A 17-song album featuring the best tracks composed for the end of the podcast is now available as super cheap mp3s or as a gift-optimal CD. Newly mastered, shinier than you remember, better with repeated listens!
It’s December! Time for PEL Citizens to join or propose groups and discussions in the Citizens’ Forum. Guaranteed to make your holidays more enjoyable! Join an existing or proposed Not School group, or create one of your own.
Hey, our podcast episodes have now been downloaded over 11,000,000 times, which is crazy. Thank you on Thanksgiving! Here are some semi-speculative, vague announcements re: how things are going and what’s ahead.
We were rejoined by Matt Teichman to continue our Kripke thread, discussing primarily Putnam’s essay “The Meaning of Meaning” (1971) about water here vs. water on “Twin Earth” where that stuff that runs in rivers and streams has a different chemical composition. Putnam puts forth a positive theory of meaning that involves holding a stereotype of a term (e.g., that water is wet) but also where your meaning is determined by extension, i.e., what your term in the real world actually refers to, so that we and the Twin Earthers mean something different even though we seem to have the same psychological state when talking about water.
We discussed “Experience and Nature” (1925) about how philosophy tends to illicitly separate experience from nature, mind from the world, claiming that the world of appearance is somehow divorced from underlying reality. No, Dewey counters: what we start with is concrete, gross experience, which is not experience of “sense data” or any other theoretical entity, but which is experience of tables, people, feelings, values, etc.
Hey, folks. I don’t talk much about my involvement in local organizations here in Austin because our audience is global and everyone has issues, causes, and groups they support in their own communities. I want to make a personal appeal today, however, for your help with The African Leadership Bridge (ALB) on whose Advisory Board I sit.
We were rejoined by Elucidations’ Matt Teichman to talk about one of the most readable yet still very weird texts in the canon of analytic philosophy, Saul Kripke’s Naming and Necessity (1980), about what makes a name actually refer to some particular person (Kripke says it’s NOT because the name implies a description that you then have in your head that makes it refer), how this works for general terms (does “human” refer likewise because of some definition we have in mind?), and what implications this has for science. Really! There are some!
On 9/26, 6:30 Eastern, tune in to watch us discuss Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition, Parts 1 and 2, about what we need out of public and private realms to be fully human, free individuals and not pawns of society.
We read Epictetus’s Manual aka the Enchiridion with guest Alex Fossella. Can people really control their emotions? Should they?
We were joined by econ grad student Seth Benzell to discuss “The Use of Knowledge in Society” by F.A. Hayek and On Ethics and Economics by Amartya Sen. What’s wrong with central economic planning? Need economics assume that we’re all predictably selfish?
Go listen to Seth Benzell’s introduction for a straight-up summary of the two essays and how they relate.
The winners of the drawing announced during our Eva Brann episode to win her book are Harry Todd, Mel Gonzaelez, Jason Wallace, Kurt Thomas, and Jeff Korentayer. Thanks to all of you for being PEL Citizens! All listeners can still pick up Eva’s book or anything else from Paul Dry Books for a nice discount.
We held two discussions (four weeks of releases!) on the Monster of the Middle Ages’s tussling with his own frailty and willfulness, memory and time, all written in the course of inventing the autobiography and hermeneutics to boot!
Eva Brann (from our Heraclitus episode) returns to talk with us about her 2014 book, Un-Willing: An Inquiry into the Rise of Will’s Power and an Attempt to Undo It, which gives an intellectual history of the notion of will and diagnoses a the current pernicious effect of the concept in our philosophy and culture.
We discussed Friedrich Nietzsche’s first book, “The Birth of Tragedy,” about how different psycho-social strategies for dealing with the harshness of existence feed into art. This will be released in three parts on Mondays starting on 7/6, with the Aftershow on 7/26.
Mark and Wes will discuss songwriting and the experience of music with Jonathan Segel and Victor Krummenacher. Why not check out some of the links in this post so that you’ll have a better idea of what we’re talking about?
Clifford Geertz (1926–2006) was probably the best known American anthropologist of his generation, famous for his literary approach to ethnography, culture, and religious studies, and his development of the concept of “thick description.”
We’ll be discussing the famous Greek tragedy, and also performing a version of it with Lucy Lawless and Paul Provenza. What can such a work teach philosophy about ethics and the human condition?
We’ll talk about what Freud thinks dreams are for. Citizens can listen now, and the public episode will be released on two parts starting Monday.
We discussed portions of The World as Will and Representation, Book 3, about how music differs from other arts with guest Jonathan Segel of Camper van Beethoven fame.