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

The Hedonistic Utilitarian published 10/01/2016


Once we realise that utilitarianism comes with the idea of blameworthy rightdoing (such as when you push a big man onto the tracks in order to save five lives) and blameless wrongdoing (such as when you don’t push a big man onto the tracks in order to save five lives), then utilitarianism all of a sudden appears to give the right answers. It is indeed right to push the big man, but we should attempt not to become people who are prepared to do this, since this would, even if it helps us to the right decision in this abstract thought experiment, make us dangerous, nasty, and ones no one should want to socialise with.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Torbjörn Tännsjö .

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No Future: An interview with Mark SaFranko published 08/01/2016

Simenon gets inside the skulls and the souls of average people faced with desperate situations. Their characters implode. The pressures build to a point where a being can’t sustain them anymore. There is obliviousness to the condition of the world around those people for the most part. Patricia Highsmith is very much the same. You take these oddball characters, their insides become the engine of the novel. As I often say about Highsmith, you feel like you are trapped inside the mind of an insane person. Simenon is similar. I’m someone who has struggled with those issues myself.

Martin de Bourmont interviews the greatest American writer you’ve never heard of.

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Neuroethics published 20/12/2015


Philosophy of mind interested me deeply, but I was frustrated by the lack of empirical perspectives in the philosophical faculties when I was a student, where the road to hell was paved with empirical propositions! Yet it never seemed possible to me to understand the mind purely through a priori reasoning, ignoring the organ that does the job. On the other hand, brain science took scant interest in conceptual, philosophical analyses at the time, which seemed equally lopsided. Today the situation is fortunately different: philosophy and the neurosciences collaborate in a very fruitful manner. And that is why I now have turned my philosophical focus to studies of consciousness and neuroethics.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Kathinka Evers.

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The Indie Press Interviews 2: Jacques Testard published 18/12/2015


I can think of quite a few badly designed books this year alone that have done very well. But generally book design is not particularly good, and an original design can help you stand out. With Fitzcarraldo Editions, Ray (who also designed a typeface for the publishing house) and I wanted something simple and austere to differentiate the books from the image-driven cover designs you see in bookshops everywhere in the UK. The idea, and it’s not a new one by any means (look at Gallimard, Minuit, Adelphi, etc.), is that you let the writing speak for itself, and that by having such a simple, recognisable look, you’re building up a readership based on trust. I’d like readers to feel that they can trust that a Fitzcarraldo Editions book is worth reading even if they don’t know the author, that it will be something unusual, ambitious, contemporary.

James Tookey interviews Jacques Testard of Fitzcarraldo Editions.

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Thinking How To Live published 05/12/2015


We must distinguish what it means to say that I ought to do a thing and what being what I ought to do consists in. Maybe, for example, being what I ought to do consists in something hedonic, such as being what will maximize my happiness. Even so, ‘ought’ doesn’t mean “would maximize one’s happiness.” If it did, as Moore argued, then “You ought to maximize your happiness” would just mean “Maximizing your happiness would maximize your happiness.”

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Allan Gibbard.

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Eight questions for Ivan Vladislavić published 01/12/2015

Ivan Vladislavic interview

We are visual creatures, heavily reliant on our eyesight. Our cultures define themselves more and more through images, and image-making is one of our main preoccupations. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the visual torrent, especially if your element is language. Rather than shying away from visuality, I’ve been trying to understand how it works and what it offers.

Tristan Foster interviews Ivan Vladislavić.

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Metacognition published 21/11/2015


Metacognition raises ethical questions, for instance: are all epistemic agents equally equipped to think correctly, and, hence, responsible for their judgments, as Descartes claimed? Or rather, is their social environment responsible for the existence and appropriate use of their critical abilities? This kind of question can now be posed in much more exact terms, thanks to the empirical science of metacognition.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Joëlle Proust.

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Interview with The Scofield published 05/11/2015

The Scofield interview

It’s been a long gestating project, but what really got the journal in motion was Scott Cheshire and Dustin Illingworth telling me to either make it or shut up about it. They loved the idea about harkening back to a bygone era while also making it look toward the future.

David Burr Gerrard interviews Tyler Malone, Editor-in-Chief of The Scofield.

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Art, Writing, and the Untellable: Douglas Messerli interviews Wendy Walker published 04/11/2015


One night in the fall of 1974, I sat down to do my daily writing stint, but I was having some pain, so I took what I found in the medicine cabinet—a pill for toothache. While I was putting down the first sentence I remember saying to myself, “If Kafka can start a story this way, so can I.” A couple of wonderful hours’ writing later, I realized I had the beginning of a book.

Independent publisher and writer Douglas Messerli speaks with writer and artist Wendy Walker about writing, reception, art, and their literary friendship.

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A Radical Homosexual Refutes the Implicit Sexuality of a Young Woman in Appalling Black Glasses: M. Kitchell on the Topics of Solar Luxuriance and Publishing in the Twenty-First Century published 03/11/2015

Solar Luxuriance

I’m much more interested in publishing works that fit the idea of what I think books should do. I believe that the function of books lies beyond representational language, beyond being an easy way to encounter language, and there aren’t many presses doing anything interesting with that. But then again, there don’t seem to be many writers doing things like that.

Jarett Kobek interviews M. Kitchell from Solar Luxuriance.

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