Beginner friendly if listened to in order! For anyone interested in an educational podcast about philosophy where you don't need to be a graduate-level philosopher to understand it. In chronological order, the thinkers and ideas that forged the world we live in are broken down and explained.

Today we begin our discussion on Gilles Deleuze with a special thanks to Felix Guatarri. 

Direct download: Deleuze_pt._1.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 8:17pm PST
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Today we begin our discussion of Jean Baudrillard's book Simulacra and Simulation.

Direct download: Simulacra.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:09pm PST
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Today we talk about the work of Michel Foucault. 

Direct download: Foucault_Power.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:24pm PST
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Today we talk about the work of Michel Foucault. 

Direct download: The_Order_of_Things.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:23pm PST
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Today we begin talking about the work of Michel Foucault. 

Direct download: Foucault_pt._1.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 5:00pm PST
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Today we talk about Logical Positivism. 

Direct download: Logical_Positivism.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 7:27pm PST
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Today we begin our discussion on the work of Jacques Derrida. 

Direct download: Derrida_and_Words.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 6:39pm PST
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Today we begin a lengthy conversation on the critiques of Post-modernism. 

Direct download: A_Basic_Look_At_Postmodernism.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:42pm PST
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Today we continue to talk about the projects of Structuralism. 

Direct download: struc_pt_2_01_01.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 11:50pm PST
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Today we begin talking about the initial projects of Structuralism. 

Direct download: struc_pt_1_01_01.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 11:47pm PST
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Today we talk about the origins of Structuralism. 

Direct download: SaC_Final.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 1:05am PST
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Today we talk about Herbert Marcuse's concepts of The Great Refusal and The New Sensibility. 

Direct download: The_Great_Refusal.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:27am PST
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Today we talk about the revolutionary potential of Art through the eyes of Herbert Marcuse. 

Direct download: Art_as_a_tool_for_liberation.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 8:27pm PST
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Today we continue our discussion of Marcuse's work Eros and Civilization. 

Direct download: Eros_and_Civilization_pt_2.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:01pm PST
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Today we talk about Freud's views on civilization and the first half of Marcuse's response to them. 

Direct download: Frankfurt_pt_4.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:41pm PST
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Today we talk about an important chapter from The Dialectic of Enlightenment entitled The Culture Industry. 

Direct download: culture_industry.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 8:52pm PST
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Today we talk about the Frankfurt School critique of enlightenment style thinking and Herbert Marcuse's book One Dimensional Man. 

Direct download: Frankfurt_School_part_2.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 6:37pm PST
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Today we talk about The Frankfurt School. 

Direct download: Frankfurt_School.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 8:12pm PST
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Today we talk about part three of Simone De Beauvoir's work The Ethics of Ambiguity. 

Direct download: Beauvoir_pt_3.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 8:13pm PST
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Today we talk about the first half of The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone De Beauvoir. 

Direct download: Simone_Ethics.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 10:18pm PST
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Today a cloudy, muddled brain weary from fighting off sickness talks about Sartre's view on the self. Thank you for your patience. 

Direct download: SartreSelf.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:27am PST
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Today we talk about Sartre's view of consciousness and the notion of radical freedom. 

Direct download: Sartre_and_Camus_part_5.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:08pm PST
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Today we tell a story from the history of philosophy in an attempt to prepare us for understanding the Phenomenology of Sartre. 

Direct download: Sarte4_Final.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 3:03pm PST
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Today we talk about Martin Heidegger and his concept of Authenticity. 

Direct download: Heidegger3_Final_amp.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 4:14am PST
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Today we discuss Martin Heidegger and his views on Modern Technology. 

Direct download: Heidegger_pt._2.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 11:01pm PST
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Today we begin our discussion of the philosophy of Martin Heidegger by looking at his roots in Phenomenology and his revolutionary concept of Dasein. 

Direct download: Heidegger_pt._1.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 10:15pm PST
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Today we talk about the ethics of Arthur Schopenhauer. 

Direct download: Schopenhauer_part_2_-_Ethics.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:24pm PST
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Today we begin our discussion on Arthur Schopenhauer.

Direct download: Schopenhauer_Episode_1.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:43pm PST
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Today we talk about Ludwig Wittgenstein. 

Direct download: Wittgenstein.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 10:18pm PST
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Today we talk about Ayn Rand. 

Direct download: Ayn_Rand.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 12:57pm PST
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Today we discuss the famous paper by Nick Bostrom about the probability that we are living in a simulation. 

Direct download: Episode_95_-_Nick_Bostrom_and_Simulations.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 8:04pm PST
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Today we look at the concept of suffering from multiple different angles including the philosopher Fyodor Dostoyevsky and the movement in Transhumanism known as The Hedonistic Imperative. 

Direct download: A_Look_at_Suffering.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 6:34pm PST
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Today we look at the concept of love from several different angles in an attempt to better understand our own thoughts on love. 

Direct download: Nietzsche_On_Love.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:47pm PST
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Today we talk about Nietzsche's famous work Thus Spoke Zarathustra. 

Direct download: Thus_Spoke_Zarathustra.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 11:48pm PST
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Today we talk about Nietzsche, the concept of the Will to Power and the dangers of predatory buffalos. 

Direct download: Will_to_Power.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 5:27pm PST
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Today we begin our discussion on the work of Friedrich Nietzsche. 

Direct download: Nietzsche_Part_1.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 2:27pm PST
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Today we discuss the revolutionary work of Simone De Beauvoir entitled: The Second Sex

Direct download: Simone_Second.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 6:36pm PST
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Today we talk about the great post WW2 debate between Sartre and Camus. 

Direct download: sartre_and_camus_pt3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:46pm PST
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Today we talk about the philosopher Albert Camus.

Direct download: Sartre_and_Camus_pt._2.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 1:02am PST
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Today's episode is the first installment of a series on the great Cold War era thinkers Sartre and Camus. Today we lay the foundations for the line of thinking known as existentialism and focus on Sartre's view of freedom. 

Direct download: Sartre_on_Freedom.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 8:56pm PST
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Today we talk about the great Peter Singer, his views on the unique moral obligations that we face as members of modern society and how we might fulfill the obligations in the most effective manner. 

Direct download: Episode_085_..._Peter_Singer_on_Effective_Altruism.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:47pm PST
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Today we take a look at William James and his work on the concept of Truth.

Direct download: Episode_084_..._William_James_on_Truth.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 4:27pm PST
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Today we take a look at Henry David Thoreau's views on the individual, society and civil disobedience. 

Direct download: Episode_083_..._Henry_David_Thoreau.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:16am PST
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Today we talk about various classic critiques of Marx's economics made by the Austrian School of Economics. I really wanted to call this episode "X Marx the Spot", but it didn't make enough sense and wasn't very search friendly. 

Direct download: Episode_082_..._Austrians_and_Marx_final.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 12:26am PST
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Today we talk about Karl Marx and his famous critiques of Capitalism.

Direct download: Episode_081_Capitalism_vs_Communism.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 11:11pm PST
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On this episode we talk about Ludwig Feuerbach and his (occasionally) controversial views on the origins of religion.

Direct download: feuerbach.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 1:21pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast we talk about Kierkegaard's views on the value of anxiety and the plight of one in its grips. 

Direct download: kierkegaard2.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 5:49pm PST
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Today we talk about Soren Kierkegaard and his views on the function and value of religion. 

Direct download: kierkegaard.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:40pm PST
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Today we discuss Marx, his views on religion as a means of oppression, and his connection to Hegel's Dialectic. 

Direct download: Marx_On_Religion.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 4:07pm PST
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Today we talk about Hegel and a unique possibility of what God could be. 

Direct download: Episode_076_..._Hegels_God.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:43am PST
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Today we answer listener questions clarifying How To Win An Argument Pt. 1 and discuss several other common logical fallacies, how to spot them and how to deal with them. 

Direct download: Episode_075_..._How_To_Win_An_Argument_Pt._2.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:47pm PST
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Today we talk about an overview of Hegel and what is truly important about his work. 

Direct download: 074_..._Hegel_Returns.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 10:46pm PST
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Today we take a look at several common logical fallacies and how to spot them in the throes of a passionate argument. You will be a better person having listened to this episode. 

Direct download: Episode_073_..._How_To_Win_An_Argument_Pt._1.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 1:17am PST
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On this episode of the podcast we talk about insecurity and why we think and act the way we do. 

Direct download: Episode_072_..._Insecurity.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 11:50pm PST
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Today we talk about whether killing animals for food is morally justifiable.

Direct download: 071_..._Killing_Animals_For_Food.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:56pm PST
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On this episode we talk about the most profound thing you will ever hear in your life: how to quell negative emotions. 

 

Direct download: 070_..._Off_Moodiness.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:58pm PST
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Stephen West rambles relentlessly about stuff no one cares about. 

Direct download: An_Appeal_to_Reason.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:29pm PST
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On this episode we talk about one angle of the complex subject known to us all as: moodiness. 

Direct download: 068_..._On_Moodiness.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:38pm PST
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We continue our unfortunately abridged discussion on Hegel from last episode. 

Direct download: Episode_067_..._What_Hegel_Was_Saying.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 11:31pm PST
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Introduction of the philosophy of Hegel

Direct download: 066_..._Hegel_pt._1.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 10:13pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we discuss the feminist philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft. First, we learn about the unexpected origin of The Royal Humane Society and how they assisted Mary Wollstonecraft. Next, we learn about the many ways Wollstonecraft challenged societal conventions and why she believed that women were essentially slaves to their husbands during her time. Finally, we consider the behavioral conditioning that is perpetuated by society even today and think about how we enact change when we’re not satisfied with the results. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: 065_..._Mary_Wollstonecraft.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:06pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we discuss Hermeneutics, or “the art of avoiding misunderstanding.” First, we meet Johnny--a disgruntled Philosophize This! listener who is bored and frustrated by episodes about philosophers who make unverifiable speculations about metaphysics. Next, we discuss the effects our individual biases have on the way we interpret the world around us, and how this changes the reality we experience. Finally, we examine why Hermeneutics is so important, how this relates to Kant’s metaphysical claims, and why Johnny may want to consider giving those ideas a second glance. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_064_..._Interpreting_Interpretations.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 3:15pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we discuss Kant’s views on the limits of human knowledge. First, we ask ourselves why we seek knowledge at all and whether there will ever be an endpoint to our search for it. Next, we discuss our human experience of the world in contrast to the world as it actually exists and what limits this imposes on our ability to know. Finally, we learn why Kant believed in god, human souls, and free will, and the important distinction he made between two types of faith-based thinking. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_063_..._Kant_pt._8.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:35pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we discuss the morality of suicide. We begin by questioning our own biases and assumptions about suicide and where they come from. Next, we examine suicide from a Christian perspective by considering the arguments posed by St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Finally, we discuss the perspectives of enlightenment thinkers Hume, Voltaire, and Kant and ultimately discover that suicide may not be as easy to categorize as many people think. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_062_..._Kant_pt._8.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:46pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we discuss Kant’s answer to the question “What is enlightenment?” We begin by recounting the story of how Kant came to answer this question in the first place and why this was an important question to consider at the time. Next, we examine why Kant believed that we impose immaturity on ourselves by outsourcing our thinking to others. Finally, we discuss why it takes courage to think for yourself and the importance of “daring to be wise." All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_061_..._What_is_Enlightenment.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 6:57am PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we attempt to tackle the elusive concept of the sublime. We begin by clarifying everything the sublime is NOT, and then attempt to pin it down by considering a common motif that is has been associated with the sublime throughout history. Next, we discuss several anecdotes from people who have experienced the sublime and why one described it as “an agreeable kind of horror.” Finally, we discuss how the sublime relates to beauty and question some commonly made assumptions about ugliness. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_060_..._The_Sublime.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 2:00am PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we analyze the infamous Trolley Car Problem and think about it in relation to Kant’s categorical imperative. First, we discuss the value of thought experiments and call into question the concept of “common sense”. Next, we look at the Trolley Car Problem from various perspectives and try to understand why we react to it in the ways we do. Finally, we discuss Kant’s categorical imperative and four other prerequisites he felt were necessary for arriving at moral principles. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_059_..._Kant_pt._4_-_Categorical_Trolley_Cars.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:31pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we continue our discussion of Kant, this time focusing on ethics. We begin with a thought experiment that calls into question whether or not lying is morally justifiable if it results in preserving human life. Next, we discuss the nature of morality and question the validity of the sources from which we typically derive these concepts. Finally, we explore the strengths and weaknesses of Deontology and Consequentialism and find out that there isn’t an easy answer when it comes to how human action should be judged. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_058_..._Deontology_vs_Consequentialism.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 11:53pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast we continue our discussion of Kant, this time focusing on his contributions to the debate between rationalism and empiricism . We begin by reviewing the major points of contention between the rationalists and empiricists regarding how we arrive at knowledge. Next, we learn about Kant’s “eureka!” moment, which arose from his discovery of a major assumption made by empiricist David Hume. Finally, we find out why Kant believed that we can never truly know the external world as it actually is, an idea which calls into questions basic concepts like space, time, and causality and goes well beyond the “veil of perception” discussed in previous episodes. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_057_..._Kant_pt._2_-_The_Actual_Introduction.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 3:32pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we begin our discussion of Immanuel Kant. We first examine the historical context Kant was born into and consider the challenges philosophy was faced with, thanks to David Hume. We also discuss the change in the way humans were beginning to look at the universe during Kant’s time. Finally, we hear what Kant has to say about whether or not we can know anything beyond “I think, therefore I am.” All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_056_..._Kant_pt._1_-_An_Introduction_to_the_Introduction.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 11:05pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, Massimo Pigliucci calls in to help tie together some loose ends in our overview of David Hume. Massimo is a professor of philosophy at City University of New York. He is the author of the best sellers Philosophy of Pseudoscience and Answers For Aristotle, and is currently working on a book called How To Be A Stoic. 

Direct download: Episode_055_..._Interview_on_Hume_with_Massimo_Pigliucci.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 7:54pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we discuss Hume’s views on taste and find out whether or not all of our opinions about art are equally valid. First, we compare the poetry of Shakespeare and Shel Silverstein, the music of Beethoven and Skrillex, and throw in the profound prose of Spongebob Squarepants just for good measure. Next, we examine some of the biases that influence our ability to judge art, and Stephen correctly guesses your favorite song of all time by throwing a dart at the Top 40 chart from your senior year of high school. Finally, we learn how to be better art critics by employing the five qualities Hume sets out as pre-requisites for Art Appreciation 101. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_054_..._Hume_pt._4_-_Art.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 4:35pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast we talk about David Hume's thoughts on the soul, the self and how "custom is the great guide of human life." All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_053_..._David_Hume_pt._3_-_Custom.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 8:02pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we continue our discussion of David Hume. This time, we focus on Hume's response to the Teleological Argument, which goes a little something like this: “Look at how perfectly everything works! All of this must have been designed by God.” We also learn about Hume’s view on miracles, and find out how unimpressed he is that Bruce Willis was the sole survivor of that train accident. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_052_..._David_Hume_pt._2_-_Design.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 7:28pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we take a break from the The Island to spend some time talking about Desmond Hume and how great he was at pushing that button in the hatch every 108 minutes. Just kidding… this episode is about David Hume! First, we learn about Hume’s ‘is’ versus ‘ought’ distinction and how not being mindful of this pitfall can lead us down a dangerous path. Next, we discuss the limitations of science and learn what Hume thought should fill in the gaps it leaves (spoiler alert: it’s not religion). Finally, we discuss Hume’s thoughts on causality and ensure that you’ll never think about playing pool the same way again. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_051_..._David_Hume_pt._1.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 10:24pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we discuss the contrasting political philosophies of Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine. First, we find out the origin of the terms “left” and “right” in relation to politics, and find out that the meanings of these terms are not as simple as they may first seem. Next, we discuss the opposing viewpoints of Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine on how society should progress and implement change. Finally, we think about how their ideas relate to modern issues and consider whether or not their positions are mutually exclusive. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_050_..._Are_You_Left_Or_Right.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 7:42pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we continue our discussion of Adam Smith. First, we look at two towns with the same name on opposite sides of the US-Mexico border, and consider why their residents have such markedly different standards of living. Next, we ask ourselves what determines a nation’s wealth, which leads us to a discussion of Mercantilism and its various pitfalls. Finally, we learn about Adam Smith’s response to Mercantilism and how his ideas relate back to the two cities from the beginning of the episode. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_049_..._Adam_Smith_pt.2.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 8:21pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we begin our discussion of Adam Smith and how specialization has enabled each of us to live like a king, whether we realize it or not. First, we find out why Stephen is that weird guy who sits alone in the bar smiling to himself. Next, we take a look at what an hour of work buys today versus 200 years ago, and consider how this changes our ideas about wealth. Finally, we find out how pursuing our own self-interests ultimately benefits society and allows us to accomplish more together. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_048_..._Adam_Smith_pt._1_-_Specialization.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 4:45pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we continue our desert island thought experiment, this time focusing on the general will of the people. First, we examine several interpretations of what "the general will of the people" actually means. Next, we take an in-depth look at Rousseau's interpretation, and discuss the difference between democratic and transcendental will. Finally, we explore the multitude of complications that arise when a government tries to enact the general will after it's (somewhat) agreed upon. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_047_..._Rousseau_pt._3_-_The_General_Will.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:30pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we continue last week's thought experiment about creating a society from scratch on a deserted island. First, we find out how building a society is similar to making cupcakes, in the sense that every ingredient contributes something important and interacts with the other ingredients in a unique way. Next, we discuss “human nature” and consider how our perception of it may be unfairly influenced by a small handful of people. Finally, we compare the three categories into which Rousseau believs all governments can be classified (democracy, monarchy, and aristocracy), and analyze the pros and cons of each structure. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_046_..._Rousseau_pt._2_-_Democracy_Aristocracy_or_Monarchy.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 10:40pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we examine the origins of government and discuss several opinions on how to construct the best system. First, we imagine that we’re stranded on an island and are forced to devise a system to organize ourselves into a functional “society.” Next, we discuss Hobbes' and Rousseau’s viewpoints on the state of nature and how it relates to the formation of governments. Finally, we talk about the adverse affects civilization and government have on our happiness and why we should constantly reevaluate the systems that are in place. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_045_..._Rousseau_Government_pt._1.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 7:26pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we revisit the topic of belief, this time focusing on the ramifications of the beliefs we hold. First, we ask ourselves why we should even attempt to arrive at truth if certainty is impossible, and examine this question in the context of how our beliefs affect others. Next, we introduce slavery as an example of the consequences that can come from false beliefs and learn why Aristotle, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas argued in favor of it. Finally, we hear Jean Jacque Rousseau’s rebuttal to the pro-slavery philosophers and ask ourselves what practices we might be engaged in today that future generations will see as barbaric. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_044_..._Slavery.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:02pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we examine the true implications of tolerance and intolerance. First, we ask ourselves the inception-esque question of how tolerant we should be of intolerance, and find out that the answer may not be as simple as it seems. Next, we learn why intolerance was seen as a virtue during Voltaire’s time and discuss the paradox of tolerance. Finally, we consider the age-old question of the relative superiority of hot pockets and lean pockets, and think about the relationship between tolerance and the laws that govern our society. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_043_..._Tolerance.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 7:38pm PST
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On this episode, we explore the benefits and drawbacks of optimism. First, we examine the various motivations for pessimism, and hear what Winston Churchill, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Marcus Aurelius have to say about optimism. Next, we think about the vastly different implications of optimism in our personal lives and optimism on a societal level. Finally, we find out why Voltaire thought it was preposterous to think that we’re living in the best of all possible worlds and why he said, "Optimism is the madness of insisting all is well when we are miserable." All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This! 

Direct download: Episode_042_..._Optimism.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 7:01pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we discuss the many facets of belief. We start out by discussing two major complications that belief brings to the table. First, absolute certainty is impossible--even certainty about the fact that "certainty is impossible”. Second, we can convince ourselves to believe in literally anything we want (such as the belief that demonic possession is achieved through rustling curtains and slamming doors). Next, we talk about justified, true belief and the multitude of ways our beliefs can be proven wrong. Finally, we learn how to put our beliefs under a microscope and why it’s absolutely necessary to do so in order to achieve true knowledge. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize this!

Direct download: Episode_041_..._Belief.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 5:27pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we explore superstition in its various forms and examine the ways Berkeley and Voltaire tried to eliminate it in their work. First, we think about the superstitions we subscribe to in our everyday lives, whether it’s “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” or “the key to happiness is buying lots and lots of stuff.” Next, we learn why Berkeley wanted to throw out the notion that true reality lies behind the veil of perception and find out his answer to that cliché question about a tree falling in the forest. Finally, we begin our discussion of Voltaire and find out why he called Christianity "the most ridiculous, the most absurd and the most bloody religion which has ever infected this world.” All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

 

Direct download: Episode_040_..._Superstition.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 4:04pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we explore the idea of reality and how our senses prevent us from perceiving its true nature. First, we launch a smear campaign against human eyes and their limitations. Next, we discuss the difference between deductive reasoning (the kind you see on CSI) and inductive reasoning (the kind you see on Bill Nye the Science Guy). Finally, we touch on Locke’s theory of primary and secondary qualities and end with Berkeley's teaser for next week’s episode: “To be is to be perceived.” All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_039_..._Before_Our_Very_Eyes_-_The_Limits_of_Empiricism.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 9:36pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we continue our discussion of Gottfried Leibniz. First, we delve more into the feud between Leibniz and Isaac Newton, which we briefly mentioned last week. Next, we ask ourselves why God sometimes allows Steve Buschemi to murder innocent hitchhikers and why this question is so crucial to Leibniz. Finally, we return to the issue of free will vs. determinism and wonder whether we’re ever actually free to decide what kind of cheese to buy. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_038_..._Leibniz_pt._2_-_The_Best_of_All_Possible_Worlds.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 8:29pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we begin our discussion of Gottfried Leibniz. First, we find out what important invention created a riff between Leibniz and Isaac Newton. Next, we learn about Leibniz’s theory of Monads (which are basically the atoms of the spirit world), and how they are programmed to ensure that we are living in the best of all possible worlds. Finally, we learn about Leibniz’s distinction between “necessary truths” and “truths of fact,” and how knowing the difference can save you a lot of time and confusion. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_037_..._Leibniz_pt._1_-_A_Million_Points_of_Light.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 10:32pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we continue our discussion of John Locke. We first admire how brave Locke was to share his ideas during a time when dissent earned you the privilege of being drawn and quartered (literally… quartered). Next, we discuss Locke’s views on the Nature vs. Nurture debate and how they differed from those of the Continental Rationalists. Finally, we find out what kind of changes Locke would make if he were the Secretary of Education (e.g., more dancing and less required reading). All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_036_..._John_Locke_pt._2_-_The_Blank_Slate.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 3:34pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we begin learning about John Locke. First, we ask ourselves whether or not we own our bodies and what other things we are entitled to simply by virtue of being born. Next, we consider whether its possible to develop a system of ethics by studying the world around us, just as we develop systems of science and mathematics. Finally, we discuss the three unalienable rights Locke believes humans have (they’ll sound a bit familiar!), and why he thinks its the government’s job to uphold those rights. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

 

Direct download: Episode_035_..._John_Locke_pt._1_-_From_Sea_to_Shining_Sea.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 10:34pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we continue learning about Spinoza, this time focusing on his concept of God. We begin by asking ourselves whether or not Stephen’s English bulldog Charlie is part of God, and analyzing the implications of our answer. Next, we discuss the concept of “substance” and what Spinoza thought the only one true substance was (hint: it’s not water). Finally, we consider how Spinoza’s concept of God/Nature impacts his thoughts on free will and why he would say Stephen has no choice but to imitate a drunk person singing “I Love Rock and Roll” every time he drives past that certain billboard. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_034_..._Spinoza_pt._2_-_Force_of_Nature.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 8:09pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we learn about Baruch De Spinoza. We find out why it was not only life-threatening to have an unpopular opinion during the time Spinoza lived, but also potentially very profitable. We also question whether religion is really to blame for the violent acts that are committed on its behalf, and find out why Spinoza was exiled from his community and forced to live a life of solitude. Finally, we read excerpts from Spinoza’s correspondence with his ex-friend Albert Burgh regarding Christianity and find out whose arguments hold the most water (spoiler alert: Spinoza wins). All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_033_..._Spinoza_pt._1_-_From_Baruch_to_Benedicto.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 7:01pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast we continue our discussion of Blaise Pascal, this time focusing on his assertion that man is “the supreme paradox of creation.” First, we learn about Pascal’s early life and feel completely inadequate when we learn that he invented the calculator (yes, the calculator) at age 18. Next, we learn why Pascal believed it was impossible to arrive at scientific truth, and how this led him to develop the foundations of probability theory. Finally, we discuss "expected value" and how Barack Obama utilized it to secure his residency in the White House and avoid living underneath a freeway overpass. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

 

Direct download: Episode_032_..._Blaise_Pascal_pt._2_-_EV_your_way_to_success.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 7:04pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we begin our discussion of Blaise Pascal by examining Pascal's Wager. We begin by hearkening back to last week's episode and imagine Pascal as Descartes' wingman in a door-to-door campaign to convince us to believe in God. Whereas Descartes tries to prove that God exists, Pascal simply argues that believing in God is the most logical choice (assuming you want to avoid eternal damnation). We then examine various arguments for and against Pascal's wager, including some submitted by our Twitter followers. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_031_..._Pascals_Wager.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 5:02pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast we conclude our three-part installment on Rene Descartes. First we discuss what the concept of God meant to Descartes. Then we discuss why the concept of God was crucial for his system to be received well. Finally we imagine how it would feel to be lambasted by the most annoying/brilliant Jehovah's Witness in the history of the world. All this and more on this episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_030_..._Descartes_pt._3_-_God_Exists.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 3:14pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we continue our three-part series on Rene Descartes. First, we discuss the obvious but unprovable superiority of fresh-caught tuna to Chicken of the Sea and how this parallels the divide between the continental rationalists and the British empiricists. Next, we learn about Descartes’ early life and how he essentially became Steve Jobs with neck ruffles. Finally, we examine the difference between people who avoid the boulder and those who find a way to demolish it. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_029_..._Descartes_pt._2_-_Visionary_Genius2.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 5:23pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we begin learning about Rene Descartes. First, we find out why the entire human race can be compared to the loud, obnoxious guy at a party who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. Next, we examine Descartes’ rigorous method of doubt and how it involves Morpheus from the Matrix and Sully from Monsters Inc. Finally, we think about how doubt can help us live better lives and why, when it comes to our beliefs, one bad apple really does spoil the barrel. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_029_..._Descartes_pt._2_-_Visionary_Genius.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 8:23pm PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we continue our discussion of Thomas Hobbes. First, we learn about how Hobbes views fear, and find out how Stephen was almost murdered while eating a Five Dollar Footlong. Next, we examine the differences between the approaches of Thomas Hobbes and Francis Bacon when it came to achieving scientific progress. Finally, we find out why Hobbes thought language was so important, and how his ideas could help you prevent your wife from thinking you’re ‘in da club’ when you’re not. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_027_..._Thomas_Hobbes_pt._2.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 12:02am PST
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On this episode of the podcast, we learn about Thomas Hobbes. We first ask ourselves what it would be like to live in a society with no laws or government, much like the scenario depicted in The Purge. Next, we question whether or not humans are inherently selfish and how this affects the way we relate to each other. Finally, we find out why society needs a quarterback, so to speak, and why it’s important that we follow his playbook even when we don’t understand the plays. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!

Direct download: Episode_026_..._Thomas_Hobbes_pt._1_-_The_Social_Contract.mp3
Category:Philosophy -- posted at: 7:41pm PST
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