437 episodes

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 (lit, film, psychoanalysis). Learn about more network podcasts at partiallyexaminedlife.com.

The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast Mark Linsenmayer

    • Philosophy
    • 4.6 • 1.8K Ratings

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 (lit, film, psychoanalysis). Learn about more network podcasts at partiallyexaminedlife.com.

    Ep. 255: Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" (Part One)

    Ep. 255: Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" (Part One)

    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 Wilson.
    Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
    Sponsor: Visit TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/PEL for a free trial of The Great Courses Plus Video Learning Service.

    • 50 min
    PEL Presents NEM#134: Laraaji’s Free Association Meditations

    PEL Presents NEM#134: Laraaji’s Free Association Meditations

    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 "Hold on to the Vision" (and hear "Shenandoah") from Sun Piano (2020), the single edit of "Introspection" from Bring On the Sun (2017), and "All of a Sudden," a 1986 vocal tune released on Vision Songs, Vol. 1 (2017). More at laraaji.blogspot.com.
    Hear more Nakedly Examined Music. Like our Facebook page. Support us on Patreon.
    Visit masterclass.com/EXAMINED for 15% off a MasterClass All-Access Pass.

    • 53 min
    PREVIEW-Ep. 254: Michael Sandel Against Meritocracy (Part Two)

    PREVIEW-Ep. 254: Michael Sandel Against Meritocracy (Part Two)

    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. This preview includes a couple of exchanges from near the beginning to give you a flavor of what to expect.

    • 11 min
    Ep. 254: Michael Sandel Interview: Against Meritocracy (Part One)

    Ep. 254: Michael Sandel Interview: Against Meritocracy (Part One)

    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 both political parties and helps explain our current dysfunction.
    Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support. Get it now or listen to a preview.
    Sponsor: Visit TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/PEL for a free trial of The Great Courses Plus Video Learning Service.

    • 1 hr 7 min
    PEL Presents PMP#63: Superhero Ethics (and The Boys) w/ Travis Smith

    PEL Presents PMP#63: Superhero Ethics (and The Boys) w/ Travis Smith

    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 power probably have something seriously wrong with them.
    For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

    • 44 min
    PREVIEW-Ep. 253: Leibniz on the Problem of Evil (Part Two)

    PREVIEW-Ep. 253: Leibniz on the Problem of Evil (Part Two)

    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.

    • 6 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
1.8K Ratings

1.8K Ratings

Saxazax ,

L I T

I have listened to these guys for years. Great intro to philosophy for those who have not studied it in school. Helps to have some background knowledge in the humanities, but not necessary. I'm excited to start reading the texts along with the episodes. 5 stars.

Being In-Myself in Boston, MA ,

Exactly what I was looking for

I come from a design/art background and got into this podcast some time ago because I wanted to learn more about the philosophy and ideas behind many of the critics and other thinkers I learned about in school. PEL’s recent episode about Susan Sontag was great and exactly the reason that I keep coming back. The hosts are insightful and over the years have gotten better and better at delivering content in a well-explained, entertaining way. These days, my favorite episodes are the ones where the hosts look at texts outside of normal philosophical canon, but with a critical eye for the arguments and reasoning. I’d love to see more episodes in the future on texts that are relevant to practitioners in art and literature - Greenberg? Fry? Fried? Whiteread? Each host has their own perspective, but they are upfront about their biases and approach each subject with an open mind.

stackptr_ ,

Insightful and entertaining

Great podcast on a wide range of philosophers and texts. Usually discussion on a topic spans more than a single episode, which makes individual episodes digestible while allowing for discourse on many different ideas that a topic may touch upon. The archives make for a good companion to self-study. The hosts do a good job dissecting jargon when it comes up, making episodes on less-mainstream topics approachable. And there is a good amount of wit and banter between explorations which make for an all around entertaining time.

Top Podcasts In Philosophy

Listeners Also Subscribed To