Nov 16, 2018

Five Podcast Episodes on Cicero's Stoic Paradoxes

Earlier this year, I started producing podcast episodes drawn from my shorter YouTube lectures, boosting their sound quality and editing them slightly.  Among the episodes I decided to start were a set on a short work by Marcus Tullius Cicero, The Stoic Paradoxes. 

What he means by "paradoxes" are assertions  that the Stoic philosophers made which seem counter-intuitive, or even fantastic, to most people, but whose startling formulations do make good sense within the context of the Stoic system.  It provides a great introduction to some of the key ideas of Stoic Ethics.

I have five lectures lined up for listeners on this text, amounting to a bit under an hour of discussion of these key ideas and arguments.  You can download them and listen to them anywhere.  You can listen directly from my Soundcloud channel - or get them on iTunes /Apple Podcasts or Google Play (I hope to adding more alternative formats in the coming months). 

For those who are looking for more podcast content on Stoicism, I have started working on additional episodes on Epictetus, and I'll be releasing more of them in the coming months.

Nov 12, 2018

Aristotle on Hate And Anger

When we look at what are often called "negative emotions" - fear, jealousy, anger, hatred, for instance - there is strong tendency in our contemporary society (particularly when it's a matter of politics or culture) to do three different but connected things.

One of these is projecting these emotions onto others, typically people against whom we feel ourselves to be opposed.  Another is to denying or renaming those emotions on our own parts, or failing that, to excuse them in ourselves by displacing responsibility to those other people who "started it "(i.e. who provoked the reactive emotion on our own parts).  The third is employing and invoking the language of emotions and morality in careless, uncritical, simplistic ways.

A prime example of this is the indiscriminate use of the term "hate."  The Left has arguably proven itself more effective than the Right in misusing this term and notion, extending it to their opponents, whether real, assumed, or only imagined - but they certainly don't have a monopoly upon it.  With a few exceptions - typically those glorying in it - it seems most people are willing to take for granted that "hate" or "hatred" is always bad, so accusing another of it, or being accused oneself, takes on a status almost of a logical deduction.

Hate is bad.  So-and-so hates.  Thus, So-and-so is bad (and we're justified in hating them, or maybe just expressing our outrage, or disapproval, or pity, or. . . )

Two millennia ago, Aristotle established several very useful things about hate - and about the closely associated emotional dynamic of anger - particularly helpful and illuminating for our current cultural situation.

Nov 4, 2018

Nine Recent Appearances

It's about time for another roundup of my recent appearances on radio shows, podcasts, and video channels. The last list I made was back in April, and nine new ones have aired since then.  There are a few others either scheduled for recording, or already recorded and waiting to be released.

I get fairly regular requests to talk about a variety of topics because of my philosophy-focused YouTube channel, my business ReasonIO, and my work as editor of Stoicism Today.  If you'd like to invite me for a television, radio, video, or podcast appearance - or even for a live, in-person event, feel free to contact me.

With no further ado, here are the nine new appearances:

Nov 2, 2018

Things Break At Their Weakest Point

Not even a block in to my 5 block walk to host our weekly Shut Up And Write session, I felt a familiar sensation - my leather dossier, slung over my back, had opened.  Every once in a while, the clasp doesn't quite catch, and the jostling of my quick-pacing walking gradually jars it to the point that it opens up.  It's well designed, so nothing falls out right away.  Usually it's a quick stop to close it up correctly, and then get underway.

Today the problem was a different one.  The leather buckle feeding into the metal clasp broke.  It detached - tore away - from the clasp.  There's no closing that bag at its usual (and only) juncture anymore, at least for the time being.  Everything else on my dossier is in decent condition, so doubtless we will be finding some fix to get in back into commission. It's definitely not the end of the world.  It's not even a major inconvenience - though at earlier points in my life, I would certainly have felt it to be one!

As I walked the rest of the way, holding the bag closed, I thought about how central a piece of equipment that particular dossier is for my work, teaching, and even leisure time.  That spurred a host of other reflections, and I thought they might prove of some interest if I were to set them down.

Oct 26, 2018

Over 450 Videos in the Philosophy Core Concept Series

Since the beginning of the semester, I have been quite simply swamped with work!  In addition to teaching 5 different courses at 4 different academic institutions, I had my usual duties as editor of Stoicism Today - including Stoicon 2018 and Stoic Week - as well as a heavy load of speaking, meetings with clients, and consulting work.  I did manage to get some video production in there as well.

One type of video I've been routinely creating are "Philosophy Core Concepts".  These are short (10-25 minute) discussions of key ideas, arguments, or distinctions made by major philosophical thinkers.  They span the gamut from ancient philosophy down to 20th century thinkers (check out the list below).  I've produced quite a few of these.  Today, I took a look at the playlist, to see how many I'd done so far.

Over 450!  That's the number of the ones I've publicly released (my Patreon supporters get an early look at these videos before the general public does).  In fact, we hit number 451 today with the latest release, discussing the Epicurean distinction between mental and bodily pleasures.  So I thought I'd step back a bit, reflect, and write a few things about that video series (which I think will likely pass 500 videos early next year!)

Sep 7, 2018

Texts and Authors I'm Teaching This Fall

We're now at the end of Week 2 of the classes I'm teaching locally for Marquette University and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.  Many readers, viewers, subscribers, supporters, and other fans have expressed curiosity about the thinkers and texts we're covering in my Foundations in Philosophy (Marquette) and Philosophies of Human Nature (MIAD) classes, so I thought I'd take a bit of time and discuss those a bit.

There is a good bit of overlap in the material covered in these two classes, and there's several reasons for that.  Every one of the texts and authors we're reading and discussing is someone I think well worth engaging with for a student just beginning in philosophy.  Some of them are thinkers I've previously developed resources on when I taught them in the past, so I have good handouts, lesson page, or videos ready at hand. And, since I'm teaching a LOT this semester, I wanted to keep from having two entirely different preps for these two classes.

So for all of you who have been inquiring about my classes - and anyone else who is interested in the matter - here's the reading lists, followed by a bit more about new resources I'm developing not only for those academic classes, but also for my other online students, as well as for the general public.

Jul 16, 2018

Three Podcast Episodes on Plato's Euthyphro

The Sadler's Lectures podcast has been continuing on with the project of converting my video lectures into edited mp3 sound files.  We tackled the Apology first (here's the playlist) and then the Crito (here's that playlist).  And now, we've got three lectures - about 40 minutes total - available on another one of Plato's dialogues, the Euthyphro!

You can listen directly from my Soundcloud channel - or get them on  iTunes /Apple Podcasts or Google Play (I'll be adding more formats in the coming months.

The Euthyphro takes place right before Socrates' trial, and right outside of the law-court, where he runs into the very guy the dialogue is named after.  They get into a tangled discussion about the nature of "piety" or "holiness" - one which ranges over a number of topics and arguments.

In the process, Socrates articulates a problematic that has come to be recognized as a major issue in the Philosophy of Religion.  It's called the "Euthyphro dilemma" - and if you listen to the episode on it, you'll see why it's so important!

Here are the three lectures:

As a reference for what you're listening to, you might want to get The Last Days of Socrates, which includes the ApologyCritoEuthyphro, and Phaedo.  The podcast lectures are designed to help you understand some of the key concepts of philosophical works. So don't deprive yourself of the pleasure of reading Plato's dialogues!

The work involved in creating these podcast episodes is underwritten by my monthly supporters on Patreon. Want to become a supporter? Click here!