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), Philosophy vs. Improv (philosophyimprov.com, fun with performance skills and philosophical ideas), and (sub)Text (subtextpodcast.com, looking deeply at lit and film). Learn about more network podcasts at partiallyexaminedlife.com.
Ep. 294: Quine on Science vs. Epistemology (Part One)
On W.V.O. Quine's "Epistemology Naturalized" (1969). What justifies scientific theory?
Not theory-free observations, as Quine shows us by considering how we figure out foreign languages. Instead of basing science on epistemology, Quine thought we need to make epistemology part of science.
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Philosophy vs. Improv #32: "On the Standard of [Bad] Taste" w/ Babette Babich
Babette teaches at Fordham and recently edited the collection "Reading David Hume's 'On The Standard of Taste,'" which Mark made use of for PEL#289. So, more philosophically beefy than our typical PvI episode, and yet also live and hence unpredictable. Taste it! Mark philosophizes at partiallyexaminedlife.com.
Bill improvises (and teaches) at chicagoimprovstudio.com.
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PREMIUM-Ep. 293: Donna Haraway on Feminist Science (Tiny Part Three)
What? More Haraway? Yes! More Lynda? No, this is Mark, Seth, and Dylan on a later day, returning to the Haraway's "Situated Knowledges" with some second thoughts... at least for 20 minutes until Dylan's network crapped out, so we wrapped up.
We try our best to make her actual argument clear and give you a better sense of her language. How does an "agenda" in Haraway's sense relate to a Kuhnian scientific paradigm?
We recorded this not knowing if it would be a Nightcap or a part 3, and we stopped after 20 minutes when Dylan's network crapped out. Starting next episode, we're planning to have a full-length, supporter-only part three for every episode, with parts one and two being a little shorter. This will allow us to get a little less tired during our main recording (covering 1 and 2) and give us a chance to pick up the reading on a later date for the new part, starting fresh and giving us more time to either sink into textual quotes, do more evaluation of the text, relate it to the real-world, or whatever we feel like needs doing.
Is this the end of Nightcap? Well, no, but since we'll use this new part 3 recording to clean up loose ends, any Nightcappery will likely be shorter and devoted to other topics.
PREMIUM-Ep. 293: Donna Haraway on Feminist Science (Part Two)
Continuing on "Situated Knowledges" and other essays with guest Lynda Olman. We try to get at the practical import of Olman's scheme and get further into her use of metaphors and what those mean for her critical stance.
If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up via one of the options described at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support.
Ep. 293: Donna Haraway on Feminist Science (Part One)
On "Situated Knowledge" (1988), "A Cyborg Manifesto" (1985), etc. featuring guest Lynda Olman.
What is scientific objectivity? Haraway rejects both relativism and traditional, "god's eye" objectivism in favor of a "cyborg" view that looks for alternate ways of seeing and acknowledges the ways that science and technology are tied to politics.
Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Podcasts.
Sponsors: Maximize the impact of your charitable giving via GiveWell.org; choose "podcast" and enter "Partially Examined Life." Get 10% off a month of therapy at BetterHelp.com/partially. Learn about St. John's College at sjc.edu/pel.
PEL Nightcap May 2022 (Citizens Only)
Recorded 4-15-22. We are old, and we talk about Seth's back, Wes' e-bike, and Dylan's kettle bells. Dylan talks Station Eleven (the book).
We then re-visit how to understand meaning in music given our completion of Langer. Does the blues as played on a certain occasion have to "mean" something?
After a bit of that, we pre-discuss a potential Shakespeare episode. It's been a long time since we did a play. We should obviously do Shakespeare on the show at some point (if the appeal of this hasn't been removed by (sub)Text), but I've been intimidated by that prospect, not least because most of his plays are very long. This is the time to speak up if you have suggestions for how we should approach this (or if you're an experienced actor and want to participate the audioplay).
And then back to Langer... can we be critical now about what we just read? What exactly is her epistemic theory as it relates to "the myth of the given," the Kantian theory-laden character of experience, etc.?
This evolves into a discussion about whether the "this" in Hegel's account "sense-certainty" is linguistic. Does pointing at something involve linguistic elements, and is that why animals do not seem to understand pointing? For more information on the scientific consensus about animals on pointing, that they can use pointing as a sign but don't have the "theory of mind" concept of joint attention (i.e. the animal knows your attention is on something and so their attention should be there too), see the work of Michael Tomasello. Relatedly, was Langer's information about great apes understanding language out of date, and does it matter?
Are we just retreading what we just did? This should be considered Nightcap surpassing itself and becoming what will come next: a "Part 3" episode that allows us to reconsider what we just read on a different day. Perhaps that will mean (as it does here) that we're relating this more to our actual lives, or perhaps (as it will for the next one) be more reading quotes from the text in a Close Reading style. While we will not abandon Nightcap altogether, you can look forward to more substantial treatment of texts via regularly issued Part 3 episodes and fewer pure shooting-the-breeze Nightcappery. Your feedback as we go forward will certainly be taken into account so we can balance these two fun activities.
Finally, should we read more whole books as we just did with Langer, Scruton, and Malebranche?
Hi, great show, I have recommended it to many friends and family who are looking for philosophical content and discussions. The hosts do an amazing job consistently and guests fit into the format well. Many thanks for filling my mind with meaningful questions.
You guys rock
A podcast that grows on you…
The discussion on beauty & senses, too shallow to intrigue but a good scratch. Beauty & love are extractions of mind, impacting all manners of health & existence, making AGI hard to achieve 🍭