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 …

Ep. 307: G.E. Moore Defends Common Sense (Part One)

Subscribe to get parts 1 and 2 of this now, ad-free. On "A Defense of Common Sense" (1925), featuring Mark, Wes, Seth, and Dylan. Various philosophers will tell you that the only thing you experience is your own ideas, and hence the world outside of your mind is something wholly unknowable, or if it is knowable, it must be because those supposedly physical objects are  Continue Reading …

Ep. 276: Hegel on Perception (Part One)

Subscribe to get Part 2 of this episode. Listen to a preview. On The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), ch. 1 "Sense Certainty" and ch. 2 "Perception." After introducing Hegel's project in ep. 275, we now walk through the first two steps of his dialectic where he presents some basic theories of knowledge and shows why they're inaccurate. The first of these is direct  Continue Reading …

Ep. 276: Hegel on Perception (Part One for Supporters)

On The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), ch. 1 "Sense Certainty" and ch. 2 "Perception." After introducing Hegel's project in ep. 275, we now walk through the first two steps of his dialectic where he presents some basic theories of knowledge and shows why they're inaccurate. The first of these is direct realism, the idea that perception is a simple matter of being directly  Continue Reading …

Ep. 260: Locke on Moral Psychology (Supporters Only)

One last take on John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689), covering Book II, ch. 21 and 28, featuring Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Seth. What makes a moral claim true? Do we have free will? What makes us choose the good, or not? In this coda to our long treatment of Locke's opus, we bring together all he has to say about morality, which is strangely modern yet also  Continue Reading …

Ep. 206: Lucretius’s Epicurean Physics (Part Two)

More on Lucretius’s poem about Epicurean science: On the Nature of Things from the first century BCE. We talk more about how macroscopic phenomena are supposed to come out of the interaction of atoms, including mind and its processes of knowledge and illusion, including the illusion of love. One conclusion: life after death is not possible. Can the properties of the atoms  Continue Reading …

Ep. 206: Lucretius’s Epicurean Physics (Part One)

On Lucretius’s poem about Epicurean science: On the Nature of Things aka De Rerum Natura from the first century BCE. How does the world work? Lucretius presents a system that is surprisingly modern, and raises philosophical issues that are still on point today: What are the basic building blocks of the universe? How could these give rise to minds? What ethical views does a  Continue Reading …

Ep. 206: Lucretius’s Epicurean Physics (Citizen Edition)

On Lucretius’s poem about Epicurean science: On the Nature of Things aka De Rerum Natura from the first century BCE. How does the world work? Lucretius presents a system that is surprisingly modern, and raises philosophical issues that are still on point today: What are the basic building blocks of the universe? How could these give rise to minds? What ethical views does a  Continue Reading …

Episode 127: John Dewey on Experience and the World

On Experience and Nature (1925), through ch. 4. What's the relationship between our experience and the world that science investigates? Dewey thinks that these are one and the same, and philosophies that call some part of it (like atoms or Platonic forms) the real part while the experienced world is a distortion are unjustified. We need to remove the unjustified split  Continue Reading …

Episode 127: John Dewey on Experience and the World (Citizen Edition)

On Experience and Nature (1925), through ch. 4. What's the relationship between our experience and the world that science investigates? Dewey thinks that these are one and the same, and philosophies that call some part of it (like atoms or Platonic forms) the real part while the experienced world is a distortion are unjustified. We need to remove the unjustified split  Continue Reading …

Topic for #127: John Dewey on Experience and Nature

John Dewey is primarily known for two things: being one of the big names in pragmatism, and for his highly influential claims about education, specifically pointing out the active nature of learning such that simply sitting students down and telling them things is not very effective. Mark, Wes, and Dylan met on 10/25/15 to discuss the first four chapters of his 1925 book,  Continue Reading …

Episode 89: Berkeley: Only Ideas Exist!

On Bishop George Berkeley's Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous (1713). While only a goon would deny the real existence of things like tables and chairs, does "real" existence have to mean existence as matter, i.e. as something that could exist in the absence of any mind to think about it? Berkeley says no! Tables and chairs are ideas! But not just my ideas, or  Continue Reading …

Episode 89: Berkeley: Only Ideas Exist!

On Bishop George Berkeley's Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous (1713). While only a goon would deny the real existence of things like tables and chairs, does "real" existence have to mean existence as matter, i.e. as something that could exist in the absence of any mind to think about it? Berkeley says no! Tables and chairs are ideas! But not just my ideas, or  Continue Reading …

When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong

A research physicist friend of mine who works at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is a bit of a global warming skeptic. When I brought up all the scientific research on the subject, he said, somewhat dismissively, "Yes, but anyone who gets a PhD in climate science goes into it with an agenda. No one goes into particle physics just to prove a point. So no, I don't always  Continue Reading …

PREVIEW-Episode 17: Hume’s Empiricism: What Can We Know?

This is a 31-minute preview a vintage 2 hr, 5-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  Continue Reading …