all down to this. Which discipline, which host will prevail? Will a third-party cheater bust in and take the big prize? All stakes are on the table, and if this thinking isn't critical enough, if these scenes aren't congruent enough, if we fail the big scan-tron test that is life, then it's all been for nothing. Get out your cushion and get in the lotus position, clear  Continue Reading …

PvI#36: Authentic Authenticity w/ Skye Cleary

Skye teaches and Columbia and the City University of New York, and she recently published How to Be Authentic: Simone de Beauvoir and the Quest for Fulfillment. She joins Mark and Bill to talk about what authenticity might mean for an existentialist, how it relates to truth, responsibility, and picking a theme for your birthday party. For more on this ladder of  Continue Reading …

PvI#34: Possible Diners w/ Barry Lam

Barry teaches at Vassar and hosts a documentary-style philosophy podcast called Hi-Phi Nation, and his most recent season had a four-episode run on David Lewis, America's foremost philosopher of possible worlds (also covered by PEL), after Dr. Strange, of course. So we talk about that notion, in the philosophy of metaphysics and language, and also in the literal physics  Continue Reading …

PvI#33: Virtuous Garbage Director w/ Jack Newell

Bill is a sad but steadfast street sweeper. Mark has secret character traits. Filmmaker Jack C. Newell is our inaugural non-philosopher, non-improviser guest, and his film knowledge leads to us talking about ethics in terms of film tropes plus some meta-historical-reenactment. Learn more about Jack's (non-garbage!) work at jackcnewell.com. Image by The Children of Arendal.  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #32: “On the Standard of [Bad] Taste” w/ Babette Babich

Prof in the house! Babette teaches at Fordham and recently edited the collection "Reading David Hume's 'On The Standard of Taste,'" which Mark made use of for The Partially Examined Life's treatment of that essay in #289. So this can serve either as a follow-up to that discussion or as a fresh cogitation on the idea of an art critic. Can such people's superior tastes be defined  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #31: Signs, Signs, Ubiquitous Signs w/ Brooke Breit

Contemplate the difference between signs, symbols, and symptoms. Did our improv scene get Zoom-bombed, or is that just real life intruding? THINK OF THE CHILDREN (eating Doritos)! What flavor of chip is Bill trying to teach today? Why is Brooke sad? BBrooke is of course an improviser and has also been on TV and works for Jackbox Games. Follow her @brookebreit, For more  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #30: In Historica Res

...which, as I was saying, is right in the middle of a sentence or scene! Sheesh! How should our personal and family histories shape our behavior, both in real life and in improv scenes? Do these histories, these stories we tell ourselves, nail us down as people? Are we all old before our time? Are those your real parents? Hang on to your poser wallet! Image by Julia as  Continue Reading …

PvI#29: Personal Panpsychism w/ Jack Symes

Panpsycast host Jack, the Liverpudliest Liverpudlian of all, brings his promiscuous philosophy of mind to the show, wherein mind is here, there, and everywhere. But what does that mean? Skits about renting a flat for nefarious purposes and designing software for Nozick's experience machine reveal all! But the question remains... So what? You have to care! Hear Jack on his  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #28: Enhanced Interrogation w/ Adal Rifai

Today's episode is about questioning: how one might question, what sets the parameters for a proper answer, and how to give those answers in an informative and/or dramatically effective way. Watch out for dream pigs! Also, how to get into the VIP room at Stuckey's. Perhaps a pair of paralegals can help. In the post-game, included JUST THIS ONCE for public enjoyment, we  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #27: Normaliticitizationism w/ Andrew Lavin

We are joined by the young purveyor of the Reductio podcast, who wrote his dissertation on normality, which was such a normie thing to do. Can "abnormality" be morally neutral, or is that term cursed? We talk disability studies. You down with OTPs? Repeat after mes! How many towels do you need? Listen to Andrew explain his dissertation uninterrupted. Here's that offensive  Continue Reading …