The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

A SocietyCulture and Philosophy podcast
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The Partially Examined Life is a philosophy 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

Recent Episodes

Episode 207: Herder on Art Appreciation (Part One)
Episode 207: Herder on Art Appreciation (Part One)
On Johann Gottfried von Herder's “The Causes of Sunken Taste among the Different Peoples in Whom It Once Blossomed” (1775), “On the Influence of the Belles Lettres on the Higher Sciences” (1781), “Does Painting or Music Have a Greater Effect? A Divine Colloquy” (1785), and some of Critical Forests: Fourth Grove (written 1769). With guest rock god John "Jughead" Pierson. What is aesthetic taste, and why do some societies (e.g. ancient Greece) seem particularly rife with genius? Herder has some definite ideas about aesthetic, sensual education as grounding for abstract thinking, rages against attempts to copy another culture's art-forms, and likes melody over harmony. Plus he coined the term "zeitgeist!" Don't wait for part two! Get the full, unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition now! Please support PEL! Don't forget your 2019 PEL Wall Calendar, now with free domestic shipping! Sponsor: Visit for a one-month free trial of The Great Courses Plus Video Learning Service.
PREVIEW-Ep 206 Lucretius's Epicurean Physics (Part Three)
PREVIEW-Ep 206 Lucretius's Epicurean Physics (Part Three)
Mark and Wes go into more textual detail re. Lucretius’s take on atomism and the metaphysical and epistemological problems it entails. Start with Part one. This is a preview; become a PEL Citizen or $5 Patreon supporter to get the full, 50 minute conversation.
Episode 206: Lucretius's Epicurean Physics (Part Two)
Episode 206: Lucretius's Epicurean Physics (Part Two)
More on Lucretius’s poem about Epicurean science: On the Nature of Things from the first century BCE. We talk more about how macroscopic phenomena are supposed to come out of the interaction of atoms, including mind and its processes of knowledge and illusion, including the illusion of love. One conclusion: life after death is not possible. Can the properties of the atoms themselves be explained? Listen to part one first or get the unbroken, ad-free Citizen Edition; this will also get you the follow-up discussion (coming soon). Please support PEL, and don't forget your 2019 PEL Wall Calendar! End song: "Came Round" by Mark Lint. Read about it and get the new album. Sponsor: Take back your Internet privacy with 3 months free at
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Podcast Details
May 11th, 2009
Latest Episode
Jan 7th, 2019
Release Period
No. of Episodes
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour

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