Perceptions and Appetitions: New Music About Philosophy (guest post)


To refute a theory, but it’s my life that’s on the line…”

The following is a guest post* by Kris McDaniel, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, about the release of a new album, Perceptions and Appetitions, by The 21st Century Monads. It’s a bonus Friday addition to the series of weekly guest posts by different authors at Daily Nous this summer.


[Renee Jorgensen, detail of cover of “Perceptions and Appetitions” from The 21st Century Monads]

Perceptions and Appetitions: New Music About Philosophy
by Kris McDaniel

After an almost eight year long hiatus since our previous album, the 21st Century Monads return with 17 original songs spanning 55 minutes of music.

The 21st Century Monads consist of Ben Bradley (Syracuse), Carrie Jenkins (U. Vancouver), Kris McDaniel (Notre Dame), and Hille Paakkunainen (Syracuse). We all teach philosophy and the songs are all about philosophy or aspects of the philosophical profession.  This will be our sixth album—our first album was released in 2009! Recording for Perceptions and Appetitions began in May 2020.

The first single for the new album was already released on Wednesday. It’s called The Cabinet, and you can watch the music video for it here:

Our webpage lists all the information about the songs (lyrics, who played what instrument, etc); this information can also be found in the YouTube video descriptions.

Also, we are on Facebook and Twitter—if you are on these things, please follow us there.

If you like what we are doing and you want to hear more, here’s how to “purchase” the entire album:

  • First, make a donation to the charity of your choice. There is no minimum amount you need to donate. Even a dollar can make a difference, and we will happily send you the album.
  • Second, email us the receipt (with any credit card or bank information blanked out) so we can keep track of how much we’ve raised. Email us at: [email protected]

Once these two steps are completed, we’ll send you an email with a secret link to donate the album. It’s that easy.

There are hundreds of charities to choose from, but here are two charities of personal importance to me that I donate to and recommend considering:

First, Neighbor to Neighbor South Bend. This is a local (South Bend, Indiana) charity that focuses on aiding refugees that have recently relocated to the South Bend area. The direct link to their donation page is here.

Second,  We Rise Above The Streets Recovery Outreach Inc. This is a Syracuse, NY based charity focused on helping the homeless population of Syracuse, NY. It’s a very low-infrastructure boots-on-the-ground kind of charity. You can help out with their “Sandwich Saturdays”, a weekly event where community members come together to make and then distribute food and other necessities for those in need by purchasing food directly for them via this link here.

This album has been at least two years in the making, and I think it is our best stuff to date.  I hope you enjoy it.

And now, without further ado, here’s the next single from Perceptions and Appetitions, called A Halting Problem:


Lyrics and Liner Notes 

“The Cabinet”

Going in, going in, going in
Will I survive?
What is life, what is life, what is life?
This cruel, cruel test that PvI designed
To refute a theory, but it’s my life that’s on the line

He closes the door, do I look outside one last time?
Will my body start to fade away or my mind?
How can a thought be indeterminately mine?
When the door opens, it will be vague whether it’s I

What do we fear … in The Cabinet
It’s so unclear … in The Cabinet
What will befall … in The Cabinet
But aren’t we all … in The Cabinet

We’re not fully here … in The Cabinet
Do we lose what’s dear … in The Cabinet
You won’t be spared … in The Cabinet
So are you scared … of The Cabinet? 

Music copyright [email protected] 21st Century Monads
Lyrics: Kris McDaniel, Carrie Jenkins
Kris McDaniel: vocals, edrums, keyboards, electric guitar, melodica, bass melodica
Ben Bradley: bass guitar, electric guitar
Hille Paakkunainen: vocals
Will Bradley: trumpet 

“A Halting Problem”

I got a halting problem baby
Must this go on forever baby? 

It’s the not knowing that’s killing me
Will this program ever let me be?
I feel like such a fool
Is this undecidable?

I’ve got a halting problem, baby

They say there’s just no algorithm, baby
Will I ever rest again, oh baby?

Ooooooh I’m a machine
And that’s what’s killing me
Will this program ever let me be
A turing machine
Is this undecidable?

I’ve got a halting problem, baby

Well you know I’m just a machine
So you’d hope one day I’d learn
Well you know I’m just I’m just a machine
But still it burns 

I’ve got a halting problem, baby

Music copyright [email protected] 21st Century Monads
Lyrics: Carrie Jenkins, Kris McDaniel
Kris McDaniel: vocals, edrums, electric guitar, 8-string ukulele, keyboards
Carrie Jenkins: vocals
Ben Bradley: bass guitar, cello, electric guitar, acoustic guitar  

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