:: Interviews archive ( click for A-Z index)

law and ethics published 22/08/2015

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I argue that all the standard rationales for capital punishment ─ deterrence-oriented, retributivist, incapacitative, and denunciatory ─ fail to establish that such punishment is morally legitimate. Each of those standard rationales is the application of a general theory of punishment to the death penalty. To succeed as a justification of that penalty, a rationale has to establish that the execution of a convict is both morally obligatory and morally permissible. Since none of the standard rationales does establish the moral obligatoriness and moral permissibility of the death penalty (either when each of those rationales is considered discretely or when they are considered in combination), none of them can properly serve as a basis for the imposition of that penalty.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Matthew Kramer.

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dynamic epistemology published 15/08/2015

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Llull is a character and a half. Not only did he write the world’s first novel in the vernacular, articulate voting methods that were not articulated again until the 17th and 18th centuries, turn missionary to Africa in his 50s after learning Arabic so that he could convert Muslims, he was also deeply interested in mechanising reasoning, in a way which put him centuries ahead of his time. In a world where time-travel existed, I would love to get Ramon Llull and Alan Turing in the same room together. I can’t even imagine what sort of brilliant ideas that would spark!

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Sara L. Uckelman

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Ten Years in the Wilderness: A Decade of Her Name is Calla published 11/08/2015

Her Name is Calla’s time is now. A band founded on humble beginnings that has soured in experience and sound to a innovative level most will never achieve. On reflection over the last ten years, Morris weighs up the pros and cons (or triumphs and oblivions) of being in a band: “There’s so many. We could write a series of novellas that were only interesting to us. Being British, it’s in our nature to remember the lows more than the highs. We’ve had some terrible shows in places that should be condemned, or have been scattered with bullets or mice.

Stephen Lee Naish looks back on ten years of post-rock band, Her Name is Calla, with lead singer Tom Morris.

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Life After Faith published 02/08/2015

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In my view, most of current Anglophone philosophy is quite reasonably seen as an ingrown conversation pursued by very intelligent people with very strange interests. But it would hardly stop the kinds of investigation that the giants of the past engaged in. In my view, we ought to replace the notion of analytic philosophy by that of synthetic philosophy. Philosophers ought to aspire to know lots of different things and to forge useful synthetic perspectives.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Philip Kitcher.

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The estate agent’s guide to artisan baking: Iain Sinclair interviewed published 28/07/2015

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We find a bench that allows me to have the station sign in frame. I go to reference my two pages of typed notes, carefully assembled from a binge back-to-back reading of London Overground and Black Apples of Gower but an easterly gust of wind hoists them into the sky and over the high wall into the garden of the Geffrye Museum. Iain laughs. Don’t worry I assure him, the impressions of both books are firmly stamped on my mind, I probably had too many questions anyway – we’d freewheel it, follow the drift of conversation.

Iain Sinclair returns to 3:AM while John Rogers keeps the camera running.

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Velo City published 01/07/2015

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After starting to learn London from the saddle during stints working as a cycle courier he began to read the city too and soon noticed that London had been claimed as a walker’s city with precious little from the perspective of the cyclist. As militant a pedestrian as I am, Day soon convinced me that whereas a walker will seek out London’s buried rivers by reading the runes of old maps, for the cyclist the contours of the river valleys are unavoidable, detected not by a dowsing rod but by tightening calves at the end of 80-mile day on the pedal.

John Rogers interviews Cyclogeography author Jon Day.

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Mislaid – an interview with Nell Zink published 24/06/2015

Mislaid - Interview with Nell Zink

Tiffany, who was just so cocky, becomes a very defeated person, which is how I felt at the time. It mirrored my moods in that sense and I didn’t really write it for publication, which I guess is one of the reasons the voice is so merciless and sometimes so odd because I was not really having to… write in a way that I was sure would be understood by everybody and his brother. It was mostly for myself. Maybe for friends.

Ellie Broughton interviews Nell Zink.

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Between Saying and Doing published 19/06/2015

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I think what distinguishes philosophers as such is that we study humans as discursive beings—that is, as normative rational creatures, in the sense that what we in the fullest sense do (including believing) is subject to normative assessment as to the goodness of the reasons we have for doing or believing that. (How rational we are in the sense of how successful we are at actually fulfilling our obligations to have such reasons is quite a different matter.) Norms and inferential-justificatory behavior can be studied empirically. But the question of what norms and good inferences are, and of how to understand the kind of creatures we are in virtue of living in such a normative space of reasons seem to me to be of the first importance—not only for philosophers, but for the culture at large.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Robert Brandom.

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On German Materialism published 13/06/2015

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Materialism has always been political, at least in the eyes of its opponents. This could already be seen in Antiquity, when Plato threatened materialists with jail (Nomoi X), and later when Christianity had become the hegemonic spiritual force in Europe and allied with the ruling forces of feudal society: all kinds of a-religious or anti-religious philosophy, materialism included, became automatically ‘political’ in that they seemed to undermine the foundations of the established social order. This was confirmed by contemporary reactions to Hobbes or to French materialism in the 18th century, accused of having brought about the French Revolution.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Kurt-Otto Bayertz.

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Thinking About Mindreading, Mirroring and Embedded Cognition et al… published 06/06/2015

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My impulse is to bring science into partnership with philosophy wherever possible (and relevant) . This was easily exercised in philosophy of mind as well as epistemology. Interestingly, when I turned to the topic of “folk psychology” (later called “theory of mind” or “mindreading”), I noticed that even philosophers preoccupied with some variety of cognitive science oddly chose a strikingly a priori methodology to answer the question of how mindreading is executed. Their answers came straight from the pages of other philosophers, who had floated armchair-based hypotheses about how people assign mental states (to self and others).

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Alvin Goldman.

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