Episodes…

Feast your ears on the richest and most majestic of Professor Metal’s media…

Ep 33: Philosophy and Mental Health; Foucault’s Nightmare?

Welcome one and all to Professor Metal’s Irate Debate and Calamitous Commentary with The Philosophical Chain Gang

Today’s episode is Madness and Philosophy: Foucault’s Nightmare?

Warning: We are discussing the concept of Mental Health in this episode, which we understand is a topic about which many people hold strong opinions. These are our own opinions and experiences, and should not be perceived as professional opinions or advice

The Philosophers discuss what we mean when we talk about madness

Sean explains Pathologies and what that term means

The Philosophers talk about mental illness as something that negatively impacts your life

Sean explains how this could be viewed through Value Theory

Ryver and Sean clarify this point by discussing some of the push-back against these ideas of mental health

Bruce talks about the ability the internet grants to form communities and allow people to come together over things that differ from the perceived societal norm

Ryver and Sean explain the benefits of this in terms of things people cannot or do not feel comfortable talking about in their local community

Sean discusses the evolution of the idea of community as a result of the expansion of the internet

Bruce proposes that perhaps the medical model of mental health will need to change with the evolution of expanding cultures

Sean counters that this may not be a problem with the medical model of mental illness as much as the public health model, that perhaps there needs to be an individual idea

The Philosophers talk about the dangers of self-selected communities creating a form of intellectual homogeneity that reinforces behaviours that do not integrate with the society as a whole

Sean clarifies that these same groups can provide the support people with a particular world-view need to better integrate into said society

Ryver discusses some of the benefits of these groups from his own experiences

Sean and Bruce go over the benefits of introspection and the tools Philosophy can give us to analyse our own world

Ryver discusses the evolution of societal ideas of normalcy, including changes to the tool many use to diagnose mental illness: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)

Sean and Ryver talk about the history of treating mental illness

Sean discusses the history of how people with what we now refer to as mental illness were treated, as well as what Foucault had to say about this history

Ryver briefly talks about the history of asylums

Bruce compares and contrasts the historical and modern problems with how mental illness is considered as a whole

Sean discusses Foucault and the transitions of epochs of knowledge and how this impacts our ideas of illness in general and mental illness specifically

Bruce proposes Aristotelian virtue ethics as a precursor to modern psychology

Ryver posits that some of the behaviours we consider to be pathologies are actually useful character traits in certain professions and fields

Sean expands on this point by discussing the importance of efficiency in our society

The Philosophers discuss different ways this can apply to people with mental illness

Sean and Ryver talk about how perception of these traits are tied quite closely to socio-economic status

Ryver explains how this view seems to have evolved in the modern Zeitgeist

Sean and Bruce raise questions about this view

Ryver responds by clarifying the points he has raised

The Philosophers discuss how the views on and the stigma towards mental illness disproportionately impact the poor

Sean and Bruce flesh out this idea as it pertains to modern American culture

The Philosophers talk about discussions on mental health and mental illness, and encourage you to have these discussions

And as always please give us your honest review on iTunes and Stitcher. It helps us make the show better with every one we get to read.

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Ep 32: Popular Tragedy; Do Celebrities Ever Really Die?

Welcome one and all to Professor Metal’s Irate Debate and Calamitous Commentary with the Philosophical Chain Gang

Today’s Episode is Popular Tragedy: Do Celebrities Ever Really Die?

The Philosophers discuss what we mean when we talk about popular tragedy

Sean brings up a situation in which a group of people seem to revel in a tragic event

Ryver questions why we care about tragic events in the lives of people we have never met

Bruce and Sean present a possibility as to why we react to events in celebrities lives

Ryver explains how these ideas pertain to celebrity culture

The Philosophers talk about how our minds react to celebrities and how that affects us

Sean and Bruce elaborate on how this creates a slightly awkward dynamic in interactions between celebrities and their fans

Ryver discusses how this relates to our obsession with tragic events in celebrity’s lives

Sean compares the way we treat death of celebrities and the historical deaths of monarchs

Ryver and Sean talk about the saturation of the media when it comes to popular tragedy

The Philosophers compare the cult of personality of deceased celebrities to the idea of deification surrounding certain historical figures

Sean brings up the negative reputations that can be left behind by these figures

The Philosophers speak extensively about the different legacies that celebrities leave behind, as well as the legacy of figures that refuse to fit the mould, such as Kurt Cobain

Ryver talks about depression and suicide and how this relates to the topics discussed thus far

Sean and Bruce expand on how this can bring to the forefront in the popular perception things that people may otherwise not be inclined to put thought into

Ryver and Sean debate whether or not this has to do with what we are comfortable looking at in our day to day lives

Bruce explains what he refers to as concern fatigue

Sean talks about how some of these ideas apply to the literary concept of tragedy

The Philosophers discuss the problems and appeal of tabloid magazines

Bruce points out the hypocrisy in our treatment of celebrities

Ryver talks about appeal of the positive events in our interactions with celebrity culture

Sean explain the concept of exceptionalism

 

And as always please give us your honest review on iTunes and Stitcher. It helps us make the show better with every one we get to read.

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Ep 31: Aesthetics of Despair; What’s Good About Feeling Bad?

Welcome one and all to Professor Metal’s Irate Debate and Calamitous Commentary with the Philosophical Chain Gang

Today’s Episode Aesthetics of Despair: What’s Good About Feeling Bad?

The Philosophers talk about why we seek out negative emotions

Bruce posits the idea that if there is a great deal of bleakness in one’s emotional environment, then a little of something bright does a great deal more than it otherwise might

Ryver expresses that perhaps there is something to this idea found in the Horror genre of media

Sean and Bruce discuss this in terms of a modern form of asceticism

Ryver talks about the idea of bleakness enhancing the enjoyment of brightness in terms of catharsis

Bruce asks if perhaps when we revel in negative emotions is preparing ourselves for when we might not have much of a choice about feeling them

Sean questions this, stating that perhaps doing this takes away from other aspects of our lives

Ryver talks about this in relation to subcultures and how this can create a sense of belonging

Sean compares this to the culture surrounding the French Existentialists

The Philosophers discuss the French Existentialist

Ryver and Bruce talk about the Romantic movement and how it pertains to certain groups within the Goth culture

Ryver brings up despair-focused culture in terms of early hip-hop

Sean and Bruce counter with other possibilities they believe to be a more thematically accurate depiction of the music

Sean talks about a certain subset of country music that falls into the category of culture that revels in negative emotions

Ryver and Sean discuss Art as a means of expressing negative emotions

The Philosophers move to discussing the negative emotions found in the Horror genre of media

The Philosophers talk about the uncanny valley and the unknown, as well how inverting expectations can create a sense of fear all its own

Bruce posits that experiencing a variety of negative emotions through various types of media can give us a broader emotional experience without needing to necessarily go through negative events

Sean talks about how outer space is an amplification of the metaphors concerning the darkness of a woodland night or a dark closet

Sean proposes a theory as to why we seek out negative emotions drawn from the Doctrine of Hardship: we are seeking the ugly truth beneath the beautiful illusion

Ryver and Bruce discuss how this might pertain to the culture of both the French Existentialists and modern Goth culture

Sean explains that we need to find balance between seeking these truths and illusions, but that human beings are not ultimately wired for effectively finding that balance

Bruce and Sean talk about how this relates to the ideas of moderation proposed by Epicurus.

Ryver takes the last word to talk about optimism in Goth culture and the movement of the culture from Nihilism to Camus’ Absurdism. He also relates these things to the movie Pan’s Labyrinth.

 

And as always please give us your honest review on iTunes and Stitcher. It helps us make the show better with every one we get to read.

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Ep 30: Misinformation in the Information Age; Are You Caught in a World Wide Web of Lies?

Welcome one and all to Professor Metal’s Irate Debate and Calamitous Commentary with the Philosophical Chain Gang

Today’s Episode is Misinformation in the Information Age: Are You Caught in a World Wide Web of Lies?

The Philosophers talk about how we determine our willingness to believe information

The Philosophers work together to find a working definition for the term Critical Thinking

Ryver explains confirmation bias

Sean and Ryver discuss the problems found in the massive amounts of information media in modern culture, as well as a few possible ways of verifying some of these sources

Bruce expands on some of the means of source verification

Sean explains the philosophical position of skepticism and epistemic goals

Bruce talks about how extreme skepticism can lead to relatively implausible conclusions

Ryver and Bruce break down this concept in terms of the JFK assassination and stress the importance of being willing to admit and/or accept ignorance as to the facts of the matter

Sean explains conspiracy theories in terms of memetics

Bruce posits that part of the draw of conspiracy theories is that there is some comfort in having someone to blame for major tragedies rather than them having no clear villain save for, at best, incompetence

Sean expands on these ideas

The Philosophers talk about the draw of conspiracy theories on a psychological level

Sean and Ryver talks about how all the ideas presented thus far pertain to Marketing

Bruce and Sean talk about the industries that get away with outright falsehood in advertising, such as “supplements” and homeopathic treatments

The Philosophers talk about how the “As Seen on TV” products prey on our natural tendencies toward believing things

Bruce explains the signal-to-noise ratio and how this pertains to the fact that all opinions, no matter how outlandish or thoroughly falsified, can be found somewhere on the internet

The Philosophers talk about the pitfalls of information homogeneity and whether or not having the gatekeepers of old were better than what we have now

Bruce expands on the epistemic goals that Sean raised earlier

Sean explains the idea and benefits of lateral media transmission

Bruce talks about the importance of set goal posts for skepticism and looking in to our own bias

Bruce takes the last word to explain the Illuminati. Bruce also explains that if the Illuminati existed, which they do not, they would be the good guys, as well as the history of the Bavarian Illuminati, which did exist.

And as always please give us your honest review on iTunes and Stitcher. It helps us make the show better with every one we get to read.

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The 1st Anniversary Special

Welcome one and all to a very special Anniversary episode of Professor Metal’s Irate Debate and Calamitous Commentary with The Philosophical Chain Gang

The Philosophers introduce the creation of the episode, and discuss the origins of The Philosophical Chain Gang

The Philosophers talk about the gritty reboot of a wide variety of movies, from Batman to The Big Lebowski.

Ryver discusses the appeal of the old Batman TV Series and the cultural changes that lead to it

Bruce presents his problem with Michael Keaton as Batman

The Philosophers discuss the career arc of Tim Burton

Professor Metal talks about his hopes for Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and why the dream could never be

Ryver presents the existential terror not quite hidden with the Gene Wilder version of this movie

Bruce discusses the tone of the movie as relates to the source material

Sean and Ryver expand on the horror aspect of the movie

The Philosophers discuss the seemingly predetermined nature of the children’s selection, and the possible moral tale that accompanies each character

The Philosophical Chain Gang discusses Charlie and The Chocolate Factory as an allegory for a variety of biblical scenarios

And as always please give us your honest review on iTunes and Stitcher. It helps us make the show better with every one we get to read.

Help keep the show going and the moon safe by supporting us on Patreon

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Ep 29: Art and Subsidization; Who’s Paying the Piper? Part 2

Welcome one and all to Professor Metal’s Irate Debate and Calamitous Commentary with The Philosophical Chain Gang

Today’s Episode is Art and Subsidization: Who is paying the Piper? Episode 2

Sean and Ryver talk about the possible consequences of over-saturation of art funding

Bruce and Sean discuss how this relates to the subjective value of art

The Philosophers examine the idea of art that is not appreciated during the time or life of the author

Sean and Ryver talk about the category of movies known as “Cult Classics”

Bruce explains the idea of how a movie is determined to be successful

Ryver talks about the difference in standards amongst movie directors

Sean discusses how we approach movies as both an entertainment medium and art form

Bruce proposes an issue with the distinction between entertainment and art

Ryver addresses the issues concerning these categories

Sean interjects that there are also dark sides to the art community

Ryver expands on art dealership as an example of this dark side

Sean and Ryver discuss the paintings of dubious provenance stemming from World War II

The Philosophers talk about the use of art as a way to make large sums of money whilst doing no actual creation of content

Ryver and Bruce address the associated value of media such as music or movies, specifically as relates to piracy

The Philosophers bring up artists that literally create their own money, such an Banksy and Emperor Norton

Sean transitions into a discussion of how the digital revolution has effected art world

Bruce talks about how the value becomes what appreciation of the art is worth when there is no physical medium

Ryver expands on this by discussing the role of crowd-funding plays as a replacement for the historical system of patronage

Sean explains why and how Patreon makes it possible for artists to be supported for whom systems such as hermitage would not work particularly well for

Ryver explains what Data-moshing is, and how this relates to what is called remix culture

Sean expands on this to explain glitch art

Bruce and Sean talk about how this is both similar to and distinct from physical art media

Ryver goes on to discuss how a similar model to crowd-funding is used in creation, both in remix culture and in more traditional art media

Sean questions whether or not the artist involved in remix culture are themselves creating the art or, if monetary gain is to be made, if it should be made by the original artists

The Philosophers discuss this question as an examination of how one could divide up these things, and whether or not some societies that have rules in place concerning this have handled it well

Sean brings up a slightly more old-school way of taking someone’s art and making it your own: Forgery

Bruce posits that there is no money going to the original artist at that point, and that it largely does not matter if the value of the art is appreciation of the piece of art in questions

Ryver counters with the idea that the value of the art itself stems from the authenticity of the piece as much as the piece itself

Sean takes the last word to discuss funding projects that we feel are important to the world, such as Professor Metal’s Irate Debate and Calamitous Commentary with The Philosophical Chain Gang, and how this funding can help each of us improve our lives as both intellectual and emotional beings. He also discusses the benefits of art to share experiences, such as what the artist has experienced that the viewer may wish to understand without needing to actually experience them, such as the horrors of war.

And as always please give us your honest review on iTunes and Stitcher. It helps us make the show better with every one we get to read.

Help keep the show going and the moon safe by supporting us on Patreon

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Ep 28: Art and Subsidization; Who Is Paying the Piper?

Sean talks about the development of using municipal art projects to stimulate the local art scene

Ryver discusses the Portland, OR art scene as an example of this

Bruce compares this to the history of music

The Philosophers discuss the benefit of a well-developed local art scene

Sean proposes the idea that a thriving of a local art community can enrich the inner life of the people in that place

The Philosophers talk about another common form of art, that of so-called “corporate” art, and how this is distinctly different

Bruce explains why he feels that corporate art is a lesser form of art

Sean expands on the points Bruce brings up, and why corporate art is different

Bruce talks about the arbitrary nature of the price of art

Sean and Ryver propose and discuss the idea of corporations having a direct financial incentive to produce art that makes people feel a particular way

Ryver discusses the similarities between this and native advertising

Bruce compares this to propaganda

Sean expands on this idea

Bruce and Sean talk about the factors that determine the success of certain art forms and the exceptions within those criteria

The Philosophers encounter an Existential Crisis; find out what happens during the thrilling conclusion of Art and Subsidization: Who Is Paying the Piper?

And as always please give us your honest review on iTunes and Stitcher. It helps us make the show better with every one we get to read.

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Ep 27: Nuclear Power and the Environment; What Can Green Do For You?

Welcome one and all to Professor Metal’s Irate Debate and Calamitous Commentary with the Philosophical Chain Gang

Today’s Episode is Nuclear Power and the Environment: What Can Green Do For You?

Sean and Ryver set the topic for tonight as restricted to the issues with purely peaceful nuclear power

The Philosophers talk about the wide variety of energy production sources

Sean posits that there is likely no perfect single energy solution, and asks what we should do until we figure out something better than what we have

Ryver and Bruce talk about what kind of improvements have occurred in nuclear technology

Sean and Ryver discuss the differences between the somewhat recent event of the Fukushima and the nuclear accident that most have at least heard of, Chernobyl

Sean touches on improvements in the technology to clean up nuclear accidents when they do occur

Ryver and Bruce talk about the parallels drawn in people’s minds between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons

Sean plays devil’s advocate to bring up the risk profile inherent to nuclear energy as opposed to other energy generation options

Ryver responds to Sean’s assessments with brief explanation of the material sciences dedicated to the further development of Nuclear energy

Bruce talks about the risk-reward profile of nuclear energy

Sean posits that we are dedicating resources that could go to developing and improving other energy generation methods

Ryver discusses the benefits of the research being done for Nuclear energy generation to other fields, such as space travel and exploration, to fields outside of nuclear energy

Sean counters Ryver’s point by explaining that without Nuclear power generation, we would not need these better materials and that, perhaps, we should not be investing too heavily into space exploration if we cannot maintain the world we have

Ryver talks about the reasons he views nuclear energy as a positive force, and that this should not stop us from working on renewable resources

Bruce brings up that the best way to manage the risk profile of different energy generation methods is the classic way of managing risk: diversification

Sean drops in the real and practical reason for focusing on fewer means of energy generation, that the research dollar is itself a limited resource.

Ryver talks about how more money in the development of a single technology can reach a point of diminishing returns

Bruce brings up the age of our existing nuclear energy plants, and how if we are going to limit the number of them, we should at least update the ones we have with the new technology

Sean and Ryver go back and forth on the bias towards nuclear power from the business and legislative perspective

Sean steps down from the position of Devil’s Advocate and speaks to how the newest generation of nuclear reactors can be a great boon to less developed nations

Ryver talks about Thorium pebble bed reactors, and how they would be perfect for a great many of these situations

Bruce discusses a few of the geopolitical ramifications of this

Sean and Bruce speak on the sensationalized reporting of the possible effects of nuclear power, and the similarities between this and the construction of the Large Hadron Collider

Ryver expounds on the clean-up efforts around Fukushima and what we are learning and improving on as a result of that

Sean talks about the benefits to our understanding of how the world works that have and can be brought about by nuclear research, and that we may perhaps owe this to future generations

Ryver and Bruce discuss in some depth the effects of our research into radiation on our ability to more safely exit Earth’s atmosphere

Sean and Bruce expand on how the mistakes we make ultimately lead us to greater understanding

Ryver takes the last word to talk about the social and political policy as relates to nuclear accidents and how attempting to cover up problems surrounding these accidents lead to greater lasting harm

And as always please give us your honest review on iTunes and Stitcher. It helps us make the show better with every one we get to read.

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Ep 26: HP Lovecraft and Epistemology; What Shouldn’t We Know About Knowing?

Welcome one and all to Professor Metal’s Irate Debate and Calamitous Commentary with The Philosophical Chain Gang

Today’s Episode is HP Lovecraft and Epistemology: What Shouldn’t We Know About Knowing?

Sean and Bruce briefly explain Epistemology as a field of philosophical study

Ryver discusses how these ideas tie into the mythos of HP Lovecraft

The Philosophers talk about the theory of knowledge within the Lovecraft Mythos (commonly referred to as the Cthulhu Mythos), and how certain knowledge can be dangerous within that context

Ryver and Sean bring up that that many of the characters in Lovecraft’s stories who come across this dangerous knowledge are people for whom knowledge is a goal in itself: scientists, researchers, and the like

Sean talks about the role Hubris plays in acquiring this harmful knowledge

The Philosophers explain the differing roles people play in relation to dangerous knowledge within the mythos

Ryver explains the role of the book known as the Necronomicon in both Lovecraft and similar stories

Sean and Bruce discuss the downfall brought about by human curiosity in several stories and media

Bruce and Ryver discuss the differences and similarities between the Gods/Monsters of the Cthulhu Mythos and the monsters of other types of horror stories

The Philosophers break down the ideas and theory behind the dangerous knowledge within the mythos

Sean and Ryver explain the difference in the Cthulhu Mythos between knowing something and Knowing it, and how hubris plays a part in seeking the knowledge the character is warned against finding

Bruce brings up our modern tendency to move forward in some fields of knowledge without fully understanding the possible consequences.

Sean frames these things in the context of Lovecraft’s time

Bruce takes these ideas a little farther back and touches on the idea that once knowledge is in the world, there is little or nothing that can be done to remove its influence

Ryver expands more on these points and ties in related works, both in Horror and Science Fiction

Sean talks more on the history of stories about hubris, and how those have changed as we enter the earlier 20th century, in that source of the consequences ceased being gods or otherworldly forces and became a thing that humans themselves were doing

Bruce and Sean discuss the differences between monsters in many other stories and the Elder Gods of the Cthulhu Mythos, and how this relates to the changes we saw in warfare in World War I

Ryver relates this to the one exception to the uncaring nature of the Gods of the Cthulhu Mythos: Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos.

The Philosophers discuss the frightening idea of needing to retreat into ignorance in face of these dangers, and how one can avoid the folly of hubris in the world of HP Lovecraft

Ryver and Sean relate this to the detonation of the first nuclear bombs

Sean takes the last word to talk about how we, as individuals, approach, understand, and interact with knowledge. He also discusses the idea of whether or not certain knowledge is really worth having

And as always please give us your honest review on iTunes and Stitcher. It helps us make the show better with every one we get to read.

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