Here are the most recent comments on our blog posts, i.e. the active discussions at this time. Jump into a thread and say your peace! If you want to start a conversation yourself, join our Facebook Group and/or our subreddit, and go right ahead. Also, if you're a Partially Examined Life Citizen, you can initiate discussions at the Citizens' Forum; this is especially useful if you'd like to use that to initiate an ongoing reading/discussion group with other members, which can have its own dedicated forum. This is called a Not School group.
Note that the first time you post (or if you post from a different IP than your usual, I think; this shouldn't be an issue of you're a Citizen logged into your account), it goes into moderation, i.e. we have to approve it, so you won't see your comment immediately, but we're pretty quick about approving things. It should go without saying that if you get very nasty and belligerent, we reserve the right to remove any post and ban you (though that's only happened maybe twice in three years of doing this). Think "with this comment I am elevating the level of the discussion" and you'll be OK.
- May 25, 11:35 pm - Racism Among Historic Philosophers
In defense of Nietzsche Taking anyone's work out context to serve your own purposes is often the trait of poor orators and writers when I need of "cred". Nietzsche can't be a racist in essence because racism or any ism for that fact is the in inescapable return of the same, the will to power and in short nihilism. Nietzsche defines nihilism as the "devaluation of the highest value". His work is to serve hyperbolic critique that demands us to transcend our "humanity". Nietzsche asks us to look at ourselves and to realize that we as a species have a problem with the herd mentality that we are eager to follow and we are often to eager to accept our condition, station and normative assumptions in life. To understand him better...read Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist a book by Walter Kaufmann Nietzsche was an anti-humanist struggling with his internal anguish and his own inability to transcend nihilism.
- May 22, 7:40 am - Episode 216: Game of Thrones' Fantasy Politics (Citizen Edition)
Plus 50 DKP for the WoW reference. LoL
- May 20, 1:46 pm - Episode 216: Game of Thrones' Fantasy Politics (Citizen Edition)
Definitely wasn't expecting this kind of episode from PEL. Unfortunately I think this sort of discussion is much better suited for the earlier seasons/books than for the later show episodes. Regarding the moral complexity, it seems the show runners have chosen an "out of sight, out of mind" approach and they've discarded a lot of what makes Game of Thrones interesting. Want to depict a character as more sympathetic? Make sure you show all the good things they do, and leave all the bad things for off-screen. Want a character to seem more evil? Never show anything from their point of view, only show their actions from the view point of others, and only show the 'bad' acts. This is especially true in seasons 7-8, but it's also there early on. Sabrina mentioned how Shae was made less sympathetic in the show, and I think that was largely done to have the audience be more on board with Tyrion killing her. Not to mention the fact that Tyrion murdered her and his father isn't brought up very much anymore, Conveniently it's been forgotten by much of the cast, and by many fans, despite Tyrion constantly asking Daenerys to spare her...
- May 15, 2:21 pm - Episode 215: Brave New World: PEL Live 10th Anniversary Show
I read this book a year or so ago and here is my favorite quote from my notes: “That is the secret to happiness and virtue---liking what you've got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their un-escapable social destiny.” DHC I wish I had been at this live event. What a great episode and so cool to hear other listeners as well. If I were there I would ask - what does the next 10 years hold for you all? Will there be a 20 year live show?!
- May 15, 8:15 am - Episode 215: Brave New World: PEL Live 10th Anniversary Show
The target of BNW's critique I think is the marginalising of feeling resulting from the (pop-)Enlightenment views of the superiority of the rational - homo oeconomicus. That the rational satisfaction of needs leads to this. Pursuing only the classical and excluding the romantic.
- May 14, 7:27 am - Episode 215: Brave New World: PEL Live 10th Anniversary Show
I was fortunate enough to be here, thanks for putting it together, it was a terrific experience and the venue was spot on! I had a couple of comments about BNW that I wanted to get off my chest at the event but there was so much crowd weenie-ing going on during the Q and A that when I finally got the mic I followed my father's advice and went for the joke. It was great that Seth brought up Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death so quickly. Around where Seth quotes from the book, Postman goes on and says something to the effect of Huxley and not Orwell being more correct in his dystopian vision. Personally, I think it's actually a nightmare hybrid of the two where we are addicted to the entertainment (i.e. social media, "smart" phones etc.) in the same way soma works, and that that entertainment just happens to also be an instrument of mass surveillance. Kind of horrifying, no? Some of us live in a society now where upon receiving food at a restaurant, many peoples first instinct upon appearance of said food is not to eat, it's to take a photograph. How wildly decadent must...
- May 12, 4:13 pm - PEL 10th Anniversary "Brave New World" Song
Nice humble homage with endearing self-chacharacterizations that bring a smile to this long-time listener.
- May 12, 9:50 am - PEL 10th Anniversary "Brave New World" Song
I love it!
- May 11, 8:16 pm - Episode 214: More Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Citizen Edition)
Nietzsche's criterion is life. Which is compatible with Aristotle and Jesus (I have come that you have life in all its fulness). This gets around some of the difficulty of the is and the ought - once we decide health is good (we can find out in detail what promotes it). On to surrender. Jesus's saying was 'unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground" etc. That is surrender in the service of life. Perhaps this was what Nietzsche was driving at. Thanks for these shows. I think Nietzsche is easily one of the most important modern philosophers. Zarathrustra does have a lot of repetition though.
- May 10, 5:38 am - Saints & Simulators 15: #WiseAI
If we could really program a superintelligence that could understand us and carry out our commands, then we should simply tell it — not to make paper clips — but to “make me proud.” Maybe wisdom isn’t the answer, but love.
- May 08, 2:54 pm - Episode 213: Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Part One)
Zarathustra is life before lithium...
- May 07, 3:35 am - Episode 214: More Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Part Two)
Although one of my favorite works of art contains parts that annoyed you all, you were fair and made a lot of sense of some difficult areas in it. Also glad that you briefly touched on Nietzsche's ethics. If you haven't already, check out Leiter's new book Moral Psychology with Nietzsche. In my opinion, he's one of the best Nietzsche scholars, and this book brings together and elaborates on some of the excellent work he's done in the past related to Nietzsche's methodological naturalism and metaethics. He'd be a great guest to have on PEL if you guys return to Nietzsche, which I'm sure you will.
- May 04, 6:55 pm - A Glimpse into Philosophy: Pilot Episodes of a Short-Form Podcast for Your Consideration
Michael!! Your poor ex-girlfriend -LOL
- May 04, 6:52 pm - Episode 213: Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Part One)
Yes he does!!
- May 04, 12:37 pm - Saints & Simulators 13: #PushyAI
Thanks for the comment! You're right, this shift is being seen across nearly all fields right now, including the most "human-focused" ones.
- May 04, 10:59 am - Saints & Simulators 13: #PushyAI
I love this blog, thank you. I work in mental health and over the past few years have seen a shift to what is being called "data driven treatment." There are some benefits to this approach, but also some real concerns, many of which you outline nicely in your article. So thank you!
- May 03, 9:26 am - A Glimpse into Philosophy: Pilot Episodes of a Short-Form Podcast for Your Consideration
I might be suggesting a completely taboo idea but here it goes. Maybe you guys could double the amount of money required for citizenship? I for one would be willing to pay 10 dollar a month for the PEL, granted I have now a serious sentimental and historical attachment to the podcast so take that for what it is. Gradations of membership? Maybe ask for ten but add in a disclaimer of sorts which says that people should also not be required to go up to ten if it is economically unwise for them? I'm not by any stretch of the imagination economically well off and 10 dollars wouldn't be breaking the bank for me. I'm sure it would go a long way to assist you guys with your content. Ultimately I feel as though brevity in the context of philosophy is not a good thing. The idea of content time reduction to increase dissemination "possibility" probably wouldn't have a negative effect on you but it just might be a time suck. This podcast has an incredible reach. My ex-girlfriend who watches vapid reality television shows on MTV that I thought were reserved for 12 year olds , has picked...
- May 03, 7:18 am - Episode 214: More Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Part One)
To everything (turn, turn, turn). Makes me think of Kohelet.
- May 03, 12:07 am - Episode 213: Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Part One)
I feel like Zarathustra is more of a Diogenes then Socrates but okay.
- May 02, 4:22 pm - Episode 214: More Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Citizen Edition)
Yeah, this is persuasive to me. We all fall back on reflexive foils, and - in this case - because Nietzsche is an explicit rejectionist of Christian norms and values, one could be forgiven (perhaps) for very quickly filing the Spirit of Gravity under ressentiment and slave morality. Augustine's apprehension (and textual evidence), however, is probably more faithful to the truth. It's neither nor there, but the Citizen comment thread has been here for life of PEL. This is one place where you guys could add investment and value to your project. I appreciate that you can't respond to every comment, obviously, but this objection deserves a rejoinder. (Even if Augustine and I were 100% wrong in our estimation here.) Why? Well, you guys have honorably mined Christian scripture and literature for philosophical merit before, but regular listeners will know where each of you stand metaphysically. Why does Christianity have to be the straw man for everything Nietsche?
- May 01, 10:53 am - Part 2 of Episode 1: "The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living."
Love this comment (yes, it does feel like betrayal - and the worst hypocrisy ever) and absolutely loving this podcast. I live in a "terribly" liberal town. "Terribly" in that many, many of my fellow so called liberals are incredibly closed minded and absolutely incapable of looking at anything from other than the "liberal herd mentality view" (also known as the echo chamber). I am learning to replace the terms "liberal" and "conservative" with "open minded" (which may or may not apply to either). As I continue my philosophical readings (started with Plato - whom I adore, and currently reading Nietzsche - whom I also adore) I have enjoyed observing how I could totally agree with one philosopher's point of view and then see him contradicted in another and totally agree with that philosopher. Wishy-washy? Perhaps, but the unexamined life, for me is absolutely not worth living and learning something new every day (whether a particular philosophical perspective or how to garden) is incredibly exhilarating. Thank you for adding to my quest for knowledge, whatever that term may mean.
- Apr 30, 6:27 pm - A Glimpse into Philosophy: Pilot Episodes of a Short-Form Podcast for Your Consideration
Precisely, Evan. Doing philosophy (not just talking about it), in all the activity's fits and starts and failures and triumphs. So maybe this is an empirical question, whether folks would pay more for greater access to the original experience. But the price of that (I would guess) has to way cheaper than paying for the bricks-and-mortar, four-year accredited equivalent. An apples-to-apples fair comparison, precisely? Maybe not. But measured over the course of ten plus years, it might well be.
- Apr 30, 5:53 pm - A Glimpse into Philosophy: Pilot Episodes of a Short-Form Podcast for Your Consideration
I think part of the discussion is, is this about opening up new market? Line extension is always tempting. It would be interesting to know how much PEL listeners also listen to shorter philosophy podcasts - like Philosophy without any gaps. Which I do like, but not nearly as much as PEL. I think the appeal of PEL is that it is, to some extent, doing philosophy. The other stuff I know of is talking about it or explaining.
- Apr 30, 8:47 am - A Glimpse into Philosophy: Pilot Episodes of a Short-Form Podcast for Your Consideration
I can't help but add to Michael's sentiment. One of the most promising and original conceits of PEL (as I've understood the project) was to bring the cooperative learning / St. John's seminar environment online, pushing this extremely valuable learning experience into both a global (i.e. long arm's-reach) and virtual (i.e. slow-steep and asynchronous) format. Basically, in other words, to democratize the intellectual growth of philosophy subject matter's (natural, or most potentially-latent?) audience, and to collect extra benefits - over time - for all stakeholders involved (meaning the hosts, the guests, dedicated followers, and curious standers-by). That's the no-kidding, creative destruction PEL has brought to the adult learning environment, and what makes this site different (in my judgment) from almost every other philosophy podcast out there. If your oeuvre is like a bicycle, therefore, and you have to constantly keep it going somewhere - vice stopping in place and simply falling off - the direction you want to steer, if I may immodestly suggest as much, is honoring more faithfully that initial inspiration and intuition you had: The civically-minded, cooperative learning spirit. How that specifically get cashed out, I suppose, is up for some respectable debate, but at least part...
- Apr 30, 8:41 am - A Glimpse into Philosophy: Pilot Episodes of a Short-Form Podcast for Your Consideration
I think that if shorter episodes will help pique the interest of more listeners, it's a great idea. I liked all three.