:: The End Times

The Fall and Rise of Louis Althusser published 07/07/2017

Like Galileo with astronomy and Darwin with biology, Althusser argued that Marx opened up a new “scientific continent.” According to him, what makes Marx’s or Darwin’s or Galileo’s thought scientific is not necessarily their empirical investigations but the fact that each developed new understandings of certain types of objects. These objects and concepts could then be investigated and our understanding of them developed using scientific methods of research. For Darwin, obviously, the chief concept was that of natural selection. However, there are other concepts such as mutation, heredity, and adaptation which comprise evolutionary theory as a whole and that Darwin needed but did not name in his work (it took others like Mendel to do so). Similarly, For Marx, the chief concept in the Marxist science of historical materialism is that of class struggle.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews William Lewis.

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Philosophers Wrong About Knowledge Since Plato Bombshell! published 01/07/2017

First of all, it is a lie that philosophers traditionally defined knowledge as justified true belief (“JTB”). Gettier criticized a view that nearly no philosopher ever held. Roderick Chisholm might have been, at one point, the only one. Second, there was never any evidence that JTB was the “commonsense” view either, and recent work by experimental philosophers, particularly Christina Starmans and Ori Friedman, shows that it is not the commonsense view. So it was a fake problem, with no basis in either commonsense epistemology or the history of the discipline. Finally, the problem is not hard to solve.

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

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Law published 24/06/2017

I was delighted when I reached the remark, “What is an electric field? Is it something real, or is it merely a name for a factor in an equation which has to be multiplied by something else to give the numerical value of the force we measure in an experiment?” Finally, I remember thinking, here at last was the sort of question that I wanted us to pursue. But the textbook went on to say that “since it works, it doesn’t make any difference. That is not a frivolous answer, but a serious one.” I felt ashamed of my obvious intellectual immaturity and bad taste.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Marc Lange.

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Modern Metaphysics – the Analytic/Continental Mix published 17/06/2017

I believe that there are deep connections between Heidegger’s metaphysics and the concerns of analytic metaphysicians. One of the things that I try to do in my book is to show that Heidegger’s metaphysics involved him in a kind of battle with language that was reminiscent of Wittgenstein’s early work. But that is just one example of very many. And it illustrates the point we touched on earlier: how profitable it can be to set non-analytic traditions alongside the analytic tradition.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews A.W. Moore.

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Arcadian Wisdom published 10/06/2017

I don’t think, and I don’t think that Plato thinks, that the questions human beings ask as they struggle to figure out what is just or beautiful or good—as they struggle to forge for themselves good lives—are susceptible to technical resolution. Human life cannot be mastered by an expert. It can surely be enhanced by thought, but it cannot be successfully engineered. In us there are too many powerful forces and desires, too much variability, contingency and sheer madness.

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

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The Pluralist published 03/06/2017

Different moralities must share some general features if they are to perform their functions of coordinating beings having particular kinds of motivations. Morality is a cultural construction in something like the way bridges are. There would be no bridges unless human beings used them to move across bodies of waters or depressions in the earth, but a good bridge cannot be designed according to whim, but rather according to what would adequately fulfill their function and the nature of the materials that are available for their construction.

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

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Nietzsche and Friendship published 27/05/2017

Perspectivism consists in part in the view that there is no privileged representation of the world, no theory that can explain once and for all every worldly phenomenon. Many of its critics infer from this that perspectivism reduces to a relativism according to which every view is as true as any other. There are several answers to this charge. But the connection with the arts provides one of the strongest. For, although it makes no sense to think of “the greatest” artist or “the greatest” work, we are still perfectly capable of distinguishing between the quality of different artists and different works. Why, then, should that be impossible in the rest of life as well?

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

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Disagreement published 21/05/2017

We take this pattern of judgments to be evidence that the ordinary notion of disagreement allows for two people to disagree by making non-incompatible moral claims (i.e., two claims such that it is not the case that one must be false). If that is right, then, not only is the disagreement argument against contextualism undermined, but the correct theory may in fact be a contextualist theory, since that kind of theory does allow for the possibility of disagreements that do not involve making incompatible claims.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Justin Khoo.

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Jerk and Whoosh Time published 13/05/2017

Of course, Cockburn – unlike More or Alexander – was a woman, and it’s likely that sexism has played some part in the neglect of her work. She was writing at a time when men worried that reading made women ‘troublesome or ridiculous’, and debated whether women’s inferiority was due to their feeble bodies or their soggy brain fibres. (Less than eighty years ago, C. D. Broad concludes a book review by writing that its author, Susan Stebbing, must be enjoying something of the exhilaration of a ‘good housewife’ who has completed her spring-cleaning.)

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Emily Thomas.

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The Noumenaut: Psychedelics and Philosophy published 07/05/2017

If one accepts A. N. Whitehead’s proverb that the European philosophical tradition consists of a series of footnotes to Plato, then a case can be made for the significance of psychedelics to philosophy as we have it. The self-proclaimed ‘chemical philosopher’ Humphry Davy wrote in 1800 a treatise on the philosophical ramifications of nitrous oxide intake, siding with the idealists – and thereafter we can follow a line of philosophers who were indebted to psychoactive intake. Figures include Nietzsche, James, Benjamin, Jünger, Paz, Sartre, Foucault, and Nick Land amongst others. William James, incidentally, wrote that Hegel’s philosophy only became clear to him under the influence of nitrous oxide.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall and Lindsay Jordan interview Peter Sjöstedt-H.

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