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Interviews » The End Times » Neuroethics (published 20/12/2015)

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Philosophy of mind interested me deeply, but I was frustrated by the lack of empirical perspectives in the philosophical faculties when I was a student, where the road to hell was paved with empirical propositions! Yet it never seemed possible to me to understand the mind purely through a priori reasoning, ignoring the organ that does the job. On the other hand, brain science took scant interest in conceptual, philosophical analyses at the time, which seemed equally lopsided. Today the situation is fortunately different: philosophy and the neurosciences collaborate in a very fruitful manner. And that is why I now have turned my philosophical focus to studies of consciousness and neuroethics.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Kathinka Evers.

Interviews » The End Times » Thinking How To Live (published 05/12/2015)

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We must distinguish what it means to say that I ought to do a thing and what being what I ought to do consists in. Maybe, for example, being what I ought to do consists in something hedonic, such as being what will maximize my happiness. Even so, ‘ought’ doesn’t mean “would maximize one’s happiness.” If it did, as Moore argued, then “You ought to maximize your happiness” would just mean “Maximizing your happiness would maximize your happiness.”

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Allan Gibbard.

Buzzwords » Tonight in London: A Beast in View (published )

A BEAST IN VIEW: AN EVENING OF SATIRE IN POETRY & PROSE with authors Holly Hopkins, Anthony Howell, Courttia Newland, Tony White Poetry at The Room, 33 Holcombe Road, Tottenham Hale, N17 9AS Saturday 5 December 2015 Starts: 7.30 £5 entry plus donation for refreshment A timely and unmissable evening of satire in poetry and […]

Fiction » Beirut 12 / 11: Maurice Blanchot and Georges Bataille (published 21/11/2015)

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The disaster… is what escapes the very possibility of experience—it is the limit of writing. This must be repeated: the disaster de-scribes.

The silence following the Beirut atrocity voiced by words culled from Blanchot and Bataille.

Interviews » The End Times » Metacognition (published )

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Metacognition raises ethical questions, for instance: are all epistemic agents equally equipped to think correctly, and, hence, responsible for their judgments, as Descartes claimed? Or rather, is their social environment responsible for the existence and appropriate use of their critical abilities? This kind of question can now be posed in much more exact terms, thanks to the empirical science of metacognition.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Joëlle Proust.

Fiction » Paris 13 / 11: J.G. Ballard and Sam Beckett (published 15/11/2015)

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People aren’t ennobled by suffering . . . At the same time, it does strip away a lot of illusions. One pays a terrible price for that, but at least one glimpses some kind of truth. Conrad once said that it’s necessary to immerse yourself in the most destructive elements of the times, and then attempt to swim.

Culled lines from JG Ballard and Sam Beckett in response to Paris 13/11.

Fiction » Paris 13 / 11: Clarice Lispector and Kathy Acker (published )

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The mystery of human destiny is that we are fated, but that we have the freedom to fulfill or not fulfill our fate: realization of our fated destiny depends on us. While inhuman beings like the cockroach realize the entire cycle without going astray because they make no choices.

Culled lines from Clarice Lispector and Kathy Acker in response to Paris 13/11.

Essays » Shadow in the Night: Dylan at the Royal Albert Hall (published 08/11/2015)

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Dylan strings his songs in this interrelationship of corrosive anticipations, desire and taboo entwined, so that a luminal obscenity is not an accidental consequence but the irrevocable requirement of life escaping its dull restraint. The pleasure of losing control or of controlling the deliberate violation of a taboo are the twisted foundations of Dylan’s ecstasies. For these are voices in the grip of ethereal scandalous spirituality, voices of minds caught up with their own versions of fraudulence and lust, witnesses of what lies far out of range, distorted and off balanced players where loss is a winner in the long run, where everything has a cost and all debts must be paid. And will be. And are being.

Richard Marshall on what he heard in Bob Dylan‘s recent London concerts.

Interviews » The End Times » Waking, Dreaming, Being (published 04/10/2015)

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One of the fascinating and valuable things about the Indian philosophical tradition is that it has sophisticated and technical debates, spanning centuries, about whether dreamless sleep is a peculiar mode of consciousness or whether it’s a state in which consciousness is absent. Both Advaita Vedānta philosophers (Advaitins) and Buddhist philosophers argued that a subtle form of awareness continues in deep sleep (though they disagreed about the nature of this awareness), whereas the Nyāya philosophers (Nyaiyāyikas) held that consciousness is absent from dreamless sleep.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Evan Thompson.

Reviews » The Dropped Baby (published 27/09/2015)

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The tales in this arena are whatever outlasts the battle, survivor tales that hint at savagery, random desires and revenge, warnings that no matter how docile, how crushed, how downtrodden a character may seem to be, they are shimmering in a deranged version of eternity, watching the ripped sky defecating violence and immensity in hurled bolts of hatred and vengeance, modes of fantastical and diseased consolation that are versions of a cankered, deranged, moony, slithering, abnormal, hallucinatory, inhuman, begrudging, monstrous, spectral, erotic, horrific, engorged, skewed, insane, psychotic, raving, calamitous, delusion- a shimmering done in Flaubert’s register of the cracked kettle – ‘tapping crude rhythms for bears to dance to, whilst we long to make music that will melt the stars’.

Richard Marshall reviews Jackie Lewis’s The Dropped Baby.