Closereads: Forms in Plato’s “Republic” (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. Toward the end of Book VI and into Book VII of the Republic, Plato gives a series of metaphors for the role "the good itself" plays in our knowledge and values. We read here starting at line 507b of the  Continue Reading …

Ep. 324: Plato’s “Cratylus” on Language (Part Two)

Subscribe to get parts 1 and 2 of this ad-free, plus a supporter-exclusive part three. Listen to a preview.. Continuing from part one on Plato's mid-period dialogue about language. Is attaching a word to a thing, i.e. naming it, like other activities such as carpentry or sewing that can go wrong? Can we put the "form" of a thing into letters and syllabus of its name?  Continue Reading …

Ep. 324: Plato’s “Cratylus” on Language (Part Three for Supporters/Closereads)

Mark and Wes do a Closeread on the latter part of the dialogue, where Socrates argues to Cratylus that even if names (words) were devised to somehow depict the things they stand for, that wouldn't guarantee that they ACCURATELY describe the world. You can't look at the definitions of words to learn about the world; you have to actually investigate the world directly. Follow  Continue Reading …

Ep. 324: Plato’s “Cratylus” on Language (Part One)

Subscribe to get parts 1 and 2 of this now, ad-free, plus tons of bonus content including a supporter-exclusive part three to this discussion coming out next week. On Plato's mid-period dialogue from around 388 BCE. How do words relate to the things they represent? Featuring Mark, Wes, and Dylan. Sponsors: Visit GreenChef.com/60pel (code 60pel) for 60% off and free  Continue Reading …

Ep. 324: Plato’s “Cratylus” on Language (Part One for Supporters)

On Plato's mid-period dialogue from around 388 BCE. How do words relate to the things they represent? Featuring Mark, Wes, and Dylan. We're all familiar with the feeling when we see someone really hot but with a very dweeby name that something seems to have gone wrong. We also know Native names like "Running Eagle" that may or may not seem to really fit the person with that  Continue Reading …

PREVIEW-Ep. 266: Jonathan Lear’s Plato: Psyche and Society (Part Two)

Subscribe to get Part 2 of this episode in its entirety. Citizens can get the second part here. Continuing from part one on essays from Lear's Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul (1988). This preview comes from the middle of the recording, featuring the beginning of our debate about the relation between the three parts of the soul: Wes argues that this  Continue Reading …

Ep. 266: Jonathan Lear’s Plato: Psyche and Society (Part One)

Subscribe to get Part 2 of this episode. Listen to a preview. On essays from Lear's Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul (1988), featuring Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Seth. How does Plato's philosophy hold together, and is it still something we can make use of in the modern age? Our recent explorations of Plato's Timaeus and Phaedo showed us how humanity is supposed to  Continue Reading …

Ep. 266: Jonathan Lear’s Plato: Psyche and Society (Part One for Supporters)

On essays from Lear's Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul (1988), featuring Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Seth. How does Plato's philosophy hold together, and is it still something we can make use of in the modern age? Our recent explorations of Plato's Timaeus and Phaedo showed us how humanity is supposed to fit into the cosmos, but the details seemed hopelessly archaic:  Continue Reading …

PREVIEW-Ep. 265: Plato’s “Phaedo”: Philosophy as Training for Death (Part Two)

Subscribe to get Part 2 of this episode in its entirety. Citizens can get the second part here. Continuing on the Phaedo, getting into the details of Plato's cosmology as described by the dialogue, including laying out his various proofs for the immortality of the soul. In this preview we start out principle of physics that Socrates puts forward that things always emerge  Continue Reading …

Ep. 265: Plato’s “Phaedo”: Philosophy as Training for Death (Part One)

Subscribe to get Part 2 of this episode. Listen to a preview. On Plato's middle dialogue depicting the death of Socrates from around 390 BCE, featuring Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Seth. Should we fear death? Plato's dialogue shows Socrates conversing with his followers immediately before his execution about the philosophical life and the immortality of the soul. Philosophy as  Continue Reading …

Ep. 265: Plato’s “Phaedo”: Philosophy as Training for Death (Part Two for Supporters)

Continuing from part one on Plato's dialogue depicting the death of Socrates from around 390 BCE. We get more into the details of Plato's cosmology as described by the dialogue, including laying out his various proofs for the immortality of the soul. First, Socrates puts forth the principle of physics that things always emerge from their opposites. For instance, where do  Continue Reading …

Ep. 265: Plato’s “Phaedo”: Philosophy as Training for Death (Part One for Supporters)

On Plato's middle dialogue depicting the death of Socrates from around 390 BCE, featuring Mark, Wes, Dylan, and Seth. Should we fear death? Plato's dialogue shows Socrates conversing with his followers immediately before his execution about the philosophical life and the immortality of the soul. Philosophy as Socrates preaches it is preparation for death: It is a  Continue Reading …

Ep. 264: Plato’s “Timaeus” on Cosmology (Part One for Supporters)

On the later Platonic dialogue from around 360 BCE, with Mark, Wes, and Dylan. How is nature put together? Plato, speaking this time through the fictional character instead of Socrates (who is present, but only Timaeus talks after the first part of the dialogue), paints a picture of the creation of the cosmos and our place in it. The overall principle is the same as it was  Continue Reading …

Combat & Classics Ep. 47 Xenophon’s “The Education of Cyrus” Book VI with Shilo Brooks

Brian, Shilo and Jeff get together to talk more about the difference between sexual and political love, or eros, and about the connection between eros and gratitude.  We end on another cliffhanger, as Cyrus' army, complete with siege engines, is about to attack the Assyrian host.  And Jeff admits to a crackpot theory about the connection between love, chariots, and...  Continue Reading …

Saints & Simulators 21: #TheProblemOfEvil

The twenty-first installment of an ongoing series about the intersection between religion and technology. The previous essay is here. (Last time, we looked at ancient Greek philosopher Plato, and the Neoplatonic interpretation of his work as focused around illuminating the nature of a single divine ideal.) The reason Plato believes the Great Good Thing exists, and the  Continue Reading …

Saints & Simulators 20: #theOne

Twentieth in an ongoing series on the nexus between religion and technology. The previous essay is here; the next essay is here. Out of the two objections we raised against the concept of God as the "Lonely Dungeon Master" (at the end of our last segment), the conceptual complexity of the Dungeon Master’s world is perhaps the easier one to address. In our outline of the  Continue Reading …

Episode 198 Follow-Up: More on Plato’s “Parmenides” (Citizens Only)

Mark and Seth continue our conversation from ep. 198 by going through the arguments in the second half of the dialogue. This puzzling section is largely a monologue by the character Parmenides, with the stated aim of showing the implications from first, the assumption that the One exists, and then that the One does not exist. But is this really the One that Parmenides speaks  Continue Reading …

Episode 198: Plato’s Forms in the “Parmenides” (Part Two)

We get down to the specific questions considered in this perplexing Platonic dialogue: Are there Forms for all adjectives? Does the Form of a property itself have that property? (Is the Form Large itself large?) How do Forms connect with particulars? How can we mortals have any connection to heavenly Forms anyway? Why even think there are Forms outside of particulars? Listen  Continue Reading …

Episode 198: Plato’s Forms in the “Parmenides” (Part One)

On the most peculiar Platonic dialogue, from ca. 350 BCE. Are properties real things in the world, or just in the mind? Plato famously thought that for a property like "large," there's a Form that causes all the large things to be large, and which enables us to recognize those things as large. These Forms are not material things, and hence aren't the objects of ordinary  Continue Reading …