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Continuing on Book I of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689). We consider Locke's arguments that since there are no universally agreed upon principles, therefore there are no beliefs that we're all born with, or that we all (without the need for experience) immediately recognize as true as soon as we gain the use of reason or ar…
 
Continuing from part one on Book I of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689). We consider Locke's arguments that since there are no universally agreed upon principles, therefore there are no beliefs that we're all born with, or that we all (without the need for experience) immediately recognize as true as soon as we gain the use o…
 
Plenty of songs try to tell stories, but do the pop song format and narrative really mix? Songwriter and short story author Rod Picott joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about classics by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, formative nightmares like "Leader of the Pack" and "The Pina Colada Song, borderline cases like "Bohemian Rhapsody," and more. How do…
 
Bill Budd is a beautiful man. Not just good looking, but exquisitely good natured, something that costs him no effort and has required no instruction. And yet it is ultimately his beautiful soul and good nature that get Billy killed. Wes & Erin discuss Herman Melville’s final and unfinished work of fiction, and whether a good heart and good intenti…
 
Bill Budd is a beautiful man. Not just good looking, but exquisitely good natured, something that costs him no effort and has required no instruction. And yet it is ultimately his beautiful soul and good nature that get Billy killed. Wes & Erin discuss Herman Melville’s final and unfinished work of fiction, and whether a good heart and good intenti…
 
Kevin (The State, RISK!) joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about his telling/curation/coaching of confessional stories. Do they have to be funny? True? How does this form relate to essays a la David Sedaris? How personal is too personal (or indicative of PTSD or something)? What's the role of craft in this most populist endeavor? Listen at risk-…
 
On Book I of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689). How do we know things? Locke thought all knowledge comes from experience, and this might seem uncontroversial, but what are the alternatives? We consider the idea that there are some ideas we're just born with and don't need to learn. But what's an "idea," and how is it differen…
 
Mark got signed as a teen in 1966, left to play theatrical prog jazz in Indiana during college, had a spell in a "no wave" band in New York, and finally settled down in the '80s as an in demand producer and collaborator in New Orleans, working with groups like R.E.M., Flat Duo Jets, and John Scofield. He's only finished two solo albums but has a to…
 
Brian, Erica, and Mark reflect on this weird sci-fi HBO Max series by Aaron Guzikowski and Ridley Scott. How much are we supposed to understand? Can we identify with any of the android and/or wild child and/or murdering characters? Is the imagery too heavy handed? How does it compare with Westworld, The Walking Dead, etc.? Warning: Spoilers ahoy! S…
 
Plenty of songs try to tell stories, but do the pop song format and narrative really mix? Songwriter and short story author Rod Picott joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about classics by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, formative nightmares like "Leader of the Pack" and "The Pina Colada Song, borderline cases like "Bohemian Rhapsody," and more. How do…
 
Plenty of songs try to tell stories, but do the pop song format and narrative really mix? Songwriter and short story author Rod Picott joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about classics by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, formative nightmares like "Leader of the Pack" and "The Pina Colada Song, borderline cases like "Bohemian Rhapsody," and more. How do…
 
Mark, Wes, Dylan, Seth get into specific points and textual passages from Peter Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread (1892). In this preview, we start by considering that Kropotkin is right that mutual aid is a natural tendency and so communism is very much feasible, why hasn't it happened already? In the full discussion, we discuss K's version of the…
 
Mark, Wes, Dylan, Seth get into specific points and textual passages from Peter Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread (1892). In this preview, we start by considering that Kropotkin is right that mutual aid is a natural tendency and so communism is very much feasible, why hasn't it happened already? In the full discussion, we discuss K's version of the…
 
What do we mean when we talk about the American Dream? Is it realistic? Wes & Erin discuss F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” The post (sub)Text: The American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby" first appeared on The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast.By Wes Alwan
 
Mark, Erica, Brian, and musician/actor Aaron consider the comedy of Sacha Baron Cohen, especially Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, where his co-stars are unwitting dupes and embarrassment is served in large helpings. We talk through the ethical and political issues, why Cohen's targets act how they do, and what this is as humor. For more, visit prettymu…
 
Brian, Erica, and Mark reflect on this weird sci-fi HBO Max series by Aaron Guzikowski and Ridley Scott. How much are we supposed to understand? Can we identify with any of the android and/or wild child and/or murdering characters? Is the imagery too heavy handed? How does it compare with Westworld, The Walking Dead, etc.? Warning: Spoilers ahoy! S…
 
On Peter Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread (1892). If we want an egalitarian society, do we need the state to accomplish this? Kropotkin says no, that in fact the state inevitably serves the interests of the few, and that if we got rid of it, our natural tendencies to cooperate would allow us through voluntary organizations to keep everyone not onl…
 
On Peter Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread (1892). If we want an egalitarian society, do we need the state to accomplish this? Kropotkin says no, that in fact the state inevitably serves the interests of the few, and that if we got rid of it, our natural tendencies to cooperate would allow us through voluntary organizations to keep everyone not onl…
 
We all know this story, in part because it captures a period that will always have a special place in the American imagination. Prosperous and boozy, the Jazz Age seemed like one great party, held to celebrate the end of a terrible world war; the liberating promise of newly ubiquitous technologies, including electricity, the telephone, and the auto…
 
Peter started The Apartments in Australia in the late '70s and has been its only consistent member. After releasing his first full album in 1985 and being featured on a John Hughes soundtrack, he released four lush, moody albums in the '90s but then retired when family tragedy struck until the late '00s; he's had four releases since 2011. We discus…
 
Peter started The Apartments in Australia in the late '70s and has been its only consistent member. After releasing his first full album in 1985 and being featured on a John Hughes soundtrack, he released four lush, moody albums in the '90s but then retired when family tragedy struck until the late '00s; he's had four releases since 2011. We discus…
 
Mark, Erica, Brian, and musician/actor Aaron consider the comedy of Sacha Baron Cohen, especially Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, where his co-stars are unwitting dupes and embarrassment is served in large helpings. We talk through the ethical and political issues, why Cohen's targets act how they do, and what this is as humor. For more, visit prettymu…
 
If you'd like to hear more of the discussion on Sun Tzu that we started in part one, you'll need to go sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Here are some exchanges from part two, where we continue with Brian Wilson working through the text, considering Sunzi's strategies and assumptions, and how these might (or might not) apply to competin…
 
Mark, Wes, Dylan, Seth, and Brian Wilson continue working through the text, considering Sunzi's strategies and assumptions, and how these might (or might not) apply to competing in the business world. The post PREVIEW-Ep. 255: Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" (Part Two) first appeared on The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast.…
 
What scares us? Why do people enjoy being scared by films? Are there good horror movies that aren't scary and scary films that are still bad? Mark, Erica, Brian are joined by actor/special effects-guy Nathan Shelton (who runs the Frightmare Theatre Podcast) to present our picks for what scared us as kids, and we consider Halloween, Blair Witch, Nig…
 
Chris Matheson has written many comic movies and has converted religious texts into funnier books, most recently with The Buddha's Story. Mark, Erica, and Brian talk with him about what unifies these projects: Why the big ideas of religion and sci-fi are begging to be made fun of. The post Pretty Much Pop #65: Cosmic Satire w/ “Bill & Ted” Writer C…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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 "…
 
Chris Matheson has written many comic movies and has converted religious texts into funnier books, most recently with The Buddha's Story. Mark, Erica, and Brian talk with him about what unifies these projects: Why the big ideas of religion and sci-fi are begging to be made fun of. How does humor relate to fear? Would a society based on Bill and Ted…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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