Philosophy vs. Improv #21: Sentient Garage

The scene is its own entity. What else might be its own entity? Can a machine that passes the Turing test know what it's like to be a bat? We bring in emotions from irrelevant contexts, and we keep hearing them long after they're gone. Episode art by Alvin Alvaro. Audio editing by Tyler Hislop at Pixelbox Media. Hear more PvI. Support the podcast to get bonus stuff and  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #20: The “Other” Story w/ Jenny Hansen

What is "othering"? Why did Bill get such a bad grade? Is it because of his feather quill pen? Don't miss our anti-vaxxer drama! This is our first episode with a real philosophy professor on it, and we get to talk about her experience as an academic as it relates to this most socially relevant philosophical topic. Listen to Jenny talk in more depth with Mark and co. on The  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #19: Broken Atomic Dogs

Let's all lose our jobs and talk instead about fundamental ontology and social dynamics.  Image by I don't remember. Audio editing by Tyler Hislop. Hear more PvI. Support the podcast to get bonus stuff and good karma! Sponsors: Visit betterhelp.com/improv to be matched with a licensed, professional therapist. Learn about St. John's College at sjc.edu/improv.  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #18: Utopias w/ Jill Bernard and Michelle Gilliam

Hell is NOT other people, and the more the merrier, with our second episode with guests being with TWO guest improvisers, Jill, co-founder of HUGE Theater and her friend Michelle, owner of Improv MKE. Bill and our guests each start a scene to explore something of what utopia might amount to, and of course how it will inevitably go bad. Then we discuss whether there is some  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #17: The Imitation Game (with Toaster)

Riffing on resemblance. Eventually invoking the spirit of a toaster. Mark is wrong: the God Emperor of Dune can't drink water at all, just dried food. Learn about Del Close. Philosophy barely makes it in, but if you want to chase down this nonsense about whether a robot cat is still a cat or not, check out the Twin Earth stuff in PEL's Putnam episode. Image by Maia.  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #16: The Legend of Kermit’s Gold w/ Tim Sniffen

Do you believe in miracles? If doctors believed in miracles, would they just let surgeries finish themselves? Do assumptions of a logical universe make it not just unjustified by psychologically impossible for us to really believe in miracles? Read about our VERY FIRST guest, Tim Sniffen at timsniffen.com. Follow him @MisterSniffen and hear him talking more with Mark about  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #15: There is no “I” in “Dahyulectecs”

Who stole Carmine's lunch? I think you know. Are there only a certain number of "logical" directions from one idea to another? Are there no mistakes, or are there mistakes that know? This week's image (which definitely has an eye in it) cribbed from Child's Own. Audio editing by Tyler Hislop. Hear more PvI. Support the podcast to get bonus stuff (like the post-game  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #14: Action Idealism!

Are so-called "material objects" really just a scam? These two cut-ups (Bill and Mark) cut up the world in various ways, showing you how to teach, how to act, and how to haggle.  Learn more about Berkeley's idealism with PEL #89. Image by Sam (called "Sharp Dressed Man"). Audio editing by Tyler Hislop. Hear more PvI. Support the podcast to get bonus stuff and good  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #8: Here Ought to Be Dragons

Mark and Bill do impressions of people you don’t know. The is-ought distinction is bravely explored. Does pretending to be cavemen help? Magic business is afoot. Childhood speaks. We’ve now passed the point where the post-game discussion is just included with the episode here. If you want to hear our reflections on the episodes going forward and our recommendations for other  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #7: Meritocracy Now!

Does it make sense to try to have everyone get what they "deserve"? We act out the desert machine but yet get no predictable cake. Judgebot 5000 enters our lives. Is this our first really good episode? Maybe. To hear more about meritocracy, try the Partially Examined Life's recent interview with the great Michael Sandel. Audio editing by Tyler Hislop. Image by Alice  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #5: What Is Bread? Are You Bread?

Two micro scenes and a mystery number of interruptions reveal our underlying definitions. How will we overcome the lag between our words and become like-minded? How many beats in an heirloom beet if an heirloom hair-looms beets? Many lessons are learned that are not THE lesson, necessitating some difficult multi-tasking. In the post-game, Bill starts something we can't  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #4: Death at Not a Doctor’s Office

Is death something to be feared? What's next? What are the DETAILS? Do not adjust your listening device or call an ambulance. That sound you hear is not ground hum nor tinnitus but is the sound of improvisation. Warning: We talk about suicide a bit. If you're feeling depressed, don't call the lava demon hotline, as it is a scam. We make a few references in this one that  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #3: Equality of Ignorance

Bill starts us with a scene: Behold the Doctor's Office, where anything can happen, and often DOES. Is this whole thing a bad idea? Do you think you're BETTER than this idea? Do you? If you need to tell yourself that, that's OK. In the post-game, we talk a little about Stoicism (listen to PEL about it, ego issues, and ephemeral art. Our recommendations include: Bobby Huff  Continue Reading …