Welcome to this new page, which is for the for the foreseeable future replacing the "Topic Announcement" blog posts which I'm burnt out on writing. 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
Ep. 162: James Baldwin: The film I Am Not Your Negro, his essay "Notes of a Native Son," and his book The Fire Next Time (1963), which includes two essays: the shorter “My Dungeon Shook — Letter to my Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of Emancipation,” and the more lengthy "Down At The Cross — Letter from a Region of My Mind." We are rejoined by Law Ware, but the point is not so much to continue our general discussion of white privilege but to zoom in on one thinker's picture of how the history of oppression, and in particular the overt racism with which he was familiar, creates psychological/sociological difficulties for all concerned.
Ep. 163: Guest Stewart Umphrey on his 2016 book Natural Kinds and Genesis: The Classification of Material Entities. Umphrey wants to make space for still in this age talking about "natural philosophy" as a thing apart from science, and he's concerned in particular with questions of ontology (i.e. metaphysics). He wants to distinguish between categorization terms that we come up with for practical purposes with categorization terms rooted in nature, i.e. that pick out natural kinds. He focuses on "continuants," which are things that stay the same thing even as they change, of which an obvious case seems to be a single living animal, e.g. a squirrel. The thing that stays the same through all of the squirrel's growth and locations and injuries is its nature, and if this thing is an authentic continuant, then there will be an authentic natural kind, "squirrel." So he doesn't consider "animal" to be a natural kind, nor does he consider "water" to be a continuant, even though a particular free-floating H2O molecule does count as a continuant, which is what makes "water" a legitimate natural kind. All this focus on ontology is supposed to allow, ultimately, talk of emergent entities: how the biological cannot be reduced to the chemical and in turn to the physical, as many scientists have hoped.
Ep. 164: Guest Omar Saif Ghobash on his 2017 book Letters to a Young Muslim, plus the article "Jihad Revisited" by Paul Heck (2004). The point is to help us understand how well Islam can play nice in a modern, pluralist, liberal society. Ghobash's book discusses the different messages that young people in the Islamic book get given the different historical forces at work, and the article goes through the meaning of "jihad" in 6th-12th century literature: Is it more a matter of inner struggle for virtue, or martial struggle, and to what extent can the latter (which is definitely there) be considered a subspecies of "just war theory," i.e. fighting for "good" of a sort that non-Muslims would recognize, as opposed to fighting for the dominance of Islam?
The Next Nakedly Examined Music Episodes (What is this?)
I'm only listing episodes here that have already been recorded.
- NEM #39 with Ken Stringfellow, famed for co-fronting The Posies but also with a lot of interesting solo work and collaborations.
- NEM #40 with Clive Farrington of When in Rome, most known for their 1988 single "The Promise."
- NEM #41 with Glenn Mercer, leader of The Feelies
- NEM #42 with Karla Kane, leader of the San Francisco band, The Corner Laughers.
- NEM #43 with Steve Wynn, originally leader of the Dream Syndicate with numerous solo albums and collaborations like The Baseball Project (featuring members of REM)
The next Phi Fic episodes (What is this?)