Closereads: Hume on Passions (Part One)

Sign up for Closereads at patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy to get additional parts of this reading, as well as our previous and future installments of this new podcast. On Book II of A Treatise of Human Nature (1739), this time reading sections 1 and 2 in Part I, "Pride and Humility." How does David Hume deal with human emotions, given his empiricism that begins with the  Continue Reading …

PEL Nightcap Early September 2021

Recorded 8/16/21. Seth thinks about how to continue reading Hegel and some initial political ranting about Texas and gerrymandering ensues. We think about what to read in aesthetics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of sport. (Update: the sport episode is not happening soon.) For the main event, we try to see what we can remember about the philosophy of emotions.  Continue Reading …

Ep. 247: Aristotle on Rhetoric and Emotions (Part Two)

Continuing on the Rhetoric (ca. 335 BCE) book 1, ch. 1–6 and book 2, ch. 1–5, 18–24. We finish up with enthymemes (rhetorical arguments), maxims, and signs. We then move to emotions, where we chiefly talk about anger: Is it always a matter of status injury, or is frustration equally (or more) foundational? Begin with part one, or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition  Continue Reading …

Ep. 247: Aristotle on Rhetoric and Emotions (Part One)

On the Rhetoric (ca. 335 BCE) book 1, ch. 1–6 and book 2, ch. 1–5, 18–24. What role does persuasion play in philosophy? In Plato's Gorgias, Socrates condemns the sophists who taught rhetoric for merely endowing their students with social power over others, power that would make them neither happy nor virtuous. Philosophy should be about getting at the truth. Aristotle  Continue Reading …

Ep. 247: Aristotle on Rhetoric and Emotions (Citizen Edition)

On the Rhetoric (ca. 335 BCE) book 1, ch. 1–6 and book 2, ch. 1–5, 18–24. What role does persuasion play in philosophy? In Plato's Gorgias, Socrates condemns the sophists who taught rhetoric for merely endowing their students with social power over others, power that would make them neither happy nor virtuous. Philosophy should be about getting at the truth. Aristotle  Continue Reading …

Episode 180: More James’s Psychology: Self and Will (Part Two)

Concluding on William James's Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892). We briefly cover emotions and spend the bulk of our time on will. Talking about emotions allows us to refresh on James's overall theory of mind: An organism's activity basically involves various signals coming in through the senses and going out to produce reaction. This chain can reach to a greater or  Continue Reading …

Ep. 180: More James’s Psychology: Self and Will (Citizen Edition)

On Psychology, the Briefer Course (1892), chapters on "The Self," "Will," and "Emotions." Continuing from ep. 179, we talk about the various aspects of self: The "Me" (the part of me that I know) that's divided into physical, social, and spiritual aspects, and the "I" (the part of me that has experiences), which is pretty problematic, but which we need not posit as a "soul,"  Continue Reading …

Martha Nussbaum on Emotions, Ethics, and Literature

Martha Nussbaum has been recently described as a "philosopher of feelings" and indeed, throughout her career, she has written on disgust, shame, desire, sex, patriotism, love, empathy, and most recently, anger. According to Nussbaum, there is ethical value in emotions, and we are wrong to ostracize them outside the sphere of philosophical relevance. Understanding our emotions  Continue Reading …

Episode 144: Guest Martha Nussbaum on Anger

On Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice (2016). What role should we allow anger to play in our public life? Should systems of punishment be strictly impartial, or should they be retributive, i.e., expressive of public anger? Nussbaum thinks that anger necessarily involves the desire for payback, and that this is nearly always unhelpful. We should instead use  Continue Reading …

Ep. 144: Guest Martha Nussbaum on Anger (Citizen Edition)

On Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice (2016). What role should we allow anger to play in our public life? Should systems of punishment be strictly impartial, or should they be retributive, i.e., expressive of public anger? Nussbaum thinks that anger necessarily involves the desire for payback, and that this is nearly always unhelpful. We should instead use  Continue Reading …

Topic for #124: The Stoic Life with Epictetus

On 8/30/15, the full foursome plus Alex Fossella (Danny's researcher on the Modern Day Philosophers podcast) discussed the Manual of Epictetus, aka the Handbook or Enchiridion, written around 135 CE by Epictetus's pupil Arrian (but unlike Plato's accounts of Socrates, these seem more likely to be Epictetus's actual words noted down). Stoicism is one of the big ancient wisdom  Continue Reading …

Antonio Damasio on Emotions and Decision-Making

Wes referred in our Spinoza discussion to Antonio Damasio, a figure in neuroscience influenced by Spinoza. Here he describes the emotions' role in decision-making: Watch on youtube: http://youtu.be/1wup_K2WN0I Spinoza agrees that decision-making is based on emotion. Even a "rational" decision, i.e. one made in a calm manner by considering the alternatives, requires an  Continue Reading …

Episode 25: Spinoza on Human Nature (Citizens Only)

Discussing Books II through V of the Ethics. Continues the discussion from Ep. 24. What is the relation between mind and body? How do we know things? What are the emotions? Is there an ethical ideal for us to shoot for? What is our relationship to God? Our rational nature prevails over urges to scream, sleep, or slap each other as we plow to the end of this strange and  Continue Reading …

PREVIEW-Episode 25: Spinoza on Human Nature

This is a 32-minute preview of a 1 hr, 38-minute episode.Buy Now Purchase this episode for $2.99. Or become a PEL Citizen for $5 a month, and get access to this and all other paywalled episodes, including 68 back catalogue episodes; exclusive Part 2's for episodes published after September, 2020; and our after-show Nightcap, where the guys respond to listener email and chat  Continue Reading …