Zero Squared #143: Applied Philosophy

Professor Greg Sadler is the co-founder of ReasonIO, a consulting company that puts philosophy into practice, the Youtube star behind the Half Hour Hegel series, a professor of philosophy who has taught at Ball State University and Fayetteville State University, and the guest on this week’s podcast. In this episode, you’ll hear us discuss whether philosophy really has any practical applications, the reception he receives as a professional philosopher in the corporate sector, stoicism, and the importance of philosophy.

Thanks goes out to the folks at the Across the Aisle podcast as well as Michael G, Connor P, Jeremy C M, and Greg M for becoming patrons in the last week. We currently have 189 patrons and our goal at the moment is to get to 400 patrons. If you’re thinking about becoming a patron you’ll be helping to improve this podcast, the videos we produce and get to enjoy our membership podcast called Inside Zero Books.

If you haven’t already you might pick up Anselm Jappe’s The Writing on the Wall or Ian Parker’s Revolutionary Keywords for a New Left. This month’s bestsellers (which means they recently passed the 500 books sold mark, whether for the first time or again) are as follows: Kill All Normies, Capitalist Realism, Porn Panic, Ghosts of My Life, Sweetening the Pill, Millennials and the Moments that Made Us, How to Dismantle the NHS, Artist at Work, Proximity of Art and Capitalism], Capitalists Superheroes, How the Establishment Lost Control andHeavy Radicals. You should go to Powells.com, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Indiebound, Hive, or your local library and get a copy of one of our books.

In this episode you’ll hear a youtube lecture on Stoicism, a clip of Isaiah Berlin talking to Bryan Magee, and instrumental covers of the Indigo Girls Closer to Fine and The Waitresses I Know What Boys want.

Zero Squared # 57: Hegel vs. Spinoza

Gregor Moder teaches philosophy at the University of Ljubljana. The original plan for this episode was to discuss his paper about street theater and Althusser but the two of us hit it off so well, so easily fell into philosophical conversation, that my prepared questions on his paper were simply pushed aside as we entertained each other with a spontaneous conversation about Hegel, Spinoza, and, of all things, Donald Trump.

In the United States the reality TV show known as the presidential race is dominating our political imaginations as the hollowness, the silliness, and the unreality of the spectacle proves to have its own mesmerizing power. However, our aim at Zero Books shall be to, as much as possible, think and evaluate the problems this spectacle is designed to distract us away from even as we try to suss out what secret meanings even these distractions contain.

Having mentioned distractions I should also point out that listeners to this podcast might want to take a look at the 8 bit philosophy youtube channel. There is a video in the works about Alfie Bown’s book Enjoying It: Candy Crush and Capitalism as well as a fun vid about Donald Trump and the end of politics that’s online now.

In this episode you’ll hear a clip from Mel Brooks’ Hitler Rap, an excerpt from an old Diet Soap podcast wherein I describe Hegel’s phenomenology to my son Benjamin and my wife Miriam, the music of Cyriak, and Slavoj Zizek pontificating on Hegel. The music you’re hearing right now is from Cyriak’s video “Something” but in just a moment you’ll be listening to Gregor Moder and I talk about Hegel and Spinoza.

Zero Squared #53: Thinking Thomas

Thomas Lynn is a youtuber with a new channel entitled “Thinking Thomas.” A few months back he approached me about interviewing Zero Books authors on his channel and since then he has done so at least a few times. The following interview was one of the results of our correspondence and in this conversation you’ll hear us discuss the enlightenment, Adorno, and the perils of “radical” publishing.

I should take a moment now to mention a few of the new books that we’ll have coming in February. Pete Dolack’s It’s Not Over is a 900 page history of socialist revolution in the 20th century with an emphasis on the history of the Soviet Union, Stuart Feather’s Blowing the Lid is a history of the Gay Liberation Front written by a former participant, and Stuart Walton’s “In the Realm of the Senses” is a philosophical reexamination of the notion of materialism. I want to urge you to visit the website and check out these new titles as well as our entire catalog.

In this episode you’ll hear the theme from William Buckley’s Firing Line, an excerpt from a documentary entitled Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking and a clip from Alt Instrumental by Dan Lett.

Zero Squared: A New Year’s Special

This special January 2nd, 2016 episode of Zero Squared explores why Critical Theorists deploy the word “problematic” and what they are REALLY saying when they talk about your fave.

Clips in this episode/collage include KMO from the C-Realm, John Berger, The Wireless Philosopher on the Problem of Perception, Michel Foucault Beyond Good and Evil (1993), music from the Truman Show, Laci Green, Tori the Queer, Evan Edinger, Noam Chomsky, Robin Williams, and clips the film A Day in the Afterlive of Philip K Dick.

Here’s an excerpt from the collage:

What’s problematic in today’s Critical Theory? That is, what is it that motivates the critical theorist to call something “problematic?”
According to the Philosophy dictionary online (that’s www.philosophy-dictionary dot org) something is a “problematic judgement” when it involves “the consciousness of the mere possibility” or, when it does not contain the consciousness of actuality or necessity.

To clarify, something is a problematic judgement, when it is subjective. In Hegel’s Science of Logic he labels the problematic as “assertoric.” This just means that it is an assertion given by a particular subject. Hegel’s logic is quite complicated, but the claim here is that when one asserts something, like “twerking is bad” one is asserting more than a particular fact about one’s own subjective experience. One is also making a claim about a universal notion.
To make this clearer still, something is problematic or problematized when it can seen to be self-generated and thereby self-interested rather than objective or necessary.
Again, the problem in the term “problematic” is the subjectivity of experience. A claim is problematic when its relationship to a universal notion or an objective fact has not been determined.
We might wonder then why it is that so many people use the term “problematic” a bit differently.