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Interviews » Restless Hauntings: Richard Marshall Interviews Marina Warner (published 06/04/2009)

mw2By the time photography got into its stride it was accepted pretty much as a documentary index of reality. This was why it became very popular in spirit circles because it proved that spirits existed. Well now of course we know so much more about this very peculiar state of being which has been called ‘image flesh’ – a term of Maurice Merleau-Ponty that I like very much. It’s an expression I like because it implies flesh that is not flesh. He applied it to other forms of iconography, which are also image flesh. They might be more material than a photograph – a sculpture, a painting – but they share the relationship to the mind’s eye that photography does.

Richard Marshall talks Catholicism, zombies and Beckton Alps with Marina Warner.

Interviews » The End Times » Hume’s Irreligious Core (published 21/05/2016)

A plausible compatibilism – what I describe as critical compatibilism – must accept free will pessimism. It is important to note, however, that critical compatibilism and free will pessimism do not propose a solution to the traditional free will problem – as that depends on finding a way to satisfy or at least respect the exclusion requirement. Since critical compatibilism accepts free will pessimism, and free will pessimism involves rejecting the exclusion requirement, critical compatibilism involves rejecting the free will problem as it is generally understood. The morality system – which is deeply embedded in our Western, Christian culture – is highly resistant to this entire picture of the human predicament. Free will pessimism is, however, the truth about our condition and circumstances with respect to moral agency.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Paul Russell.
Picture: Billy Childish

Reviews » Skank: The World’s Most Dangerous Comic Book (published 15/05/2016)

Back when Skank and Attack! Books were rolling there was a sense of writing as being hardly the point, words being an excuse to present a comedic matter that doesn’t always rescue silence but gets close, with sentences just a further excuse to find such words; and through the fog of anguish which is the obvious mystery of life, they worked to prove these claims of comedy over tragedy, to float that idea out and test it. Punk felt like that too. That sensibility is here in this book.

Richard Marshall reviews Bobby Joseph‘s Skank.

Interviews » The End Times » The Rhetoric and Lethargy of the Anthropocene (published 14/05/2016)

The Wittgensteinian metaphor of picture that captivate us, which is the interpretive key to the arguments contained in my book, refers to a collection of futile philosophical assumptions, strongly criticized by the heroes of my narrative. Those assumptions prevented the development of more fruitful and more open views of language. While philosophizing about language we need to take into account a few factors, such as: 1) the existence of non-referential but meaningful expressions as well as the fact of the empirical underdetermination of reference, 2) the importance of performative dimension of language, 3) the role of practice of building and maintaining references in the area of situated speech (parole), 4) the existence of de-essentialised common area shared by the participants of acts of communication.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Ewa Bińczyk.

Interviews » The End Times » Kant, Marx, Fichte. (published 07/05/2016)

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It is a cause of shame to any member of the human race to be a member of the same species some of whose members could vote for any candidate for president that has been offered by the Republican party. Such people seem to be motivated only by short-sighted greed, ignorance, fear and hatred. It is sad to witness the persistence in our society of the racism and xenophobia that seems to be a permanent part of our political culture. It is shameful to see politicians exploiting these human weaknesses in order to gain political power. It is most depressing of all to contemplate a future in which politicians who do this will continue to have influence over people’s lives. As long as this party exists in its present form, our nation cannot endure as a free society. Still worse, under their policies the human race is being rapidly propelled toward its extinction. It is not possible to exaggerate the importance of what is at stake in our politics at present.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Allen Wood. Illustration: Billy Childish.

Interviews » The End Times » How Far Do You Have To Go Before It’s A Crime? And Other Puzzles (published 01/05/2016)

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I argue that even if an agent’s commitments are in general morally permissible, they can lead her to act wrongly by silencing what are in fact morally relevant considerations, such that it never even occurs to her that she ought to act other than she does. Think of a person who is so rigidly guided by her plans and policies that she fails to notice that she morally ought to deviate from them in a given case. My claim is that if the moral violation is explained by the kind of deliberative silencing I described, then it is a direct expression of her agency and something she is culpable for.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Sarah Paul.

Interviews » The Return of Ol’ Skank-Eyes (published 30/04/2016)

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There were offers for me to do comedy writing and presenting spoof documentary stuff but it was terrible stuff they wanted me to do. There was one production company that wanted me to do one on the Ten Best Things That Slavery Had Given Us! I couldn’t get my head round where they were coming from with that one. Slavery? Really? It was an abhorrent idea as a pitch and I was trying to work out how it would work. I mean, I asked them: “what kind of thing are you thinking about?” and they were giving me shit like; “Well, the chains could have turned to wearing gold chains…” Jeez. Well. Fuck that!

Richard Marshall interviews legendary Scotlan Yardie author Bobby Joseph.

The End Times » The Philosopher’s Library (Part 2) (published 24/04/2016)

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John McDowell’s Mind, Value and Reality, a great collection of essays. From an earlier period of analytic philosophy, Bernard Williams’s Moral Luck, Thomas Nagel’s Mortal Questions, Nelson Goodman’s Ways of Worldmaking. We are having a reading group at Sussex on G.E.M. Anscombe’s Intention, if you fancy some hard work, this very slim volume is recommended.

Book recommendations from philosophers interviewed as part of the End Times series.

Interviews » The End Times » Political Philosophy (published 23/04/2016)

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Marx tried to avoid moral criticism of capitalism, and this is one of the points of differentiation between ‘scientific’ and ‘utopian’ socialism. The scientific socialist is the person who understands the forces of history, especially the fact that capitalism must inevitably break down to be replaced by communism. The role of the scientific socialist is to bring this process to light so that it can be hastened. But once it is doubted that there is any such fact that capitalism must break down, the only form of socialism available, is ‘utopian’ socialism, which argues for communism on moral grounds. So it is the failure of history to follow the theory of scientific socialism, if indeed it does fail, that leads to moralism.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Jonathan Wolff.

Interviews » The End Times » The Rationalist Theist (published 16/04/2016)

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Either the Theist says that God wills things because they’re good (in which case he or she is committed to there being something independent of and prior to God’s creation, a standard of goodness that could be thought to limit His sovereignty and perhaps constrain His actions) or things get to be good simply because of the fact that God wills them to be so (in which case the substance of morality might be thought to be arbitrary; God could have made torturing puppies morally obligatory). Amongst philosophers who have written on this topic, I am unusual – possibly to the point of uniqueness – in thinking that actually all the major ways of ‘solving’ this so-called dilemma work.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Tim Mawson.