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.
- Sep 11, 3:58 am - Ep. 225: Simone Weil on War and Oppression (Part One)
Really good episode on a fascinating and underappreciated philosopher. The analysis of power you described from Weil reminded me of 'The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness' by Reinhold Neibuhr, His defence of democracy is based not in 'liberal' philosophy, but on a pessimism of human nature and an analysis of societal power structures having their own inescapable internal logic which would seem to fit well with what you describe of Weil's analysis.
- Sep 09, 2:41 pm - Ep. 225: Simone Weil on War and Oppression (Part One)
hmm pessimism or realism, she doesn't seem to have found a way out of her own lived situation that one would characterize as positive even in the lights of the death/sacrifice cults of christian mysticism...
- Sep 09, 12:05 pm - Ep. 225: Simone Weil on War and Oppression (Part One)
Love the "Lennon" take
- Sep 09, 11:53 am - Ep. 224: Kierkegaard Critiques the Present Age (Citizen Edition)
This is so so good. Thanks for, once again, providing interesting things I would never read but that are extremely enriching to my life. Incidentally - I see you all as this great thing that - even if (and actually I do!) wanted to do this - I could not. I do not possess your skill and am envious of it to the point of sometimes needing to knock you down a peg to save my feeble ego.
- Sep 04, 2:09 pm - NEM#103: Homer Flynn on The Residents' 50 Years
Homer is family! crazy small world. He is my cousin's Dad.
- Sep 03, 10:15 am - Phi Fic #13 "The House of the Dead" by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Hi Aniqa: Yes we did do House of the Dead--in fact, your text is listed underneath the episode. We did it on May 31, 2017--and should be available to listen to. It is also available on iTunes. Are you having trouble accessing it? Laura
- Sep 03, 9:51 am - Ep. 224: Kierkegaard Critiques the Present Age (Part Two)
One thing I've noticed about kierkegaard is that ppl mispronounce his name? It isn't pronounced as written, it's pronounced kerkegor.
- Sep 03, 8:28 am - Ep. 224: Kierkegaard Critiques the Present Age (Citizen Edition)
I looked around a little but didn't find one, no. There are some small bits of it in the K. translation we used but not the whole novel (I just now found reference to K's essay being "nearly as long as" instead of actually longer than the novel, FYI.
- Sep 03, 3:21 am - Phi Fic #13 "The House of the Dead" by Fyodor Dostoevsky
i would like to hear your thoughts on crime and punishment. could you tell me if you have published that podcast...?
- Sep 03, 2:43 am - Ep. 224: Kierkegaard Critiques the Present Age (Citizen Edition)
Has anyone managed to find a link free or paid of an English translation of the novel Two Ages by Thomasine Gyllembourg?
- Sep 01, 9:20 am - Episode 15: Hegel on History
Thanks, Tim, welcome to the podcast!
- Aug 31, 11:55 pm - Episode 15: Hegel on History
I think it was Mark who said Hegel's Spirit was more or less the same as Plato's forms and Kant's noumena. Hegel thought positing forms and noumena was what consciousness did at a less advanced stage of development than self-consciousness, so I'm pretty sure Hegel would take issue with Mark's depiction. But I get Mark was intending to draw attention to the common thread through Plato, Kant, and Hegel, so the point is taken. I'm 57 and just beginning to read the great philosophical works. I"m like an infant discovering a whole new world around me. I love to hear you guys talk about things I'm reading. It makes it relevant. Thanks for your podcast. All three of you are so smart and articulate! I could only hope. But the Gheist takes all kinds, I guess.
- Aug 30, 10:48 pm - Ep. 222: Debating Functionalism (Block, Chalmers) (Part One)
If an alien scientist was able to determine all of the physical inputs and outputs of human brains and formulate a fully functioning theory of mind without ever realizing that it actually produces a subjective experience--that it's "like something" to be conscious--on the "inside," doesn't that put us in the same predicament with respect to computers? If the hypothetical alien scientist was wrong not to suspect that a "subjective experience" would arise from the neural activity of the brain, then who are we to say a computer or an AI capable of passing the Turing test wouldn't have subjective experience arising from semiconductors? If one thinks the nature of subjective experience is tied intrinsically to the specific type of medium through which it exists--that of neurophysiology and chemistry--and not solely to information processing, and that therefore computers and AI can in principle never have subjective experience, then he/she would have to be ready to discard the original argument about the alien scientist, and with it the whole premise that the hard problem actually exists. It would seem contradictory to me to argue that there actually is a hard problem of consciousness while simultaneously arguing that an AI is, in principle,...
- Aug 28, 2:29 pm - Ep. 224: Kierkegaard Critiques the Present Age (Part One)
Bert strips Kierkegaard of God's salvation/grace to leave us with the impression that being-resolute is the vital issue at hand, now first of all that would put us back in the 'hands' of various aspects of life that Kierkegaard found ultimately lacking (like aesthetics/culture, philosophizing, or citizenship) and it would do so in a way that strips away all of the concerns that one finds in Marxist diagnoses of alienation (material circumstances/processes, politics, economics, etc), so we end up with a kind of Heidegger-lite life hack model. A better post-Foucault route is that of Bert's one-time colleague Paul Rabinow: https://entitledopinions.stanford.edu/paul-rabinow-foucault-and-contemporary
- Aug 28, 12:30 pm - Ep. 224: Kierkegaard Critiques the Present Age (Part One)
Thanks for the link - looks intriguing. Much agreed on the phenomenology. It’s amazing that people are still making this “nothing new under the sun” argument, and still more amazing that I have to root for their being right.
- Aug 27, 11:03 am - Ep. 224: Kierkegaard Critiques the Present Age (Part One)
the social media and culture critic @jiatolentino has a new book of essays that she says is part of her trying to work thru what is the value of being well informed about issues that one has no meaningful say about (besides signaling tribal alliances on social media) and that have no obvious/existing fix and I think that she is right about this worry and that it is a genuinely new situation insomuch as our technological reaches/impacts now far exceed our abilities to govern ourselves (from pollution to finance we are impotent), here she is talking about the limits of explainer media with onetime blogger and explainer in chief Ezra Klein: https://player.fm/series/the-ezra-klein-show/jia-tolentino-on-what-happens-when-life-is-an-endless-performance
- Aug 27, 7:38 am - Phi Fic #29 (Part 1 of 2) One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
That’s interesting. I hadn’t read that about Marquez. I found this article that makes it seem like his son is trying to be respectful to his memory. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/mar/07/netflix-to-adapt-one-hundred-years-of-solitude-by-gabriel-garcia-marquez
- Aug 26, 4:49 pm - Ep. 224: Kierkegaard Critiques the Present Age (Citizen Edition)
I haven't read the source material but a lot of what John was saying in this podcast really resonated with me. The idea of reflecting on/discussing something as a substitute of actually doing it is on my mind very frequently. I think through the reflection/discussion you somehow (falsely) adopt the act to be your own. This is really highlighted in professional sports. I've followed the Toronto Raptors for most of my life, and the feeling of disappointment I'd feel after an unsuccessful season was weirdly realistic. For a couple of minutes after they'd lose their final game it would feel like I had been the one to fall short, not the team. Then half an hour later I'd realize that it really had no impact on my life as I wasn't involved in it to begin with. This past year the Raptors won the championship, and attending the parade was equally odd. So much of the conversation/message was about our joint success, as if anyone outside of the organization played any role in winning the championship. Teams even propagate this with the false "we couldn't have done it without our fans" message. Anyways, the point in all of this is...
- Aug 25, 8:37 pm - Phi Fic #29 (Part 1 of 2) One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I don't think this book can be adapted to the screen. No matter what Netflix does, the adaptation will never be able to capture the experience of reading it. I understand why Marquez would forbid adaptations, but it isn't necessary. No matter what, the adaptation will fail to capture the experience of reading the book. If the Netflix version is truly good, it will be good in spite of the limitations of the screen (and will then become an independent artwork in it's own right).
- Aug 25, 12:48 pm - PEL Audioplayers: "Life Is a Dream" by Pedro Calderón de la Barca
The performance, was riveting!! Loved it and will listen to it several times over. What a gem to discover the work and the performance too.
- Aug 25, 7:17 am - More Audio About Schopenhauer
I realize this post on Schopenhauer audio is quite old but all the links are broken. I'm interested in it specifically because it was PEL recommended content. Is the linked audio content still available somewhere, or can someone point me to what was linked and I could research on my own? Thanks for any assistance!
- Aug 23, 6:19 am - Ep. 222: Debating Functionalism (Block, Chalmers) (Part Two)
I do find “social theory and political stuff” to be “a drag, frankly,” and I would rather always be listening to PEL talk analytic philosophy. Of course, some analytic philosophy might “feel futile” like some “social theory and political stuff.” It’s best to read and discuss the philosophy you find interesting. This has been a fun and useful series for me, thank you Mark, Wes, Seth, Dylan, and Gregory for bringing such clarity and insight to someone like me with far less of an understanding of these issues. Mark, you have a great voice singing and talking, love listening to it, and the natural tempo in which you talk is wonderful, just please slow it down to normal speed when you’re reading difficult parts of the texts. I know you said you sometimes listen to things at 1.5 or 2X speed, but please don’t read at those speeds and instead read from the text like how Wes did this episode. Thanks again guys
- Aug 22, 10:45 pm - Episode 77: Santayana on the Appreciation of Beauty (Citizens Only)
PEL is a great source for history of philosophy, but a little sketchy as a source for history of polar exploration.
- Aug 21, 8:34 pm - Phi Fic #29 (Part 1 of 2) One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
About the adaption by Netflix, i had read that Marquez refused many offers for its screen adaptation during his lifetime. So isnt it being disrespectful to his memory?
- Aug 20, 11:25 am - Ep. 223: Guest Ned Block on Consciousness (Part Two)
Dear PEL, Interesting discussion, although at this point of bashing away at 'consciousness' it seems like you're merely making the rubble bounce! It usually seems to me that because you tend to gloss over the basic step of agreeing at the outset what counts as making sense (and not making sense) on the subject concerned, much of the discussion is at confusing cross-purposes... You might like to check out this robust and detailed attack on the key Nagel idea that 'what it is like to be a bat' is in any way a useful way to look at consciousness, or indeed an intelligible idea in the first place! http://info.sjc.ox.ac.uk/scr/hacker/docs/To%20be%20a%20bat.pdf