I consider myself to be a metaphysical naturalist, despite the fact that I agree with some of the claims the Horwich makes. I do think that there are different epistemic tools that one can use other than the scientific method, as I mentioned above with regards to the intentional stance. But I don’t think that a commitment to these epistemic claims leads to any strange ontological commitments, like the existence of anything over and above the natural world. This probably makes me a committed naturalist still trying to find her way through the wilderness.
Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Bana Bashour.
How cigarettes work
(a lesson in patience)
with an occasional break
By Johanna Hedva.
Reading this takes us to the libidinal chaos of the founding stories, a female Christ, doubles, and in the novel Nina’s mother ‘… a star…[who] needed a lackey… she would sing, she would tell endless stories, but then they had a gagging effect on you these stories… now and again she would spark off a scandal, she had to get all the attention, even if it was negative attention.’ The mother is the scandal who shakes the world out of a torpor through presenting her beauty as both a necessity and consequence: ‘… my mother in the street, with no clothes on, hysterical naked, with a folded gown hanging on her arm, wearing just a pair of yellow stilettos, definitely drunk, she used to say wine was good for your blood, she was so pale.’
Richard Marshall reviews Susana Medina‘s Philosophical Toys.
Philips argues that there is only the thinnest of lines between trolling and sensationalist corporate media. The main difference is that Trolls do it for leisure and for no pay whereas corporate media do it as a business strategy and get paychecks. She claims that they are comfortable fits within the hypernetworked digital media landscape. Trolls use the internet technologies creatively and expertly. They align with corporate and social media marketers. They mobilize the dominate cultural tropes of adversarial and (mainly white) male gendered notions of success, dominance, western entitlement, expansionism and colonialism, and embody the key values of the USA – life , liberty and freedom of expression.
Richard Marshall reviews Whitney Phillips’ ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things. Mapping the Relationshp Between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture.
What if we read Poe or Lovecraft as philosophers rather than as writers of short stories? What if we read Poe or Lovecraft as non-fiction? This means that the typical concerns of the writer or literary critic – plot, character, setting, genre, and so on – will be less relevant to us than the ideas contained in the story – and the central thought that runs through much of supernatural horror is the limit of thought, human characters confronted with the limit of the human.
A systematic, comprehensive exploration of the links between philosophy, religion, and the horror genre: excerpt by Eugene Thacker.
why don’t you
to the morning
of yr colleagues
drawn curtains to twitch
By GS Smith.
Armand’s writing is perceptual, vivid, senses drenched – and so the visceral and bodily responses are foregrounded throughout. Yet by so doing his writing connects us to the neural circuits that instantaneously appraise the perceptions felt along the dimensions of the hedonic, the prudential, dangerous, noxious, nourishing and so on, a buckled sensory array that each organismic character is relating to. These are the bed rock of Armand’s writing, whereby he reenacts as simulations the raw material of biographical narratives whilst showing that these are selves that depend – overdepend – on the bodily stimuli. Without that, they lose a sense of self-identity, as if they have lost in some very distinctive way, a necessarily personal perspective on the information.
Richard Marshall reviews Loius Armand’s Abacus.
I argue that all the standard rationales for capital punishment ─ deterrence-oriented, retributivist, incapacitative, and denunciatory ─ fail to establish that such punishment is morally legitimate. Each of those standard rationales is the application of a general theory of punishment to the death penalty. To succeed as a justification of that penalty, a rationale has to establish that the execution of a convict is both morally obligatory and morally permissible. Since none of the standard rationales does establish the moral obligatoriness and moral permissibility of the death penalty (either when each of those rationales is considered discretely or when they are considered in combination), none of them can properly serve as a basis for the imposition of that penalty.
Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Matthew Kramer.
This logic and discourse of conspiracy in the popular political imagination is not, on the whole, that of Eco, or Shea and Wilson. Dan Brown, in his artless way, has captured the zeitgeist far more faithfully. This is the conspiracy just below the surface, but which most are too lazy to see, which Explains It All. It is a Manichean black and white world of good and evil, with one all controlling, all powerful secret at its heart. Once the dark, hooded, (and possibly albino) agents of the controlling conspiracies have been vanquished, then the truth will out, and we will be set free.
Ben Granger on conspiracy in literature.
The significance of Kant’s philosophy is, however, counter-balanced by its notorious difficulty. Reading through the table of contents alone, with its dazzling and labyrinthine array of sections, sub-sections, and sub-subsections, is a task in and of itself. Nevertheless, if Kant’s philosophy achieved one thing, it was a renewed optimism in philosophy, much in line with Enlightenment ideals concerning the advantages of secular reason and the “maturing” of humanity as a whole. Reading through Kant’s works, with their patient and rigorous divisions and sub-divisions, there is a sense of philosophy as an all-encompassing, totalizing endeavor. Philosophy, in its Kantian modes, knows everything – it even knows what it doesn’t know.
Philosophy meets horror against the backdrop of an indifferent, unhuman cosmos, in this excerpt from Eugene Thacker‘s Starry Speculative Corpse.