Thinking Out Loud Podcasts

Good Philosophical Conversation

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What makes a subject matter, philosophical? What makes a conversation style, philosophical? What is required for effective conversation of any kind? Is a cooperative style better than a confrontational style in philosophical discussions? What does it take to understand another's point of view? What is the objective of a good philosophical conversation? Is the search for meaning an essential part of any philosophical conversation? What fosters philosophical thinking in others? What stifles it? Are all philosophical questions timeless and universal? Are all timeless and universal questions philosophical? Must the philosophical topic lie outside the bounds of other established disciplines? Is a conversation about philosophical conversation, a philosophical conversation? Must the philosophical question be answerable? Must it be amenable to examination? What methods of examination are philosophical? How does one measure the success of a philosophical conversation? Who benefits from the conversation? What are the benefits? Are the benefits strictly intellectual? What does it take to benefit from a philosophical conversation? Can one find philosophical insight in any conversation? Can one find philosophical insight in entertainment? How can we find philosophical insight in any present moment?


Listen to the podcast:

Click to download in MP3 format (6.81MB)

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TOL Mission Statement


We engage together in, and record for broadcast, our earnest philosophical dialogues, so that we may:


  1. Enhance our understanding of life and the world in which we live.
  2. Stimulate intellectual curiosity and philosophical exploration in ourselves and others.
  3. Strengthen our intellectual skills of critical thinking and sound reasoning.
  4. Provide a forum for a diversity of thought from a broad spectrum of independent thinkers.
  5. Connect with and form a network among thoughtful and caring individuals, everywhere.
  6. Enjoy the pleasures of intellectually stimulating and philosophically insightful company.
  7. Promote the pursuit of wisdom in everyone.


TOL Guiding Principles


Civility - Treat everyone with respect. Use helpful, not hurtful language. Listen carefully and patiently when someone else is speaking.

Sincerity - Honest opinions and innocent questions are more valuable than "scoring points" or "looking smart". Strive for intellectual honesty.

Soundness - Favor sound reasoning over emotional rhetoric or sophomoric obfuscation.

Succinctness - Strive to be brief and to the point using understandable language. Speak loud and clear so others can hear.


TOL Rules of Discourse


Wait to be called on before speaking: Please don't just jump in. Restrain your enthusiasm. Hold that thought. Wait your turn.

One speaker at a time: No side conversations, comments, or noises please. They will be picked up by the recorder.

Address ideas, not individuals: Refrain from one-on-one debates, exchanges, or cross-examination. Focus on the message not the messenger.

Limit your time: Avoid the temptation to preach, teach, or lecture. Remember, others are waiting for their turn as well.

Yield to the moderator: - Always gracefully return the microphone back to moderator. Let the moderator determine who speaks next.


TOL Tips & Techniques


Listen carefully to what is being said and look for:


Assumptions that need to be examined.

Terms that need to be defined.

Inconsistencies that need to be resolved.

Distinctions that need to be made.

Patterns and relationships that emerge.


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