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

being for published 08/02/2014

We speak a language and there seem to be facts about what its words mean. So we might initially aspire, before learning too much logic, to be able to say what those facts are – and to be able to say them in the language that we are speaking. But there are deep and general paradoxes about attempts to state the extensions for all of the predicates in a language – including those for words like ‘true’ and ‘satisfies’ that we use to state an extensional or extension-determining semantics.

Continuing the End Times series Richard Marshall interviews Mark Andrew Schroeder.

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Fighting Incompleteness published 31/01/2014

Mann was profoundly influenced by two philosophers, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, who returned to the most ancient of all philosophical questions – “How to live?” – and whose writings offered novel perspectives for considering that question (much more perspective-offering than rigorous argument!) In working towards ways of reading Mann, so that his own advances in suggesting new perspectives will become more vivid, I do some fairly standard philosophical analysis of ideas in Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. In elaborating how “philosophy by showing” works, and in defending the idea that literature and music can contribute to philosophical “showing”, I am also doing something more standardly philosophical. But I view most of the book as an interweaving of philosophy and literary criticism. If that entails a broadening of a standard idea of philosophy, it’s a broadening I’d like to see happen.

Philip Kitcher interviewed by David Auerbach.

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metaphors and minds published

Once when Bjork was speaking to a chorus, she said “Make it dolcissimo, like marzipan.” I think she was driven to metaphor here because there was a very specific property she wanted their voices to have – a particular combination of richness, sweetness, and bitterness – that we don’t have a word for in our language (English or Icelandic). She couldn’t demonstrate the sound directly herself, because she’s not a whole chorus. But once they hit on the sound she wanted, she could say “Yes, like that. Let’s call that the marzipan tone.” And from then on, ‘the marzipan tone’ would literally refer, by stipulation, to the sound she could only metaphorically gesture at before.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Elisabeth Camp.

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on the tragedy of life published 25/01/2014

Lyotard says we should reject all meta-narratives that try to create a centre of meaning; rather we should become ironists and employ multiple narratives, giving none any real authority. This is in fact the very nihilism that Nietzsche predicted would follow from a thorough appreciation of the Death of God. What strong individuals, the type that Nietzsche really cares about, do in the face of the collapse of all received, externally sanctioned, meta-narratives (be they that of religion, utilitarianism, Marxism, etc) is create their own meta-narrative; they impose their own values, recognizing that this is an existential act of self creation.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Ken Gemes.

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Epistemology and Democracy published 25/12/2013

One strategy Robert and I find rampant in contemporary argumentative culture is the use of tone of voice to distort a dialectical situation.We call the strategy modus tonens. With modus tonens, you not only reject a view, imply there’s something obviously wrong with it, and communicate that to an onlooking audience, but you also communicate to the interlocutors that they are in need of some educating on the issue – they commit obvious errors, and they don’t even know what they are.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Robert Talisse and Scott F. Aikin.

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“I wasn’t writing a novel” published 16/12/2013

It began with the first message, and ended with the last. It was principally a literary effort subordinated to communication. To me this remains a crucial difference, its differentia specifica. The origin of the now-book Permission was in an illegitimate literary dimension outside the frame of book authorship. You have to understand that, though I had chosen my reader, this reader could not know what if anything would become of the writing that came their way. Naturally I wonder whether and how it changes things for readers today, who approach them as a bound book, to know that the letters, just as they are, were once for real.

S D Chrostowska, author of Permission, interviewed by Edwin Turner.

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what the hell are we doing here ? published 13/12/2013

About ten years ago I interviewed Noam Chomsky, and the first question I asked him was why, with all the irons he has in the fire, he dedicates so much time to engaging with philosophers. He said his concern was really part of a more general concern – that “it should trouble us that we’re not thinking about what we’re up to, and those questions happen to be the domain of what philosophers pay attention to.” I feel that there are just too many human enterprises that are not being subjected to critical thinking, and the problem is getting worse rapidly.

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

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Where are the women? published

This is one barrier to addressing climate issues, the sense that people can’t speak out; that you have to maintain anonymity due to a real or perceived threat of revictimization, disbelief, or other means of retaliation. I’m not certain how common these things actually are in philosophy. I am certain that people are afraid they’re common–given the way graduate students and untenured faculty often only describe negative experiences under appropriate conditions of anonymity.

Richard Marshall interviews Rochelle H DuFord.

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rationally speaking published 06/12/2013

As Noam Chomsky once aptly put it, citizens of modern democracies need a course in intellectual self-defense to guard themselves against all the bullshit they will be bombarded with by corporate and governmental powers. I can’t think of anything better than studying history, reading Shakespeare and Joyce, learning how to admire a Picasso or Van Gogh, or understanding Aristotle and Marx as the foundations for that course.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Massimo Pigliucci.

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debunking the anxiety of influence published 04/12/2013

Red Tales was fundamentally about the image; entering ideas through the image. I wanted to push the story into a different direction. I had this idea of interweaving fragments and narrative; of poetry and narrative and the image coming to the forefront. I was fascinated by art and installations and even saw writing as a cheaper way of building these spaces. It was also very much about processing experiences.

Joanna Pocock in conversation with Susana Medina .

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