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

Momus and his Writerly Self published 02/06/2014

I’m in a small town in Sweden right now, and today I went to an outlet store in an industrial park and saw basic garments covered in American flags and placenames. My first thought was: “Could I cut these flags off?” But why actually sew an American flag onto a pair of mass-market tracksuit pants made in China and sold in Sweden? Why can’t I buy some pants without also buying the idea of America? And who is selling me America, if the pants are actually made in Tajikistan and Bangladesh? Then I saw cheap paperback translations of American mass-market novels at the local supermarket, and even big American cars on the roads….At the same time, Sweden has something like IKEA, which represents a non-American global-imperialist success story.

Writer Adam Novy interviews Momus about his recently published title from Penny-Ante, unAmerica.

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Multiverses and sleeping beauty published 30/05/2014

The Everettian multiverse is one of the most beautiful ideas in the history of science. If it’s wrong, at least it’s gloriously, elegantly, ambitiously wrong. My approach to Everettian quantum mechanics (EQM) builds directly upon that of the ‘Oxford Everettians’ – David Deutsch, Simon Saunders, David Wallace, and Hilary Greaves. Wallace’s presentation of the view has become canonical, and any seriously interested readers should start by ignoring me and reading his lovely book The Emergent Multiverse.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Alastair Wilson.

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on theism and explanation published 23/05/2014

While the arguments put forward by many Christian philosophers are serious arguments, there is something less than serious about the spirit in which they are being offered. There is a direction in which those arguments will not be permitted to go. Arguments that support the faith will be seriously entertained; those that apparently undermine the faith must be countered, at any cost. Philosophy, to use the traditional phrase, is merely a “handmaid” of theology. There is, to my mind, something frivolous about a philosophy of this sort.

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

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California Soul: The Poetry of Mike Meraz published 20/05/2014

“I don’t tell my co-workers I write. I don’t tell people when I first meet them. If they find out later, that’s cool, but I don’t go around telling people, ‘I’m a poet.’ A lot of people online know I write. I think that’s where a lot of my readers come from.” Despite a rich literary heritage LA is not a city popularly associated with poetry; Bukowski is its most obvious laureate, but soon after the trail runs cold. Meraz confirms this. “I really don’t associate personally with a lot of writers, except online. In my personal life, there are only the women I hang out with, my co-workers, and my family.” But this is the business end of poetry; Meraz has little time for networking. His commitment remains to the work. “Writing, intrinsically, is a solitary business. And that’s one of the things I love about it. I don’t need anyone to write, just a laptop and me.” He pauses, before confiding. “I am still trying to write that sentence that will solve everything.”

Richard Kovitch interviews Mike Meraz.

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Early Mod philosophy published 17/05/2014

There is a classic article, “Seven thinkers and how they grew: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz; Locke, Berkeley, Hume; Kant,” by Bruce Kuklick which tells the historically contingent story of how this list became canonical in America. That is not to say that anyone on the list is unworthy of their status—all of those philosophers are important thinkers who wrote deep, systematic works. But so did Malebranche and Hobbes, and both were exceedingly influential, arguably more so than Berkeley or even Spinoza. So one reason to broaden out is so as not to miss some really good philosophy.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Lisa Downing.

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Heidegger, Art, Architecture published 16/05/2014

Like Nietzsche before him, Heidegger refused to accept the finality of the separation of art from the sacred that is demanded by the aesthetic approach. This does not claim that art does not work any more. Quite the opposite: it works very well, offering us welcome entertainment, relief from the burdens of life, perhaps even momentary Ersatz for the lost sacred. Aesthetic theorizing has recognized this. And art can still serve some already established morality, ideology, or religion. But this is not to say that art is still a privileged way of revealing to us who we are and where we should be going. The shape of the modern world denies art its former ethical function.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Karsten Harries.

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Apologia pro vita sua: my work in philosophy published 10/05/2014

My view was that the musical emotions of the garden-variety kind, sadness, joy, et alia, were in the music as perceived qualities of it, not dispositional qualities of the music to arouse such emotions in us. And I had an elaborate explanation for how this was the case. I now think, and have so thought for a long time, that my explanation was sheer nonsense. I still believe the emotions are “in” the music; but I haven’t a clue as to how they got there.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Peter Kivy .

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an east coast straussian on political philosophy published 09/05/2014

When Cicero said that Socrates was the first who called philosophy down from the heavens and establish it in the cities, he meant that Socrates was the first philosopher to turn to the study of the human things, of the good and bad, the right and wrong, the just and the unjust. It is this sense of the priority of the political, that is to say, of the philosopher’s relation to the city or the political environment in which he/she lives that is the central problem. This is not just a historical or sociological problem. The relation of the philosopher to the city helps us think about one of the oldest and deepest problems of philosophy, namely, the relation of theory and practice.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Steven B. Smith.

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the universe as we find it published 02/05/2014

Until the 17th century objects were thought to do what they did because they were as they were. This is the Aristotelian picture. God creates the objects and endows them with powers. God can intervene in the course of nature in either of two ways: by miraculously modifying the powers possessed by objects, or by directly manipulating them. With Descartes this picture alters dramatically. The source of motion is not to be found in material objects, but in mental substances, finite or infinite.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews John Heil.

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History needs a challenge published 28/04/2014

The sentence itself seems to be coherent; this is a kind of language that doesn’t stumble or hesitate, a language that was seemingly never exposed to anything. What does it mean that everyone should understand? This kind of language seems to function better than anything else, and thereby it might also be false, or at least treacherous. I have tried to work with this authoritarian, didactic language, building sentences that look right but might hold absurdities or inconsistencies. If the rules appear to be arbitrary, you might also discover something that has to do with the rules themselves.

For the 2014 Prague Microfest Giulia Parin interviews the Swedish poet Linn Hansén.

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