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The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

Culture

The Partially Examined Life is a podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a short text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flippancy. You don't have to know any philosophy, or even to have read the text we're talking about to (mostly) follow and (hopefully) enjoy the discussion. For links to the texts we discuss and other info, check out www.partiallyexaminedlife.com. We also feature episodes from other podcasts by our hosts to round out your partially examined life, including Pretty Much Pop (prettymuchpop.com, covering all media), Nakedly Examined Music (nakedlyexaminedmusic.com, deconstructing songs), and (sub)Text (subtextpodcast.com, looking deeply at lit and film). Learn about more network podcasts at partiallyexaminedlife.com.

The Partially Examined Life is a podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a short text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flippancy. You don't have to know any philosophy, or even to have read the text we're talking about to (mostly) follow and (hopefully) enjoy the discussion. For links to the texts we discuss and other info, check out www.partiallyexaminedlife.com. We also feature episodes from other podcasts by our hosts to round out your partially examined life, including Pretty Much Pop (prettymuchpop.com, covering all media), Nakedly Examined Music (nakedlyexaminedmusic.com, deconstructing songs), and (sub)Text (subtextpodcast.com, looking deeply at lit and film). Learn about more network podcasts at partiallyexaminedlife.com.

Location:

Madison, WI

Description:

The Partially Examined Life is a podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a short text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flippancy. You don't have to know any philosophy, or even to have read the text we're talking about to (mostly) follow and (hopefully) enjoy the discussion. For links to the texts we discuss and other info, check out www.partiallyexaminedlife.com. We also feature episodes from other podcasts by our hosts to round out your partially examined life, including Pretty Much Pop (prettymuchpop.com, covering all media), Nakedly Examined Music (nakedlyexaminedmusic.com, deconstructing songs), and (sub)Text (subtextpodcast.com, looking deeply at lit and film). Learn about more network podcasts at partiallyexaminedlife.com.

Language:

English


Episodes

PREVIEW-Ep. 269: Arendt on Totalitarianism (Part Two)

5/17/2021
Continuing on two of Hannah Arendt's 1953 essays on totalitarianism. We further discuss its logic and in the full episode get into its relevance for contemporary political movements. To hear that full second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Sponsor: See headspace.com/PEL for a free month's access to a library of guided meditations. Try The Class X Podcast on Spotify or Apple, or look it up wherever you listen.

Duration:00:10:29

Ep. 269: Arendt on Totalitarianism (Part One)

5/10/2021
On "On the Nature of Totalitarianism" and On the Origins of Totalitarianism ch. 13 (both from 1953). Is totalitarianism just an especially virulent form of tyranny, or something unique to the modern age? Arendt says that unlike other forms of government, totalitarianism is not animated by an active psychological principle that motivates its participants. Instead terror is designed to make citizens incapable of agency altogether. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you...

Duration:00:55:14

PEL Presents NEM#147: Steve Almaas: From Punk to the Rodeo

5/10/2021
Steve was in one of Minneapolis' first big punk bands, The Suicide Commandos, but after one album in 1977, he soon left for New York City and eventually hit it relatively big with two records on IRS as Beat Rodeo, with a solo career continuing the country-rock style beginning in 1992 through nine albums. We discuss "The Way I Treated You" (and listen to "Goodbye Nicolina," featuring The Jayhawks' Gary Louris) from Everywhere You've Been (2021), "Try Again" by The Suicide Commandos from...

Duration:00:54:43

PEL Presents (sub)Text: On the Lam with “Thelma & Louise”

5/9/2021
Two women—one a straight-laced waitress, the other a naive housewife—leave town for a quiet weekend getaway. But after a deadly encounter with a rapist, the two become unlikely...and then increasingly confident...outlaws. Though a kindly police officer tries to convince the women to turn themselves in, their refusal to surrender to a future scripted by forces more powerful than themselves drives them to a shocking and iconic ending. Is their fate triumphant or tragic? Wes & Erin discuss...

Duration:02:10:40

PREVIEW-Ep. 268: Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death" (Part Two)

5/3/2021
Continuing on Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business with guest Brian Hirt. Is the written word really so much more suited for providing context than television? To hear the full second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.

Duration:00:13:20

PEL Presents NEM#146: Nels Cline Writes Fusion (And Plays Guitar for Wilco)

5/1/2021
Though best known as lead guitarist for Wilco since 2004, Nels has recorded 30+ instrumental albums, often as band leader. We discuss "Headdress" by The Nels Cline Singers from Share the Wealth (2020), "The Nomad’s Home" from Coward (2009), and "Fives & Sixes" from his first solo release, Angelica (1987). We conclude by listening to "Imperfect Ten" by The Nels Cline 4 from From Currents, Constellations (2018). Intro: "You Are My Face" by Wilco from Sky Blue Sky (2007), co-written with Jeff...

Duration:01:24:19

Ep. 268: Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death" (Part One)

4/25/2021
On Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (1985) with guest Brian Hirt. How does the form in which we receive media affect how we think? Education theorist Postman (building on Marshall McLuhan) claimed that television has eroded our capacity to reason and given us the expectation that everything in the world must entertain. Is this a viable piece of social construction theory? How does the critique apply to the Internet age? Part two of this episode is...

Duration:00:50:34

PEL Presents (sub)Text: Spiritual Matters in Chekhov's "The Student" and "A Medical Case"

4/25/2021
In Chekhov’s stories, beautiful natural surroundings are often a setting for unnatural lives and ugly social conditions. This sets the stage for a reflection on the relationship between physical and spiritual needs. His story “The Student” suggests that material deprivation--whether it is the exhaustion of the apostle Peter or the poverty of the Russian peasant--can undermine the capacity for fidelity and cultivation. In “A Medical Case,” a young heiress is made physically ill by her guilty...

Duration:00:42:34

PEL Presents PMP#90: Godzilla vs. Kong vs. All the Kaiju!

4/24/2021
Are giant monsters stomping on cities just stupid fun, or do they channel deep fears of helplessness? Do we care at all about the humans in these films? Are they legit sci-fi or political commentary? Mark, Erica, and Brian reflect on the MonsterVerse films, plus the filmic histories of Godzilla and King Kong, Pacific Rim, Colossal, The Host, Cloverfield, and more. For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. Sponsor: Get a loan to...

Duration:00:49:44

PEL Presents NEM#145: Jay Gonzalez: Concise but Colorful

4/23/2021
Jay is best known as sideman for Drive-By Truckers since 2008 but has written songs for Athens bands like The Possibilities and Nutria since the 90s and has three solo releases. We discuss the title track (and listen at the end to "I Wanna Hold You") from Back to the Hive (2021), "&#%&#!" and "Shenorock Lane" from The Bitter Suite (2015), and "Turning Me On" from Mess of Happiness (2012). Intro: "Tough to Let Go" by Drive-By Truckers from The New OK (2020). For more see...

Duration:01:05:46

PREVIEW-Ep. 267: Avicenna on God and Soul w/ Peter Adamson (Part Two)

4/19/2021
Continuing on Avicenna's arguments for the existence of God and on the soul's immateriality. What metaphysical and epistemological picture grounds these views? To hear the full second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.

Duration:00:09:12

PEL Presents PMP#89: The Chicago 7 (and the Aaron Sorkinverse)

4/16/2021
Brian, Erica, and Mark consider one of this year's Oscar-nominated films, The Trial of the Chicago 7, and the film and TV career of its writer/director Aaron Sorkin. We get into The West Wing, The Social Network, Steve Jobs, The Newsroom, and more, focusing on his recurring characters, plots based on true stories, and whether his speechifying is manipulative in the ways that we enjoy or not. For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at...

Duration:00:44:57

Ep. 267: Avicenna on God and Soul w/ Peter Adamson (Part One)

4/12/2021
On selections and commentary about Avicenna's argument from around 1020 C.E. for the existence of God as a necessary being, plus arguments to prove that God has the person-like properties that Islam imputes to him, and his "flying man" argument for the soul's essential independence from matter. Featuring Mark, Dylan, and our guest Peter Adamson from the History of Philosophy podcast. Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at...

Duration:01:02:00

PEL Presents (sub)Text: Art and Action in Chekhov's "The House with the Mezzanine"

4/11/2021
In this story, there are two sisters: one introverted, frail, and bookish; the other dominant, opinionated, and politically active. In meeting them, an accomplished artist seems to be confronted with a dilemma. Should art subordinate itself to the project of creating a just society? Or should it focus on serving more spiritual needs? These questions make Chekhov’s “The House with the Mezzanine” an interesting meditation on the relationship between politics and the arts, and whether the...

Duration:01:58:49

PEL Presents PMP#88: Indie Animation w/ Benjamin Goldman

4/11/2021
Animation is so labor-intensive that it seems designed for corporate domination a la Disney. Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by animator Benjamin Goldman to discuss doing animation on your own. What qualifies as "indie?" What are we as adult viewers looking from this medium? How do images relate to narration? How realistic should the animation look? You may want to watch Benjamin's short film (currently featured by The New Yorker) "Eight Nights." For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear...

Duration:00:47:39

PEL Presents NEM#144: Dennis Davison (The Jigsaw Seen): How Much Is Enough?

4/10/2021
Dennis fronted the Baltimore punk band Ebenezer and The Bludgeons in the late 70s, and after some transitional projects moved to L.A. where his '60s-ish guitar pop band The Jigsaw Seen released nine albums from 1989-2015. We discuss "Museum Piece" (and listen to "Shadow on a Tall Tree" at the end) from his debut solo album, The Book Of Strongman (2020); "Idiots with Guitars" from Old Man Reverb (2014); and the title track from My Name Is Tom (1991). Intro: "Jim Is the Devil" (a 1989...

Duration:01:03:33

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

4/5/2021
Continuing on Lear's Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul (1988). Our highlight is about the relation between the three parts of the soul: which (if any) is basic? To hear the full second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.

Duration:00:10:49

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

3/29/2021
On essays from Lear's Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul (1988): "Inside and Outside the Republic," "Eros and Unknowing: The Psychoanalytic Significance of Plato’s Symposium," and "An Interpretation of Transference," which compares Socrates' questioning with psychotherapy. Is Plato's analogy between mind and state in The Republic a good one? What can we learn from it about what makes for a stable, healthy character? How does eros (desire) fit into this picture? Lear gives a...

Duration:00:56:38

PEL Presents (sub)Text: Nipped by Love in Chekhov's "The Lady with the Little Dog"

3/28/2021
Dmitri Gurov does not take love seriously. His wife annoys him, long-term relationships scare him, and his love life consists of brief affairs with women he meets at vacation resorts. In Anna, he finds someone who appears to be the usual victim—traveling alone, tired of her husband, and unlikely to make any effective demands for intimacy, something that seems to be revealed in the diminutive portability of her traveling companion. This time, however, he has met a match too powerful for his...

Duration:01:41:05

PEL Presents PMP#86: What Irish Means w/ Black 47's Larry Kirwan

3/28/2021
St. Patrick's Day has passed: What sort of representation of Ireland has made it to the U.S. through such celebrations? Who gets to decide what's authentically Irish? Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by writer and musician Larry to talk about his immigrant experience, covering history, music, humor, language, slurs, stereotypes, and his new book Rockaway Blue. For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. Sponsor: Get 15% off your...

Duration:00:43:52