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Interviews » The End Times » Causation, Probability and Philosophy (published 14/08/2017)

It’s a mistake to analyze actual causation and think that you have thereby analyzed causation. The surface grammar of our language is misleading in this regard. Consider philosophers’ favorite example: “Suzy’s throwing her rock caused the bottle to smash”. This statement describes a relation of actual causation, but there is nothing in the wording to indicate that a specialized causal concept is involved. The word “caused” seems to suggest a fully general notion of causation. One of the clues that this is wrong is that many concepts that involve a causal dimension don’t involve actual causation.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Christopher Hitchcock.

Interviews » Psychedelics and Philosophy » Tripping For Knowledge: The Psychedelic Epistemologist (published 05/08/2017)

I think psychedelic states can offer genuine knowledge. Specifically, I think psychedelic subjects gain what philosophers call ‘knowledge by acquaintance’ of their own vast psychological potential. They become directly acquainted—because it becomes manifest—with the modal or dispositional fact that there are vastly many, often very unusual, possible ways that their minds can be. And this knowledge often makes a strong impression; many spiritual seekers in the 60s became dedicated meditation practitioners in order to realise the psychological potential they’d discovered by tripping.

Lindsay Jordan kicks off 3:AM’s Psychedelics and Philosophy series interviewing Chris Letheby.

Interviews » The End Times » On Doing and Allowing Harm (published )

I do not think you would be required to sacrifice your own life to save the child or indeed to sustain permanent major physical damage to your body which would leave you severely mentally or physically incapacitated for life. It would probably be morally admirable to do so, but this is not something that can be demanded from people. Requirements to sacrifice yourself in this except under truly exceptional circumstances undermine your authority over your own body.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Fiona Woollard.

Interviews » The End Times » On the Nature of Truth (published 30/07/2017)

‘Believe only what is true!’ is a useless epistemic norm. It’s correct, but it cannot guide us, because what we need are criteria we can actually apply; truth, however, isn’t a criterion we can directly test. ‘Believe only what is consistent with your entire belief system!’ is similarly useless. By Church’s theorem we cannot test a given set of axioms for its consistency. In general, this is beyond the computational powers of the best ideal computer.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Volker Halbach.

Reviews » Endless (published 27/07/2017)

His Endless House was a shock proof shelter, like the rock-shaped formations of his Magic Architecture, rooted in primal regression but rather than being a hypersexualised elastic expression like Paris Endless the new version was rather ‘a palpable luxury of warm soft glowing atmospheres of multimedia affections.’ Kiesler exploded space creating endlessness through illusions that ‘sweep past the boundaries’ dwelling in a solid protective shell.

Richard Marshall reviews Stephen J Phillips on Frederick Kiesler.

Interviews » The End Times » The Happiness Philosopher (published 22/07/2017)

Bentham was undeniably strange, one of the strangest human beings who ever lived. In my view, it was the acute kindness of his disposition that drove him to formulate proposals that his many critics have seized upon as revealing that “iron cage” of modernity that you mentioned earlier–the Panopticon prison system, control through architecture and surveillance, being one of the primary examples. But he spun off so many elaborate schemes that it is very difficult to see how they fit together, especially as part of a historical trajectory headed toward a better society.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Bart Schultz.

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 […]