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

Velo City published 01/07/2015


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


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


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


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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The Total City: An Interview with Will Self published 30/05/2015


If people really, really are deciding to do whatever the hell they want to at any moment of the day, why does the city run with such regularity? And the answer is that people aren’t autonomous. It’s back to flow dynamics. We’re always trying to keep at bay the fact that we know that the city, by definition, deprives us of our autonomy. So once you’re deprived of your autonomy, you relocate your feeling body in the city itself. Since you’ve been annulled, you’re just part of this flow — what are you flowing through? So the way to humanise the fact that you’re dehumanised is to infuse the city with corporeality. I don’t think anybody does it at a conscious level. If you stopped somebody in the Metro, in the rush hour, and said, ‘Do you realise you haven’t chosen to go down here? You haven’t chosen to go to work, and you’re not even choosing to go home now, you’re not acting out of free will. You have no more free will than a drop of water,’ they’d look at you like you were completely mad, right? Nobody wants to be conscious of that fact.

Jo Mortimer interviews Will Self in Paris.

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Why Murder Philosophers? published 29/05/2015


Montaigne says that death’s power over us comes from its “strangeness,” from that when it strikes it usually finds us unprepared. That’s why we need to devise spiritual exercises whereby we make death a familiar presence in our lives – “domesticate” it, if you will. Here’s one recipe that he proposes: “let us frequent [death], let us get used to it; let us have nothing more often in mind than death. At every instant let us evoke it in our imagination under all its aspect.” So we have to bring death into the midst of our existence, show it hospitality, give it shelter and take good care of it.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Costica Bradatan.

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The Good Dark – an interview with Ryan Van Winkle published 25/05/2015


What I’ve found recently as I’ve been assembling and discussing The Good Dark is that through my poems I’m speaking to myself and trying to come to terms with what being alive is and how I feel about it and discovering where these feelings may come from. I don’t think there are any answers, but there are a lot of different ways to consider the question. I feel like no matter how well I know myself, there will be a problem in need of a solution.

SJ Fowler interviews the poet Ryan Van Winkle.

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How Pragmatism Reconciles Quantum Mechanics With Relativity etc published 24/05/2015


While I think quantum theory helps us to understand all kinds of otherwise puzzling phenomena, it does not do this by saying what’s going on at a deeper level: ontologically speaking, there is no quantum level. Quantum theory is fundamental to contemporary physics, and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. But it does not contain fundamental laws, and does not contribute its own fundamental ontology. Since quantum mechanics is in these ways parasitic on other descriptive or representational frameworks it cannot be expected to provide a basis for the reduction of the macroscopic to the microscopic. Nor, therefore, can anything else within the horizon of contemporary physics.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Richard Healey.

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What’s a hole made of and other enigmas published 16/05/2015


Holes provided many nice examples of entities about which we have rich and a times conflicting intuitions. These include the idea that holes do not exist, that holes are just parts of the holed-object, or that they are properties that we erroneously re-conceptualize as individuals.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Roberto Casati.

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