:: Interviews

Does God Play Dice? published 17/09/2017

The puzzle of how the electron moves in an atom had been plaguing me. Day after day, I gradually doubted the reality of continuous motion. But I still felt in my bones that the electron is a particle and it must move in space in some way. Finally, in an early morning of October 1993, I experienced a sudden enlightenment or revelation. At that moment, I felt that my body permeated the whole universe and I was united with it. I “disappeared”. A clear picture then appeared: a particle is jumping in a random and discontinuous way. It is not inert but active; it moves purely by its own “free will”.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Shan Gao.

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Why Compromise? Why Peace? published 09/09/2017

I argue that we are never morally required to establish fair compromises, at least if fair compromises are understood as compromises in which the parties make an equal amount of concessions relative to what they can gain and lose. If you disagree with a friend about where to go on vacation, then you should certainly try to accommodate your friend’s interests, but this does not mean that you should be concerned with how much both of you can gain and lose from the interaction (and hence with the power relations between you two). Fair compromises might sometimes serve a pragmatic function as “focal points”, but there is nothing moral about them.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Fabian Wendt.

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Utopian Ensemble published

Puppets and dolls are the gateways between human beings and objects. There are tons of cliches to spout about puppetry and animism, the primacy of the object, attacking anthropocentric worldviews, etc, and while there were always puppets around, I started working with them to deal with the times I knew I wouldn’t be able to collaborate with other humans, to have a team. I try not to project too much narrative identity onto them, but one thing that I always come back to is the seemingly constant overlap between puppetry and radical politics that I think has to do with how it obviates control.

Continuing the States of Anxiety series, Jana Astanov interviews Kalan Sherrard.

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The Infidel and the Professor published 02/09/2017

Friendship was absolutely central to their lives and also important in their writings. Hume and Smith were both lifelong bachelors, so their relationships with each other and with their other friends were the most meaningful ties they had (along with Smith’s close relationship with his mother). And both of them claimed repeatedly, throughout their philosophical works, that friendship is an indispensable component of a good and happy life. Hume declared that “friendship is the chief joy of human life,” for instance, and Smith proclaimed that the esteem and affection of one’s friends constitutes “the chief part of human happiness.”

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Dennis Rasmussen.

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How to Talk About Empiricism published 27/08/2017

Empiricists in the philosophy of science take the basic criterion of success in science to be empirical, with the ultimate aim of empirically adequate theories, accurate representation of what is accessible to human observation and manipulation. Theories and the search for explanation are important, but instrumentally, as roads toward greater empirical knowledge. Empiricism is not skepticism, nor anti-realism in any general sense, it is just anti-scientific-realism. Empiricism as it is now can be combined with a ‘common sense realism’ that sees no difficulties in our reference to trees, rocks, persons, lasers, electron microscopes, interferometers, radio telescopes …. or, in their own way, optical phenomena such as rainbows and images produced by microscopes, to give some examples.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Bas C. van Fraassen.

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Pleasure Pusher published

Queer theory is incredibly complex and a relatively new field of study. I’d like to think there are some aspects of queer theory in what I’m doing. Theory is certainly of interest and always will be. For me, I think it translates when the naked body is explored outside of hetero sex, the possibilities to investigate non normative behavior regarding sex are very exciting and becomes queer automatically.

Continuing the States of Anxiety series, Jana Astanov interviews Trish Nixon.

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Aristotelian Metaphysics published 19/08/2017

In understanding priority in Aristotle’s metaphysics we should first ask about the respect in which we are viewing priority: is it priority in time, in account, in definition, in knowledge, or in being, substance, and nature? I argue that the central notion, in the sense of what plays the role of a criterion for what counts as fundamentally real –Aristotle’s primary substance– or even in the sense of what being fundamentally real (partly) consists in, is ontological priority (in respect of being, substance, or nature).

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Michail Peramatzis.

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Causation, Probability and Philosophy published 14/08/2017

It’s a mistake to analyze actual causation and think that you have thereby analyzed causation. The surface grammar of our language is misleading in this regard. Consider philosophers’ favorite example: “Suzy’s throwing her rock caused the bottle to smash”. This statement describes a relation of actual causation, but there is nothing in the wording to indicate that a specialized causal concept is involved. The word “caused” seems to suggest a fully general notion of causation. One of the clues that this is wrong is that many concepts that involve a causal dimension don’t involve actual causation.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Christopher Hitchcock.

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Infinitely Replicating published 08/08/2017

Over the past few years, my site-specific installations have been themed around surveillance. There is no issue more relevant to the future of positive creativity than preserving the independent voice. Thus, I use code, live video and installation to illustrate the disconcerting nature of unsecured data in works such as Data Log and PentAutomaton. I siphon unprotected webcam feeds found by browsing the internet into projection-mapped light sculptures, which also reflect live webcam feeds of their audiences, juxtaposing the playful nature of selfie culture with the unease inherent to viewing people who are not aware they are a part of the installation. I ask the viewer to ask themselves, how much of yourself are you willing to give to the cloud?

Continuing the States of Anxiety series, Jana Astanov interviews Julia Sinelnikova.

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Tripping For Knowledge: The Psychedelic Epistemologist published 05/08/2017

I think psychedelic states can offer genuine knowledge. Specifically, I think psychedelic subjects gain what philosophers call ‘knowledge by acquaintance’ of their own vast psychological potential. They become directly acquainted—because it becomes manifest—with the modal or dispositional fact that there are vastly many, often very unusual, possible ways that their minds can be. And this knowledge often makes a strong impression; many spiritual seekers in the 60s became dedicated meditation practitioners in order to realise the psychological potential they’d discovered by tripping.

Lindsay Jordan kicks off 3:AM’s Psychedelics and Philosophy series interviewing Chris Letheby.

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