:: Interviews

Ethics, Law and Politics published 17/12/2016

I see loyalty – roughly perseverance in relational commitments despite the cost of such perseverance – as an important human value/virtue. Think of it as a kind of relational glue. It is odd that a value/virtue that plays such a central role in dramatic literature has played such a small role in philosophical writing. There are probably a number of reasons, but I think that a predilection for a certain kind of individualism is a major one. Others might include the fashionability of consequentialism, the idea that loyalty has more to do with sentiment than reason, as well as its proneness to corruption. The revival of interest in virtue/character as distinct from rules/principles has also created space for a renewed, if hesitant, interest in loyalty.

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

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What Kind of a Fact is a Flying Pig for Kant? and Things like That published 03/12/2016

If we really can’t help but think a certain way, one might worry that this doesn’t guarantee that that is the correct way to think. If we can’t rationally doubt certain principles, then there is a certain kind of sceptical worry that we are stuck being unable to doubt false principles. I appeal to Kant’s idea that conditions on the possibility of thought and experience are themselves also conditions on the objects of thought and experience.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Jessica Leech.

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Saving Wittgenstein, Credence Knowledge and Semantics published 26/11/2016

Wittgenstein got stuck when it came to analyzing propositions about the colors of objects. Take four propositions about the color of some particular object A. These propositions aren’t logically independent from each other, so at most one of them could be an elementary proposition. But then the worry is that once we determine that one of these four propositions is elementary, we’ll have no way to analyze the three leftover propositions, since they won’t each be truth functions of the elementary color proposition. A lot of people think that this problem motivated Wittgenstein to abandon the central project of the Tractatus.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Sarah Moss.

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This Is The Place To Be: An Interview with Lara Pawson published 23/11/2016

While people may think that someone who writes about such intimacy can’t possibly be nervous, they’d be wrong. I still feel unsettled by this aspect of the work. That’s part of what makes it a difficult book to discuss. In truth, I’m also a little afraid that in talking about my book, I risk damaging the work itself. My mouth might tread all over the text. I don’t want that to happen. I want the text to speak for itself. I feel very protective of the text.

Lara Pawson, interviewed by Rebekah Weikel.

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Wittgenstein’s Ethical Enterprise and Related Matters published 19/11/2016

I am very firmly of the view that philosophy needs to be aware of the non-philosophical investigations going on in its very many neighbouring disciplines (whether that is in history or in mathematics or in art or in psychiatry: it’s not as if everything that isn’t philosophy is science), without surrendering its responsibilities to any of them. After all, quite often when things start getting really interesting in these neighbouring disciplines it’s because they are getting philosophical, whether or not this is recognized.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Edward Harcourt.

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A Conversation on M.R. James published 18/11/2016

Because of the writer that James was, his prose come across as very conversational. The criticism often suggested of him is that it’s rambling and dusty but I don’t think that myself. When you have to start breaking that down, fitting his text into boxes, there’s actually no fat on his writing at all. The aspects you might think of as extraneous are actually an important part of how these texts work; the everyday setting, the ordinary people venturing into extraordinary situations.

Leah Moore and John Reppion in conversation with Adam Scovell.

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Nihil Unbound published 12/11/2016

In Sellars’s account, the “myth of Jones” is perhaps the most momentous step in the construction of the Manifest Image and hence in the development of our collective self-conception as humans. It is the step through which we begin to understand ourselves both as minded beings motivated by beliefs and as sentient beings affected by sensations. In Sellars’s myth, Jones is the genius who first suggests that what humans say and do can be explained as the outward manifestation of inner mental states of believing, desiring, and sensing.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Ray Brassier.

[Pic: Shirren Lim]

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Constructing Race published 05/11/2016

In the case of race, explicit racism seems to be much rarer than in the past. A range of other barriers remain, but a substantial part of the explanation of the relative deficit of nonwhite philosophers (especially black philosophers) seems to involve large-scale inequality in society as a whole. There remains substantial disagreement about how to correct such inequality (even were there the political will to do so). Thus, even once we acknowledge a role for various kinds of explicit, implicit, and structural racism (even when we acknowledge a role for the social construction of race), there are other barriers that we as a society must understand and address.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Ron Mallon.

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Peirce, Pragmatism and Race, Racism published 29/10/2016


I argue that we need to be involved in defining ourselves, to own the definitional project, otherwise we, as a group, are doomed in Europe. Given the surge in far right sentiment across Europe I worry that we may already be doomed, but while ever someone else controls whats defines us we can simply be erased by fiat. Now, perhaps this borrows the tools of “white” mainstream philosophy by talking of definitions and concepts and precision etc. but I don’t feel as though my philosophical work is especially tainted because of that. Its just another aspect of the many ways that philosophers can and are doing important work on such issues.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Albert Atkins.

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Speaking Gigantular with Irenosen Okojie published 24/10/2016

Irenosen Okojie’s prose is luxurious, rich and evocative, frequently funny, sensual. Her writing also carries a sharp bite, razor edges that cut you up if you slip into an easy groove. Her stories are fable-like in the way she anthropomorphizes animals, legendary creatures, plants, inanimate objects and forces of nature. They traverse continents, fetishes, curses, incredibly strange goings-on and serious traumas. Winner of the Betty Trask Award this year for her intoxicating debut novel, Butterfly Fish, Okojie has made a name for herself as a unique voice in British fiction.

Kit Caless talks to Irenosen Okojie for 3:AM Magazine.

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