Philosophy vs. Improv #58: Avant Garde Accounting

The guests are away, and so Billy and Markaroony will play. This fast-paced, sweet-moving discussion covers the genius individual artist and how that might or might not allow collaboration, genres and definitions, strife, and more. Mark just can't WAIT for a canoe, and getting CRAZY at the salad bar. Oops, we forgot to determine a winner, so YOU decide. The image was pulled  Continue Reading …

PvI#57: Happier Cancer w/ Monica McCarthy

Watch this episode as a video. This includes the full post-game segment, so you can see what you're missing by not being a supporter to this podcast. Don't you think it's time you became one? Monica is an actor and writer who ran a live-on-stage philosophy podcast called The Happier Hour, and so naturally we talk about happiness, or flourishing (eudaimonia). Can babies  Continue Reading …

PvI#55: Oversouled Behavior w/ Genevieve Joy

Genevieve is a comedian, podcaster, and she was a philosophy major who's studying for her doctorate in Divinity (in the Science of Mind/New Thought tradition). We talk about the idea that "we are all one" (and thus we are all God, if you want to call the sum of all things by that name) that's in various traditions. Ralph Waldo Emerson called this the "oversoul." Unique to  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #54: Do You Want to Be Here? w/ Brain in a Vat

Mark Oppenheimer and Jason Werbeloff of the Brain in a Vat podcast join Bill and Mark L. (aka Alf) to talk about rationality, broadly construed, while not moving a couch and not giving each other Christmas presents. Does "reason" by itself tell us what to do and what to believe? Is trypophobia really just bigotry? (It is not.) What's the rationale for making negative  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #53: XTREME BEEF Quicheticles w/ Zach Thompson

Zach is an improvisor who's written for MST3K, been a commentator for Resistance Pro Wrestling, and has been a recurring guest on Hello From the Magic Tavern. He joins Mark and Bill to discuss competitiveness in all its forms. Is strife part of utopia, or would all conflict be removed in an ideal political situation? Is the controlled competitiveness of sports or improv  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #52: Elegant Stoicism w/ Tanner Campbell

Tanner runs the popular daily podcast Practical Stoicism, so of course we brought him on to talk about on-board flight services and attitudes among retail service workers. Seriously, this is one of the most beefy philosophical discussions (about Stoicism and virtue, naturally) we've had on the show. Follow Tanner @stoicismtanner. Listen to PEL's episodes on Stoicism  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #51: All Croutons

This episode is here, so why not listen? Philosophy vs. Improv advances to a new level of improvisation (aka half-assery) as Mark and Bill engage in a wide-ranging discussion (with scenes, of course) through the categorization of things, paradigm components and essences of things, historical advertisements, what goes in a museum, irresponsible loans, using the tools of  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #49: Ferrets in Uniform with Cole Nasrallah

Mark and Bill talk transcendental idealism and Schopenhauer with Cole, who teaches philosophy at the College of Southern Nevada. How does the idea that everything is ideas actually affect behavior? What if you think that reality is a swirling mass of chaos? What are you gonna do then? Huh? Also, the least effective confidential informant! Hear Mark talk about Schopenhauer on  Continue Reading …

Philosophy vs. Improv #47: What’s in the Chili? w/ Rachael Mason

Rachael was a mentor of Bill's and works with him at the newly reopened iO Theater. So it's like we have TWO improv instructors here. We run some  scenes, talk a bit too much about chili, and touch on functionalism, idealism, napism, and other isms. Jump into the marzipan! Brucie and Frucie are waiting for you! Rachael has been a guest on many improv podcasts. Hear  Continue Reading …

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 …