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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 » What’s Fair About Disability, Rationing Health Care, Ageing and Overpopulation? (published 17/03/2018)

I don’t think that equality in itself is valuable. We should care about inequalities, but we shouldn’t try to deal with them by making people more equal; rather, we should help those who are worse off. In philosophical terms, that makes me a prioritarian rather than an egalitarian. A prioritarian holds that a unit of benefit has more value when it goes to a worse off person, and the worse off the person is, the greater its value; but she does not think it’s worth pursuing equality for its own sake.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Greg Bognar.

Interviews » The End Times » The Social Ontology of Power (published 15/03/2018)

In a much discussed article in Nature researchers Agnes Wold and Christine Wennerås showed that women had to be 2.5 times more productive than men to receive the same scientific competence score (in the context of post doc applications). Before the publication few people in Swedish society knew about this fact. And if we take this fact as an indication of a gender structure in Swedish (research) society, then we can see how this opaque power, which was disadvantageous to women and advantageous to men, depends on a gender structure to exist.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Åsa Burman.

Interviews » The End Times » McTaggart and Metaphysics (published 09/03/2018)

The starting point of the argument is that an adequate conception of time is one that has to incorporate change, because the very idea of reality being in time has to do with change. McTaggart then moves on to offer a phenomenological analysis of how time appears to us in experience, in order to then consider if that appearance incorporates change of some kind.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Rognvaldur Ingthorsson.

Essays » Twin Peaks as Islamic Process Metaphysics (published 03/03/2018)

The notion of incomplete souls and transmigration fused with bodily resurrectionist metaphysics is shimmering darkly all the way through. Yet we also see a metaphysical repertoire that includes at least three views: firstly that when death strikes for some the soul is separated from the body; secondly that there’s an eternal cycle of transmigration involving an infinite process of reincarnation to human and subhuman bodies; and thirdly the perfect and intermediately perfect are disembodied and the deficient undergo transmigration for the purpose of purification. In this there are interesting though imperfect links with the Islamic philosophy of Ibn Abi Jumhur al-Ahsa’i.

Richard Marshall on the strange metaphysics of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.

Interviews » The End Times » Davidson and Indeterminacy of Truth Conditions (published )

I’m interested in the questions of what it is to understand a language, what it is to be able to communicate with others, and what kinds of knowledge these might involve. And my view is that a promising approach to foundational questions in semantics is one that’s guided by concerns with the nature of semantic competence and the communicability of meaning. My interest is in the nature of our linguistic practices and the capacities underlying them. My questions are not “What is a language? What is meaning?”, but rather, “What are we, as producers and consumers of language, doing here? What does it take for us to be able to do it?”

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Arpy Khatchirian.

Interviews » The End Times » Ramchandra Gandhi and Contemporary Indian Philosophy (published 24/02/2018)

And there are instances of modernity extending premodernity in thinking. Take Gandhi who produced one of the most remarkable feats of hermeneutics when he went against the prevalent view that saw the Bhagavad Gita as a text that promotes violence. He found a new interpretation by drawing on resources both from within and outside the text to claim it to be a text of non-violence. All these developments if they are left untouched and disorganised can be reduced to a mere whimper. But as I said before, if one works on them then they can contribute to the making of a more confident India.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews A. Raghuramaraju.

Interviews » The End Times » Metaphysics of Technology and Panpsychism (published 16/02/2018)

Mechanistic materialism simply cannot account for the mind: qualia, consciousness, origins of the mind, subjectivity—these all remain intractable mysteries. Panpsychism offers new solutions and new ways of resolving old dilemmas, and philosophers are beginning once again to realize this fact.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews David Skrbina.

Interviews » The End Times » Impossibility and Non-Existence (published 10/02/2018)

According to Quineans, the concept of existence is captured by the quantifier. It is sometimes claimed that Quineans (should) deny that existence is a property, or that it is a property of individuals. That’s a mistake, as Quineans like van Inwagen pointed out. Quineans can have their existence property — a property of individuals. That’s the property of being something. It just isn’t a real property: anything is something.

For Meinongians, existence is a real property. That can’t be right for Quineans: to claim that some things do not exist is to claim that some things are such that there are no such things, which is preposterous.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Franz Berto.