thinkPhilosophy Podcast

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The thinkPhilosophy Podcast: Existentialism, Phenomenology, Poststructuralism, and Critical Theory

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Alterity and Desire: Levinas On the Face-To-Face Encounter With the Other

July 03, 2015

This week, we take a look at Levinas' Totality and Infinity on the face-to-face encounter with the Other. We'll discuss the question of morality - of why we should be good - as the backdrop for Levinas' postulating of ethics as first philosophy; Levinas' description of the face-to-face encounter with the Other motivated by desire that orients us and gives meaning to our existence; finally, we'll touch on Levinas' chief example of the Other in the feminine.

Listen   19:30
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Bonus: Beauvoir's Phenomenology of Race In America Day By Day

June 26, 2015

Simone de Beauvoir's Phenomenology of Race In *America Day By Day*. My account of Beauvoir's phenomenology of racial otherness in America, published in *Philosophy Today* in 2005.

Listen   47:41
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Sartre Take 2: On the Political Dimensions of Self-Other Relations

June 24, 2015

This week, we make a second go at Jean-Paul Sartre's "The Look" in *Being and Nothingness*. We step back and look at the overall structure for this piece before looking at: 1) the paradox of subjectivity; 2) Our possibilities (for getting what we desire) as obstacles to an Other, but also as instrumetns for their outstripping us; and finally, 3) Sartre's politicization of the problem of the Other. 

Listen   36:21
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Sartre Explains How Other People Are Hell

June 17, 2015

On that awkward moment when you are caught peeping through a keyhole, and other adventures with Otherness in Sartre's "The Look" (Being and Nothingness, more specifically I look at pp.252-265). You may want to read Sartre's text prior to listening to this session; a link to Being and Nothingness can be found at And the quotes that I reference during this podcast are avaialable in downloadable pdf form here: <>

Listen   60:04
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Heidegger On Who Is Dasein, Being-with Others, and "the They"

June 10, 2015

In this week, we take a look at "Being-In-the-World as Being-with and Being A Self" in Heidegger's Being and Time. Here we find Heidegger's theory of intersubjectivity and his response to the problem of the Other. We find that in the everyday, ordinary sense, Dasein is in the world as Mitsein, Being-with Others in the negative modes of indifference or distantiality. As such, Dasein is not itself, but is dissolved in the world of "the They." It will take a call of conscience to bring Dasein out of its immersion in "the They" and to take responsibility for itself and its possibilities. For resources menitoned in this podcast, go to the shownotes for this podcast at

Listen   29:33

Bonus: Human Beyond Thinking, A Comment On "Google Philosopher" Luciano Floridi's Interview With The Philosopher's Zone on our fears over AI (Artificial Intelligence), how "smart" technologies challenge us at the level of identity, and the increased need for thoughtful questioning (qualitative data analysis) in the age of massive data retention in the security state. His new book is called the Fourth Revolution.

Read and comment on our blog post on the subject: Humans Beyond Thinking at <>.

Listen   6:12
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The Other Who Troubles, From Hegel to Levinas and Irigaray

June 03, 2015

In today's short podcast, we take a long view of theories of intersubjectivity that begin from the idea that our relation to the Other is agonistic and conflictual. This overview begins with a review of Hegel's theory of the Other in the Master/Slave dialectic, then visits Heidegger, Sartre, Levinas, and Irigaray. In the coming weeks, we'll delve deeper into each of these specific philosopher's writings on the problem of the Other, so look out for next week's session on Heidegger's Mitsein or Being-With and "the They" in Being and Time.

Listen   12:21

Today we’re going to take a look at Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s theory of intersubjectivity found in part II of his Phenomenology of Perception, in a section entitled “Other Selves and the Human World.” We’ll see how Merleau-Ponty elaborates upon Husserl’s basic theory of intersubjectivity in two ways: First, he adds to the account a subject that is embodied and imbricated in the world; second, he insists that our experience with otherness precedes the formation of identity, of the subject referred to as an “I.”

Listen   27:11
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Intersubjectivity and the Problem of the Other

May 20, 2015

Today's session introduces the topic of Intersubjectivity and the Problem of the Other in Continental Philosophy, offering an overview of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty's theories in preparation for next week's closer look into Merleau-Ponty's  “Other Selves and the Human World” (in Part II of Phenomenology of Perception). For more information on this series, go to

Listen   24:01
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The History of Concepts of Sex

May 13, 2015

In this week's podcast, I give an overview of the history of concepts of sex beginning with Aristotle's one sex theory, to the Victorian two sex model, to turn of the century continuum sex/gender/sexuality models.

Listen   15:33

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