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

May 21, 2018

The People Have Spoken - Podcasts Start With Plato!

As I start writing this, we are about to hit a major milestone on Patreon.  Thanks to several recent generous pledges, and several longstanding supporters increasing their level of support, we are right on the threshold of another goal!  And once we pass it, I have committed to doing something major.

For several years, viewers, subscribers, followers, and other fans of my main YouTube channel have been asking me to convert those videos into podcast episodes that they could listen to on the go.  I'd say at this point, I've been asked about that well over 1,000 times.  Doing that sort of work takes a good bit of time, so I committed to starting that process once I reach a sufficient level of crowdfunding support on Patreon.  And now we're almost there! (if you'd like to get us over the line, here's where you can become a supporter).

I don't do a lot of "market research" when it comes to my various projects.  Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I do almost none.  I'm much more about studying and presenting the material in ways that are faithful to the texts and thinkers, rigorous but also accessible to the world-wide audience of people interested in philosophy.  Before starting up the podcast, though, I thought it might be prudent to get some input about what material I should start with,  So I ran a poll, and we've already got some useful results.

May 16, 2018

New Circuit Meet The Old Circuit

So far, this has been the year of finally getting fit.  My wife enrolled us both in a local gym, and after about a month of watching her go regularly, I decided to start making the time myself.  That was about three months ago.

I started out doing just 40 minutes of cardio - elliptical, rowing, and treadmill - a few times a week.  My cardio workouts now last an hour - 20 minutes of elliptical, 20 of rowing, 10 of the side-stepper, and 10 on a significantly inclined treadmill.  I'm still not a fan of any of those, I have to admit.  But about a month in, I also added the weight machine circuit, and that sort of workout I can say I have come to enjoy, and even look forward to.

You might not know this, but "circuit training" and "weights circuit" are terms that decades back meant something quite different.  They're what, technically speaking, we call "equivocal" or "polysemic" - that is, they have multiple distinct meanings.  When I first started training in high school, and then continued it passionately through my army, college, work, and into my grad school days, I used that earlier meaning.  Then I got out of shape for years, and when I started exercising again, I did so on my own.  Not part of the gym culture, I had no idea that the terms had changed their signification and reference.  And so it was only recently that I learned what they now mean.  I had an experience tonight that brought the old meaning back to mind for me.

May 11, 2018

May AMA (Ask Me Anything) Session Tomorrow!

We have another of our online AMA - Ask Me Anything - sessions coming up tomorrow.  I started hosting these last year for my viewers, subscribers, readers, and other fans.  We use YouTube Live for these events, and you can access it by clicking on this link, once the session starts. You can even click on it now, and set up a reminder for the event.  The session will take place between 12-1 PM Central Time, this Saturday, May 12.


Usually there are already a few questions or comments lined up for me when the event starts.  And as it goes on, they do tend to accumulate a bit quicker than I can work through all of them.  So - just a bit of advice - if you want to be fairly sure that I'll get to your question or comment, you definitely want to ask it early on!  I don't always have the time to get to all of those people ask at the end (even with often going overtime in these sessions).

If you'd like to see the  previous sessions, engaged in fielding questions, addressing comments, even tackling complaints and confusions, here are the links to those previous six AMA sessions:
All the time and labor involved in these - and many other - free online events are underwritten by my Patreon supporters.  Their pledges help me earn a living for myself and my family doing work I love - making philosophy accessible to people of all walks of life, all over the world.  If you'd like to become a supporter, here's where you can do that.

May 5, 2018

Nine Videos on Descartes' Discourse on Method

A few years back, I created a one-off video in my Core Concept series on Rene Descartes' famous four "rules of method".  I was developing resources for students in my online World Views and Values class at Marist College (there's also an inexpensive open-enrollment version of that class you can check out or enroll in), and I noticed that some of them were getting a bit confused about the Cartesian approach.  So I shot that video, intending eventually to create more content on Descartes.

My viewers and subscribers liked that video, and for quite some time have been asking me when I would start producing more content on Descartes.  So last month, I managed to set aside the time to shoot eight more videos on the Discourse on Method, creating an entire series covering most of the key ideas and passages of that work.

Here are the links to those nine videos:

I do have to caution that these videos are not intended to substitute for actually reading the work.  In the case of the Discourse, you really don't want to deprive yourself of the experience of reading Descartes.  He's a very clear and readable writer, and it's a rather short work designed specifically to introduce his thought to a general public (he deliberately wrote it in French, rather than the Latin of many of his other works).

Later on down the line, I hope to also produce a whole slew of new videos on two other works by Descartes: his Meditations on First Philosophy, and his Passions of the Soul.  If you'd like to support my ongoing work - or if you find my videos valuable, and just want to give back a bit - consider becoming a Patreon supporter on my page.