:: The End Times

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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Jazz: Reading Descartes Otherwise published

Descartes being different from “Descartes” (for instance, as “Descartes, the father of modern philosophy” has largely been a history of repeating, debating or detesting, even summarily rejecting Descartes who is, in fact, in my view, a free thinker, restless traveler, letter-writer lucky enough not to have to make money, yeah, true, but anxious enough to rely on the feedback from prudent and loyal friends…

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Kyoo Lee.

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Recalibrating Pragmaticism published 29/04/2017

A true belief is the best belief we human beings could come to—a belief that would really account for the reasons and evidence were we to inquire as far as we fruitfully could. Here it is with the Ramseyan inflection: A belief is a habit with which we meet the world and true beliefs are the best habits we could have.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Cheryl Misak.

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All You Wanted to Know About Plato on Meno’s Paradox, and Other Gems published 17/04/2017

The reason we can’t attain the highest level of knowledge while incarnate is that we can’t then wholly escape the influence of the body (and so of perception and of certain desires that take us away from thinking properly); and that prevents us from understanding fully what forms are, which one must do in order to have the highest level of knowledge, which in the Phaedo he calls phronesis (wisdom). However, we can train ourselves, while incarnate, to distance ourselves from the body enough to be able to acquire some knowledge.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Gail Judith Fine.

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Just War published 08/04/2017

Just because someone’s doing something wrong, doesn’t mean it’s wrong for you to support them, if there’s no way to get them to do right, and if your only other alternative makes things go even worse. Everyone knows that we can’t just blindly follow our leaders when they act unjustly; but what I point out is that we also can’t just blindly defy them either.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Saba Bazargan-Forward

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Weighing Goods and People: Ethics out of Economics: Rationality through Reasoning…and Climate Change published 02/04/2017

The world doesn’t work by agreement. We have political processes whose whole purpose is to manage disagreement. What we have to do as philosophers is figure things out as well as we can, and present our conclusions to the world, using the best arguments we can find. That is our contribution to the political process.

Continuing the End Times series Richard Marshall interviews John Broome.

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French Continentals published 31/03/2017

In general, the reversal of Platonism is a reversal of a hierarchy. As in Nietzsche, the reversal of Platonism in Deleuze is the reversal of being and becoming. The stakes of the reversal of Platonism seem to be solely ontological: break free of the ancient doctrine of icons and models and of the modern notion of representation with its four shackles: identity, resemblance, analogy, and negation. Raise up difference, dis-similarity, disparity and inequality…
… There is no question in my mind that Derrida varied and developed his idea of deconstruction across his career. However, now I think that three versions are continuous. Together they probably define what you are calling Derrida’s “ethos.” The three versions are: (1) the reversal of hierarchies (as in the reversal of Platonism); (2) the attempt to be just; and (3) the impossible.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Leonard Lawler.

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