:: Interviews

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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The Infidel and the Professor published 02/09/2017

Friendship was absolutely central to their lives and also important in their writings. Hume and Smith were both lifelong bachelors, so their relationships with each other and with their other friends were the most meaningful ties they had (along with Smith’s close relationship with his mother). And both of them claimed repeatedly, throughout their philosophical works, that friendship is an indispensable component of a good and happy life. Hume declared that “friendship is the chief joy of human life,” for instance, and Smith proclaimed that the esteem and affection of one’s friends constitutes “the chief part of human happiness.”

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Dennis Rasmussen.

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How to Talk About Empiricism published 27/08/2017

Empiricists in the philosophy of science take the basic criterion of success in science to be empirical, with the ultimate aim of empirically adequate theories, accurate representation of what is accessible to human observation and manipulation. Theories and the search for explanation are important, but instrumentally, as roads toward greater empirical knowledge. Empiricism is not skepticism, nor anti-realism in any general sense, it is just anti-scientific-realism. Empiricism as it is now can be combined with a ‘common sense realism’ that sees no difficulties in our reference to trees, rocks, persons, lasers, electron microscopes, interferometers, radio telescopes …. or, in their own way, optical phenomena such as rainbows and images produced by microscopes, to give some examples.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Bas C. van Fraassen.

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Pleasure Pusher published

Queer theory is incredibly complex and a relatively new field of study. I’d like to think there are some aspects of queer theory in what I’m doing. Theory is certainly of interest and always will be. For me, I think it translates when the naked body is explored outside of hetero sex, the possibilities to investigate non normative behavior regarding sex are very exciting and becomes queer automatically.

Continuing the States of Anxiety series, Jana Astanov interviews Trish Nixon.

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