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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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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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philosophy from the preposterous universe published 03/08/2013

In the contemporary intellectual climate, especially in the U.S., there has been a great deal of argumentation between atheists/naturalists on one hand and religious believers on the other. Which is fine as far as it goes, but within the set of folks who are already comfortable with naturalism, it doesn’t really help answer all of the crucially important questions that the naturalist position bequeaths to us. (Free will, emergence, meaning, morality, you can easily think of them yourself.) And we disagree in serious/interesting way about the answers to these questions!

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Sean Carroll.

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Mature: heidegger and merleau-ponty published 26/07/2013

Although Descartes has been the “go to” philosophical bad guy for the past century, much contemporary philosophy of mind is in many ways still held captive by a Cartesian picture of the human being. Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology is a radical repudiation of that picture, so his work remains outside the orbit of mainstream analytical philosophy. He has nothing to add, for example, to tedious debates about the metaphysics of consciousness. I consider Merleau-Ponty’s silence on that question a sign of his philosophical maturity.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Taylor Carman.

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the mad dog naturalist published 19/07/2013

In arguing that science has to reject almost everything common sense tells us about reality and our place in it, I am going against a Naturalistic tradition whose leading figure is the sainted Daniel Dennett. Dan has done more than any one to advance the naturalistic program of giving answers to the persistent questions that reconcile common sense—the manifest image, in Wilfred Sellers’ words—with science. But a lot of other philosophers have helped to try to advance this agenda. I honor them all, but I deem their program a failure by the standards that they set themselves.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Alex Rosenberg.

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the poststructural anarchist published 12/07/2013

For the anarchists there is no single struggle. As the British anarchist Colin Ward once said, there are always a series of struggles along a variety of fronts. This is where the poststructuralists, and especially Foucault, intersect with anarchism. Foucault traces historically different ways in which people become dominated. He does not reduce them to a single site or single type, but seeks to understand them in their specificity.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Todd May.

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on the foundations of physics published 05/07/2013

I don’t think that the spats between physicists and philosophers are more heated, or of a different kind, then the spats that break out among philosophers or among physicists; they just get more public attention. Disputes in foundations of physics typically cannot be settled by observation or experiment, so argumentation has to come to the fore.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Tim Maudlin.

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on the reality of sherlock holmes etc published 28/06/2013

I think we should be suspicious of any philosopher who claims to have discovered that common sense is radically mistaken. (Things are quite different if there is empirical evidence against some common sense belief.) We can draw a distinction between adhering to common sense beliefs (or folk theories) and employing common sense concepts. I think we have to make use of the common sense concepts we have—unless we are explicitly and clearly engaged in suggesting new or revised concepts.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Amie L. Thomasson.

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philosophy and physics published 24/06/2013

A “radical ontic structural realist” claims that structures exist independently of objects. According to this latter creature, structure is supposed to be something; it’s just a different sort of something than objects. So two universes devoid of objects could still contain differing structures and thus be different.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Jonathan Bain.

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