S2E3: C. S. Lewis & The Unavoidable Invisible

This week we confront a reality - a law, to use Lewis' language - that is unavoidable, yet can be disobeyed.  We contemplate a reality that presses upon you as much as gravity, but cannot be measured and weighed by any instrument of science; a reality that gives life to our culture and our families, but is not reducible to either of them.

Something in this world, but not of this world. 

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S2E2: David Hume & The Impotence of Reason

The British Empiricist, David Hume, wrote:  "reason alone can never be a motive to any action of the will”.  If Hume is right, and the thing that separates us from the beasts, our ability to reason, is not enough to help us navigate the the chaotic seas of life, then to what or whom should we turn?  

Episode Bibliography:

David Hume - A Treatise of Human Nature

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S2E1a: A Horseman in the Sky

Filled with amazement and terror by this apparition of a horseman in the sky - half believing himself the chosen scribe of some new Apocalypse, [he] was overcome by the intensity of his emotions; his legs failed him and he fell.”  So goes the classic take of a moral dilemma by Ambrose Bierce. This week, as an illustration of our discussion last week, we present for your consideration A Horseman in the Sky.

Episode Bibliography

Ambrose Bierce - A Horseman in the Sky

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S2E1: Life Is Still a Pigsty

In our thinking and in our doing we presume that life is meaningful.  We believe our decisions matters.  We believe our lives matter.  We assume there really is a right and wrong and that it's all going somewhere… somewhere that matters.  In short, we believe that life is not futile.  This season we explore and draw some conclusions about the existential and the ethical.

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ASF Special: Conan the Barbarian & Philosophy

There is a story we’re telling with our podcast.  It’s going somewhere.   We love stories, we need stories, because stories are about life.   We have used other stories to help tell our story:  The Lord of the Flies, The Ring of Gyges, Plato's Cave.  

One story we’ve referenced a lot during season one is the story of a Cimmerian of a forgotten age; the story of not a mere man, but a barbarian, a barbarian named Conan.  Philosophical insights, life lessons, and fun abound as we reflect upon the great Conan The Barbarian. 

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ASF Special: The Smiths, Morrissey & Philosophy

Season one is a wrap.  As we prepare for the second season, we have a couple of slightly different episodes for you.  

What we’ve been trying to communicate philosophically - that life is strange, and in the strangeness we come to see what can't normally be seen, and hear what can't normally be heard - can be communicated in other ways.  So, this week we want to introduce you to the strange through music.  John Keats wrote “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,”.   In that spirit we give you The Smiths, Morrissey & Philosophy.

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S1E19: Plato's Cave, Pt. 2

This world, this material reality before us, is like a cave.  It's not an illusion. It's real, but it is not ultimately real.  There is something above and beyond it.  Appearance doesn't always match reality. There is more to this life than what can see with the eyes of the body.  We are strange people in the glow of a strange fire.

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S1E18: Plato's Cave, Pt. 1

Our world is a spooky place. Consider that we live in a universe, not a diverse.  The things of the world must have something in common. What is it? Life is movement.  When you don't move, you die.  But the movement of your life . . .are you progressing?  Or are you regressing?  But how can you know you are progressing, if you don't know something that is not changing? There is mystery all around you.

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ASF Special: A Strange Revolution

July 4th is Independence Day in the United States. Whether you are American or not, and most of humanity is not, the story of the American revolution is a strange one: mysterious events, inexplicable timing, improbable outcomes.  Today we recount and ponder some of the strangeness surrounding one of the only successful revolutions in history.

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ASF Special: Stranger Things - A Prequel

Sometimes things are not what they seem. Sometimes life is strange. The realization that appearance does not always mirror reality, or that appearance does not exhaust reality is ancient, ancient yet contemporary. It may, perhaps, be the fundamental realization of all religion, science, and philosophy. 

Today, besides being Independence Day in America, is the premiere of the third season of the Netflix show, Stranger Things.  In this bonus episode, we celebrate Stranger Things and explore one of its central themes.  Enjoy.

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S1E17: Narrative and Reality

Beware the myths, the narratives, about you; for they may enlighten our minds and sharpen our perception of the world, but they may also darken our minds and dull our perception of the world. 

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S1E16: The Fall of Gyges

Fame? Fortune? Frivolity?  What would you give, and what would you do, to possess these things permanently? What price would you pay?  

What if the health and wealth of the outer woman came at the price of the health and wealth of the inner woman?  What if the pleasures of the outer man came at the price of the inner man?

In this sequel to last week's episode, we sit at the foot of the greatest teacher of all time, Socrates, as he argues for the reality and value of the inner man and inner woman (i.e. the soul). 

Come listen to an echo of one who comes after Socrates; one who will say, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, but lose his own soul?"

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S1E15: The Ring of Gyges

Are we evil by nature?  Are we good by nature? Or does our nature, if we have a nature, lie somewhere between good and evil?

Suppose you were given a ring - a ring that made you invisible before God and man.  Would you continue to act justly?  If you wouldn't, what does that say about you?  

Come, jump in the fire with the podcasters Strange, as we explore evil, human nature, and reality.

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S1E14: Beelzebub

What to do with evil? (Fight it? Deny it? Flee from it?) How to understand it? (Is it real, is it illusion, or is it something else entirely?) How to know what follows and what doesn’t follow from its presence in our lives and in our world? (God is real? God isn’t real?)

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S1E13: Whence Evil?

"Is he (God) willing to prevent evil, but not able? then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? then whence evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” - Epicurus

In this episode we look at whether or not there is any wisdom in Epicurus.

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S1E12: Be Quick, But Don't Hurry

If you can’t generalize, you can’t see patterns in life, and if you can’t see patterns in life, then you can’t be wise.  In this episode we explore the nature of wisdom.

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S1E11: And Then There Were Four

Identity, content, origin, destiny: who are you? What are you composed of? Where do you come from? Where are you going? Four questions, four ingredients in the making of a meaningful life. To know where you’re going is to know who you are; your destiny and your identity are linked. The ethical and the metaphysical made one. Join us as we show how philosophy can be therapeutic.

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S1E10: Wondrous Strange

The philosopher seeks truth and reality.  Truth is articulated, reality is experienced.  But what if there is not a reality?  What if there are realties?  This world is material and objective, but there is another world.  There is another reality.  The reality of the objective and immaterial. This week we explore the different ways in which something can be real, and why it should matter to you.

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S1E9: Where Are You?

Jack & Kate & Hurley & . . . Chesterton?   

Not all who wander are lost wrote J.R.R. Tolkien.  But it is also true that not all who are lost wander.  

Are you lost?  Do you know where are you?  Do you know where are you going?  

If you wander, why are you not wandering? If you wander, what do you hope to find?

In this episode we explore the philosophical significance of one of life's most meaningful questions, namely, where are you?

Show Bibliography

G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man, St. Ignatius Press.

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S1E8: Mind the Gap

What can philosophy teach us about the importance of being mindful?  How can philosophy help us to understand the meaning of life?  Life, language and the meaning of it all:  Episode VIII of A Strange Fire.

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