Release dates for PEL episodes refer to the release of the first half of the conversation. If you're a PEL Citizen, you'll get the whole thing on that date; if not, you'll have to wait another week for the second half.
The Next PEL Episodes
- Episode 206: Lucretius. We'll be reading On the Nature of Things a.k.a. De Rerum Natura from the 1st century BC, which is Lucretius's poetic presentation on the philosophy of Epicurus, heavily emphasizing its natural philosophy, i.e. physics: there are atoms and void, macroscopic appearances are explained by different atom shapes and combinations, which explains why our senses are always right even if our mind gets confused as in the case of illusion, and there can't be a soul that persists after death or gods that would care about our behavior, therefore we should be tranquil and focus on relatively-easy-to-obtain pleasures of friendship and comfort.
- Episode 207: Herder's aesthetics. Johann Gottfried von Herder was a poet/critic/philosopher contemporary of Kant who invented the term "zeitgeist" and sought to put aesthetics and aesthetic education on a firm empirical (as opposed to theoretical) basis; as part of a liberal education, before thinking about the lofty abstractions of philosophy, we need to train the senses, and each art has something different to offer in this respect. We're reading selections from his Selected Writings on Aesthetics, including “The Causes of Sunken Taste among the Different Peoples in Whom It Once Blossomed” (1775), “On the Influence of the Belles Lettres on the Higher Sciences” (1781), “Does Painting or Music Have a Greater Effect? A Divine Colloquy” (1785), and the sections about music and dance from the “Critical Forests: Fourth Grove” (1769 but not published until 1846).
- Episode 208: Epicurus. While Lucretius (ep. 206) presents Epicurus's physics (most of the primary texts related to this are lost), we wanted to go into more detail about his ethics: How does pleasure constitute the good life? We're looking through the extant texts about this in The Epicurus Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia and supplementing this with Part III of Epicureanism by our UT colleague Tim O'Keefe as well as a few chapters from Martha Nussbaum's The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics.