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The Examined Life Series What Is Philosophy Essay

The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living Essay

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Socrates was considered by many to be the wisest man in ancient Greece. While he was eventually condemned for his wisdom, his spoken words are still listened to and followed today. When, during his trial, Socrates stated that, “the unexamined life is not worth living” (Plato 45), people began to question his theory. They began to wonder what Socrates meant with his statement, why he would feel that a life would not be worth living. To them, life was above all else, and choosing to give up life would be out of the picture. They did not understand how one would choose not to live life just because he would be unable to examine it.
     Socrates felt that if he was unable to examine life, he would not be really…show more content…

Socrates shocked everyone when he said he would choose death over anything else. However, the answer to why he would do that lies in his statement. Socrates knew that, had he choose to go into exile, he would be expected to stop living the way that he was. He would no longer be able to teach others, let alone question and examine his own life. For Socrates, this would be absurd. He believed the entire point of living life was to examine. He felt obligated to live a life where he questioned not only what was going on in his life but also the rights and wrongs that happened. He would rather give up his life than not be able to question what was happening.
     Philosophy is about questioning life and the world one lives in. Without questioning and wondering, life and philosophy would be worthless. An unexamined life would lead to one that was without question and curiosity, something which Socrates could not fathom. Without the curiosity that comes with examining life, philosophy would fail to exist. According to Socrates, a great philosopher, life would not be worth living without the addition of the philosophical thinking that helped to make our lives more exciting and worthwhile. Socrates lived his life to question and to wonder. The addition of philosophy made this possible. If examining ceased to exist, so would the life of those who

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The Partially Examined Life

Official Logo for the Podcast, drawn by Ken Gerber

StarringMark Linsenmayer, Seth Paskin, Wes Alwan, Dylan Casey
FormatGuided discussion / Informal conversation
Created byMark Linsenmayer
Written byVarious
Length90 minutes - 130 minutes
Theme music composed byMark Linsenmayer
No. of episodes183
Original releaseMay 11th, 2009 – present

The Partially Examined Life is a podcast and downloadable audio series about philosophy.[1] It is self described at the beginning of many episodes as "A philosophy podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living, but then thought better of it." The most frequent participants are Mark Linsenmayer, Seth Paskin, Wes Alwan, and Dylan Casey. The show also sometimes brings on experts to discuss particular topics.


The show came together as the brain child of Mark Linsenmayer who reached out to Seth Paskin and Wes Alwan to do the show in the format of a podcast. Mark, Seth, and Wes had been classmates at the University of Texas while earning their Master's degrees in Philosophy. The first full episode, "The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living," aired (become downloadable) on May 12, 2009. Dylan Casey later joined the program as a regular after previously having been a frequent guest. Dylan also manages The Partially Examined Life website and Facebook page.

References to The Partially Examined Life[edit]

  • The AV Club, a publication of The Onion, discussed The Partially Examined Life in their publication for the week of February 23–29 [2]
  • The National Catholic Reporter mentioned The Partially Examined Life in a blog post on Kierkegaard on February 27, 2012 [3]
  • Bad Philosophy Podcast episode 116 mentions The Partially Examined Life[4]
  • Artist Dennis Hollingsworth mentioned The Partially Examined Life in a post on his website, referring to Episode six on Leibniz[5]
  • Well-known American art critic and philosopher Arthur Danto, whose essays "The Appreciation and Interpretation of Works of Art," and "The End of Art" were the subject of Episode 16 "Danto on Art," listened to and enjoyed the program. He later wrote to the show and suggested follow up readings.[6]
  • The Partially Examined Life was reviewed by Colin Marshall of Maximum Fun on January 2, 2012[7]
  • Patricia Churchland, well known Canadian-American philosopher and author, appeared on the podcast to discuss her work "Braintrust: What neuroscience tells us about Morality" in Episode 41.[8]
  • Slate's Stephen Metcalf talks up the Partially Examined Life on the Culture Gabfest. [9]

List of Episodes[edit]

The following is a full list of complete, official episodes of The Partially Examined Life. The podcasters have also released music, pre-episodes ("Precognitions"), and other non "official episode" media. This list includes only the official, numbered episodes of the podcast.


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