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The New Thinkery

Philosophy Podcasts

The New Thinkery is a podcast devoted to political philosophy and its history, along with its many guises in literature, film, and human experience generally. Named after Socrates’ infamous “Thinkery” in Aristophanes’ Clouds, The New Thinkery strikes a balance between the seriousness of academia and the playfulness of casual conversation among friends.


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The New Thinkery is a podcast devoted to political philosophy and its history, along with its many guises in literature, film, and human experience generally. Named after Socrates’ infamous “Thinkery” in Aristophanes’ Clouds, The New Thinkery strikes a balance between the seriousness of academia and the playfulness of casual conversation among friends.




Ortega y Gasset on Art with Daniel McDonald

This week, the guys are joined by a bonafide artist and Greg's colleague, Daniel McDonald, Chair of the Department of Art + Design and professor of art. The group discuss Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset's essay, The Dehumanization of Art, which sought to understand why modern art was moving in a nonrepresentational direction. McDonald offer's an artist's perspective on Ortega y Gasset's thinking and points out where it might be flawed, while the guys bring the layman's perspective.


Charlie Thomas on Plato's Female Drama

This week, the guys are joined by Dr. Charlotte Thomas, Professor of Philosophy among several other titles at Mercer Unviersity and executive director of ACTC. The group discuss Dr. Thomas' book The Female Drama: The Philosophical Feminine in the Soul of Plato's Republic. The discussion roughly follows books V-VII of the Republic and its arguments around justice and what is needed to bring it about.


Eric Adler on Tacitus' Germania

This week, the guys are joined once again by Dr. Eric Adler, Professor and Chair of Classics at the University of Maryland. The group discuss most of the contents of Germania from the traits of the people and land, to their practices, culminating in Tacitus' thoughts on their value to the Romans. Plus: Dr. Adler ties in one of Tacitus' other works, the Annals, into the discussion.


Thomas Cleveland on Aristotle's Metaphysics A 1–2

This week, the guys are joined by Dr. Thomas Cleveland, Director of Academic Programs at the Jack Miller Center. The group discuss what it means to understand, to know, and to gain wisdom. They then discuss what people may do in search of knowledge, and the distinction between wisdom and knowledge.


Socrates as Family Man

This week, the guys return to Ancient Greece as they gather to discuss Socrates' personal life as a family man. They analyze whether philosophers can even have families, whether Socrates' family was serious or ironic, whether his intellectual or biological progeny are his real family, and more. Plus: a special announcement from Greg!


Spencer Klavan on Euripides' The Bacchae

This week, the guys are joined by David's colleague and friend, Spencer Klavan. Together, the group discuss the overarchiing themes, influence, and historical context of Euripides' The Bacchae. Plus: an analysis of uniquely feminine power.


The Introduction to Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind

This week, the guys take a look at the introductory section of Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind. In their analysis, the guys cover the significance of Bloom's writings in the context of American political thought as well as the merits of his argument in his introduction.


Nietzsche on the Last Man

This week, the guys are joined for a second time by Dr. Justin Gottschalk to talk about the prologue to Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The group analyze the history, themes, value, and modern interpretations of what is arguably Nietzsche's hardest to grasp text.


Xenophon on Hunting with Dogs

Returning to the Ancients this week, the guys are here to discuss Xenophon's Hunting with Dogs. Using an edition put together by Michael Ehrmantraut and The New Thinkery's own Greg McBrayer, the guys dive into the text, analyzing the underlying themes of the work, as well as some hidden intentions put in by Xenophon that have confused scholars for quite some time.


Leo Strauss' Natural Right and History, Chapter 1

This week, the guys return to Leo Strauss' crucially important book, Natural Right and History. A discussion of the history of the work moves naturally to an analysis of the themes of chapter one, how thoroughly it expands on the concept of historicism before ripping into it, as well as some contextualization of the chapter when compared to other thinkers of Strauss' time. Plus: a brief note for your feedback.


Jean Renoir's The Grand Illusion

This week, the guys take another trip down to the silver screen to analyze Jean Renoir's 1937 movie, The Grand Illusion. Hidden underneath the POW escape plot of the movie are deep and serious themes about the role of what was at the time Europe's dying aristocracy, among others. The guys break it all down.


Jacob Klein's The Problem of Freedom

With the gang back together this week, the guys jump into a short essay on a punchy topic, the problem of freedom, using Jacob Klein's essay by the same name as a starting point. They discuss the framing of freedom, its types, and to what extent freedom itself is a good or bad thing. Plus: an announcement toward the end of the show!


Machiavelli's The Prince, Chapter 7

This week, David is away, which means Alex and Greg are getting right to the point. They discuss chapter seven of The Prince, which focuses primarily on Cesare Borgia and his political career. Machiavelli seems to put ample praise on Borgia while also noting the stumbling block he would succumb to. Plus: a quick analysis of where the famous line, "the ends justifies the means" comes from.


Interview: Spencer Klavan on Diogenes Laërtius' The Life of Zeno

This week, the guys are joined by Dr. Spencer Klavan, David's coworker and author of multiple books on philosophy and saving the West. The group take a quick look at stoicism and ancient life before diving into an insightful and funny analysis of The Life of Zeno.


Interview: Dr. Michael P. Zuckert on Lincoln's Views of Discoveries and Inventions

This week the guys are joined for the fourth time by Dr. Michael P. Zuckert, the Nancy R. Dreux Professor of Political Science, Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame. The group convene early this week in observation of President's Day and discuss some of Lincoln's speeches, other writings, and thoughts surrounding dicoveries and inventions, and their purpose in the young republic. Plus: the guys discuss a little bit of fun presidential trivia.


Valentine's Day Love Poems

Happy Valentine's Day from The New Thinkery! On this special episode, the guys each selcted poems that they found particularly worth reading and thinking about on Valentine's Day. From Plato, to Machiavelli, to Shakespeare, and even Christopher Wallace, the guys have you covered with a reading and discussion of a wide swath of poetic content to help you get into the Valentine's Day mindset.


Winston Churchill's Painting as a Pastime

This week, the guys take a break from philosophy, and instead disucss Churchill's short work on how best to spend leisure time and retaining mental acuity with age, Painting as a Pastime. The guys discuss the merits of painting and why Churchill points to it as a great way to stay sharp. Plus: Alex makes David and Greg play a guessing game.


Aristotle's Politics 3.4

This week, the guys are back together again to talk about some meat and potatoes in Western philosophy: Aristotle's Politics 3.4. After some good old-fashioned analysis, the guys draw connections to interesting comparisons, like how it is to be a citizen in North Korea.


Interview: Dr. Eric Adler on Plutarch's Life of Camillus

This week, Greg and Alex have once again replaced David with Dr. Eric Adler, Professor and Chair of Classics at the Unviersity of Maryland. Together, the group analyze another excerpt of Plutarch's Parallel Lives. This time, the emphasis is on Camillus, a Roman soldier and statesman of the patrician class. The group draw comparisons between Camillus and Themistocles and whst useful lessons can be gleaned from their lives.


Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones

This week, the guys put down the philosophy books and pick up a favorite of David's, Eugene O'Neill's tragic play, The Emperor Jones. The guys analyze the play's plot, themes, and important historical context as they discuss their interpretations of the play.