:: The End Times

Existence and Consolation published 04/05/2018

Consolation philosophy posits the primacy of mood in the universe. Since I conceive mood as a proto-mind, my thought-system is an African idealism. It is monistic because it reduces everything in the universe to mood, a creative principle driven by an all-pervading logic that is nothing more than yearning. This assertion has implication for determinism and freedom. Rigid determinism and freedom are denied, with the notion of fatalism taking precedence.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Ada Agada.

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Why You Don’t Need Brain Surgery To Change Logic published 03/05/2018

There could probably be a perfectly logical advocate of the claim that the moon landing was a hoax, but few would regard such a person rational.  It’s frequently noted that when one becomes aware that certain of one’s beliefs are logically inconsistent, the most rational response is often to keep the inconsistency, because one is not sure how best to eliminate it.  The ability to manage known inconsistencies and other tensions in one’s beliefs is one of the many important factors in rationality that stress on “being logical” obscures.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Hartry Field.

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How Donald Trump’s Bullshit Earned Him a Place in the History of Assertion. published 29/04/2018

Kripke, and perhaps Wittgenstein, were in favor of norms of meaning, but it is not so clear that either was in favor of norms of assertion, in the current sense, although Kripke spoke of correct assertions. Dummett also spoke of correct/incorrect assertions, but not with an appeal to norms in the current sense. He is still a little different, since he in addition made appeal to conventions of assertion. He did not, however, try to explain what assertion is by appeal to such conventions. One of Dummett’s memorable statements on the matter is this: “A man makes an assertion if he says something in such a manner as deliberately to convey the impression of saying it with the overriding intention of saying something true.”

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

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Aspiration published 27/04/2018

If we think back, we can recall earlier versions of ourselves who didn’t care about many of the things we now care about. The question is: how did we get from there to here?  How did we come to be passionately invested in political activism or motherhood or fashion or classical music or whatever? 

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Agnes Callard.

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Why Marx’s Philosophy But Not His Economics Matters Now published 26/04/2018

Marx’s whole approach, like that of Hegel and Kant, was strongly human-centered and shows no concern for the environment. That is an important weakness, and perhaps even more important is, as you indicate, that Marxism is often seen as providing a justification for refusing to do things that would be highly effective in helping people in extreme poverty. Very often, when I speak about effective altruism, and what we can do, at very little cost to ourselves, to assist people in extreme poverty, someone will say that we should not be assisting charities, no matter how effective they may be, because we need to overthrow capitalism first.

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

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Epistemic Luck, Angst and Disjunctivism published 21/04/2018

I argue that it is much easier to live with the idea of factive rational support if one combines this view with a Wittgensteinian account of the structure of rational evaluation, and it is also much easier to embrace a Wittgensteinian account of the structure of rational evaluation if one is also able to contend that some of one’s reasons are factive. (Why is my proposal ‘biscopic’? It’s an ugly term, I grant, but it does convey just what I’m after, which is basically that we’ve been viewing the problem of radical scepticism hitherto through one eye at a time, and so missed its dual structure, which we can now see clearly through both eyes).

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Duncan Pritchard.

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Legitimacy and Epistemic Democracy published 20/04/2018

Yes, it is a problem for political legitimacy if political decisions are made that are in conflict with what we know would be the right thing to do. But sometimes we only have this knowledge in hindsight or in a form that is not easily shared and not sufficiently robust as a basis for political decision-making. Democratic decisions that are made on the basis of all participants responding rationally to the limited evidence that is available, are not illegitimate even if, in hindsight, we learn that they were the wrong.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Fabienne Peters.

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Wittgenstein and the Limits of Science published 14/04/2018

Wittgenstein’s hostility to the scientistic tendency to take science as the model for all enquiry. His objection here is not to the institution or methodology of science as such; it is to the overgeneralization of scientific thinking to forms of enquiry where it is not appropriate. He is thinking of two features of scientific thinking in particular: its focus on causal explanation and its aspiration to achieve generality in its explanations. There are many areas of human enquiry, Wittgenstein insists, where neither causal explanation nor the search for general laws are appropriate.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Bill Child.

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The Fragmentation of Being published 07/04/2018

I know that I exist, and I think I have very good evidence that I am a material object who is made of other material objects. So I have at least one good reason to believe that compositional nihilism is false. Is this a conclusive argument? It probably won’t convince the diehard compositional nihilist! But that doesn’t mean it is unsound, and it doesn’t mean that I don’t have a reason to believe the conclusion on the basis of that argument. But since I also think that being comes in degrees, there is a further question about how real I am that isn’t settled by this argument. Answering this further question is much harder I think.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Kris McDaniel.

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The Parochialism of Philosophy published 03/04/2018

Even though it is perfectly well known to everyone that there are rich and sophisticated philosophical traditions that span the globe – most obviously in China and India and across the Moslem world – this work has been almost entirely ignored by Anglo-American philosophy departments. That we do this is so commonplace as to rarely attract attention, but if one takes a step back and looks at our curricula with this issue in mind, our field is really just breathtakingly provincial. (That’s the most polite word I can think of. Other words come to mind.) Where philosophy is today is something like where literature departments were in the 1950s, but somehow the explosions of the canon that took place there, nearly half a century ago, simply passed right over philosophy departments. We’re the only place in the university where the West really is thought to be the Best.

Continuing the End Times, Richard Marshall interviews Robert Pasnau.

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