Bill is a sad but steadfast street sweeper. Mark has secret character traits. Filmmaker Jack C. Newell is our inaugural non-philosopher, non-improviser guest, and his film knowledge leads to us talking about ethics in terms of film tropes plus some meta-historical-reenactment. Learn more about Jack's (non-garbage!) work at jackcnewell.com. Image by The Children of Arendal. … [Read more...] about PvI#33: Virtuous Garbage Director w/ Jack Newell
Prof in the house! Babette teaches at Fordham and recently edited the collection "Reading David Hume's 'On The Standard of Taste,'" which Mark made use of for The Partially Examined Life's treatment of that essay in #289. So this can serve either as a follow-up to that discussion or as a fresh cogitation on the idea of an art critic. Can such people's superior tastes be defined … [Read more...] about PvI#32: “On the Standard of [Bad] Taste” w/ Babette Babich
Contemplate the difference between signs, symbols, and symptoms. Did our improv scene get Zoom-bombed, or is that just real life intruding? THINK OF THE CHILDREN (eating Doritos)! What flavor of chip is Bill trying to teach today? Why is Brooke sad? Brooke is of course an improviser and has also been on TV and works for Jackbox Games. Follow her @brookebreit, For more … [Read more...] about PvI#31: Signs, Signs, Ubiquitous Signs w/ Brooke Breit
...which, as I was saying, is right in the middle of a sentence or scene! Sheesh! How should our personal and family histories shape our behavior, both in real life and in improv scenes? Do these histories, these stories we tell ourselves, nail us down as people? Are we all old before our time? Are those your real parents? Hang on to your poser wallet! Image by Julia as … [Read more...] about PvI#30: In Historica Res
Panpsycast host Jack, the Liverpudliest Liverpudlian of all, brings his promiscuous philosophy of mind to the show, wherein mind is here, there, and everywhere. But what does that mean? Skits about renting a flat for nefarious purposes and designing software for Nozick's experience machine reveal all! But the question remains... So what? You have to care! Hear Jack on his … [Read more...] about PvI#29: Personal Panpsychism w/ Jack Symes
Today's episode is about questioning: how one might question, what sets the parameters for a proper answer, and how to give those answers in an informative and/or dramatically effective way. Watch out for dream pigs! Also, how to get into the VIP room at Stuckey's. Perhaps a pair of paralegals can help. In the post-game, included JUST THIS ONCE for public enjoyment, we … [Read more...] about PvI#28: Enhanced Interrogation w/ Adal Rifai
We are joined by the young purveyor of the Reductio podcast, who wrote his dissertation on normality, which was such a normie thing to do. Can "abnormality" be morally neutral, or is that term cursed? We talk disability studies. You down with OTPs? Repeat after mes! How many towels do you need? Listen to Andrew explain his dissertation uninterrupted. Here's that offensive … [Read more...] about PvI#27: Normaliticitizationism w/ Andrew Lavin
Is money the root of all evil, or does it save us from needless cabaret bartering? What is money qua social construction? Should we retain the chocolate fountain? Are you ready to run? Did you bring your NFTs to trade for blue powder? Bill is master of the frustration scene. Here's the Stanford article about money and finance. Listen to Linda and her husband Noah (who was … [Read more...] about PvI#26: Monetize Your Syphilitic Storytelling w/ Linda Orr
We are guest free! We are unrestrained in exploring various conversational topics in a facetious manner, from hairballs to boogers to color vision among inanimate objects and rules for unicorn play. When the bad-ass, smelly, screaming white ball hits the 5 ball, how does the causality work? Is skepticism about physical forces just conspiracy theory? Image from this NY Times … [Read more...] about PvI#25: Questionable Causal Practices
Thi is a philosopher of games, making him a perfect match for this podcast. Why are games worthy of philosophical study? What counts as a game, anyway? We play a frustration game, finish each others' sentences, and ask dumb questions on a museum tour. It's an unusually discussion-focused episode! Picture is by Zahra, grabbed from this article. Audio editing by Tyler Hislop … [Read more...] about PvI#24: Game Time w/ C. Thi Nguyen
Can we have an entertaining discussion inspired by Aristotle's most boring book? Bill leads Mark and our guest Tommy through some let's-describe-what's-in-an-imaginary-room exercises. Dark Tourist, I'm Sorry, the bookCan we have an entertaining discussion inspired by Aristotle's most boring book, The Categories? Bill leads Mark and our guest Tommy through some … [Read more...] about PvI#23: Things Mean Things w/ Tommy Maranges (aka Philosophy Bro)
There's trouble at the work site! There are secret shifts of emotion going on. Do they make sense? Later, a guy's car is blocking a driveway. Does he deserve the electric chair, or a beer? It depends on your theory of punishment. Ep. art cribbed from a Psychology Today article. Audio editing by Tyler Hislop at Pixelbox Media. Hear more PvI. Support the podcast to get … [Read more...] about PvI#22: Punishment w/ Noah Gregoropoulos
The scene is its own entity. What else might be its own entity? Can a machine that passes the Turing test know what it's like to be a bat? We bring in emotions from irrelevant contexts, and we keep hearing them long after they're gone. Episode art by Alvin Alvaro. Audio editing by Tyler Hislop at Pixelbox Media. Hear more PvI. Support the podcast to get bonus stuff and … [Read more...] about PvI#21: Sentient Garage
What is "othering"? Why did Bill get such a bad grade? Is it because of his feather quill pen? Don't miss our anti-vaxxer drama! This is our first episode with a real philosophy professor on it, and we get to talk about her experience as an academic as it relates to this most socially relevant philosophical topic. Listen to Jenny talk in more depth with Mark and co. on The … [Read more...] about PvI#20: The “Other” Story w/ Jenny Hansen
Let's all lose our jobs and talk instead about fundamental ontology and social dynamics. Image by I don't remember. Audio editing by Tyler Hislop. Hear more PvI. Support the podcast to get bonus stuff and good karma! Sponsors: Visit betterhelp.com/improv to be matched with a licensed, professional therapist. Learn about St. John's College at sjc.edu/improv. … [Read more...] about PvI#19: Broken Atomic Dogs
Hell is NOT other people, and the more the merrier, with our second episode with guests being with TWO guest improvisers, Jill, co-founder of HUGE Theater and her friend Michelle, owner of Improv MKE. Bill and our guests each start a scene to explore something of what utopia might amount to, and of course how it will inevitably go bad. Then we discuss whether there is some … [Read more...] about PvI#18: Utopias w/ Jill Bernard and Michelle Gilliam
Riffing on resemblance. Eventually invoking the spirit of a toaster. Mark is wrong: the God Emperor of Dune can't drink water at all, just dried food. Learn about Del Close. Philosophy barely makes it in, but if you want to chase down this nonsense about whether a robot cat is still a cat or not, check out the Twin Earth stuff in PEL's Putnam episode. Image by Maia. … [Read more...] about PvI#17: The Imitation Game (with Toaster)
Do you believe in miracles? If doctors believed in miracles, would they just let surgeries finish themselves? Do assumptions of a logical universe make it not just unjustified by psychologically impossible for us to really believe in miracles? Read about our VERY FIRST guest, Tim Sniffen at timsniffen.com. Follow him @MisterSniffen and hear him talking more with Mark about … [Read more...] about PvI#16: The Legend of Kermit’s Gold w/ Tim Sniffen
Who stole Carmine's lunch? I think you know. Are there only a certain number of "logical" directions from one idea to another? Are there no mistakes, or are there mistakes that know? This week's image (which definitely has an eye in it) cribbed from Child's Own. Audio editing by Tyler Hislop. Hear more PvI. Support the podcast to get bonus stuff (like the post-game … [Read more...] about PvI#15: There is no “I” in “Dahyulectecs”
Are so-called "material objects" really just a scam? These two cut-ups (Bill and Mark) cut up the world in various ways, showing you how to teach, how to act, and how to haggle. Learn more about Berkeley's idealism with PEL #89. Image by Sam (called "Sharp Dressed Man"). Audio editing by Tyler Hislop. Hear more PvI. Support the podcast to get bonus stuff and good … [Read more...] about PvI#14: Action Idealism!
Beauty is cool, but is art always aiming at beauty? Generations disagree about their music. Snakes disagree about how much they should worry. Image by 3rd grader Ariana; google says the image is somewhere on this page. Audio editing by Tyler Hislop. Hear more PvI. Support the podcast to get bonus stuff and good karma! … [Read more...] about PvI#13: F*** Your Grapes
Bill gets really real, with his unlogical emotions. When we feel things, do we know why? Is there a why? Image found in a serious academic paper to reflect the seriousness (the snapped bra strap is merely implied). Audio editing by Tyler Hislop. Hear more PvI. Support the podcast to get bonus stuff and good karma! … [Read more...] about PvI#12: Stand by Me II
Bill gets to have the power of live and death, with a bit of moral luck. Is he enthused? Image found on twitter by a kid told to draw a fruit salad. Audio editing by Tyler Hislop. Hear more PvI. Support the podcast to get bonus stuff and good karma! Sponsor: Learn about St. John's college at sjc.edu/improv. … [Read more...] about PvI#11: The Trolley Opportunity
Turkeys speculate in a game scene. Are they reasonable and/or jive turkeys? Then, geometry is subject to ad hominem attack in an instructive relationship scene. Image by Ava from this site. Audio editing by Tyler Hislop. Hear more PvI. Support the podcast to get bonus stuff and good karma! … [Read more...] about PvI#10: Reasonable Beasts
Why is lying wrong? Scene conceptions clash. It is hard to lie in a pretend scene, because the pretending is already a lie. You can lie inside-out or outside-in. The relevant PEL episode to find out about Kant on lying is #10. Image cribbed from this article. Just look at that goddamned liar in the middle of the picture His deceit is captured perfectly! Audio editing … [Read more...] about PvI#9: Keepin’ It Super Real
Mark and Bill do impressions of people you don't know. The is-ought distinction is bravely explored. Does pretending to be cavemen help? Magic business is afoot. Childhood speaks. We've now passed the point where the post-game discussion is just included with the episode here. If you want to hear our reflections on the episodes going forward and our recommendations for other … [Read more...] about PvI#8: Here Ought to Be Dragons
Does it make sense to try to have everyone get what they "deserve"? We act out the desert machine but yet get no predictable cake. Judgebot 5000 enters our lives. Is this our first really good episode? Maybe. To hear more about meritocracy, try the Partially Examined Life's recent interview with the great Michael Sandel. Audio editing by Tyler Hislop. Image by Alice … [Read more...] about PvI#7: Meritocracy Now!
We try to be boring. Bill tries to make a discovery amidst the canards. Mark tries to be a good meta-dupe. But is our success in these attempts guaranteed by the deal you have already made with us by listening to this? It is not. With our first celebrity guest, the final judge is unveiled! In the post-game, we talk Conan O'Brien (sound effects) and talk shows in general, … [Read more...] about PvI#6: Let’s Have Made a Deal!
Two micro scenes and a mystery number of interruptions reveal our underlying definitions. How will we overcome the lag between our words and become like-minded? How many beats in an heirloom beet if an heirloom hair-looms beets? Many lessons are learned that are not THE lesson, necessitating some difficult multi-tasking. In the post-game, Bill starts something we can't … [Read more...] about PvI#5: What Is Bread? Are You Bread?
Is death something to be feared? What's next? What are the DETAILS? Do not adjust your listening device or call an ambulance. That sound you hear is not ground hum nor tinnitus but is the sound of improvisation. Warning: We talk about suicide a bit. If you're feeling depressed, don't call the lava demon hotline, as it is a scam. We make a few references in this one that … [Read more...] about PvI#4: Death at Not a Doctor’s Office
Bill starts us with a scene: Behold the Doctor's Office, where anything can happen, and often DOES. Is this whole thing a bad idea? Do you think you're BETTER than this idea? Do you? If you need to tell yourself that, that's OK. In the post-game, we talk a little about Stoicism (listen to PEL about it, ego issues, and ephemeral art. Our recommendations include: Bobby Huff … [Read more...] about PvI#3: Equality of Ignorance
Mark starts us off this time: What is reality? Bill pushes back, which is rather his point this round. Hilarity ensues, given that the world is just a construct of our minds and we want it to do so. Hilarity doesn't really do much else besides ensuing, does it? Lazy bastard. Learn more about Kant's phenomena vs. noumena in this very old episode Partially Examined Life … [Read more...] about PvI#2: Real Lava Accommodation
The gauntlet has been thrown. In this first episode, Mark Linsenmayer and Bill Arnett channel their respective muses to try to enlighten each other about something having to do with ethics on the one hand and the continuity of improvisation with regular life on the other. Which lesson shall produce the most profound effect? Does this format make any sense at all? As a … [Read more...] about PvI#1: We Have Always Already Been Improvising