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Interviews » The End Times » metaphors and minds (published 31/01/2014)

Once when Bjork was speaking to a chorus, she said “Make it dolcissimo, like marzipan.” I think she was driven to metaphor here because there was a very specific property she wanted their voices to have – a particular combination of richness, sweetness, and bitterness – that we don’t have a word for in our language (English or Icelandic). She couldn’t demonstrate the sound directly herself, because she’s not a whole chorus. But once they hit on the sound she wanted, she could say “Yes, like that. Let’s call that the marzipan tone.” And from then on, ‘the marzipan tone’ would literally refer, by stipulation, to the sound she could only metaphorically gesture at before.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Elisabeth Camp.

Interviews » The End Times » on the tragedy of life (published 25/01/2014)

Lyotard says we should reject all meta-narratives that try to create a centre of meaning; rather we should become ironists and employ multiple narratives, giving none any real authority. This is in fact the very nihilism that Nietzsche predicted would follow from a thorough appreciation of the Death of God. What strong individuals, the type that Nietzsche really cares about, do in the face of the collapse of all received, externally sanctioned, meta-narratives (be they that of religion, utilitarianism, Marxism, etc) is create their own meta-narrative; they impose their own values, recognizing that this is an existential act of self creation.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Ken Gemes.

Nonfiction » What Colour is Time? Derek Jarman’s Soho (published 12/01/2014)

In 1984, the year when Derek Jarman took a lease on a studio flat in Phoenix House, above the Phoenix Theatre off Charing Cross Road, a compactly minuscule, but functional base, the uncurtained window set like a grid framing the Soho skyline, I associate time then with aqueous white rain skies over Leicester Square, and as candy coloured stripes: pink and white, maroon and grey, pistachio and russet bands according to my abstract notation of big city seasons.

Jeremy Reed recalls Derek Jarman‘s Soho for 3:AM.

Criticism » Time, History and Literature (published 10/01/2014)

Auerbach located in Dante a profound cultural change. Where ‘… the indestructibility of the whole historical and individual man turns against the divine order… and obscures it. The image of man eclipses the image of God. Dante’s work realized the Christian-figural essence of man, and destroyed it in the very process of realizing it.’ Here is another version of ‘reversal and continuation’, an extreme form that knows that the paradoxical realities embedded in religion are secular truths – and vice versa. To speak them threatens to erase everything, or walk you back to the start again for another attempt.

Richard Marshall reviews Auerbach’s Time, History, and Literature.

Criticism » Stewart Home’s po-mo homer (published 29/12/2013)

Stewart Home’s ecstatic absurdity is an assault on modern culture bringing a Homeric pre-Socratic anti-Platonism to the table on the twin-back fun-ride of the funky German materialism started in the 1850s and the materialist-based Marxism a little later.

Richard Marshall on Stewart Home’s Proletarian Post-Modernism.

Interviews » The End Times » Epistemology and Democracy (published 25/12/2013)

One strategy Robert and I find rampant in contemporary argumentative culture is the use of tone of voice to distort a dialectical situation.We call the strategy modus tonens. With modus tonens, you not only reject a view, imply there’s something obviously wrong with it, and communicate that to an onlooking audience, but you also communicate to the interlocutors that they are in need of some educating on the issue – they commit obvious errors, and they don’t even know what they are.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Robert Talisse and Scott F. Aikin.

Interviews » The End Times » what the hell are we doing here ? (published 13/12/2013)

About ten years ago I interviewed Noam Chomsky, and the first question I asked him was why, with all the irons he has in the fire, he dedicates so much time to engaging with philosophers. He said his concern was really part of a more general concern – that “it should trouble us that we’re not thinking about what we’re up to, and those questions happen to be the domain of what philosophers pay attention to.” I feel that there are just too many human enterprises that are not being subjected to critical thinking, and the problem is getting worse rapidly.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Peter Ludlow.

Interviews » Where are the women? (published )

This is one barrier to addressing climate issues, the sense that people can’t speak out; that you have to maintain anonymity due to a real or perceived threat of revictimization, disbelief, or other means of retaliation. I’m not certain how common these things actually are in philosophy. I am certain that people are afraid they’re common–given the way graduate students and untenured faculty often only describe negative experiences under appropriate conditions of anonymity.

Richard Marshall interviews Rochelle H DuFord.

Interviews » The End Times » rationally speaking (published 06/12/2013)

As Noam Chomsky once aptly put it, citizens of modern democracies need a course in intellectual self-defense to guard themselves against all the bullshit they will be bombarded with by corporate and governmental powers. I can’t think of anything better than studying history, reading Shakespeare and Joyce, learning how to admire a Picasso or Van Gogh, or understanding Aristotle and Marx as the foundations for that course.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Massimo Pigliucci.

Interviews » The End Times » from the second person (published 02/12/2013)

I think Nietzsche has a quite brilliant and insightful analysis of a recognizable psychological syndrome that is responsible for much mischief, but he fails to appreciate the ways in which, properly conceived, morality involves a form of mutual respect that is quite positive and life affirming and that develops naturally out of our capacity for mutual response.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Stephen Darwell.