:: The End Times

Metaphysics of Technology and Panpsychism published 16/02/2018

Mechanistic materialism simply cannot account for the mind: qualia, consciousness, origins of the mind, subjectivity—these all remain intractable mysteries. Panpsychism offers new solutions and new ways of resolving old dilemmas, and philosophers are beginning once again to realize this fact.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews David Skrbina.

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Impossibility and Non-Existence published 10/02/2018

According to Quineans, the concept of existence is captured by the quantifier. It is sometimes claimed that Quineans (should) deny that existence is a property, or that it is a property of individuals. That’s a mistake, as Quineans like van Inwagen pointed out. Quineans can have their existence property — a property of individuals. That’s the property of being something. It just isn’t a real property: anything is something.

For Meinongians, existence is a real property. That can’t be right for Quineans: to claim that some things do not exist is to claim that some things are such that there are no such things, which is preposterous.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Franz Berto.

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Who Are We Today? Foucault: Proust: Deleuze published 03/02/2018

Why desire, after all? Two reasons, really: first, the problem of desire is one that traverses virtually the entire history of philosophy, and of a number of other discourses, past and present, from theology to political economy, the science of sexuality, and the ethics and politics of recognition. Why is that? Why does desire occupy such an important place in our (again, western) history? The other, perhaps more important reason is the following: one way (that adopted by Foucault) to understand and analyse liberalism is less as a theory of individual freedom, and a reflection on ways to neutralise or at least minimise tyranny, and more as a technique or ‘technology’ of government, as a way of governing others as well as one’s own self, and one that could shed light (transversal light as it were) on the different forms of liberalism, on liberalisms of the right and the left.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Miguel de Beistegui.

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Phenomenology: Husserl’s Legacy published 27/01/2018

The moment intersubjectivity is assigned an important role, the very conception of transcendental philosophy was bound to change. Husserl’s understanding of the transcendental consequently differs from Kant’s. On Husserl’s conception of transcendental philosophy, embodiment, historicity and cultural diversity get to play a significant role. To that extent, and this is also something I argue for in Husserl’s Legacy, Husserl is very much a philosopher of the 20th century, and has more in common with Merleau-Ponty and Wittgenstein than with Searle or a psychologist like Titchener.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Dan Zahavi.

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The Anti-Platonist Metaphysician published 20/01/2018

An anti-Platonist like myself has one advantage and one disadvantage over against the Platonist. We have only one realm or domain and so do not need to worry about cross-domain magic. Ockham’s Razor tells us that if we have two equally good theories and one of them commits us to fewer kinds of entities than the other, then we should choose the one with fewer kinds. If nominalism and Platonism can account for and explain the same phenomena, then nominalism should win. The problem with Ockham’s Razor is always that it is rare for theories to be so obviously comparable. Much more often, one theory has some advantages and drawbacks, and the other has different advantages and drawbacks.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Peter Simons.

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Along With The Eggs, Are There Sets Of Eggs In The Fridge Too? And Other Key Questions… published 13/01/2018

The idea that mathematical truths are about human activities is deeply flawed. Even as basic an area as arithmetic deals with quantities human beings can’t handle—numbers greater than the number of particles in the universe for instance. You could say that mathematical truths are shorthand for idealised human activities. But the idealisation involved leaves our actual abilities far behind. And the more abstract the mathematics, the more strained it is to interpret it in such parochial terms.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Alexander Paseau.

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Poise Is Everything… Surfing Uncertainty published 05/01/2018

The core idea is that what matters is not where stuff is encoded, or in what medium, but the uses to which it can readily be put. Poise is everything. Just as it doesn’t really matter, when working online, whether some piece of information is stored on your hard drive or in the cloud, as long as it’s usually ready for access when the need is there.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Andy Clark.

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Spinoza’s Metaphysics and His Relationship To Hegel and the German Idealists published 30/12/2017

The “every determination is negation” formula was extremely important for Hegel, as he considered it an important precedent of his own dialectic. I have mentioned earlier that Hegel viewed Spinoza’s monism as a modern reemergence of Eleatic philosophy. Hegel – just like Della Rocca – was truly enchanted by the Sirens of Elea. He thought that philosophy must begin with Spinozist or Eleatic monism, but that it also must proceed beyond this standpoint, and he considered dialectic – the formation and implosion of contradictions – as the primary vehicle for the unfolding of philosophy. Thus, for Hegel, Spinozism was not only the proper point of departure for philosophy, but it also contained the tool – i.e. dialectic – which allowed philosophy to develop and move ahead.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Yitzhak Melamed.

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Credence: What To Do When We’re Not Certain published 23/12/2017

When I say it’s as likely as not that Ngugi will win next year’s Nobel Prize for Literature, and about time, I’m saying that my credence that Ngugi will win is the same as my credence that he’ll lose. And again when I say I’m 95% confident it will rain tomorrow. So credences are graded doxastic states that a subject like you or me or Ngugi or a robot can be in. They are doxastic states because, like our beliefs and unlike our desires, we use them to represent the way the world is. And they are graded because they come in degrees: I can have high credence it will rain tomorrow, low credence, middling credence, quite high credence, vanishingly small credence, and so on.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Richard Pettigrew.

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Existentialists In Love published 16/12/2017

Lovers can be the best mirrors because they tend to know us more intimately than anyone else. This is a curse too, though, because the more we care about another person, the more we want to know what they think of us, the more power they have over us, the more dependent we are on their views of us, and the more we want to try to control that view. There are two main strategies we use to try to find out the other’s views – their secrets – about us: possession and being possessed. That’s the sadism and masochism. We try to force the other person to reveal what they think of us, or we try to be subservient, to assimilate into the other.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Skye C. Cleary.

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