Tell us about your podcast.
Two Beers Until Phronesis is a philosophy podcast where a group of friends discuss life’s big questions over a few beers. Some of us are MA graduates in philosophy, others never went to college. We’re on all the major platforms like iTunes and Spotify, but primarily do everything through YouTube. Philosophy can often fail to resonate with many people so pretty early on we decided (with occasional exceptions) to keep conversations light-hearted and the tone informal. Whether you’re familiar with philosophy, a student in the humanities or you’ve never heard of it, there’s likely to be something in it for you.
Why did you start doing a podcast?
Since graduating university and being thrust into working life it was a chance to continue learning and get others involved along with it; an excuse to see friends, drink beer and learn new skills. It was an extension of our social lives, since these were the discussions we have in the pub anyway. We wanted to promote the importance of these conversations and how fun they can be rather than pretentiously preach any particular views we might have – something that’s sorely needed in the current climate.
What are the best three episodes you’ve aired so far, in your opinion?
One of our most well-received episodes has been “New Years and Resolutions.” We often pick seasonal topics; trying to keep our discussions relevant and grounded and this was a really fun one to record. We talk about how to form and maintain effective resolutions using a bit of Stoicism. We also discuss the cultural role of new year celebrations and the history and mechanics of recording times and dates.
Our episode “Mindfulness & Other Spiritualities in the West” was a blast and one of the first we ever recorded. As is the way with podcasting, our first series was a ginormous learning curve but fortunately (after some technical issues) we managed to recover this particular highlight. In it we discussed the mindfulness explosion, namely its growing prominence as an industry and some of the ethical controversies surrounding its applications. We also went down a few rabbit holes on Orientalism, yoga and 60’s counterculture and, somehow, Nazis and veganism.
Recently we’ve started a new side-series called “The History of Ideas” which runs concurrently with the regular episodes. Our aim is to cover all the major thinkers in Western thought, discussing them informatively and conversationally. It all starts with “The First Philosophers”, where we talk about the influence of the Pre Socratics. We aim to exponentially and thoroughly get through most of Western philosophy; telling the story of the Enlightenment.
Can you recommend one other philosophical podcast and tell us about one good episode?
Philosophise This!, The Partially Examined Life and In Our Time are great for gaining insight into the history and the ideas in philosophy. But just in case you didn’t think you could mix irreverence, inside jokes and tipsy tangents with philosophy any more than we could, The Drunken Philosophy Podcast is testimony to the fact that you most certainly can! While generally overlooked and billed under the genre of comedy, it’s an enjoyable and authentic look at a real conversation between friends; right where philosophy should be. We’ve only just discovered it, but their episode on Niccolo Machiavelli is hilarious.
Besides straight up philosophy podcasts, could you recommend another podcast?
We’ve recently been enjoying The Portal, which is a podcast by Eric Weinstein. The podcast covers a whole range of topics. In the 10th episode, Shaking the Poisoned Fruit of Shame out of the Family Tree, he sits down with author Julie Lindahl, the granddaughter of an SS Officer. Lindahl reflects on her heritage and comes to terms with how it defined her childhood and later life. With Eric being Jewish himself, it’s a really interesting and emotional insight into forgiveness and acceptance.