:: Interviews

Brentano’s Mind, Frege’s Sense published 14/10/2017

Brentano is a thorn in the side of pragmatically-minded philosophers such as Mach and later Schlick. He held that we can study cognition from the first-person standpoint independently of its function or purpose. Part of the development of Austrian Philosophy are attempts to overcome Brentano’s point of view. Brentano’s descriptive psychology is still a model for Non-Naturalists and Non-Pragmatists.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Mark Textor.

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A Very Tragic Arc: Reiner Stach’s Kafka published

It is clear that Brod didn’t really understand with whom he was dealing. His religious interpretations of Kafka, especially those of his later years, are sentimental and narrowminded. Brod had no real feeling for the modernist quality of Kafka’s texts. When Beckett became famous in the Fifties and people began to compare him with Kafka, Brod worked himself up into a rage: This absurd stuff, he proclaimed, had absolutely nothing to do with Kafka. Of course, this view put him far off the mark.

Richard Marshall interviews Reiner Stach about the final volume of his Kafka biography: Kafka: The Early Years.

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Rummaging in the Ashes: An Interview with Simon Critchley published 10/10/2017

We were bored with pleasure, with the sterile hippie pleasures that had been retailed to us for the previous decade, especially sex (we were very anti-sex and thought it was reactionary — remember Johnny Rotten’s remark that sex was just two minutes thirty seconds of squelching noises). We wanted to stay with boredom and use boredom as a tool for a more minimal and more overtly nihilistic form of Romantic naivety. All forms of Situationist détournement would always be recuperated by the music and culture industry that punk sought to subvert. But that didn’t mean ceasing from all subversion, but to go on détourning, to go on making and listening to music, in the full awareness of the naivety of what we were doing and its limitations. We were not going to change the world and the world was rubbish anyway, just another council tenancy.

Andrew Gallix interviews Simon Critchley in this exclusive extract from Punk is Dead: Modernity Killed Every Night.

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Further Conversations: an Interview with Ramsey Campbell published 09/10/2017

There’s the antiquarian tale of the supernatural, but for me, the most significant Jamesian writers take his sense of the supernatural and his techniques and develop them in more contemporary settings. L.T.C. Rolt uses industrial landscapes for instance, very much in the James tradition of landscape but simply in a more modern setting. Fritz Lieber uses the contemporary US landscape of Chicago and San Francisco, in Smoke Ghost for example.  Kingsley Amis in The Green Man too, uses Jamesian techniques, that accretion of suggestive detail to convey and unnerve. But, ultimately, the key writers learn that terseness of statement and his sense of the crystallised uncanny.

By Adam Scovell.

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brains published 07/10/2017

In sum, I am not a fan of using “brain reading” techniques in the courtroom, at least not yet. I suspect that some in the law are taking the prospect of neuroscience in the courtroom more seriously than they should, in part because some legal scholars that have only a working knowledge of neuroscience have been far too uncritical of the scientific work (which may be excellent basic science, but whose applicability to real cases may be quite limited), and have overblown its prospects for near-term application in the courts.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Adina L Roskies.

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Understanding Defensive Killing published 30/09/2017

I don’t buy the conceptual division between war and ‘ordinary life’ – I think it’s just a hangover from Walzer – so I don’t want to talk of one as an extension of the other. Talk of ‘ordinary life’ conjures up an image of a peaceful suburb in New Hampshire, which is a pretty parochial way to think about morality. Some people live their whole lives in failed states. Some people grow up in dire poverty, surrounded by violence and lawlessness. Ordinary life might, to them, feel a lot like a permanent state of conflict. And we can have crises outside of war – outbreaks of disease or natural disasters, for example, that raise a lot of the questions that also arise in war (the distribution of resources, allowing harm, collateral harms, uncertainty and so on).

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Helen Frowe.

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embodiment published 24/09/2017

Eagleton has more of a kind of British wit and works a lot with understatements; this is something he has in common with one of his intellectual precursors, the Dominican friar and philosopher Herbert McCabe. Žižek’s version of humour is more explicit or drastic, and less subtle, often drawing upon the distance between the ‘high’ matter under discussion – philosophy, Hegel, Lacan – and the ‘low’ form of the joke through which he wishes to illuminate the matter at hand.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Ola Sigurson.

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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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