Podcast on Philosophical Topics Relevant to Science

“Most of the methods used prior to concept maps consisted of various forms of interviews and analyses with experts, including case studies of how experts accomplished some remarkable achievement (Hoffman et al., 1995; Klein & Hoffman, 1992). In fact, these methods continue to be highly popular with many cognitive scientists, most of whom are unfamiliar with Ausubel’s [2] work and the kind of epistemological ideas on which concept mapping is based. In a review of the table of contents for 20 recent books on cognitive science, not one included “epistemology” in its index.” [1] (my emphasis)

Reading this paragraph from the concept mapping paper, I felt the familiar unbearable lightness at yet another hill to climb, now epistemology. Only I’ve made some progress on this front thanks to our friends at the Partially Examined Life. These folks do a bang up job making sense of very difficult philosophical topics you might find relevant to your own investigations. The Partially Examined Life philosophy podcast is an engaging place to begin, or a fun place to continue, your investigations of philosophical topics such as epistemology, causality, ontology, and language–among others.

The hosts of this podcast work to make each episode free of prerequisite philosophical knowledge (“…we don’t assume you know anything about philosophy“), and explain these philosophical topics in the most accessible terms.

Works you might find interesting (and recognize)

Here are some episodes I found particularly insightful introductions to the heavy lifting topics in philosophy & science. In the months since I’ve started listening to the podcast I have kept notes on those podcasts which I have listened to. This first podcast on Husserl pops-up as including epistemology, however there may be others which I’ve missed.

Let me just conclude saying I don’t offer the PEL podcast as a reference resource, rather, as a supplement. The site is organized by author and work covered in each episode. Think of PEL this way. After you complete some preliminary research on a topic, say, epistemology, at Wikipedia, and Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and you discover one of the great philosophers cited in the text, such as Husserl, you will be well served by listening to a PEL podcast introduction before you tackle the author’s text yourself.

Hope you enjoy this fantastic effort from the hosts Mark, Wes and Seth as much as I have. Good Luck.


[1] Page 29, “The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them.” Novak, Joseph D. & Alberto J. Cañas. 2008.

[2] David Ausubel citations in the paper:
Ausubel, D. P. (1963). The psychology of meaningful verbal learning. New York: Grune and Stratton.
Ausubel, D. P. (1968). Educational psychology: A cognitive view. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Ausubel, D. P., Novak, J. D., & Hanesian, H. (1978). Educational psychology: A cognitive view (2nd ed.). New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.