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Essays » Workers’ Tales Against the Ghost of Linen Decency (published 03/11/2018)

In this terrific book Rosen stands in a popular tradition of art that begins and ends in the complaint and rebellion of the common people against the powers that lord it over them. It’s a proletarian tradition looking to images of the just society and one that links up with revolutionary sermons, nursery rhymes, ballads, popular songs and broadsheets from the past with energies detectable in the likes of Yeats and Kipling. Rosen knows his Levellers, like John Lilburne writing  in ‘Vox Plebis’  from the revolutionary times of the 1640’s: ‘ For as God created every man free in Adam: so by nature are all alike freemen born.’

Richard Marshall reviews Workers Tales edited by Michael Rosen.

Interviews » The End Times » Buddhaghosa: Immeasurable Words (published )

The text that we have begins to list matrices that operate as a sort of table of contents introducing different types of causes and conditions among the phenomena of lived experience, and it operates in an algorithmic way of endlessly ramifying the possibilities for human experience. The Burmese scholars of old sometimes said it simply cannot be written down, and at others times tried to estimate how many cartloads of books it would take. There really is nothing equivalent to this style of thought about psychological experience in other traditions.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Maria Heim.

Interviews » The End Times » Nietzschean Flourishing (published 27/10/2018)

Nietzsche argued that philosophers were wrong to endorse the psychological generalization that human beings avoid pain and seek pleasure.  Rather, we avoid pain and pleasure that we see as meaningless, and we seek pleasure and pain that we regard as meaningful.  So it is facts about meaning, rather than the hedonic quality of outcomes, that determines what we do. Nietzsche likes to make this point by mocking the English utilitarians, who claimed that happiness is the only thing we value for its own sake.  Nietzsche’s rejoinder is simple: “Man does not pursue happiness – only the Englishman does that”

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Paul Katsafanas.

Interviews » The End Times » Taking Stock of Fiction and the Issue of Feminism and Trans Women (published 19/10/2018)

I don’t have the definitive answer as to why so many academics I otherwise respect have decided that my articulating the thoughts just expressed are ‘hateful’ or ‘transphobic’; nor why many others, who have no skin in the game either way, seem so content to let them go unchallenged. I think partly it is to do with feminist philosophy being a small club, and with me being an outsider to that club; partly to do with people’s commendable intention to be ‘inclusive’ but without facing the hard questions about how to enact that intention in a complicated world with many extant patterns of oppression; partly to do, ironically, with certain gendered stereotypes  which tends to position me, as a female, as particularly unkind in saying what I say, without seeking more charitable motives.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Katherine Stock.

Essays » HowTheLightGetsIn Festival, London 2018 (published 14/10/2018)

I’m hoping that the organizers will continue to screen out the philosophical bull shitters and poseurs and be a bit more confident in screening out crowd-pulling best-seller acts who have neither a talent nor interest in philosophy. We need to fight for the integrity of the wissenschaftlich seriousness of philosophy and ensure that when we bring the academy out to the public we quality control it and make it simple enough without being simplistic.

Richard Marshall reflects on the HowTheLightGetsIn London festival.

3:AM Asia » Reviews » Stewart Home’s Bruceploitation Groove (published 13/10/2018)

If you look carefully there’s something about all of Home’s work that remains consistent. He’s interested in forms of cultural work that is marginal but marginal for a reason. It’s often a sleazy, porny, low-brow sentimentalism he develops and pivots off, one that appeals to clear-cut psychological gratifications rather than sly rational evidence for whatever. He doesn’t waste time on normative theory for consumption by bourgeoise academics and vanguardists of both left and right. He is trying to work out and understand the mechanisms by which Marxist psychology and epistemology works which entails in part understanding better the Marxist theory of ideology.

Richard Marshall reviews Stewart Home‘s new book on Bruceploitation.

Interviews » The End Times » Rousseau: Where Does Social Inequality Come From? (published )

Rousseau is certainly thinking of Augustine when he absolves God of the responsibility for evil, but he adds an important twist to his predecessor’s account of the same: for Rousseau evil does not enter the world through human sin but as a result of contingent events, including free human actions, whose evil consequences no one foresees or intends. By far the most important respect in which Rousseau is influenced on these matters by his predecessors lies in his appropriation of the connection drawn by Augustine between sin and pride and of Hobbes’s claim that glory is a major cause of the state of war that characterizes the state of nature.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Fred Neuhouser.

Interviews » The End Times » Hegelian Themes (published 06/10/2018)

Idealism in Kant, Fichte and Hegel is a claim about the capacity of pure (empirically unaided) reason to determine of all that is knowable that it is knowable, and how it is knowable. Human reason can thus be understood to be self-authorizing, a tribunal unto itself. In the Hegelian version, this determination of the knowable is a determination of all that there is in its knowability and so is a metaphysics.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Robert Pippin.

Interviews » The End Times » Zizek, Hegelian Theology after Lacan, and Philosophical Crisis (published 28/09/2018)

Dostoevsky–he was the first to write within the literary register that presented the truth of reality’s “crack” that underneath all the institutions (education, religion, the family etc.) what you really have is a social logic that undergirds and reproduces the powerful’s power. And all citizens are suppose to do is accept this logic (mostly unconsciously), but one devoted to truths in the end, just cannot accept this because they see social logic as a scam in which the powerful have become a transcendent master signifier, “God”. This is the meaning of Nietzsche’s pronouncement, “God is Dead… We have killed him” which was taken from Hegel actually.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Creston Davis.

Interviews » The End Times » Making a Difference (published 19/09/2018)

Hume’s answer to the problem of induction is: ‘custom or habit’. The mechanism is just a brute mechanism that works as follows: once you’ve got enough experience of events just like y (e.g. feeling satisfyingly full rather than dropping dead) following events just like x (eating toast), you start just brutely coming to expect y-type events when we experience x-type events. That’s it. Essentially it’s no different to what happens when your dog infers that a walk is imminent from the fact that you’ve just put your coat on, picked up its lead and said ‘Walkies!’. Your dog has come to expect a walk to follow because that’s what’s always happened in the past.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Helen Beebee.