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Interviews » The End Times » Descrying the World of Physics (published 14/07/2017)

While physics has had tremendous successes it is still an open question whether there is fundamental ontology and laws and if there is whether they can be found by the methods of physics. To the extent that this aim of physics is achieved we should be able to understand how what Sellars calls “the manifest image” emerges from fundamental physics. That is what I mean by “descrying the world in physics.”

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Barry Loewer.

Reviews » The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (published 08/07/2017)

The story either gives grief-stricken trace lines an irrevocable source of resistance, or else anomalous forms of persistent humiliation. It works to estimate the situation. It’s a habit of secrecy being brokered over centuries. Narratives of intense corporeal excavations take place in night ears but are experienced in daylight eyes. Deranged adults and wounded children perform annulment stories in silence. The insane interrogative research of intense pressure seeks the other side of suffering, where the suffering ends not because it has been expelled or exonerated but rather because it has been liberated from its opposite.

Richard Marshall reviews Jack Zipes’ book The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Interviews » 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.

Buzzwords » Ethics At 3:AM (published 01/07/2017)

From the blurb: What do ethicists and moral philosophers really think about? What are the most pressing concerns in the discipline today? This collection of interviews with a range of interesting and original thinkers in the field provides a snapshot of contemporary ethics in all its complexity and nuance. It contains 25 probing interviews conducted […]

Interviews » The End Times » Philosophers Wrong About Knowledge Since Plato Bombshell! (published )

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.

Interviews » The End Times » 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.

Interviews » The End Times » 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.

Reviews » What Algorithms Want (published 12/06/2017)

The success of Trump in the USA was a Cow Clicker political success: no matter how dumb, nasty, inept and poorly designed, Trump understands where the new magic sources of power lie. It’s no accident that he tweets, cutting out the ‘normal channels’ of shared concern to ‘speak’ directly to the private space of (anti) social media. His genius has been to seduce and reach beyond both comprehension and knowledge, to harness some vast algorithmic political unknowability and ignorance. This is the new cultural landscape that Ed Finn’s timely and fascinating book investigates.

Richard Marshall reviews Ed Finn‘sWhat Algorithms Want.

Interviews » The Hacker (published 10/06/2017)

As Debord said, theories are made to die in the war of time. They are of their era. There’s no shortage of cranky pro-situs who claim ownership of the Situationists, like petit-bourgeois shop-keepers. But I think it’s better to treat it as material to refunction rather than repeat. It’s not for imitating, it’s for treating as raw material. That’s why the hardcovers of my books on the Situs come with comic strips that I made with Kevin Pyle, as a bit of a hint about how to repurpose the material now.

Richard Marshall interviews McKenzie Wark.

Interviews » The End Times » Arcadian Wisdom (published )

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.