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!

Jun 26, 2018

Four Podcast Lectures on Plato's Crito

I've been continuing on with my newly started podcast, Sadler's Lectures, converting my video lectures into edited mp3 sound files.   After finishing up with the six lectures on Platos' Apology, we've moved on to the four lectures on its logical successor, his dialogue, The Crito.

These four lectures on this dialogue comprise about 50 minutes of material - so you can listen your way through all of them through the average workout, commute, or lunch break.  You can easily download them from my channel and start learning!  If iTunes /Apple Podcasts or Google Play is more your speed, you can find my channel there as well.

Here are the four lectures:
As a reference, you might want to get The Last Days of Socrates, which includes the ApologyCritoEuthyphro, and Phaedo.

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

Jun 20, 2018

Eight Videos on Martin Heidegger's Being and Time

Earlier this month, I finished up a series of eight short core concept videos covering main ideas, distinctions, and developments in Martin Heidegger's early master-work, Being and Time.  That is a work I have long intended to get to - and people have been requesting me to tackle it for quite a while, not least since I have produced videos on other works by Heidegger (here's a playlist with 30+ videos)

Hopefully these will provide some helpful commentary for people struggling to make sense of that work.  For the time being (pun intended!), I have stuck with just the Introduction - the first 8 sections - of Being and Time.  But later on, I do have plans to create more of these core concept videos on other portions of that massive work. 

As a side-note, there has been some speculation about whether I will give Being and Time the same close reading treatment that I have been providing G.W.F. Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit.  It's a possibility, but first I have to finish off Hegel's work, before considering what "big book" I'll tackle next.

In any case, here are the eight new videos:

If you enjoy or benefit from my work making philosophy accessible to learners worldwide, I'd love for you to join the community of my Patreon supporters.  Each contribution helps me earn my living doing what I love, and there are some cool perks available for supporters as well. 

Feel free to share this post or the videos with others interested in philosophy generally or Martin Heidegger's thought in particular!

Jun 14, 2018

Six Podcast Lectures on Plato's Apology

After getting the Sadler's Lectures podcast up and running earlier this month - thanks to my supporters (want to become one on Patreon - click here!) - I have finished converting the first sequence of videos, and have started on the second.

The first philosopher fans, supporters, and subscribers wanted lectures on was Plato, so I've created six downloadable lectures in mp3 format on the text so many people begin with - Plato's Apology.  We're now working on converting lectures on the Crito, and will then do the Euthyphro and the Phaedo. (And when I say "we," it's not the royal usage - I'm including my son, Matthew, who is now assisting me with editing)

The videos these were drawn from were shot years back, before I started using a lapel mike and voice recorder, so we had to do a lot to boost the sound quality to the level you'll hear.  But of course, it's not perfect podcasting that people go to my Sadler's Lectures for - it's high quality content, faithful to the texts and thinkers, helping readers and listeners learn!

At any rate, here are those six episodes
As a reference, you might want to get The Last Days of Socrates, which includes the Apology, Crito, Euthyphro, and Phaedo

The six episodes come to just over 90 minutes total, so if you've got a long drive or commute, or want to listen to them at the gym, or while you're doing something else, you can easily download them from my channel and start learning!  If iTunes /Apple Podcasts or Google Play is more your speed, you can find my channel there as well.

Jun 7, 2018

A Reminder About Relationships From Aristotle

Aristotle's famous discussion about friendship occurs in Nicomachean Ethics books 8 and 9. What presenters typically draw from his inquiry tends to be restricted to a few topics: the nature of friendship itself, the three main types of friendship, and the three values associated with those types (virtue, pleasure, and usefulness).  His treatment of "friendship" - or really, better expressed, relationships - has much more to offer, however, and one particularly important topic is how relationships break down.

Why do people stop feeling mutual affection?  Why do they cease to desire good for the other person for their own sake?  Why do they begin to complain, feel resentful, or cut back their own involvement in the relationship?  Aristotle doesn't examine every possible reason - how could he? - but he does set out some generally applicable guidelines that remain relevant to relationships in the present.

Among these is the need to pay proper attention to imbalances within relationships.  Does one person bring more to the table than the other?  Do the partners change in themselves, or in what they provide to the other person, over the course of time?  Do desires and expectations change as well - and are these changes noticed, communicated, and dealt with effectively? If not - and particularly when the relationship is on shakier grounds than the partners would like to believe - then it is reasonable, though sometimes lamentable, that the relationship breaks down.

One red flag, which Aristotle touches upon, but doesn't explore as much as one might like, is when the "friends" have markedly different understandings of what their relationship is about.  They might also differ over what goods the friends are providing or producing for each other, what needs ought to be met, and where the limits or boundaries are.  This can be particularly problematic when these differences of basic viewpoint remain unarticulated, or even unsuspected.  But even when they are right out in the open, these differences can gradually erode the relationship, if one of the partners - rightly or wrongly - is unwilling to accept the other person's version of the relationship.

A closely connected problem is highlighted by the passage quoted above.  Getting something "different" or "other" than what one actually desires in some respects feels worse than simply getting nothing. And when that comes from a person partnered to you in a relationship - whether romantic, familial, friendship, business, or even just social - it sends a message:  that person doesn't really desire you to enjoy the good you do desire

It ends up producing even more disappointment, sadness, anger - even anxiety - when the person doing the giving insists, for example, that what he or she gives is really what you deserve or ought to have.  Or that what you desire and perhaps even explicitly ask for isn't as good as what they decide to give.  All of us can recall times this has happened to us.  Now with that in mind, consider whether we haven't also engaged in this sort of substitution with others in our relationships.

Jun 4, 2018

Podcasting Has Begun!

Yesterday, I uploaded and released the first three files for my new podcast.  Three short lectures on key ideas in Plato's text, The Apology!  I've created a Soundcloud site, which you can access by clicking here.  You can also go to the Sadler's Sound Files blog where I'll be posting podcast episodes individually and most news about the podcast from this point on.

For years, viewers, subscribers, supporters, and other fans have been asking me if I would convert my massive and growing stock of online philosophy lecture videos into mp3 files.

There definitely are some advantages to doing so.  Many people listen to, as well as watch, my philosophy lectures and presentations.  But streaming video requires a lot more data than downloading a podcast.  So that's one good reason.  Another is that it affords me the chance to edit and improve the sound quality of many of the recordings.

It requires that I carve out additional time from my busy schedule, though, so for a long time that held me back.  What has made it possible now is reaching a sufficient level of support through crowdfunding (if you're interested in supporting my work, check out my Patreon site).  That effectively underwrites the time and work needed to produce the sound files.

I'm starting for the moment with converting videos on Plato into podcast lectures.  In the coming months you can expect to see episodes on six other main thinkers, three from ancient philosophy - Aristotle, Cicero, and Epictetus - and three from the Existentialist movement - Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Heidegger.  I'm hoping to get 10-15 podcast episodes done per month, though greater support will help me work through the videos more quickly, and perhaps eventually get caught up with the videos