Philosophy Bites: Podcasting Ideas From Plato to Singularity Since 2007

I’ve spent four years writ­ing Podthoughts, a pod­cast review col­umn, for Maximumfun.org. At one pod­cast a week, this means I’ve lis­tened to and writ­ten up well over 200 dif­fer­ent pod­casts. At this point, each and every one that does­n’t con­sist of two guys vol­ley­ing shape­less com­plaints about their least favorite bands, movies, tele­vi­sion shows, and sports teams comes as a drop of water in the desert. Yes, I exag­ger­ate, but the vast cre­ative ter­ri­to­ry offered by a form of media as fresh and open as pod­cast­ing nev­er­the­less remains most­ly unex­plored. None of the blame, how­ev­er, falls upon Open Uni­ver­si­ty lec­tur­er Nigel War­bur­ton and BBC pro­duc­er David Edmonds, whose pod­cast Phi­los­o­phy Bites (iTunesLib­synWeb) pushed the medi­um for­ward very ear­ly in its life­time. Alas, my pre­de­ces­sor in Pod­think­ing beat me to review­ing Phi­los­o­phy Bites, but I lat­er inter­viewed Edmonds on my own show about what it takes to craft a pod­cast with so many top philoso­phers talk­ing about so many philo­soph­i­cal top­ics in such short spans of time, so we’ll call it even.

The Phi­los­o­phy Bites canon now forms a wider-rang­ing, more acces­si­ble phi­los­o­phy cur­ricu­lum than you’ll find in any uni­ver­si­ty — and notably, in these try­ing eco­nom­ic times, an infi­nite­ly cheap­er one. You can pick from a vari­ety of pos­si­ble points of entry, includ­ing clear expla­na­tions of well-known con­cepts like Pla­to’s Cave and free will; philo­soph­i­cal per­spec­tives on such issues of the day as the sin­gu­lar­i­ty and genet­ic enhance­ment in sports; dis­cus­sions of Adam Smith, David Hume, and phi­los­o­phy’s oth­er lumi­nar­ies of old; and con­ver­sa­tions with mod­ern-day philo­soph­i­cal lumi­nar­ies like Alain de Bot­ton and A.C. Grayling. When you’d like to move on to longer-form round­table dis­cus­sions of famous works of phi­los­o­phy, start down­load­ing The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life, a pod­cast I did get the chance to Pod­think about. For the ear­bud-equipped and philo­soph­i­cal­ly inclined, these are fruit­ful times indeed.

Note: Phi­los­o­phy Bites recent­ly pub­lished a book based on its pod­cast. And it starts by try­ing to answer the ques­tion. What is Phi­los­o­phy? Brain­Pick­ings has more on their answers.

Relat­ed con­tent:

55 Free Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es

The His­to­ry of Phi­los­o­phy… With­out Any Gaps

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.


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