38 episodes

Join Nathan, Joe, and Brad for a weekly symposium, in which they discuss philosophy and drink beer. Like their predecessors in Athens, they give speeches honoring a topic, only drinking as much as they please. Part philosophy and part beer review, The Symposium is the podcast of choice for the more reflective corner of the bar.

The Symposium The Symposium

    • Education

Join Nathan, Joe, and Brad for a weekly symposium, in which they discuss philosophy and drink beer. Like their predecessors in Athens, they give speeches honoring a topic, only drinking as much as they please. Part philosophy and part beer review, The Symposium is the podcast of choice for the more reflective corner of the bar.

    38 - Martin Luther King, Jr. - Letter From Birmingham Jail

    38 - Martin Luther King, Jr. - Letter From Birmingham Jail

    In light of recent events, we decided to talk about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail." MLK is often quoted, but given his fame, it's easy to quote him without knowing what he actually thought.

    We sit down for a couple hours to take a look at some things that the Reverend Dr. King actually said. "Letter from Birmingham Jail" is a timely and poignant document, and is fundamental to a modern and developing understanding of racism, nonviolent protest, politics, the black experience, and in many ways, Christianity.

    Looking at the whole document, we delve into King's meaning regarding some commonly misunderstood ideas. For example:
    - What does King mean when he talks about nonviolent direct action?
    - What does he mean by "the white moderate"?
    - What is King's conception of justice?

    If you've never read the Letter before, it is readily accessible online--and now is a perfect time to read it.

    Credits
    Opening audio owned by 92nd Street Y, "James Earl Jones reads excerpts of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 'Letter from Birmingham Jail.'" Used for educational purposes under Fair Use.

    • 2 hrs 29 min
    37 - The Purpose Of A Liberal Education

    37 - The Purpose Of A Liberal Education

    Get ready, this one's a doozy!

    TOPIC:
    The purpose of a liberal education

    DRINKS:
    Thin Man - Burning Money
    Erie Brewing Company - Railbender Ale
    Weyerbacher - Blithering Idiot
    Yuengling Traditional Lager
    Margaritaville - Landshark
    Lexington Brewing - Kentucky Vanilla Barrel Cream Ale
    Evil Twin Brewing - Even More 8lb 6oz Newborn Baby Jesus
    Northcoast Brewing - Old Rasputin
    Fat Head - Bumbleberry Ale
    New Holland - Dragon's Milk Reserve
    Eagle - Banana Bread Beer

    In this episode Joe invites some college friends to a discussion of the purpose of the liberal arts, in what most resembles a real symposium so far on the show! Join Joe, Caleb, Ryan, Paul, and Nathan (over Skype) as they muse about the purpose of a liberal arts education. One of the central ideas that gets discussed is freedom: the group agrees that a liberal education is crucial for helping people to be truly free, which they express with regard to being human, gaining practical experience, growing as a person, being a good citizen, and more. Much beer and many laughs are had, a perfect end to life as we knew it before everything in America shut down!

    Happy drinking, and happy learning to be free! (Please drink responsibly.)

    Credits
    Intro/outro song: "Algernon" by A Beacon School
    Censor song: "The Bees" by Microwave Ramen

    • 3 hrs
    36 - Plato's Republic, Book III (Part 2)

    36 - Plato's Republic, Book III (Part 2)

    READING:
    396A to the end of Book III

    DRINKS:
    Bud Lite Mango Seltzer
    Four Peaks Kilt Lifter

    The second half of Book III covers the rest of the education of the guardians, elaborating what kind of music they are to listen to and their overall development of virtue. Socrates touches upon various ideas that Nathan and Joe explore in more detail, such as his famous irony, Greek cultural norms, and the connection between virtue, beauty, and health. Socrates also formulates what he calls the "noble lie" that the educators must use to convince the first guardians to take part in the overall project of this perfectly just city, and distinguishes the guardians who rule from those who simply protect the city as soldiers, whom he calls auxiliaries.

    READING FOR NEXT TIME:
    Book IV: 419A-432A

    Happy drinking, and happy philosophizing! (Please drink responsibly.)

    Credits
    Intro/outro song: "Algernon" by A Beacon School

    • 1 hr 59 min
    35 - Plato's Republic, Book III (Part 1)

    35 - Plato's Republic, Book III (Part 1)

    READING:
    Plato's Republic, Book III 386A-395E

    DRINKS:
    New Belgium Glutiny (Gluten Free)
    Voodoo Brewery Swimming Jeans

    The Republic continues with a careful examination of how to educate the guardians of the city, expanding upon what that education looks like. Socrates tells us that the guardians will need to be courageous, and only portray true courage in its poetic works to inculcate it. This means heavy censorship of most of the prominent Greek poetry, which Socrates... shares openly with the group. Nathan and Joe talk about the ironic presentation of this section, but consider the implications of interpreting it both ironically and seriously. Plato also also begins to outline the virtue of moderation, which will play a crucial role in the overall social structure of the city.

    READING FOR NEXT TIME:
    The rest of Book III

    Happy drinking, and happy philosophizing! (Please drink responsibly.)

    Credits
    Intro/outro song: "Algernon" by A Beacon School
    Intermission song: "The Bees" by Microwave Ramen

    • 1 hr 32 min
    34 - Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

    34 - Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

    TOPIC:
    Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

    DRINKS:
    Blue Moon Iced Coffee Blonde

    This week Nathan is joined by his old friend and special guest Sarah to talk about their favorite musical artist, Bon Iver--specifically the band's first album. The bulk of the episode consists of heavy lyrical analysis, uncovering a deeply personal and yet universal cry from the emotional dregs of the human condition and the difficulty of human relationship. Interpersonal relationships play a large role in the conversation, with references to philosopher Martin Buber and poet Marie Howe, and the similarities between their views of the world. Other topics include narrative and poetry, the Other, and baptism. All of this fits neatly into what is an existential crisis contained in a cold breakup album.

    Happy drinking, and happy being patient, being fine, being balanced, being kind! (Please drink responsibly.)

    Credits
    Intro/outro song: "Algernon" by A Beacon School
    Intermission song: "The Bees" by Microwave Ramen

    • 2 hrs 3 min
    33 - Plato's Republic, Book II (Part 3)

    33 - Plato's Republic, Book II (Part 3)

    READING:
    378A-383C

    DRINKS:
    Deschutes Cold Brew Coffee Lager
    New Belgium Voodoo Ranger American Haze

    TRIGGER WARNING:
    Brief mention of sensitive subjects around the 13 minute mark. Not very explicit but if you'd prefer to skip it, just jump to 13:30.

    Joe and Nathan start to get theological as they discuss Socrates' guidelines for properly depicting the gods in poetry in the imaginary city. Socrates argues that the gods are good in their being, and thus not to be attributed as the cause of any harm. If they punish people, their punishments are actually goods that the poets are not allowed to imply cause any misery. The gods are also unchanging according to Socrates, which raises some questions in the dialogue, and some tangents in the episode. Finally, Joe and Nathan discuss the meaning of the "true lie" as Socrates puts it.

    READING FOR NEXT TIME:
    Book III: 386A-395E

    Happy drinking, and happy philosophizing! (Please drink responsibly.)

    Credits
    Intro/outro song: "Algernon" by A Beacon School

    • 1 hr 29 min

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