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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 » Death, Afterlife, Justice and Value (published 15/10/2016)

At no point in their theory do utilitarians rely on an independent notion of justice or fairness. They are concerned solely with the maximization of value. Non-consequentialists are the only people who treat justice as a fundamental moral concept. Since justice is a fundamental moral concept, the question should be: how do we (any of us) accommodate ideas of justice, and especially ideas about the justice of basic social, political, and economic institutions, within an overall outlook that is also sensitive to a variety of other moral values and principles, including values and principles that apply to small-scale personal relationships?

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Samuel Scheffler.

Interviews » The End Times » From A Biological Point Of View, and Then Some (published 09/10/2016)

I don’t endorse deism or interventionist theism. My point is just that evolutionary biology is logically compatible with the former and with some versions of the latter. I have bothered to make this point in print because I want to take the heat off of evolutionary biology. The more evolutionary theory gets called an atheistic theory, the greater the risk that it will lose its place in public school biology courses in the United States. If the theory is thought of in this way, one should not be surprised if a judge at some point decides that teaching evolutionary theory violates the Constitutional principle of neutrality with respect to religion. Creationists have long held that evolutionary theory is atheistic; defenders of the theory do the theory no favor when they agree.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Elliott Sober.

Interviews » The End Times » Against Empathy and Other Philosophical Beefs (published 07/10/2016)

It is not only the sciences that have changed the landscape, but also culture more generally, the present stage of capitalism, media and communication, finance, new forms of governance, lifestyles and consumption habits, new forms of political expression, new people making there presence felt on the global stage, and so on. There is some truth to the claim that some forms of classical philosophical inquiry might have lost their purchase on human reality in the wake of these transformations.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Jan Slaby.

[Pic: Edward Colver]

Interviews » The End Times » Robust (published 30/09/2016)

Models in science are based on assumptions, which are simplifications of real-world systems, in a similar way as with the model of the bridge. How can we apply the result of a model to real-world phenomena, where the initial simplifications do not hold? The idea behind robustness analysis is that if the result of a model holds under different assumptions, each of which captures certain possible aspects of the real world phenomenon, then our confidence in the result of the model is higher than before we proved its robustness.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Chiara Lisciandra.

Interviews » The End Times » Epicureanism, Early Mods and The Moral Animal (published 23/09/2016)

Even if the gods did exist, the Epicureans argued, they didn’t care about us. Rather, everything comes from nature, and all that really exists are atoms and void, moving and congregating. The life-world of human and animal experience, with colours, tastes, solid objects, is a perceptual effect of massed atoms.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Catherine Wilson.

Interviews » The End Times » The Virtue Epistemologist (published 16/09/2016)

Either we squelch our curiosity or we will have to fall into the circularity or regress to which the skeptic objects. Since the actual infinite regress is of reach for finite humans, we must fall into the circularity, the Cartesian sort of circularity, wherein we use our fundamental faculties (intuition and deduction, as they might be) in order to attain a picture of ourselves and the world around us (ourselves in the lap of a benevolent omnipotence) that enables us to endorse our use of those very faculties. There is no hope for a properly supportive perspective on our basic faculties that is not acquired by means of such inquiry.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Ernest Sosa.

Painting: Harry Adams.

Interviews » The Anatomical Venus (published 11/09/2016)

Many people find the Anatomical Venus disquieting. Grotesque and beautiful, spectacle and teaching tool, seemingly both dead and alive, she tends to elicit a strong emotional engagement, deep fascination, and intellectual uncertainty. This uncertainty, and the feelings of uneasiness it provokes, can be understood via the concept of The Uncanny.

Richard Marshall talks to Joanna Ebenstein about the Anatomical Venus.

Interviews » The End Times » The Constitution of Selves: Locke and the Person Led View (published 08/09/2016)


Our lives are unified, ongoing events that unfold over time and constitute a single, persisting person who is the right kind of entity to be the target of different kinds of practical concerns at different phases of her life. Infants are to be taught and nurtured and adults to be held morally responsible. So it is true of persons as wholes that they are beings who can be held morally responsible for what they do, but not throughout the whole of their lives.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Marya Schechtman.

Interviews » The End Times » Keeping It Real: The Colour of Mind (published 02/09/2016)

Social scientists tell us that some white people (especially liberal ones) do indeed feel collective guilt for past racial injustice. I have nothing to say about whether they should feel this way or are right to feel this way. Some social psychologists including one that I have co-authored two papers with (Nyla R. Branscombe) find that tapping into white guilt can have social justice-promoting positive benefits. But playing the guilt and blame game when it comes to race matters is, and has always been, tricky business in America. Martin Luther King Jr. certainly appreciated this, which explains why he worried (after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, were passed) that eradicating racial inequality in America was going to be even more challenging than putting an end to formal racial discrimination.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Derrick Darby.