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

epistemic forces and perception published 07/10/2013

I argue that there’s a continuum between imagination and belief: some imaginations are belief like in that we take what is imagined to be true. Accepting that there is such a continuum has consequences for how to think about the modularity of the mind. I argue also that imaginations always interact with beliefs to yield actions and affective responses.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Susanna Schellenberg.

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Kierkegaardian published 04/10/2013

I interpret the notion of ‘loving a stranger’ in the sense of ‘agape’ – the intentional attempt to promote well being. Nussbaum herself has a response to her own point – drawing on the Stoics she suggests that we might imagine ourselves to be in the middle of concentric circles. In the inner circle are our friends and family. We might gradually draw in those who are originally far away from us, by, for example, calling a stranger ‘sister’ or ‘cousin’. We cannot, of course, encompass everyone in the world, but we might at least include a few more in our circles than many of us do at the moment.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Alison Assiter.

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a kill bill philosopher published 27/09/2013

I was struck by the number of smart people who picked up weird beliefs in the dojo; engineers who believe in ki or even “touchless knockouts”, university students who tell newcomers that “strength isn’t important in fighting” and over and over again people who overestimate the efficacy of years of fine-grained study in response to real world aggression. The martial arts is full of middle class professionals who hope/believe that training twice a week for two years makes them safe. They’re not stupid people, but … but humans are weird about violence.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Gillian Russell.

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Phenomenology Never Goes Out Of date published 20/09/2013

In Keith Payne’s chilling experiment, when primed with pictures of black men, subjects more often misclassify a tool (pliers, wrench, or a drill) as a gun, compared with subjects who are primed with pictures of white men. So we know that whatever state of mind the black prime puts you in, it leads to those errors of classification. But the experiment doesn’t speak to the underlying psychological mechanisms. (This is true of most experiments that reveal the cognitive manifestations of racism).

Contining the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Susanna Siegel.

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modality and metaphysics published 13/09/2013

Far from making death less bad, permanentism excludes one way of trying to remove its sting: the argument that being dead is no misfortune because nothing has the property of being dead. That argument depends on the temporaryist assumption that the dead are literally nothing (an assumption that also makes our ability to pick out and refer to particular dead people quite problematic). Permanentists may find some other way of consoling themselves for their mortality, but not that way.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Timothy Williamson.

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Law as a leap of faith published 06/09/2013

Laws made on moral pretences are shamefully common in contemporary democracies, where vote-seeking politicians pander to what they know to be the obnoxious views of their electorate, e.g by demonising asylum-seekers or welfare benefit claimants. In the UK right now there is a lot of this going on under the fake-moral guise of ‘fairness’. There are vulnerable people being legislated into destitution by ruthless liars.

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

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Observations on the long take published 01/09/2013

I think capturing the sacred while simultaneously capturing the ugly reality as being flat; and that flatness can still hold things that are sacred – if that makes sense. I feel like in other films, long takes often are about bringing out the beauty in subjects, they romanticize the subject maybe. In Béla Tarr, we might say that the subjects of a lot of these long takes are not worthy of long takes. Sometimes it’s watching someone fall asleep. Or watching it rain.

Maxi Kim interviews Janice Lee on the cinema of Béla Tarr.

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metaphysical published 31/08/2013

Causation and time exist in nature, we also experience them as part of the manifest image, and our experience of them incorporates a certain amount of illusion. What I mean by this is that causation and time exist in human-independent reality. They’d exist even if there were no beings around to experience them. But in addition to causation and time themselves, there are our subjective experiences of causation and time.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews L.A. Paul.

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Deflationism and Wittgenstein published 09/08/2013

Wittgenstein thinks that this traditional ‘scientistic’ approach to philosophy is irrational, and that our job should be both to understand in general why this is so, and to expose the various topic-specific ways in which that irrationality is manifested. Instead of responding to philosophical puzzlement with a theory, we should be identifying and rectifying the mistakes of overgeneralization which engendered the problem to begin with.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Paul Horwich.

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The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance published 07/08/2013


The figure of the heretic is somebody who has access to a system but who also tries to mess with that system. The word was developed to mean someone who would have differing views to the Catholic Church. If we look at religious systems in history, very rarely do completely different and new religious systems pose a threat to the religious establishment. In fact a dominant religious system often gains a lot of its strength from the othering of different beliefs. For me the idea is you could you create a whole series of financial heretics who are people that have the ability to access to financial system but who also tend on some kind of subversive activity within it.

Brett Scott interviewed by Lewis Bassett.

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