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On the Chinese military treatise from around the 5th century BCE. How does a philosopher wage war? The best kind of war can be won without fighting. The general qua Taoist sage never moves until circumstances are optimal. We talk virtue ethics and practical strategy; how well can Sunzi's advice be applied to non-martial pursuits? With guest Brian W…
 
John Cassavetes is known today as the father of American independent film, a pioneering writer, director, editor, actor who managed to make movies on his own terms, and has since inspired two generations of filmmakers. In his own day, however, he couldn’t catch a break–unappreciated and unseen by most of the public, lambasted by critics. But what c…
 
Is the Last of Us franchise actually a good video gaming, or just long cinematics that are only good by comparison to past video game cut scenes? It's great, but not exactly "fun." Mark, Erica, Brian, and Drew Jackson talk about balancing narrative and gameplay, the message ("revenge is bad"), the shifting points of view (including playable flashba…
 
Mark, Wes, Dylan and Seth continue the discussion on The Tyranny of Merit to talk further about how social values can and do change, and whether these changes can be engineered in the way that Sandel seems to want. This preview includes a couple of exchanges from near the beginning to give you a flavor of what to expect. The post PREVIEW-Ep. 254: M…
 
Mark, Wes, Dylan and Seth continue the discussion on The Tyranny of Merit to talk further about how social values can and do change, and whether these changes can be engineered in the way that Sandel seems to want. We interviewed Michael Sandel in part one. To hear this second part, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Th…
 
On The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good? (2020). Do people get the wealth and status they deserve? And if they did, would that be good? Michael critiques the meritocracy: It's not actually fair, leaves most people feeling humiliated, and makes those on the top arrogant and disconnected. The commitment to meritocracy is shared by b…
 
On The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good? (2020). Do people get the wealth and status they deserve? And if they did, would that be good? Michael critiques the meritocracy: It's not actually fair, leaves most people feeling humiliated, and makes those on the top arrogant and disconnected. The commitment to meritocracy is shared by b…
 
Like Benjamin, we wonder what the future can and should hold for us. Can it be free of the negative trappings of our society and culture, of our parents’ influence, of the past? Wes and Erin discuss Mike Nichols’ 1967 film "The Graduate." The post (sub)Text: Worrying about the Future in Mike Nichols' “The Graduate” first appeared on The Partially E…
 
Is the new Mulan the equivalent for Asian-Americans what Black Panther was for African-Americans? Did the film work? Was it better than the 1998 animated film? Actor Michael Tow joins Erica, Mark, and Brian to discuss the development, aesthetics, and political controversies surrounding the film: How have feminist messages changed over Mulan's vario…
 
Jazz multi-instrumentalist Edward Larry Gordon Jr. became Laraaji around the same time he started releasing meditative zither music in the late 70s and was then discovered by Brian Eno, who produced our intro, "The Dance No. 1" from Ambient 3: Day of Radiance (1980). Laraaji has since had around 40 releases of largely improvised music. We discuss "…
 
Travis joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to discuss our seemingly endless appetite for super-hero stories. His new book matches up heroes like Batman vs. Spider-Man for ethical comparison: What philosophy should govern the way we try to do good in the world? Also, The Boys, which assumes in the tradition of Watchmen that folks who wield that kind of pow…
 
Did you like our discussion of Leibniz's Theodicy? One and all can hear a bit more on the metaphysical status of evil and about the multi-layered character of will. Plus, an extra political Nightcap discussion only for members of our member community. The post Leibniz Pt. 2 Preview Now on Public Feed, Nightcap about Wokeness Now on Citizen Feed fir…
 
Benjamin Braddock is a little worried about his future. He’s a recent college graduate who moves back in with his upper-middle-class parents and feels smothered by their vapid, materialistic lifestyle. But he begins an affair with a woman from his parents’ circle… And then he falls in love with her daughter. Like Benjamin, we wonder what the future…
 
If you'd like to hear more of the discussion on Gottfried Leibniz’s Theodicy that we started in part one, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. This is just a few tantalizing snippets from part two, wherein we talk about the metaphysical status of evil and about the multi-layered character of will.…
 
Benjamin Braddock is a little worried about his future. He’s a recent college graduate who moves back in with his upper-middle-class parents and feels smothered by their vapid, materialistic lifestyle. But he begins an affair with a woman from his parents’ circle… And then he falls in love with her daughter. Like Benjamin, we wonder what the future…
 
Wes and Erin continue their discussion of W.B. Yeats’ "The Second Coming." In Part 1, they analyzed the first stanza of the poem, in particular Yeats' use of "gyre"; the meaning of the phrases "things fall apart" and "the center cannot hold"; and the conflict between aristocratic and revolutionary values. In Part 2, they discuss -- with a little he…
 
Amir the photographic artist and prof (see amirzaki.net) joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to consider decision making in picture taking, how our purposes for photography have changed with the advent of new technologies, iconic images, witnessing vs. intervening, capturing the particular vs. the universal, and more. For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. He…
 
On Gottfried Leibniz’s Theodicy (1710). Why does God allow so many bad things to happen? Leibniz thought that by the definition of God, whatever He created must be the best of all possible worlds, and his theodicy presents numerous arguments to try to make that less counter-intuitive given how less-than-perfect the world seems to us. Subscribe to g…
 
Wes and Erin continue their discussion of W.B. Yeats’ “The Second Coming.” In Part 1, they analyzed the first stanza of the poem, in particular Yeats’ use of “gyre”; the meaning of the phrases “things fall apart” and “the center cannot hold”; and the conflict between aristocratic and revolutionary values. In Part 2, they discuss — with a little hel…
 
On Gottfried Leibniz’s Theodicy (1710). Why does God allow so many bad things to happen? Leibniz thought that by the definition of God, whatever He created must be the best of all possible worlds, and his theodicy presents numerous arguments to try to make that less counter-intuitive given how less-than-perfect the world seems to us. Part two of th…
 
In 1919, the world seemed to have descended into anarchy. World War I had killed millions and profoundly altered the international order. Four empires, along with their aristocracies, had disintegrated. Russia was in a state of civil war, and Ireland was on the verge of its own. It’s these events that helped inspire William Butler Yeats’ poem “The …
 
Mark, Erica and Brian (all manga noobs) are joined by Japanese Studies prof. Deborah Shamoon to talk about barriers for Americans to appreciate manga, different manga types (Deborah works on shojo manga, i.e. for girls), Osamu Tezuka (the "god of comics" who created Astro Boy et al), classic vs. new manga, gender portrayals, and more. For more, vis…
 
We're releasing JUST THIS ONE Nightcap to the wider public so induce you all to go support us and so gain the ability to hear these free-wheeling, feeling-sharing, email-reading fiestas between every regular episode. This time we gripe about Habermas and reflect on what secondary sources we use. We consider whether to have an episode on anarchism a…
 
We're releasing JUST THIS ONE Nightcap to the wider public so induce you all to go support us and so gain the ability to hear these free-wheeling, feeling-sharing, email-reading fiestas between every regular episode. This time we gripe about Habermas and reflect on what secondary sources we use. We consider whether to have an episode on anarchism a…
 
If you'd like to hear more of the discussion on Jürgen Habermas' "Actions, Speech Acts, Linguistically Mediated Interactions, and the Lifeworld" (1998) that we started in part one, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. We're just sharing a few minutes of part two here to get you all hot and bothered. You're welcome!…
 
In 1919, the world seemed to have descended into anarchy. World War I had killed millions and profoundly altered the international order. Four empires, along with their aristocracies, had disintegrated. Russia was in a state of civil war, and Ireland was on the verge of its own. It’s these events that helped inspire William Butler Yeats’ poem “The …
 
Do we owe parents our gratitude for our upbringing? What if they haven’t done such a great job? And anyway, perhaps we inevitably resent all the forces that have shaped the characters that confine and limit us. If so, the quest for filial gratitude is ultimately hopeless. It could even be a kind of madness: a foolish attempt to transcend the same f…
 
On Jürgen Habermas' "Actions, Speech Acts, Linguistically Mediated Interactions, and the Lifeworld" (1998), with guest John Foster. What's the relation between individuals and society? Habermas says that language has ethics built right into it: I'm trying to get you to agree with me, to engage in a cooperative enterprise of mutual understanding. Pa…
 
On Jürgen Habermas' "Actions, Speech Acts, Linguistically Mediated Interactions, and the Lifeworld" (1998), with guest John Foster. What's the relation between individuals and society? Habermas says that language has ethics built right into it: I'm trying to get you to agree with me, to engage in a cooperative enterprise of mutual understanding. Su…
 
Mark, Erica, Brian, and guest Mike Wilson discuss the director's films from Eraserhead to Inland Empire plus Twin Peaks and his recent short films. We get into the appeal and hallmarks of his mainstays--Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Lost Highway, and Mulholland Drive--and also consider outliers like Dune, The Elephant Man, and The Straight Story. How…
 
Do we owe parents our gratitude for our upbringing? What if they haven’t done such a great job? And anyway, perhaps we inevitably resent all the forces that have shaped the characters that confine and limit us. If so, the quest for filial gratitude is ultimately hopeless. It could even be a kind of madness: a foolish attempt to transcend the same f…
 
What’s the connection between voyeurism and what Jefferies calls “the intelligent way to approach marriage”? Wes and Erin discuss Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 film Rear Window. The post (sub)Text: The “Intelligent Way to Approach Marriage” in Hitchcock’s "Rear Window" first appeared on The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast.…
 
We've collected some highlights from the supporter-only aftertalks that we record with every episode to reveal to the general public. Feast upon these non-sequitur nuggets of wisdom and mirth! Get all the aftertalks at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. The post Pretty Much Pop Aftertalk Clip Show 2020 first appeared on The Partially Examined Life Philosop…
 
Mark, Erica, Brian, and guest Mike Wilson discuss the director's films from Eraserhead to Inland Empire plus Twin Peaks and his recent short films. We get into the appeal and hallmarks of his mainstays--Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Lost Highway, and Mulholland Drive--and also consider outliers like Dune, The Elephant Man, and The Straight Story. How…
 
On "Theoretical Picture of a Free Society" (1934). What's the ideal living situation for us all, given the peculiarities of human nature? Weil describes fulfillment as coming from being able to picture goals and plans and knowingly put them into effect, so social groups need to maximize that power by being small and cooperative. End song: "Librevil…
 
On "Theoretical Picture of a Free Society" (1934). What's the ideal living situation for us all, given the peculiarities of human nature? Weil describes fulfillment as coming from being able to picture goals and plans and knowingly put them into effect, so social groups need to maximize that power by being small and cooperative. End song: "Librevil…
 
L.B. Jefferies has the perfect girlfriend—beautiful, intelligent, wealthy—but too perfect, he insists, for marriage. And so he spends his time spying on the love lives of his neighbors, and ropes his girlfriend into this project as well. Which, strangely enough, turns out to be a really effective form of couples’ therapy. What’s the connection betw…
 
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