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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. 271: Johan Gottlieb Fichte's Transcendental Idealism (Part Two)

6/14/2021
Continuing from part one on The Vocation of Man (1799), Book II. In this preview, we clarify whether Fichte is trying to keep the notion of a "real world" beyond our experience or not. It's part of the progression of the text that while at first he assumes that there must be something real behind this experienced world we as individuals create, he gives up that notion in the middle of Book II. So how does he get to his startling reversal? To hear that full second part, you'll need to go...

Duration:00:09:36

Ep. 271: Johan Gottlieb Fichte's Transcendental Idealism (Part One)

6/7/2021
On The Vocation of Man (1799), Books I and II. What is reality? Fichte's armchair journey starts him considering nature and thus himself as determined, but then he backtracks to say that actually, experience doesn't tell us whether we're determined or free. In Book II, he argues that since our experience is always of something going on in ourselves, then causality, the external world, the self, etc. must be our own mental creations. So we're free after all, yet everything is drained of...

Duration:00:57:32

PEL Presents (sub)Text: At Home with War in "Apocalypse Now" (1979) by Francis Ford Coppola

6/6/2021
Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore doesn’t flinch for enemy fire, loves the smell of napalm in the morning, and would literally kill for good surfing and a beachside barbecue. His attempts to re-create home within the theater of war render him the perfect foil to a certain upriver madman, who seems intent on making high culture serve the purposes of primitive horror. And yet Kurtz is ready to argue that it is his methods that are more sound, just because they embrace their ruthlessness more...

Duration:02:14:18

PEL Presents NEM#149: Rod Abernethy's Return to Acoustic (from Video Game Soundtracks)

6/4/2021
Rod released his first album "Solo" in 1975, played in some bands, but after losing on Star Search, turned to soundtrack work, emerging only in 2018 with three straight albums of acoustic singer-songwriter and instrumental material. We discuss "My Father Was a Quiet Man" (and listen to "Whiskey & Pie") from Normal Isn't Normal Anymore (2021), "How to Forget" from The Man I'm Supposed to Be (2018), and "Working the Mill" and "Battle in Laketown" from The Hobbit Official Soundtrack (2003)....

Duration:01:04:05

PEL Presents PMP#94: Psychology of Video Game Engagement w/ Jamie Madigan

6/3/2021
Why do people play video games, and what keeps them playing? Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by the host of the Psychology of Video Games podcast to discuss player types, motivation vs. engagement, incentives and feedback, as well as the gamification of work or school environments. We touch on Donkey Kong, Dark Souls, It Takes Two, Returnal, Hades, Subnautica, Fortnite, and Age of Z. For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at...

Duration:00:54:31

PREVIEW-Ep. 270: Classical Indian (Vedanta and Nyaya) Design Arguments for God (Part Two)

5/31/2021
Continuing (without Stephen Phillips) on God and the World’s Arrangement: Readings from Vedanta and Nyaya Philosophy of Religion. What does this treatment give us that's fundamentally different than the Western version of the design argument? We talk about these readings in the context of liberation and reflect on reason vs. revelation in this milieu. To hear that full second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.

Duration:00:10:47

Ep. 270: Classical Indian (Vedanta and Nyaya) Design Arguments for God w/ Stephen Phillips (Part One)

5/24/2021
On God and the World's Arrangement: Readings from Vedanta and Nyaya Philosophy of Religion with one of its translators, Stephen Phillips. Does nature require an intelligent designer? Śaṅkara (710 CE) and Vācaspati Miśra (960 CE), commenting on the Brahma-sūtra (ca. 200 CE) and Nyāya-sūtra (ca. 200 BCE), argue that it does against atheistic Buddhists, Sāṃkhya believers in a primordial matter that acts on its own, and the Mīmāṃsā conservatives who so venerated scripture that they ruled out a...

Duration:01:07:10

PEL Presents (sub)Text: Unsound Methods in Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”

5/23/2021
On his journey to the heart of the Congo, Marlow learns of a famed ivory trader named Kurtz— a remarkable man; a “universal genius;” a painter, poet, and musician; a man whose success in his trade has been unparalleled, but whose “unsound methods” have put him at odds with local bureaucrats. When Marlow finally meets Kurtz, he hears firsthand the trader’s essential characteristic: a deep and commanding voice which, combined with his methods, has earned him disciples and inspired local tribes...

Duration:01:04:02

PEL Presents NEM#148: David Cross (ex-King Crimson): Electric Violin Dinosaur Battles

5/22/2021
David played in perhaps the most revered line-up of King Crimson at the end of its original run from '72-'74. He released his first "solo" album (as Low Flying Aircraft) in '87, then eight more under his own name plus several collaborations. We discuss "Predator" by Cross and Jackson from Another Day (2018), "The Pool" by The David Cross Band from Sign of the Crow (2016), and "Awful Love" from Closer than Skin (2005). We conclude with the title track from Crossover by David Cross and Peter...

Duration:01:21:06

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

PEL Presents PMP#92: Collectibles and Collecting w/ Matt Young

5/11/2021
What drives someone to collect Star Wars figures or Transformers or LEGOs or whatever else? Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by guest Matt Young of the Hello from the Magic Tavern and Improvised Star Trek podcasts to talk about this potentially expensive and life-eating habit. For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. Sponsor: Get a loan to lower your monthly payments at Upstart.com/PRETTY.

Duration:00:53:49

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