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Philosophize This Podcast by Stephen West

Philosophize This Podcast

by Stephen West

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Stephen West's Philosophize This! is a podcast devoted to applying important philosophical ideas to 21st century life. With each episode, West offers a brief, educated, and often funny monologue on topics that include anything from how philosophy can help us overcome insecurity, to what Marx really thought of religion. Deeper thoughts on thorny ethical problems are lightened by the friendly and ever-curious tone that West brings to each discussion. A must for anyone that agrees philosophy can still help us understand the World's most important underlying problems.


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Podcast Episodes




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  • Episode #131 ... Gramsci - Cultural Hegemony
    Wed, May 22, 2019


    Today we discuss the work of Antonio Gramsci. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #130 ... Dewey and Lippman on Democracy
    Tue, Apr 30, 2019


    Today we talk about a famous debate from the early 20th century. 

  • Episode #129 ... Gilles Deleuze pt. 5 - Difference
    Sat, Mar 16, 2019


    Today we continue our discussion on the work of Deleuze. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #128 ... Gilles Deleuze pt. 4 - Flows
    Sat, Mar 16, 2019


    Today we continue our discussion on the work of Deleuze. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #127 ... Gilles Deleuze pt. 3 - Anti-Oedipus
    Thu, Feb 07, 2019


    Today we continue our discussion on the work of Gilles Deleuze. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #126 ... Gilles Deleuze pt. 2 - Immanence
    Sat, Dec 22, 2018


    Today we continue our discussion on the work of Deleuze. 

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  • Episode #125 ... Gilles Deleuze pt. 1 - What is Philosophy?
    Sat, Dec 08, 2018


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

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #124 ... Simulacra and Simulation
    Thu, Oct 25, 2018


    Today we begin our discussion of Jean Baudrillard's book Simulacra and Simulation.

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  • Episode #123 ... Michel Foucault pt. 3 - Power
    Mon, Sep 24, 2018


    Today we talk about the work of Michel Foucault. 

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  • Episode #122 ... Michel Foucault pt. 2 - The Order of Things
    Mon, Sep 24, 2018


    Today we talk about the work of Michel Foucault. 

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  • Episode #121 ... Michel Foucault pt. 1
    Wed, Aug 15, 2018


    Today we begin talking about the work of Michel Foucault. 

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  • Episode #120 ... Logical Positivism
    Fri, Jul 27, 2018


    Today we talk about Logical Positivism. 

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  • Episode #119 ... Derrida and Words
    Mon, Jun 25, 2018


    Today we begin our discussion on the work of Jacques Derrida. 

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  • Episode #118 ... A Basic Look At Postmodernism
    Mon, May 21, 2018


    Today we begin a lengthy conversation on the critiques of Postmodernism. 

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  • Episode #117 ... Structuralism and Mythology pt. 2
    Sun, Mar 18, 2018


    Today we continue to talk about the projects of Structuralism. 

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  • Episode #116 ... Structuralism and Mythology pt. 1
    Sun, Mar 18, 2018


    Today we begin talking about the initial projects of Structuralism. 

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  • Episode #115 ... Structuralism and Context
    Sun, Jan 28, 2018


    Today we talk about the origins of Structuralism.

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  • Episode #114 ... The Frankfurt School pt. 7 - The Great Refusal
    Sat, Dec 23, 2017


    Today we talk about Herbert Marcuse's concepts of The Great Refusal and The New Sensibility. 

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  • Episode #113 ... The Frankfurt School pt. 6 - Art As A Tool For Liberation
    Sat, Dec 02, 2017


    Today we talk about the revolutionary potential of Art through the eyes of Herbert Marcuse. 

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  • Episode #112 ... The Frankfurt School pt. 5 - Civilization
    Mon, Nov 06, 2017


    Today we continue our discussion of Marcuse's work Eros and Civilization. 

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  • Episode #111 ... The Frankfurt School pt. 4 - Eros
    Fri, Oct 20, 2017


    Today we talk about Freud's views on civilization and the first half of Marcuse's response to them. 

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  • Episode #110 ... The Frankfurt School pt. 3 - The Culture Industry
    Thu, Sep 07, 2017


    Today we talk about an important chapter from The Dialectic of Enlightenment entitled The Culture Industry. 

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  • Episode #109 ... The Frankfurt School pt. 2 - The Enlightenment
    Sat, Aug 26, 2017


    Today we talk about the Frankfurt School critique of enlightenment style thinking and Herbert Marcuse's book One Dimensional Man. 

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  • Episode #108 ... The Frankfurt School pt. 1 - Introduction
    Thu, Aug 17, 2017


    Today we talk about The Frankfurt School. 

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  • Episode #107 ... Simone De Beauvoir pt .3 - Responsibility
    Sat, Jul 29, 2017


    Today we talk about part three of Simone De Beauvoir's work The Ethics of Ambiguity. 

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  • Episode #106 ... Simone De Beauvoir pt. 2 - The Ethics of Ambiguity
    Wed, Jul 19, 2017


    Today we talk about the first half of The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone De Beauvoir. 

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  • Episode #105 ... Sartre and Camus pt. 6 - The Self
    Sun, Jul 09, 2017


    Today a cloudy, muddled brain weary from fighting off sickness talks about Sartre's view on the self. Thank you for your patience. 

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  • Episode #104 ... Sartre and Camus pt. 5 - Consciousness is Freedom
    Thu, Jun 01, 2017


    Today we talk about Sartre's view of consciousness and the notion of radical freedom. 

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  • Episode #103 ... Sartre and Camus pt. 4 - The Quest For Certainty
    Wed, May 24, 2017


    Today we tell a story from the history of philosophy in an attempt to prepare us for understanding the Phenomenology of Sartre. 

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  • Episode #102 ... Heidegger pt. 3 - Authenticity
    Fri, May 12, 2017


    Today we talk about Martin Heidegger and his concept of Authenticity. 

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  • Episode #101 ... Heidegger pt. 2 - Science and Technology
    Sun, Apr 30, 2017


    Today we discuss Martin Heidegger and his views on Modern Technology. 

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  • Episode #100 ... Heidegger pt. 1 - Phenomenology and Dasein
    Fri, Apr 14, 2017


    Today we begin our discussion of the philosophy of Martin Heidegger by looking at his roots in Phenomenology and his revolutionary concept of Dasein. 

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  • Episode #099 ... Schopenhauer pt. 2 - Ethics
    Wed, Mar 29, 2017


    Today we talk about the ethics of Arthur Schopenhauer. 

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  • Episode #098 ... Schopenhauer pt. 1 - Metaphysics and Love
    Tue, Mar 14, 2017


    Today we begin our discussion on Arthur Schopenhauer.

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  • Episode #097 ... Wittgenstein ep. 1
    Wed, Mar 01, 2017


    Today we talk about Ludwig Wittgenstein. 

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  • Episode #096 ... Is Ayn Rand A Philosopher?
    Fri, Jan 20, 2017


    Today we talk about Ayn Rand. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #095 ... Are you living in a simulation?
    Fri, Dec 30, 2016


    Today we discuss the famous paper by Nick Bostrom about the probability that we are living in a simulation. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #094 ... A Look at Suffering
    Thu, Nov 24, 2016


    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. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #093 ... Nietzsche pt. 4 - Love
    Sun, Nov 06, 2016


    Today we look at the concept of love from several different angles in an attempt to better understand our own thoughts on love. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #092 ... Nietzsche pt. 3 - Thus Spoke Zarathustra
    Tue, Oct 04, 2016


    Today we talk about Nietzsche's famous work Thus Spoke Zarathustra. 

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  • Episode #091 ... Nietzsche pt. 2 - The Will to Power
    Wed, Sep 21, 2016


    Today we talk about Nietzsche, the concept of the Will to Power and the dangers of predatory buffalos. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #090 ... Nietzsche pt. 1 - God is dead and so is Captain Morgan
    Fri, Aug 26, 2016


    Today we begin our discussion on the work of Friedrich Nietzsche. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #089 ... Simone De Beauvoir - The Second Sex
    Wed, Aug 17, 2016


    Today we discuss the revolutionary work of Simone De Beauvoir entitled: The Second Sex

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  • Episode #088 ... Sartre and Camus pt. 3 - The Great Debate
    Wed, Jul 27, 2016


    Today we talk about the great post WW2 debate between Sartre and Camus. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #087 ... Sartre and Camus pt. 2
    Thu, Jul 14, 2016


    Today we talk about the philosopher Albert Camus.

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  • Episode #086 ... Sartre and Camus pt. 1 - Freedom
    Wed, Jun 29, 2016


    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. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #085 ... Peter Singer on Effective Altruism
    Tue, Jun 21, 2016


    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. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #084 ... William James on Truth
    Tue, Jun 14, 2016


    Today we take a look at William James and his work on the concept of Truth.

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  • Episode #083 ... Henry David Thoreau
    Sat, Jun 04, 2016


    Today we take a look at Henry David Thoreau's views on the individual, society and civil disobedience. 

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  • Episode #082 ... Austrians and Marx
    Thu, May 26, 2016


    Today we talk about various classic critiques of Marx's economics made by the Austrian School of Economics.

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  • Episode #081 ... Capitalism vs. Communism
    Wed, May 11, 2016


    Today we talk about Karl Marx and his famous critiques of Capitalism.

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  • Episode #80 ... Feuerbach on Religion
    Tue, May 03, 2016


    On this episode we talk about Ludwig Feuerbach and his (occasionally) controversial views on the origins of religion.

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  • Episode #079 ... Kierkegaard on Anxiety
    Wed, Mar 23, 2016


    On this episode of the podcast we talk about Kierkegaard's views on anxiety. 

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  • Episode #078 ... Marx and Kierkegaard on Religion pt. 2
    Wed, Jan 27, 2016


    Today we talk about Soren Kierkegaard and his views on the function and value of religion. 

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  • Episode #077 ... Marx and Kierkegaard on Religion pt. 1
    Sun, Jan 17, 2016


    Today we discuss Marx, his views on religion as a means of oppression, and his connection to Hegel's Dialectic. 

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  • Episode #076 ... Hegel's God
    Thu, Dec 31, 2015


    Today we talk about Hegel and a unique possibility of what God could be. 

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  • Episode #075 ... How To Win An Argument Pt. 2
    Mon, Dec 21, 2015


    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. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #074 ... Hegel Returns
    Thu, Dec 17, 2015


    Today we talk about an overview of Hegel and what is truly important about his work. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #073 ... How To Win An Argument Pt. 1
    Tue, Dec 01, 2015


    Today we take a look at several common logical fallacies and how to spot them. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #072 ... Insecurity
    Wed, Nov 18, 2015


    On this episode of the podcast we talk about insecurity.

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #071 ... Is Killing Animals For Food Morally Justifiable?
    Sun, Nov 01, 2015


    Today we talk about whether killing animals for food is morally justifiable.

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #070 ... Off Moodiness
    Tue, Oct 20, 2015


    On this episode we talk about several outlooks on negative emotions. 

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

     

  • Episode #069 ... An Appeal To Reason
    Mon, Oct 12, 2015


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  • Episode #068 ... On Moodiness
    Tue, Oct 06, 2015


    On this episode we talk about one angle of the complex subject known to us all as: moodiness. 

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  • Episode #067 ... What Hegel Was Saying!
    Mon, Sep 21, 2015


    We continue our unfortunately abridged discussion on Hegel from last episode. 

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  • Episode #066 ... Hegel pt. 1 - Introduction
    Mon, Sep 14, 2015


    Today we begin our discussion on the work of Hegel.

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  • Episode #065 ... Mary Wollstonecraft
    Mon, Sep 07, 2015


    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!

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #064 ... Interpreting Interpretations
    Wed, Aug 19, 2015


    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!

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #063 ... Kant pt. 8 - Limits of Knowledge
    Wed, Jul 01, 2015


    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!

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #062 ... Kant pt. 7 - Suicide
    Tue, Jun 23, 2015


    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!

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #061 ... Kant pt. 6 - What is Enlightenment?
    Sun, Jun 14, 2015


    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!

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #060 ... Kant pt. 5 - The Sublime
    Mon, Jun 01, 2015


    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!

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #059 ... Kant pt. 4 - Categorical Trolley Cars
    Thu, May 28, 2015


    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!

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #058 ... Kant pt. 3 - Deontology vs Consequentialism
    Wed, May 20, 2015


    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!

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #057 ... Kant pt. 2 - The Actual Introduction
    Mon, May 11, 2015


    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!

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    Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

  • Episode #056 ... Kant pt. 1 - An Introduction to the Introduction
    Wed, Apr 22, 2015


    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!

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  • Episode #055 ... Interview on Hume with Massimo Pigliucci
    Wed, Apr 01, 2015


    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. 

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  • Episode #054 ... Hume pt. 4 - Art
    Fri, Mar 27, 2015


    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!

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  • Episode #053 ... David Hume pt. 3 - Custom
    Mon, Mar 16, 2015


    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!

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  • Episode #052 ... David Hume pt. 2 - Design
    Thu, Mar 05, 2015


    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!

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  • Episode #051 ... David Hume pt. 1
    Wed, Feb 25, 2015


    On this episode of the podcast, we talk 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!

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  • Episode #050 ... Are You Left Or Right?
    Sat, Feb 07, 2015


    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!

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  • Episode #049 ... Adam Smith pt. 2 - The Tip of the Iceberg of Wealth
    Tue, Jan 27, 2015


    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!

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  • Episode #048 ... Adam Smith pt. 1 - Specialization
    Sun, Jan 18, 2015


    On this episode of the podcast we begin our discussion of Adam Smith.

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  • Episode #047 ... Rousseau pt. 3 - The General Will
    Sat, Jan 10, 2015


    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!

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  • Episode #046 ... Rousseau pt. 2 - Democracy, Aristocracy or Monarchy?
    Fri, Jan 02, 2015


    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!

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  • Episode #045 ... Rousseau Government pt. 1
    Mon, Dec 15, 2014


    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!

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  • Episode #044 ... Slavery
    Tue, Dec 02, 2014


    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!

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  • Episode #043 ... Tolerance
    Fri, Nov 21, 2014


    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!

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  • Episode #042 ... Optimism
    Wed, Nov 12, 2014


    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! 

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  • Episode #041 ... Belief
    Tue, Nov 04, 2014


    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!

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  • Episode #040 ... Superstition
    Thu, Oct 16, 2014


    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 clich? 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!

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  • Episode #039 ... The Limits of Empiricism
    Wed, Oct 08, 2014


    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!

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  • Episode #038 ... Leibniz pt. 2 - The Best of All Possible Worlds
    Thu, Oct 02, 2014


    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!

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  • Episode #037 ... Leibniz pt. 1 - A Million Points of Light
    Tue, Sep 23, 2014


    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!

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  • Episode #036 ... John Locke pt. 2 - The Blank Slate
    Mon, Sep 15, 2014


    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!

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  • Episode #035 ... John Locke pt. 1
    Tue, Sep 09, 2014


    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!

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  • Episode #034 ... Spinoza pt. 2 - Force of Nature
    Tue, Sep 02, 2014


    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!

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  • Episode #033 ... Spinoza pt. 1 - From Baruch to Benedicto
    Tue, Aug 26, 2014


    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!

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  • Episode #032 ... Blaise Pascal pt. 2 - +EV your way to success!!
    Tue, Aug 19, 2014


    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!

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