show episodes
 
The Partially Examined Life is a podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a short text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flippancy. You don't have to know any philosophy, or even to have read the text we're talking about to (mostly) follow and (hopefully) enjoy the discussion. For links to the texts we discuss and other info, check out www.partiallyexaminedlife.com. We also featu ...
 
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show series
 
When did everyone become a storyteller? Decades after George Lucas and Steve Jobs made storytelling a big business, every company now wants to tell “Our Story.” Instagram and TikTok let everyone else tell their “stories,” and the number of people calling themselves storytellers on LinkedIn is now more than half a million. Something we have done for…
 
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 partiallyexamin…
 
This week’s Spoiler Specials takes on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Film critic Dana Stevens is joined by Slate senior editor Sam Adams to spoil the Marvel film that stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Directed by Sam Raimi, the first action scene takes place at the wedding of Doctor Stephen Strange’s (…
 
In the 1970s, a song about protesting truckers topped the music charts in multiple countries, and kicked off a pop culture craze for CB radios. In early 2022, that same song became an anthem for a new trucker-led protest movement in Canada and the US. How did C.W. McCall’s “Convoy” come to exist, and what had it been trying to say? For this episode…
 
This week we begin our journey into the totally true not at all made up diary that has been scaring America’s teens for fifty years. Digressions include Jell-O, magic mushrooms, and ironing your hair, and Sarah promises to trip with Carmen. “Button, Button” is by Richard Matheson. Here's where to find Carmen: Website Support us: Bonus Episodes on P…
 
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 t…
 
Mark led the Pop Group through two albums in the late 70s two later reunion album and has released nine solo albums of trippy, experimental dance music. We discuss "Rage of Angels" (feat. Front 242) from VS (2022), "Age of Miracles" by The Pop Group from Citizen Zombie (2015), and "Liberty City" by Mark Stewart & the Maffia from Learning to Cope wi…
 
In the beginning, Colonel Nicholson seems to be a stickler for principle, willing to die rather than have his officers do menial labor in a Japanese prison camp. In the end, his principles seem to be a cover for personal vanity. He is willing to put his officers to work building a bridge for his enemies, as long as it leaves him with a legacy. The …
 
Hey, Spoiler Specials listeners, Dana Stevens here. If you haven’t heard the Slate podcast Decoder Ring yet, I urge you to check it out. Hosted by our friend Willa Paskin, each episode cracks a different cultural mystery by examining its history and why it still matters today. In their new season they look at how men’s razors went from one...to two…
 
In 2004, the indie flick Sideways was released in just four theaters, but it had a big impact, earning five Oscar nominations and $110 million worldwide. “I thought it was just going to be a nice little comedy,” filmmaker Alexander Payne tells us. Instead, the movie became known for something else so notable that it has a name: The Sideways Effect.…
 
Concluding on Susanne Langer's Philosophy in a New Key (ch. 8-10). We continue discussing whether and how music is symbolic. Sing along with us! 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.
 
This week’s Spoiler Specials takes on The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Film critic Dana Stevens is joined by Keith Phipps to spoil this action-packed comedy, starring Nicolas Cage as a struggling actor who is desperate to get back on the A list. Nicolas Cage plays Nick Cage, with Tiffany Haddish, Pedro Pascal, and Neil Patrick Harris co-sta…
 
When we think of method acting, we tend to think of actors going a little over the top for a role – like Jared Leto, who allegedly sent his colleagues dead rats when he was preparing to be The Joker, or Robert De Niro refusing to break character on the set of the movie Raging Bull. But that’s not how method acting began. On this episode of Decoder …
 
We want to play a game. This week, Dana Schwartz stuffs us in an iron maiden and explains why the most famous Medieval torture devices are none of the above. Digressions include the Kings Cross Wax Museum, getting stabbed in the butt, and the pivot to video era. Links to stuff discussed within: 5 Of The Most Gruesome Medieval Torture Devices [Buzzf…
 
On Susanne Langer's Philosophy in a New Key (1942), ch. 8-10. Is music (the supposedly non-representational artform) a language? If it's "expressive," what exactly does it express? 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: Get a free T-shirt wit…
 
In the early 2000s, an arms race broke out in the world of men’s shaving. After decades with razors that had only one blade and then decades with razors that had only two, the number of blades rapidly spiraled up and up and up. It’s a skirmish sometimes referred to as The Razor Blade Wars, and it was a face-off about innovation, competition, capita…
 
Continuing our discussion on the symbolic value of religion and its antecedents, primary at this point discussing Susanne Langer's Philosophy in a New Key, ch. 7. 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.…
 
On this week’s Spoiler Specials, Slate’s Marissa Martinelli and Rebecca Onion spoil season 2 of the Netflix hit Bridgerton. It’s wedding season again, and this time, it’s Lord Anthony Bridgerton’s (Jonathan Bailey) turn to marry. But for the Viscount, finding a wife is more about one’s duty to the family line than love. And Lord Bridgerton thinks h…
 
On Ernst Cassirer's An Essay on Man (1944), ch. 6-7, and Susanne Langer's Philosophy in a New Key (1942), ch. 6-7. Why do people produce ritual, mythology, and religion? According to our authors, these are spontaneous, symbolic modes of self-expression. They're not opposed to rational, scientific thought, but are necessary preconditions for it. Par…
 
How did the information superhighway get so gridlocked? Guest Anne Helen Petersen tells Sarah the story of how email took over the world and our working lives, and what it would mean for us to get a little of our lost time back. Plus, a Kurt Loder cameo. Here’s where to find Anne: Twitter Substack Support us: Bonus Episodes on Patreon Donate on Pay…
 
Bob has released 20+ albums since the early '80s. We discuss "Forecast of Rain" from Blue Hearts (2020), "I Don’t Know You Anymore" from Beauty & Ruin (2014), "JC Auto" by Sugar from Beaster (1993), and "In A Free Land" by Hüsker Dü, 1982 singe remixed for Savage Young Du (2017). End song: the title track to his new acoustic EP, The Ocean. Intro: "…
 
Continuing on Philosophy in a New Key (1942), ch. 1-5. Is symbolism the software running on the hardware of our senses, or are symbols baked even into that hardware? We talk pictures vs. symbols, types of symbol-pictures, and what it means for experience to be symbolic. If you're not hearing the full version of this part of the discussion, sign up …
 
On this week’s Spoiler Specials, Slate’s movie critic Dana Stevens is joined by Slate’s Jeffrey Bloomer and Dan Kois to spoil Deep Water. The film opens with marital unease between Vic Van Allen (Ben Affleck) and his wife Melinda (Ana de Armas). Melinda has constant flirtations that Vic moodily tolerates … until he doesn’t. Note: As the title indic…
 
What do Chopin, Kylie Jenner, baby carrots, and the War of the Worlds all have in common? They’re all part of Sarah and Chelsey Weber-Smith’s speedrun through common misconceptions—plus a little Satanic Panic, as a treat. Here’s where to find Chelsey: Chelsey + American Hysteria Support us: Bonus Episodes on Patreon Donate on Paypal Buy cute merch …
 
On Philosophy in a New Key (1942), ch. 1-5, plus as background most of us looked at Ernst Cassirer's An Essay on Man (1944), ch. 1-5. What does it mean to say that humanity is homo symbolicus, the symbol-making creature? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at partiallyexaminedlife.com/support or via Apple Po…
 
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