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Buzzwords » Top Reads of 2016: Richard Marshall (published 23/12/2016)

12 of what I’ve read this year: The Genesis of Neo-Kantianism, 1796-1880. Frederick Beiser. Beiser is an essential read and this is a great and readable book about an important sub-field of continental philosophy. It includes, for the Beckett fans amongst us, a chapter on Windelband, one of whose books Beckett read and from which […]

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 » Reasons Why (published 25/03/2017)

If all I want is for my life not to go well, then if I get what I want my life is not going well, in which case (according to the theory) I am not getting what I want, which is a contradiction. You also get a contradiction on the assumption that I do not get what I want.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Bradford Skow.

Interviews » The End Times » How Rational is our Rationality? (published 18/03/2017)

If you calculate a tip when you’re drunk, you should think of yourself as taking a belief-gamble – you’re forming a belief in a way that gives you a 50% shot at getting things right and a 50% shot at getting things wrong. This is the equivalent of guessing. Since the way in which we care about the accuracy of our beliefs prohibits guessing, this way of caring about accuracy also prohibits forming beliefs while drunk. A really interesting question is why we don’t like gambling on our beliefs, when we’re happy gambling on all sorts of other things.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Miriam Schoenfield.

» 3:AM for sale (published 15/03/2017)

Punk is Dead: Modernity Killed Every Night by Andrew Gallix and Richard Cabut, editors   The Guide to Being Bear Aware by Steven J. Fowler   Attrib. and other stories by Eley Williams   Dysfunctional Males by Fernando Sdrigotti   Square Wave by Mark de Silva   Vertigo by Joanna Walsh   Infinite Fictions by […]

Interviews » The End Times » Time and the Philosophy of Action (published 14/03/2017)

A billionaire has offered to give you a million dollars if, at midnight tonight, you intend to drink a toxin tomorrow afternoon. The toxin will make you sick, but it won’t kill you, so you wouldn’t mind drinking it for a million dollars. But there is one catch: the money will be deposited in your account (or not) before noon. So here is the problem: you have no reason to drink the toxin (and the billionaire has told you as much), since he isn’t paying you to do so. By the time tomorrow afternoon arrives, you will either be a millionaire or you won’t be, but you will have no reason to drink the toxin and a strong reason not to. Since you know this, it seems that forming an intention to drink the toxin will be difficult or even impossible without finding some way to trick yourself into drinking.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Roman Altshuler.

Interviews » The End Times » The Measure of Things (published 04/03/2017)

The ‘pragmatist’ line taken by Daoists, Nietzsche and existential phenomenologists such as Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, is the best one to take in order to dispel the pretensions of ‘absolutism’. The main objection, for example, to the ‘scientistic’ claim that physics describes the world as it is in itself is that, to recall James’s remark, you ‘can’t weed out’ the human contribution. That is, the scientific image of the world, like any other, is indelibly shaped by our interests, practices and prejudices. There is no reason at all to think that creatures with very different purposes and concerns would arrive at the scientific image, and no reason at all to accuse such creatures of getting the world wrong – a point that both Chuang Tzu and Nietzsche make when comparing human and animal perspectives.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews David E Cooper.

Interviews » The End Times » Tragedy and Philosophy (published 25/02/2017)

Tragedy is the expression of a view of life as defined finally by an insurmountable contradiction (of a law of life at odds with itself), while philosophy will always aim at a sort of overcoming of contradiction (of the law of non-contradiction as the need of truth).

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Dennis J Schmidt.

Interviews » The End Times » Evidence, Agency and Bad Faith (published 18/02/2017)

Since it might be extremely important for us to do something difficult, we can have excellent practical reasons to do it even if we don’t have evidence in light of which we can rationally predict that we will follow through with our decision. In those cases, we can rationally believe against the evidence: We can believe that we will do something difficult, even though we have evidence that there’s a significant chance that we will fail to follow through. If, however, we look to our evidence to settle the question of what we will do, when matters are up to us, we deny our freedom and we exhibit something akin to bad faith.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Berislav Marušić.

Interviews » The End Times » Why Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics Is More Important Than That of Poached Eggs (published 11/02/2017)

I think the scientists who are unhappy with metaphysics generally have a rather narrow view of what metaphysics is – that it’s speculation, unconstrained by empirical findings, angels on the head of a pin stuff. I’m not saying that doesn’t go on. But there is such a thing as empirically informed metaphysics. If you want to find out about the nature of the physical world, then sure, look to physics. But don’t expect a physics textbook to provide all the answers.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Peter Lewis.