Pop Philosophy!



Philosophy podcasts from Open Court's supercool Popular Culture and Philosophy book series.


  • Is Radiohead the Pink Floyd of the 21st Century?

    10/06/2009 Duration: 27min

    George Reisch reads his chapter "Is Radiohead the Pink Floyd of the 21st Century?"--the introductory chapter to Radiohead and Philosophy: Fitter Happier More Deductive. The answer, Reisch argues, is "no." While neither Radiohead nor classic Pink Floyd should be understood as "space rock," there remain enormous cultural and philosophical differences between these two bands.

  • All the Argument We Need

    10/06/2009 Duration: 15min

    John Sylvia reads his chapter "All the Argument We need," in which he discusses the highly effective political argumentation lurking within the video for Radiohead's song, "All I Need."

  • Everybody Hates Rainbows

    25/02/2009 Duration: 32min

    D. E. reads his chapter entitled "Everybody Hates Rainbows," in which he discusses In Rainbows Radiohead's revolutionary pay-what-you-want album. By breaking all the rules, is Radiohead making new rules for the music marketplace and culture industry?

  • Wittgenstein's iPod, or, The Familiar among Us

    06/01/2009 Duration: 32min

    Alf Rehn reads his chapter entitled "Wittgenstein's iPod, or, The Familiar among Us." He explores the nature of iPod-ness, a concept that may prove to be elusive, and speculates on the contents of Wittgenstein's iPod.

  • Podcrastination

    15/10/2008 Duration: 24min

    Regina Arnold reads her chapter in iPod and Philosophy, entitled "Podcrastination." She asks the provocative question, Are iPods agents of social change, or agents of repression? Are they going to free our minds, or just chain us to our seats?

  • By Your Command

    07/10/2008 Duration: 26min

    Enjoy bonus content to the book Battlestar Galactica: Mission Accomplished or Mission Frakked Up? that is available nowhere else. In this episode, Thomas Fahy reads his thought-provoking essay "By Your Command."

  • An Everlasting Kiss: The Seduction of Wendy

    23/09/2008 Duration: 42min

    In this delightful essay, Auxier draws parallels between the Wendy in Springsteen's songs, Wendy from J. M. Barrie's "Peter Pan," and the imaginative archetype behind these Wendys. He also explains why the "everlasting kiss" is a magical thing and where in "Born to Run" you can locate Tinkerbell.

  • What Lies Beneath? Distinguishing Humans from Skinjobs

    08/07/2008 Duration: 30min

    Available here for the first time ever: bonus content not available in the book _Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy_. Caroline Ruddell explores the difference between humans and their near-identical Cylon skinjob counterparts.

  • "I Hate Pink Floyd," and Other Fashion Mistakes of the 1960s, '70s, and Beyond

    03/06/2008 Duration: 28min

    Was Johnny Rotten right to wear a t-shirt proclaiming I Hate Pink Floyd? We say no. Listen as George Reisch defends Pink Floyd, arguing that they rose above the vacuous corporate rock of the 70s and avoided selling out.

  • Quentin Tarantino and the Ex-Convict's Dilemma

    31/01/2008 Duration: 25min

    The "Mexican Standoff," in which two or more people have weapons (usually guns) pointed at one another, is common occurence in most Quentin Tarantino films. This is essentially a philosophical paradox called a prisoner's dilemma. In Tarantino territory, is there a solution to this perplexing puzzle?

  • Pink Floyd: From Pompeii to Philosophy

    13/11/2007 Duration: 14min

    Delve into all things philosophical and Pink Floyd-ical. Popular Culture and Philosophy series editor and super-genius George Reisch introduces the latest volume, Pink Floyd and Philosophy, explaining why this seminal psychedelic rock group belongs is the philosophical canon alongside Kant, Hume, and Nietzsche. Set the controls for the heart of philosophy, and listen in.

  • Knowing When to Be Afraid: Rationality and Suspense

    26/10/2007 Duration: 28min

    It's a situation familiar to us all: You're in love with an attractive sleazeball, and you can't tell if your paramour is evil to the core and to be feared, or basically a good person. Will love cloud your judgment? The authors argue that Hitchcock builds suspense with this scenario, and that his characters must be rational, astute, and committed to the truth in order to prevail. Happy Halloween!

  • Why Make a Matrix? And Why You Might Be in One

    12/09/2007 Duration: 24min

    Are you a flesh-and-blood person, or an electrical impulse on a circuit board somewhere? According to famous philosopher Nick Bostrom, there's a high probability that you and everyone you know are living in a matrix. Think it's farfetched? Listen as Bostrom's persuasive arguments paint a picture of a computer-simulated reality with citizens just like you.

  • Who Was Wise? Decision Theory in "Lady with a Fan"

    10/08/2007 Duration: 17min

    The well-loved Grateful Dead tune "Lady with a Fan" presents the listener with a scenario: A beautiful lady throws a fan into a lion's den, and challenges two suitors to retrieve the fan in order to gain her affections. The solider refuses; the sailor takes the challenge and wins the lady's heart. Which made the right decision? Can Stephen Dillingham use Bayesian decision theory to tell us the answer? (Hint: happiness can be measured in units called roses.)

  • Enjoying the So-Called Iced Cream: Mr. Burns, Satan, and Happiness

    13/07/2007 Duration: 23min

    Here's cold, creamy treat for those of you waiting with baited breath for the upcoming Simpsons movie. When Mr. Burns croons "Excellent," is he really happy, or just chasing the next hollow goal? Although we all may think that happiness is made up of loosing hounds on unsuspecting Girl Scouts, Daniel Barwick proves that authentic happiness consists of more than merely instrumental goods. This essay will make you rub your hands together in glee.

  • A Vegetarian's Beef with Atkins

    06/06/2007 Duration: 37min

    Is meat-eating morally objectionable? If you say not, you might argue that human beings have a higher moral status than animals; that its intuitively obvious that humans have the right to eat meat; and that humans have eaten meat since time immemorial, so why stop now? Or, you might believe that meat is an essential part of human nutrition. Behold as David Detmer blows these arguments out of the water.

  • Seven Lessons in Philosophy You Already Learned Playing Texas Hold Em

    18/05/2007 Duration: 24min

    Life is poker. Poker is life. Or so philosophy professor Michael Ventimiglia would have you believe. But if you just think he's referring to the life of compulsive gambler, you'd be dead wrong! Imagine sitting on pocket Q's. The flop is harmless, no flush or straight possibilities after the turn. The river is a K. How hard do you press? When confronted with these experiences, Professor Ventimiglia argues that you ought to consult the wisdom of the ages.

  • Rear Window: Looking at Things Ethically

    11/05/2007 Duration: 21min

    In this podcast, Aeon Skoble looks at Hitchcock's famous thriller Rear Window and unearths a perplexing ethical scenario. Is protagonist Jeff in the wrong when he snoops on a neighbor, even though his snooping leads to the apprehension of a crazed murderer? Do the ends justify the means? Find out!

  • There Are No Ties at First Base

    26/04/2007 Duration: 31min

    In this podcast, revered University of Chicago philosophy professor Ted Cohen is pretty sure he has found a contradiction in the rules of baseball centering around the belief that a tie goes to the runner. Professor Cohen embarks upon an epic quest to right this egregious wrong by mailing the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs. The response he gets will change his life forever.

  • Brownskirts: Fascism, Christianity, and the Eternal Demon

    12/04/2007 Duration: 31min

    In this podcast, Neal King identifies and elaborates upon fascist aspects of the Buffyverse. Are Buffy and her Scooby gang, with their incessant persecution and slayage of demonkind, more like the SS than a group of heroes? And is it right for us to cheer them on?

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