Jan 10, 2021

Ten Podcast Episodes on John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism


One text that I teach frequently in my classes is John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism. Years back, I produced a set of short core concept lecture videos covering the main ideas Mill sets out in that short but important work.  My students have been using them for quite some time, but they are just a fraction of the viewers that have watched those videos in order to better understand the text.

Last year, I added a new set of resources on this text, taking the lecture videos and converting them into podcast episodes in my Sadler's Lectures channel, boosting the sound quality, and editing out all of the longer pauses and filler words.  

Here are those ten podcast episodes on Mill's Utilitarianism.  All told, they run for about 2 1/2 hours:

If you'd like to make a contribution to helping me continue my work making classic philosophical texts, thinkers, and topics accessible for people worldwide, consider becoming a monthly supporter on Patreon. If you'd like to make a one-time donation, you can do so directly on Paypal, or on Buy Me A Coffee.

Jan 9, 2021

Year Six Of Worlds of Speculative Fiction Begins Today!

We announced the lineup for the Worlds of Speculative Fiction monthly series this year a bit earlier in the week.  You can see the full schedule here, if you'd like to.  Today, we kick year six of the series off with our session on the Chinese science fiction author, Liu Cixin!

We start at Noon Central Time with my discussion of Liu Cixin's Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy of novels.  That will take place as a video premiere on my YouTube channel, and we'll be engaging in live chat on that video page.  So you can watch, ask questions, make comments, and I'll reply as the video runs.

Then immediately following - around 1:40 PM Central Time - those who want to have a more intimate, in-depth conversation about the texts, the writer, the ideas, and the key themes will shift over to Zoom for a videoconferencing session.

Here are the links for those two parts of the event:
The trilogy we'll be focusing upon are:
I look forward to seeing you there and to some excellent conversation about this author and this excellent series of works!

Jan 3, 2021

Worlds of Speculative Fiction Selections Set For 2021

After soliciting viewer, subscriber, and supporter suggestions for the final three slots in the monthly Worlds of Speculative Fiction series for this new year, and then having a run-off vote for the final slot, we now have a full line-up for the series.

Each month - usually the second Saturday - we will focus on one specific author, the narrative world of some of their works, and philosophical themes found in their writings. These events we're holding online -until it is completely safe to return to the face to face setting - have two parts.

Part 1 is a video premiere, with live-chat between me and viewers - of me discussing the author, their narrative world, their biography, and some selected philosophical themes.  Those usually run about 90 minutes, and the videos are then added to the series playlist

Part 2, immediately following, is a videoconferencing conversation, carried out by Zoom, where we get to go a bit more into depth about anything that the viewers found particularly interesting. We usually have some great conversations about the works in those sessions.

You don't have to have read the author or the specific works in order to get something out of these sessions.  But obviously, it certainly does help to have done so.  Here's the list of the authors and the recommended books for each session this year.

January - Liu Cixin's Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy
  • The Three-Body Problem
  • The Dark Forest
  • Death's End
February - Philip K. Dick's stories of Colonization and Insanity
  • Martian Time-Slip
  • Clans of the Alphane Moon
  • We Can Build You
  • The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
  • A Maze of Death

March - R. Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing trilogy
  • The Darkness That Comes Before
  • The Warrior-Prophet
  • The Thousandfold Thought

April - Margaret Atwood's Gilead dystopia stories
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • The Testaments
May - Philip Jose Farmer's World of Tiers novels
  • The Maker of Universes
  • The Gates of Creation
  • A Private Cosmos
  • Behind the Walls of Terra
  • The Lavalite World
  • More Than Fire

June - A.E. Van Vogt's Weapon-Makers novels
  • The Weapon Shops of Isher
  • Weapon Makers

July - Octavia Butler's Parable novels
  • Parable of the Sower
  • Parable of the Talents
August - J.G. Ballard's modern dystopias
  • Crash
  • Concrete Island
  • High Rise

September - Stanislaw Lem's Ijon Tichy stories
  • The Star Diaries
  • The Futurological Congress
  • Peace on Earth
  • Observation on the Spot

October - Neal Stephenson's Anathem 
  • Anathem

November - Jorge Luis Borges - theme TBD
  • selected stories, TBD

December - Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy
  • Northern Lights  
  • The Subtle Knife 
  • The Amber Spyglass

Dec 31, 2020

Eight Podcast Episodes on Epicurus' Principal Doctrines and Letters

Epicurus is one of the thinkers whose works I teach fairly often.  Most of my Introduction to Philosophy classes will include a day or two devoted to Epicurus and Epicureanism, and in one of the classes I'm teaching next semester, Philosophy, Mindfulness, and Life, we will be spending about two weeks on the Epicurean tradition.

Quite a while back, I produced a series of lecture videos on Epicurus' main ideas (you can check out the playlist here), and over the last year and a half, I've been taking those shorter lecture videos, converting them to sound files, editing them and fixing the sound (as best as I can), and then producing them as podcast episodes.  

They really do double duty.  I use them in my academic classes as additional resources for my students.  They can download and listen to high-quality, well-informed lectures on the texts and thinkers they are studying, anywhere they'd like to.  I also make them available as resources for the general public as well, and listeners do seem to enjoy them and find them useful.

So, here's that set of podcast episodes on Epicurus.  All told, they run about 1 hour and 40 minutes, so a person could listen their way through the entire set in the space of a a longish workout or walk, or while traveling.

If you'd like to make a contribution to helping me continue my work making classic philosophical texts, thinkers, and topics accessible for people worldwide, consider becoming a monthly supporter on Patreon. If you'd like to make a one-time donation, you can do so directly on Paypal, or on Buy Me A Coffee.

Dec 23, 2020

Ten Podcast Episodes on Martin Heidegger's What Is Metaphysics?

When I polled my viewers, listeners, subscribers, and supporters recently, about which thinker I should produce new podcast episodes on first, Martin Heidegger edged out Fyodor Dostoevsky, Aristotle, and Cicero.  So earlier this month, I created ten new Sadler's Lectures episodes on his seminal lecture, What Is Metaphysics?

Each of the Sadler's Lectures episodes are produced by taking one of my core concept videos, improving the sound quality, and editing out pauses, "ums" and "ahs," and any other distracting sounds, generating a downloadable podcast version that can be played anywhere.  I provide them as resources to students in my academic classes, but they get used by many more people all over the world.

Here are those ten Heidegger podcast episodes. They run just a bit over two hours altogether, so you can listen your way through these lectures in the space of an afternoon.

If you'd like to make a contribution to helping me continue my work making classic philosophical texts, thinkers, and topics accessible for people worldwide, consider becoming a monthly supporter on Patreon. If you'd like to make a one-time donation, you can do so directly on Paypal, or on Buy Me A Coffee.

Dec 16, 2020

Worlds of Speculative Fiction Series 2021 - Vote on Final Author

As I've done for several years now for the Worlds of Speculative Fiction monthly series, I've solicited suggestions about authors my viewers, subscribers, and supporters would like to see added.  This year, I got a wide range of suggestions, but only two authors got suggested by more than one person.  So both of them get an automatic "in" to the 2021 lineup.

Those authors are Stanislaw Lem and Jorge Luis Borges.  2021 marks the 100 year anniversary of Lem's birth, so it makes excellent sense to discuss his works, and to do so in September, the month of his birthday.  Borges was the subject for an earlier session - back at the start of year 3 - of the series (here's the recording).

So here's the lineup as it stands for the present.

  • January - Liu Cixin's Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy 
  • February - Philip K. Dick's stories of Colonization and Insanity 
  • March - R. Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing trilogy 
  • April - Margaret Atwood's Gilead dystopia stories 
  • May - Philip Jose Farmer's World of Tiers novels 
  • June - A.E. Van Vogt's Weapon-Makers novels 
  • July - Octavia Butler's Parable novels 
  • August - J.G. Ballard's modern dystopias 
  • September - Stanislaw Lem - theme TBD
  • October - Neal Stephenson's Anathem 
  • November - Jorge Luis Borges - theme TBD
  • December - TBA by vote
You notice that last slot is still open.  That's where the voting comes in.  You can vote on Twitter, on YouTube, or (if you're a Patreon supporter) on my Patreon page.  Here are the options
  • Poul Anderson
  • Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Philip Pullman 
  • Kim Stanley Robinson
So, get your votes in. One of these writers will get added to the 2021 lineup for the series, and it might be the one you select!

Dec 3, 2020

Results of the Vote - Heidegger Podcast Episodes Coming Up Next

Today, I've finished releasing my latest series of podcast episodes in the Sadler's Lectures podcast, a set on Simone de Beauvoir's work, The Second Sex. I wanted to get some input from viewers, subscribers, followers, and supporters about which thinkers they would like to see the next podcast episodes focus on. So I created and ran polls on my YouTube channel, Patreon page, and Twitter stream. I weighted Patreon supporters' votes much more heavily, since they make a monthly commitment to underwriting the work I do.

Each of the options was a thinker that I've already created some podcast episodes on in the past.  Aristotle, Cicero, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, or Martin Heidegger.  The results were quite interesting.  the formula for each of these is Patreon (x20) + YouTube + Twitter.

  • Heidegger 140 + 259 + 56 = 455 total
  • Dostoevsky 100+ 259 + 31 = 390 total
  • Aristotle 160 + 168 +30 = 358 total 
  • Cicero 120 + 84 + 22 = 226 total
So Heidegger was the clear winner of the combined polls, and I'll be producing a set of episodes on one of his key essays, What Is Metaphysics?, with releases starting tomorrow.

It's interesting and heartening to see that there were quite a bit of people wanting to see podcast episodes on the other three thinkers as well.  Once the Heidegger podcast episodes are done, I'll move on to Dostoevsky, and convert my recent core concept lectures on portions of The Brothers Karamazov to podcast episodes.  

After those two thinkers, I'll shift to Aristotle and Cicero, and I plan to concentrate on their discussions of the complex topic of friendship and relationships. So for Aristotle, that's Nicomachean Ethics books 8-9 (supplemented here and there by the Eudemian Ethics).  And for Cicero,  his book On Friendship, of course!

I'll be producing and releasing all of those podcast episodes over the next two months, so if you follow my Soundcloud, you can be sure to hear them as they come out.  One of the perks for my Patreon supporters, of course, is that they get early releases of these, so if that's something you're interested in, you might consider becoming a supporter.