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Interviews » The End Times » On what there is for things to be (published 21/12/2014)

The grounding principle seems to have quite substantive ontological implications. Take the true claim that there once were dinosaurs. What object could be such that its existence grounds the truth of that claim? Perhaps any of the formerly alive dinosaurs. But you might have thought there aren’t any such things – after all, isn’t that what we mean by saying that dinosaurs are extinct? That there don’t exist any dinosaurs? So the grounding principle pushes you toward accepting past objects in your ontology: your dead great-great-grandparents, Caesar and Cleopatra, the dinosaurs and what not, all exist, all as real as you and me – only they’re somewhat different from you and me in that they’re past.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Stephan Kraemer.

Interviews » The Underground Island (published )

One premise, not rigorously applied, was that you should be able to live somewhere in Britain without money. So with a few exceptions we offered free accommodation, ad lib, to who-ever made it to the island. No references, no deposit. In the early days, no council tax. No notice to quit, no eviction, however extreme the acting-out. It was how the Welfare State was supposed to work. Incidentally, as Machiavelli reminds us, this was also how ancient Rome was founded, by attracting fugitives and outlaws from the modern.

Richard Marshall interviews Roc Sandford.

Criticism » Nonfiction » Grave Desire (published 06/12/2014)

Simone de Beauvoir in Force of Circumstance of 1963 writes of a night with Sartre, Bost, and Giacometti at the Golfe Restaurant where the sculpturer of Godot’s tree told the story of Sergeant Bertrand the nineteenth-century necrophiliac. The rest of the evening was spent addressing the issue of how one judges obscene unprecedented crimes. Finbow’s great book is an open invitation to join that essential conversation. Why essential? The world has become an inventory of such obscene unprecedented crimes. What Finbow makes us wonder is why we’ve stopped the conversation. This astonishing silence is our putrid wound.

Richard Marshall reviews Steve Finbow‘s Grave Desire: A Cultural History of Necophilia.

Interviews » The End Times » the metaphysics of logic (published 05/12/2014)

One important thing that non-classical logics have done that classical logic has not (although, who knows, it may have, had Frege lived longer) is, after stepping carefully in problematic domains, to revise or rebuild completely in the light of suspicious results: classical paradoxes or limitations in areas like quantum physics, the foundations of mathematics, and plain old everyday reasoning in inconsistent or even just possibly inconsistent situations – have all inspired non-classical logics, and as a result we now have logics offering more nuanced and accurate models of deduction across at least some contexts and at most, more contexts than those classical logic can handle.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Penny Rush.

Criticism » 9 lives of class war (published 29/11/2014)

There are moments in hell when Dante’s wrath is provoked but kept under control. Similarly with Ray, his anger is controlled and just. In Hell God is Wrath and Vengeance and Dante learns to understand that in this context they are attributes of Divine Justice. Home is clear that the context of Ray’s life is a Hellish place and so his secularized version of anger and revenge amongst the cruel and exploitative toffs are to be understood as similarly just.

Richard Marshall reviews Stewart Home‘s The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones.

Interviews » The End Times » Paradoxes (published )

I encounter people who are dealing with paradoxical situations in their own lives. One woman, for example, told me that she is now wondering whether she is living with the same person she married twenty years ago. “He’s the same man, of course,” she admitted, “but he has changed so drastically, I’m not really sure he’s the same person.”

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Margaret Cuonzo.

Criticism » Tony White’s Sinuous Traces (published 22/11/2014)

Missorts II is a parable about the underground republic of letters launched at a time when huge subterranean rivers of discontent and unrest roll. Anonymous marches, the international phenomenon of the Occupy movements, these are our brief eruptions but there is always the fear of state crackdown that means messages are coded, discrete and secret. Betrayals and misreadings hurt in this advanced state of suspicion. They happen at all levels.

Richard Marshall on Tony White‘s Missorts Volume II.

Interviews » The End Times » On The Romantic Absolute (published 21/11/2014)

Schlegel’s claim is that philosophy does not concern any one topic, nor does it amount to any one conception of truth or reality; rather, it is in a state of eternal conflict, such that it is only by grasping the various conflicts within philosophy––determining the ways they emerged, and were resolved or dissipated––that we can grasp what philosophy is about.Schlegel similarly argues that literature must be understood through its history. In his lectures on the history of European literature he maintains that “the new cannot be understood without the old,” because “literature can only be understood as a whole.” In other words, in order to understand the nature of literature one must grasp the history of literature.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Dalia Nassar.

Criticism » Nonfiction » Wittgenstein’s Radiator and Le Corbusier’s treacherous knot. (published 15/11/2014)

Airplanes in the first world war were all typically made out of wood. Wood, however, was exactly the treacherous-knot material that Le Corbusier feared. Metal, on the other hand, was thought less susceptible to error and so very soon after the first war planes were being made of metal. These early planes couldn’t actually fly but were deemed superior to the wooden ones that could because they represented error free reality. Metal collapsed the distinction between explanation and description. The price of this collapse, Hughes writes, ‘ … was flight itself.’ She asks the obvious question: ‘ If airplanes do not need to be able to fly, do explanations need to tell the truth?’

Richard Marshall on Francesca Hughes’s wondrous Architecture of Error.

Interviews » The End Times » Parts, wholes, abstracts, tropes and ontology (published 14/11/2014)

A book may be part of the library and a page part of the book, but the page is intuitively not part of the library. By contrast, if an amount of rice is part of a larger amount of rice, which in turn is part of a dish, the first amount of rice is still part of the dish. This is because amounts of rice are not integrated wholes, whereas books are.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Friederike Moltmann.