Ep. 231: Descartes’s “Discourse” on Wisdom and Certainty (Part One)

On René Descartes’s Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences (1637). This narrative summary of Descartes's intellectual life was his first actual publication, four years before his Meditations. Unlike the unpublished Rules for Direction of the Mind (1629), this text doesn't actually dwell on his method at length, though  Continue Reading …

Ep. 231: Descartes’s “Discourse” on Wisdom and Certainty (Citizen Edition)

On René Descartes’s Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences (1637). This narrative summary of Descartes's intellectual life was his first actual publication, four years before his Meditations. Unlike the unpublished Rules for Direction of the Mind (1629), this text doesn't actually dwell on his method at length, though  Continue Reading …

Ep. 229: Descartes’s Rules for Thinking (Part Three)

Concluding René Descartes's Rules for Direction of the Mind (1628). This text proved too much for us for one session, so we picked it up (without Seth, who was sick) a week later to finish rule 12 through the end. We talk about simples and complexes, the faculties of intuition and judgment, perception and imagination, necessary vs. contingent truths, and how to do Cartesian  Continue Reading …

Ep. 229: Descartes’s Rules for Thinking (Part Two)

Continuing on René Descartes's Rules for Direction of the Mind (1628), covering rules 7 through the first part of the lengthy rule 12. We try to figure out what he means by "enumeration"; the faculties of imagination, sense, and memory; the virtues of perspicacity and sagacity; his psychology of the senses, the "common sense" where all sense data comes together, and the  Continue Reading …

Ep. 229: Descartes’s Rules for Thinking (Part One)

On René Descartes's Rules for Direction of the Mind (1628). Is there a careful way to approach problems that will ensure that you'll always be right? What if you're just really careful to never assert anything you can't be sure of? This is Descartes's strategy, modeled on mathematics. This early, incomplete work lays out 21 rules for careful thinking (out of a planned 36)  Continue Reading …

Ep. 229: Descartes’s Rules for Thinking (Citizen Edition)

On René Descartes's Rules for Direction of the Mind (1628). Is there a careful way to approach problems that will ensure that you'll always be right? What if you're just really careful to never assert anything you can't be sure of? This is Descartes's strategy, modeled on mathematics. This early, incomplete work lays out 21 rules for careful thinking (out of a planned 36)  Continue Reading …

Žižek on Foucault, Descartes and Madness

OK, so this isn't the easiest thing to read (after seeing numerous Žižek videos, it looks to me that he writes like he talks like he thinks, which is pretty fluid, making connections between things and not necessarily driving through focused theses...) but a little time spent on it yields some interesting points.  For some context, Katie noted in the episode that Discipline  Continue Reading …

Episode 43: Arguments for the Existence of God (Citizens Only)

Discussing the arguments by Descartes, St. Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, William Paley, Kant, and others, as analyzed in J.L. Mackie's The Miracle of Theism: Arguments For and Against the Existence of God (1983), chapters 1-3, 5-6, 8, and 11. Are the ontological, cosmological, and teleological (argument from design) arguments for God's existence any good? Mackie, a very sharp  Continue Reading …

PREVIEW-Episode 43: Arguments for the Existence of God

This is a 33-minute preview of a 1 hr, 43-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 …

Episode 2: Descartes’s Meditations: What Can We Know?

Discussing Descartes's Meditations 1 and 2. Descartes engages in the most influential navel gazing ever, and you are there! In this second and superior-to-the-first installment of our lil' philosophy discussion, we discuss what Descartes thinks he knows with certainty (hint: it is not you), the Matrix, and burning-at-the-stake.com. Mark and Wes agree to disagree about  Continue Reading …