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Interviews » The End Times » Wittgenstein’s Ethical Enterprise and Related Matters (published 19/11/2016)

I am very firmly of the view that philosophy needs to be aware of the non-philosophical investigations going on in its very many neighbouring disciplines (whether that is in history or in mathematics or in art or in psychiatry: it’s not as if everything that isn’t philosophy is science), without surrendering its responsibilities to any of them. After all, quite often when things start getting really interesting in these neighbouring disciplines it’s because they are getting philosophical, whether or not this is recognized.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Edward Harcourt.

Interviews » The End Times » Nihil Unbound (published 12/11/2016)

In Sellars’s account, the “myth of Jones” is perhaps the most momentous step in the construction of the Manifest Image and hence in the development of our collective self-conception as humans. It is the step through which we begin to understand ourselves both as minded beings motivated by beliefs and as sentient beings affected by sensations. In Sellars’s myth, Jones is the genius who first suggests that what humans say and do can be explained as the outward manifestation of inner mental states of believing, desiring, and sensing.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Ray Brassier.

[Pic: Shirren Lim]

Interviews » The End Times » Constructing Race (published 05/11/2016)

In the case of race, explicit racism seems to be much rarer than in the past. A range of other barriers remain, but a substantial part of the explanation of the relative deficit of nonwhite philosophers (especially black philosophers) seems to involve large-scale inequality in society as a whole. There remains substantial disagreement about how to correct such inequality (even were there the political will to do so). Thus, even once we acknowledge a role for various kinds of explicit, implicit, and structural racism (even when we acknowledge a role for the social construction of race), there are other barriers that we as a society must understand and address.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Ron Mallon.

Interviews » The End Times » Peirce, Pragmatism and Race, Racism (published 29/10/2016)

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I argue that we need to be involved in defining ourselves, to own the definitional project, otherwise we, as a group, are doomed in Europe. Given the surge in far right sentiment across Europe I worry that we may already be doomed, but while ever someone else controls whats defines us we can simply be erased by fiat. Now, perhaps this borrows the tools of “white” mainstream philosophy by talking of definitions and concepts and precision etc. but I don’t feel as though my philosophical work is especially tainted because of that. Its just another aspect of the many ways that philosophers can and are doing important work on such issues.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Albert Atkins.

Reviews » Dylan’s American Poetical Company (published 26/10/2016)

It strikes me that what is enjoyed in contemporary American poets is also what can be enjoyed in Dylan. If you can speak about technique, content, spirit, form, about whether the work is catching ‘the natural impression of any object or event,’ whether there’s ‘vividness,’ ‘imagination’, ‘passion’ and ‘a certain modulation of the voice, or sounds, expressing it’ which is what Hazlitt was asking from Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats and the rest of the band back in his day, and if you can do so without it seeming not to fit, then I think you’re talking about a poet. If it looks, walks and quacks like a duck then its a duck.

Richard Marshall reviews Christopher Burt‘s The Poem Is You and Thinks Dylan’s In Good Company.

Essays » The Calvinist Roots of American Anti-Intellectualism (published 23/10/2016)

Trump sounds familiar because he is doing on a grand stage what they are told to do every day from pulpits across America. They are told to stick to their guns and to reject the evolution crap and the carbon dating crap and more generally the logic and inductive science crap, and they know that it is HARD. But here is Trump, a man who can proudly, unashamedly, stand up to Renaissance and Enlightenment-forged principles of rational inquiry and rational discourse.

EJ Spode takes down the Calvinist roots of American Anti-Intellectualism – hard.

Interviews » The End Times » Reason In Our Dark Time (published 22/10/2016)

People and countries have done an enormous amount of damage in their attempts to bring about the best possible world. Communism is an obvious example. But so is British imperialism, which was not grubby self-interest all the way down, but at least in part a sincere attempt on the part of people who felt they were superior to other people to magnanimously improve the lot of their inferiors. In much of the world today there are no more chilling words than “I’m from the United States and I’m here to help you.”

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Dale Jamieson.

[Picture: MikkoLagerstedt]

Interviews » The End Times » Death, Afterlife, Justice and Value (published 15/10/2016)

At no point in their theory do utilitarians rely on an independent notion of justice or fairness. They are concerned solely with the maximization of value. Non-consequentialists are the only people who treat justice as a fundamental moral concept. Since justice is a fundamental moral concept, the question should be: how do we (any of us) accommodate ideas of justice, and especially ideas about the justice of basic social, political, and economic institutions, within an overall outlook that is also sensitive to a variety of other moral values and principles, including values and principles that apply to small-scale personal relationships?

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Samuel Scheffler.

Interviews » The End Times » From A Biological Point Of View, and Then Some (published 09/10/2016)

I don’t endorse deism or interventionist theism. My point is just that evolutionary biology is logically compatible with the former and with some versions of the latter. I have bothered to make this point in print because I want to take the heat off of evolutionary biology. The more evolutionary theory gets called an atheistic theory, the greater the risk that it will lose its place in public school biology courses in the United States. If the theory is thought of in this way, one should not be surprised if a judge at some point decides that teaching evolutionary theory violates the Constitutional principle of neutrality with respect to religion. Creationists have long held that evolutionary theory is atheistic; defenders of the theory do the theory no favor when they agree.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Elliott Sober.

Interviews » The End Times » Against Empathy and Other Philosophical Beefs (published 07/10/2016)

It is not only the sciences that have changed the landscape, but also culture more generally, the present stage of capitalism, media and communication, finance, new forms of governance, lifestyles and consumption habits, new forms of political expression, new people making there presence felt on the global stage, and so on. There is some truth to the claim that some forms of classical philosophical inquiry might have lost their purchase on human reality in the wake of these transformations.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Jan Slaby.

[Pic: Edward Colver]