This is where we put the episodes
episode 51: jordan peterson w/ Jay whitecotton
Pat was feeling friend-zoned so Ben reaches out to Jay Whitecotton, William M. Hicks Professor of Postmodern Studies at Duke University and Pat's roommate, to talk about the earth-shattering "philosophy" of consummate edgelord Jordan B. Peterson. In this installment, Jay guides Ben and Pat through the murky swamps of postmodern thought, the Versus Culture, and the virtual battlefields on which so many InCels and SJWs fight maniacally for the hearts and minds of tired, confused people. Pat mostly stared at his phone for this one and only perked up when Jay mentioned stuffed-crust pizza. Join the DSA.
episode 50: baruch spinoza
Pat was feeling cosmic, so Ben turns him onto the pantheistic philosophy of 17th Century Rationalist Baruch Spinoza. Harbinger of the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution, this Portuguese Dutch Jew developed a system of thought so at odds with the Jewish thought of the time that he ended up getting excommunicated from the Amsterdam Jewish community, giving them a feisty middle finger on the way out. Basically, Baruch AKA Barry AKA Benedictus AKA Bento Spinoza cast doubt on the notion of God being a personal agent with intention, a huge no-no among the Jews cast out from Spain and Portugal at the time. Instead he equated God with Nature, implying that all existence unfolds as an inevitable process and that we're all simply manifestations of God itself. Note the "it", not the "He". God has no personhood, agency, or intention, and is therefore no different than a cosmic, natural force. The cause of it all. In the meantime, the WisdomBois learn that littering is hilarious, Pat's family is anti-semitic, and that giraffes are kosher. Fuck yeah.
episode 49: The medium is the message w/ Joe Faina
Pat was feeling extremely online af lol so Ben brings in fellow philosopher and our 9th fucking guest Joe Faina to explain why we’re all so angry and stupid all the time. Turns out, our behavior and interaction with the world around us is controlled by the platforms through which we express ourselves. As Marshall McLuhan famously declared, “The Medium is the Message.” In other words, Social Media, our iPhones, the Internet, TV, radio, writing & even language itself have pigeonholed our human experience and distilled our essences into nothing but a slurry of enraged idiocy. Excuse us while we drag whoever’s responsible on Twitter.
episode 48: the transcendentalists
Pat was feeling self-reliant so Ben welcomes him to the early 19th century philosophy of the Transcendentalists. As the US’s first showing in America’s Got WiseGuys, the Transcendentalist movement drafted the top thinkers of the day to go hard in the paint: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau & Margaret Fuller. Together, they crafted a hybrid philosophy championing spiritual independence, American self-reliance, civil disobedience, and generally telling society to fuck off.
episode 47: Arthur Schopenhauer
Pat was feeling pessimistic so Ben tries to lift his spirits with the philosophy of dour German 8th-grader Arthur Schopenhauer. Born in Danzig in 1788, Schopenhauer grew up in the sunny afterglow of the Enlightenment and absolutely hated it. He developed a philosophy in response to the Enlightenment's unbridled pep, seeing Reason as nothing but a representation of something bigger, dumber and far more violent: the Will. The Will compels us to strive for ultimately nothing meaningful. Money, Power, Love -- it's all bullshit. So just be an artist. Watch out for snakes!
episode 46: the famous violinist w/ judge john dean
Pat was getting too big for his britches so Ben invites Pat's literal father, Federal Judge John Dean, to weigh in on a loony thought experiment called The Famous Violinist. Concocted by Pat's arch-nemesis Judith Jarvis Thomson, this thought experiment provides a defense of abortion in the most convoluted way possible. It just so happens that Pat's dad, after a failed attempt to become a Catholic priest, wound up studying law instead and clerked for Justice Blackmun, the guy who wrote the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade. Listen & subscribe to hear 3 men talk about a woman's right to choose. What could go wrong? (Srsly tho, support Planned Parenthood.)
episode 45: modal realism
Pat didn't know how to cut an onion, so Ben introduces him to the many worlds of Modal Realism. Developed by philosopher David Lewis, Modal Realism contends that there are multiple universes that exist alongside ours and they're composed of every possible scenario conceivable in our language. Crazy, right? Anyway, Ben and Pat scream at each other and come to the conclusion that you can't find a good pastrami on rye in this state. Also check out our Patreon.
episode 44: slavoj zizek w/ Avery Moore
Pat was feeling ideological so he invites his & Ben's mutual friend Avery Moore to help explain the philosophy of Slovenian lunatic Slavoj Žižek. Using Žižek's penetrating analysis/incoherent ramblings, Ben & Avery expose the insidious lure of Late Capitalism and show Pat how its ideology perverts reality to trap us in a Matrix of consumerism. We also confirm the latent Nazism of Pokemon Go.
episode 43: osho
Pat was feeling unfulfilled so Ben brought him into a wild, wild country to meet Osho AKA Rajneesh Bhagwan, transcendent guru, pied piper of Baby Boomers, and war criminal of Oregon. Have you ever felt empty? Like you were destined for so much more? But no one set you up to grab what was yours? Then come gather round, fellow sannyasins. What motivated this Rolex-donning, Rolls Royce-driving diva? Listen, rate, & subscribe to learn more.
Episode 42: Niccolo Machiavelli
Pat was feeling conniving so Ben taught him the underhanded ways of Niccolo Machiavelli. Born in 1469 (heh heh) in Florence, Italy, Machiavelli became world-renowned for his amoral guidebook on how to be the most ruthless Mafia don in the world. Read by the likes of Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Napoleon, and Stalin, Machiavelli's "The Prince" touched off a whole new era of political theory that dispensed with ethics and taught you how to run shit so you never got got. Basically, don't trust anyone, not even luck.
episode 41: John Duns Scotus w/ Patrick Sirois
Pat was feeling dense so Ben brought in our 6th fucking guest, Medieval scholar Patrick Sirois, to talk about the philosophy of John Duns Scotus. In a crossover episode for the ages, the WisdomBois talk with the host of Lie, Cheat & Steal to get to the bottom of the univocity of Being, haecceity & the problem of universals, and where the word “dunce” comes from. Spoiler alert: it’s the dude’s name.
episode 40: What is it like to be a bat?
Pat was feeling misunderstood so Ben put things in perspective by asking what it would be like for Pat to be a bat. This insane question was put forth in 1974 by philosopher of mind Thomas Nagel to illustrate how unique & intractable the issue of subjective experience is in the face of scientific scrutiny. How can we possibly know what it's like to shriek in front of us to navigate our world while flying around as a furious, blind monster. Nagel's answer: We can't.
episode 39: Logical fallicies
Pat was feeling duped so Ben gave him a crash course in logical fallacies. From ad hominem attacks, to begging the question, Ben shows Pat how to identify the various ways people use faulty logic & fuzzy reasoning to trick poor saps into falling for FAAAKE NEWS. The WisdomBois also discuss Ben's notorious sharing of fake memes on Facebook and how a certain middle school science teacher got a little too close to Pat's sister.
episode 38: Monkeys Typing Shakespeare
Pat was feeling cheeky so he asked Ben to shed some light on easily the most profound question in all of human thought: How long would it take for a bunch of monkeys to randomly type out all of Shakespeare’s plays? After a meandering journey through the principles of probability, the meaning of Art, and the baffling silliness of the British, the answer drove them both to irreparable insanity.
episode 37: Sigmund Freud
Pat was feeling neurotic so Ben had mutual friend & Director of The Vienna Institute of Psychoanalysis Jared Hawley come on the show to talk about Sigmund Freud. Freud was a serious scientist/naughty pervert who had some wacky theories about our unconscious lives and also had massive issues with cigars & cocaine. It’s Freud, baby! (Please ignore the sniffles. We all had colds.)
Episode 36: Epicureanism
Pat was feeling indulgent so Ben teaches him the decadent philosophy of Epicureanism. The secret to happiness is harnessing pleasure and avoiding pain, as told by Epicurus in the 3rd Century BC. Also, we're nothing but atoms, nothing happens to us when we die, and the gods, if they exist at all, don't give a shit about you. In other words: You ain't here for a long time, you're here for a good time.
episode 35: stoicism
Pat was feeling agitated so Ben initiates him into the unflappable school of Stoicism. In Part 2 of our Second Greek Triple Stack, Ben & Pat explore the life & thought of founder Zeno of Citium, who emphasized the use of Reason to live according to Nature, mastery of the Passions to achieve happiness, and generally how to be less of a pussy. They also discuss Stoicism's popularity with the Romans, especially as adopted by philosopher/Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
episode 34: cynicism
Pat was feeling cynical so Ben schools him in the Ancient Greek philosophy of Cynicism, pioneered by uncompromising sage/public masturbator Diogenes of Sinope. Pat & Ben recount Diogenes' crazy antics to illustrate the principles & values that underpin the Cynical ethos: an austere lifestyle, speaking truth to power, and a wholesale rejection of conventional morality (hence the public masturbating).
episode 33: cornel west
Pat was feeling revolutionary so Ben explains to him the philosophy of Cornel West, former Princeton professor and Ben's close, personal friend. Close enough to call him "Brother." Pat & Ben explore Brother West's ideas on socialism, neo-pragmatism, and the historicity of democracy. Most importantly, Pat learns how to turn philosophy into action through PRAXIS: Practicing Radical Astronauts Xenophobes Is Stupid.
episode 32: The Self
Pat was feeling schizophrenic so Ben brings in an expert to set him straight: our 4th guest Carina Magyar! Carina and Ben help Pat navigate the thorniest of philosophical issues: What is the Self? Which part of the Self corresponds to which member of the WuTang Clan? Did Michael Jordan kill his dad? What would you do if an exact copy of you threw a concert on Mars? Find out on the latest installment of I Learned Nothing!
episode 31: david hume
Pat was feeling Caledonian so Ben introduces him to the groundbreaking philosophy of Scottish genius David Hume. Ben guides Pat through the misty moors of our mind, explaining how Hume, the Groundskeeper Willy of Philosophy, tackled the issues of causation, logical induction, and the ‘is/ought’ distinction in morality. How can we predict anything based on what we've seen before? What makes murder wrong? Get learnt ya daft fookin wankers!
episode 30: the archetypes
Pat was feeling haunted by the ghosts of our past so Benintroduces him to The Archetypes and Carl Jung's theory of the Collective Unconscious. Deep within our psyche lives a retinue of ancient comic book characters -- the Hero, the Trickster, the Shadow, Santos the Grill Cook -- who provide the basis of our myths and have influenced our species' behavior for eons. Let's get to know them. Also, Pat learns that the continents don't just float on top of the ocean, which...Jesus, Pat, c'mon.
episode 29: The enlightenment
Pat was feeling unenlightened so Ben blesses Pat with the story of The Enlightenment. Back in the 1700's, a bunch of French perverts got together and decided enough was enough. Church and State should be kept separate. The King is a douche bag. We should only use reason to decide how to live. Also, apparently Jean-Jacques Rousseau became King Pop Daddy of the Enlightenment after a tortured childhood full of spanking and sex with older broads. Noice!
episode 28: vedanta
Pat was feeling trapped so Ben teaches him about Vedanta, one of the six classical schools of Hindu philosophy. After an in depth tour of The Hindu Cinematic Universe, Ben explains the central concepts of samsara, moksha, karma, atman and Brahma. In other words, how do we escape the prison of endless birth, death & rebirth so we can finally reunite our souls with the Ultimate Reality? Ben & Pat also revisit their Catholic upbringing and confirm that Stan Lee sucks and should just die already. Namaste!
episode 27: Martin Heidegger
Pat was feeling spiteful so he made Ben explain the philosophy of problematic genius/unapologetic Nazi Martin Heidegger. Through his teeth, Ben tells Pat about Heidegger's earth-shattering insights on Being, his cowardly involvement with the Nazi party, and the unique experience of human beings as the only form of Being conscious of itself and its own inevitable death. The Wisdom Boys also discuss the artistic work of evil men and Pat reveals that his father is a retired judge who murdered dogs. This ep is packed with flavor, you guys.
episode 26: The New Atheists
Pat was feeling blasphemous so Ben reveals to him the secret teachings of The New Atheists. Also known as "The Four Horsemen" by every freshman in your dorm who considered himself a genius, this quartet of smug pricks includes rival podcaster Sam Harris, deceased British drunk Christopher Hitchens, zoologist and memelord Richard Dawkins, and actual philosopher Daniel Dennett. Like the old atheists, they deny the existence of God and the immortality of the soul. However, these nerds think religion is actively harmful and must be stopped. Is Pat up to the challenge?
Episode 25: michel foucault
Pat was feeling marginalized so Ben taught him the postmodern philosophy of French scholar and horny maniac Michel Foucault. Specifically, Pat wanted to know how & why our current society's system of knowledge was being used as a weapon of power against him and other deviants. The Wisdom Boys talk madness, criminality, and hardcore fucking sex. Ben also gives a play by play of the famous televised debate, deftly mediated by a shy Dutchman, between Foucault and his intellectual adversary, the ancient Jew known only as Noam Chomsky. Sacre Bleu!
episode 24: Daoism
Pat wanted to take a load off so Ben tells him about the Way AKA the Dao. In a wild, meandering episode, Ben and Pat talk about the ancient Chinese philosophy of Daoism, and explore its relation to Being, Non-Being, Laoze, Donald Trump, Chinese dinosaurs, The Band, whiskey, Alan Watts, bloodthirsty cats, and the drunk, faithless English. It's a hell of a ride. Won't you join us? Dao you doin'?
Episode 23: the veil of ignorance
Pat wanted to know the best way to form a just society so Ben explains The Veil of Ignorance. Developed by political philosopher & Baltimore scumbag John Rawls, The Veil of Ignorance is a thought experiment where people in charge of designing a just society imagine that they know nothing about the particular attributes they'll have in this new society. This ensures that the people will be unbiased when deciding on the principles their society will be based on. It confuses the shit out of Pat so he just yells at Ben about Fox News.
episode 22: Existentialism
Pat was feeling a looming sense of Angst so Ben introduces him to the chain-smoking, eye-rolling, turtleneck-wearing philosophy of Existentialism. As they stare into the black, meaningless Void that is our lives, Ben & Pat follow the trail of ideas that make up the existential tradition. They discuss the fear & trembling of Kierkegaard, the death of God (again), and Sartre's call to live authentically and avoid bad faith. Life is absurd and only we can define our selves. Also Pat learns how to say "existentialism" for the first time.
episode 21: zeno's Paradoxes
Episode 21: Pat's incessant questions have withered Ben's patience & health down to a nub, so Ben reaches out to our 3rd fucking guest, Duncan Carson! Duncan & Ben irritate Pat with the Paradoxes of Zeno, a Pre-Socratic philosopher and drunk who laid out several paradoxes (zany situations) challenging our conventional ideas of motion, space & time. Pat learns about the epic race between Achilles & the Tortoise, threatens people who like ranch, and rants loudly about mathematics. Ben and Duncan were never seen again.
episode 20: confucius
Pat was feeling less than confident in the state of our society, so Ben teaches him the ways of Confucius, or as he will henceforth be known: Master Kong. Pat and Ben discuss Master Kong's theories on what makes for a harmonious society, what makes for a chill bro, and how to attain the most coveted virtue in Confucius' ethical system: Ren, or human-heartedness. They also cover the difference between Eastern and Western conceptions of society, and Pat has a meltdown about thought experiments. All hail Master Kong and his Master Dong.
episode 19: The Chinese Room
Pat was feeling dumber than a robot so Ben invites him to check out The Chinese Room. Developed by philosopher John Searle, The Chinese Room is a thought experiment that challenges the notion of Strong AI -- Strong Allen Iverson. Ben and Pat explore the nature of machine intelligence, The Turing Test, and what it means to understand a language. Can machines think like us? What's it like when a robot beats off? Not a game, not a game, not a game...Practice.
episode 18: free will
Pat was wondering if he was really in control of his choices, so Ben explains the concept of Free Will. Do we really decide the course of our own lives? Do choosy moms really "choose" JIF? What justifies our system of criminal justice if all of our actions are determined by physics? Pat and Ben explore the implications of choice, will, and what makes our behavior truly a part of our selves. Also, don't suck your friend's blood on the bus. It's weird.
Episode 17: Herbert Marcuse
Pat was feeling seductive so he asked Ben about 1969 Playmate of the Year/Frankfurt School philosopher Herbert Marcuse. Pat & Ben wear velvet smoking jackets as they discuss Marcuse's ideas, like how Marxism needs a Freudian pick-me-up, and how capitalism has conditioned us into a one-dimensional society where we're forced to either consume or die.
episode 16: the scholastics
Pat was getting nostalgic about his Catholic school days (where he first met Ben) so he and Ben get into some Catholic shit. They cover the medieval philosophy of SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, Ockham's Razor, and Peter Abelard's junkless crotch, among other things. Ironically, these philosophies, which currently underpin all of Catholic theology, wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for Muslims, whom the Church handsomely rewarded with a bunch of crusades. Ad Majorem Gloriam Dei, bitch.
episode 15: aristotle
Pat could barely sit still as he and Ben wrap up their award-winning Greek Triple Stack series with main Logic Daddy himself - Aristotle. Ben explains the 4 Causes, the Syllogism and Aristotle's virtue ethics. Pat learns that Aristotle was the only person who could yell at Alexander the Great in public without getting murdered. Pat liked Aristotle better because he's a more down to earth bro and doesn't imprison children in caves to grow up blind and stupid like Plato did. As a result, Pat doesn't yell at Ben. We all have fun. Hooray!
episode 14: plato
Pat was wondering what the Big Idea was, so Ben introduces him to the Idea Man himself: Plato. Long considered Socrates' successor and consigliere, Plato has a lot to say about Justice, Truth, and how to hang during an epic Greek smoke sesh. Pat & Ben talk about the Republic and Plato's Theory of Forms. Everything is peaches & cream until they get to the Allegory of the Cave. Pat hates the metaphor and yells at Ben about it, noting that it's a contrived device to make a fairly obvious point
episode 13: Socrates
Pat was curious about how this whole philosophy thing got started in the first place, so Ben sits him down and tells him about Socrates, the toga-wearing, hemlock-chugging maniac who kicked off this non-stop wisdom party. In the first installment of a 3-part series, "The Greek Triple Stack," Ben and Pat talk about a man from Athens who asked so many questions, the state executed him just for being annoying. But that couldn't stop what he already started: the Western philosophical tradition as we know it. All without writing anything down. Real piece of work, this guy.
episode 12: The Problem of Evil
Pat was wondering why God allows bad things to happen to good people, so Ben explains The Problem of Evil. Long used by atheists to challenge the existence of God, this issue has been irritating religious people for millennia. Ben and Pat discuss how annoying atheists are, how little God gives a shit whether you believe in him or not, and the different responses theists (folks who believe in God) have developed to solve this problem. This includes the sheisty, lawyerific response Ben came up with in his thesis to ultimately graduate from Princeton. Should be a doozy.
Episode 11: Hannah arendt
Pat was feeling oppressed (again) so Ben explains the groundbreaking political philosophy of Hannah Arendt, who is way smarter and better at philosophy than that charlatan Ayn Rand. Pat learns about Arendt's theory of the rise of totalitarianism in the 20th Century, why modernity fucked everything up, and how average people become wicked through the Banality of Evil. Fun fact: her book The Origins of Totalitarianism saw a dramatic spike in sales on Amazon the day of Trump's inauguration because no fucking shit. Listen and learn something. Don't be a tool. Punch a Nazi.
episode 10: The ship of theseus
Pat lost his identity and panicked. In an attempt to get Pat's sense of self back, Ben explains The Ship of Theseus paradox. If you replace all the planks of wood from the ship one at a time over the years, is it the same ship in the end? If the old planks are used to build another ship with the exact same design, is that the original ship? If you go into a teleporter that disassembles you atom-by-atom at one end and reassembles you with new atoms at the other end, did you die? Do you step out a clone?? How does this help Pat? Frankly, it doesn't. Pat gets confused and yells at Ben. The End.
episode 9: the brain in a vat
Pat was freaking out because he couldn't tell if we live in a simulation or not. After Pat forces Ben to watch the entire Matrix trilogy, he makes Ben explain the 'Brain in a Vat' scenario. Is any of this real? Can we wake up from this nightmare? And what does all this have to do with 17th Century French pervert Rene Descartes? Pat learns that Cipher kind of had a point, Morpheus is an asshole, and that the most famous quote in the history of philosophy, "I think therefore I am," was Descartes, not Shakespeare.
Episode 8: Terence Mckenna & Alan Watts
Pat wanted to expand his mind so Ben brought in Christina Parrish to explain the psychedelic philosophies of Terence McKenna & Alan Watts. Christina and Ben send Pat on a trip where he learns how to dismantle the Ego and shatter his preconceptions with the help of some groovy learning aids: Psilocybin, LSD & DMT. Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out. Bitch.
Episode 7: ayn rand
Pat was being a whiny, entitled bitch, so he made Ben explain the "philosophy" of famous novelist/cult leader Ayn Rand. Pat learns how she used her turgid, hackneyed, pedantic novels as a platform for her ideology, Objectivism. Objectivism is a half-baked philosophy for petulant toddlers emphasizing selfishness as a virtue and rapacious capitalism as the best economic system. Her followers are insufferable. Don't ever talk to them.
Episode 6: Friedrich Nietzsche
Pat sensed something was amiss. Turns out, he was right: God is dead! Pat takes on the case and brings in his partner Ben to find God's killer. Pat suspects syphilitic weirdo Friedrich Nietzsche, but as Ben explains the mercurial philosopher's life and work, the case gets more complicated. In the biggest spoiler in Western intellectual history, we learn that we were the killers the whole time and poor Freddy got framed for the murder, along with another historical catastrophe of the 20th century (Nazism). He may have been a insufferable dick, but he had some intense ideas, like the Ubermensch, eternal recurrence, and the fact that the moral fabric of our society is ultimately based on arbitrary, unsubstantiated values. There's nothing out there that meaningfully separates civilization from chaos, so enjoy life before the Purge starts.
Episode 5: Zen Buddhism
Pat was seeking enlightenment so Ben brought in an expert. John Rabon joins Ben as our first guest to explain Zen, living in the moment and resisting the lures of pleasure. Ben and John enlighten Pat by explaining the history of Buddhism, its ultimate goal of eliminating all desire, and how an unhealthy obsession with immediate gratification and the pursuit of pleasure leads to unhappiness and lack of fulfillment. Buddha would know because Buddha smashed.
Episode 4: Immanuel Kant
Pat was feeling ambitious so he wanted to tackle one of the greats: German philosopher & weird virgin Immanuel Kant. Ben explains Kant's whole mission to Pat, which was basically to lay out a comprehensive, scientific theory of how we know things. He did this by reconciling the two competing theories of knowledge at the time: Rationalism vs. Empiricism. This was an insane thing to attempt, even for a huge nerd like Kant, which may explain why he never left his hometown and never, ever got laid. Pat also advances the theory that Kant's weirdness came from having a super hot mom. Who knows?
EPISODE 3: KARL MARX
Pat was feeling oppressed so he recruits his revolutionary friend Ben to teach him about class struggle, revolution, and the man behind it all: Big Bad Karl Marx. Pat learns about the dialectical march of history, alienation, and why you shouldn't get your leftist rhetoric from teenagers screaming on the Internet. In this episode, we also get a brief cameo from Pat's roommate, Jay, but you probably won't hear him because he wasn't mic'd. Join the DSA! We have nothing to lose but our chains!
episode 2: The Trolley Problem
Pat is obsessed with trains & trolleys. So, to keep Pat engaged, Ben explains The Trolley Problem, a famous ethical dilemma, while teaching Pat the difference between right and wrong. In this very special episode, Pat and Ben discuss deep ideas like actions, culpability and consequences. They also uncover a sinister cabal of philosophers, led by Judith Jarvis Thompson, whose only goal is to murder the nation's obese people using a vast network of trains.
Episode 1: Schrodinger's cat
Pat was curious about Schrodinger's Cat, the famous thought experiment developed by Nobel Prize winning pervert Erwin Schrodinger. Schrodinger's Cat explores the insane metaphysical implications of quantum theory, so Ben had to start off by teaching Pat advanced theoretical physics before explaining how this cat has been fucking with our understanding of reality for years. We also discuss why this involves the ritual torture of household pets and beating off. Tim the Cat listens in horror.