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Interviews » The End Times » Recalibrating Pragmaticism (published 29/04/2017)

A true belief is the best belief we human beings could come to—a belief that would really account for the reasons and evidence were we to inquire as far as we fruitfully could. Here it is with the Ramseyan inflection: A belief is a habit with which we meet the world and true beliefs are the best habits we could have.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Cheryl Misak.

Interviews » The End Times » All You Wanted to Know About Plato on Meno’s Paradox, and Other Gems (published 17/04/2017)

The reason we can’t attain the highest level of knowledge while incarnate is that we can’t then wholly escape the influence of the body (and so of perception and of certain desires that take us away from thinking properly); and that prevents us from understanding fully what forms are, which one must do in order to have the highest level of knowledge, which in the Phaedo he calls phronesis (wisdom). However, we can train ourselves, while incarnate, to distance ourselves from the body enough to be able to acquire some knowledge.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Gail Judith Fine.

Interviews » The End Times » Just War (published 08/04/2017)

Just because someone’s doing something wrong, doesn’t mean it’s wrong for you to support them, if there’s no way to get them to do right, and if your only other alternative makes things go even worse. Everyone knows that we can’t just blindly follow our leaders when they act unjustly; but what I point out is that we also can’t just blindly defy them either.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Saba Bazargan-Forward

Interviews » The End Times » Weighing Goods and People: Ethics out of Economics: Rationality through Reasoning…and Climate Change (published 02/04/2017)

The world doesn’t work by agreement. We have political processes whose whole purpose is to manage disagreement. What we have to do as philosophers is figure things out as well as we can, and present our conclusions to the world, using the best arguments we can find. That is our contribution to the political process.

Continuing the End Times series Richard Marshall interviews John Broome.

Interviews » The End Times » French Continentals (published 31/03/2017)

In general, the reversal of Platonism is a reversal of a hierarchy. As in Nietzsche, the reversal of Platonism in Deleuze is the reversal of being and becoming. The stakes of the reversal of Platonism seem to be solely ontological: break free of the ancient doctrine of icons and models and of the modern notion of representation with its four shackles: identity, resemblance, analogy, and negation. Raise up difference, dis-similarity, disparity and inequality…
… There is no question in my mind that Derrida varied and developed his idea of deconstruction across his career. However, now I think that three versions are continuous. Together they probably define what you are calling Derrida’s “ethos.” The three versions are: (1) the reversal of hierarchies (as in the reversal of Platonism); (2) the attempt to be just; and (3) the impossible.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Leonard Lawler.

Interviews » The End Times » Reasons Why (published 25/03/2017)

If all I want is for my life not to go well, then if I get what I want my life is not going well, in which case (according to the theory) I am not getting what I want, which is a contradiction. You also get a contradiction on the assumption that I do not get what I want.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Bradford Skow.

Interviews » The End Times » How Rational is our Rationality? (published 18/03/2017)

If you calculate a tip when you’re drunk, you should think of yourself as taking a belief-gamble – you’re forming a belief in a way that gives you a 50% shot at getting things right and a 50% shot at getting things wrong. This is the equivalent of guessing. Since the way in which we care about the accuracy of our beliefs prohibits guessing, this way of caring about accuracy also prohibits forming beliefs while drunk. A really interesting question is why we don’t like gambling on our beliefs, when we’re happy gambling on all sorts of other things.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Miriam Schoenfield.

» 3:AM for sale (published 15/03/2017)

Ethics at 3:AM by Richard Marshall   Punk is Dead: Modernity Killed Every Night by Andrew Gallix and Richard Cabut, editors   The Guide to Being Bear Aware by Steven J. Fowler   Attrib. and other stories by Eley Williams   Dysfunctional Males by Fernando Sdrigotti   Square Wave by Mark de Silva   Vertigo […]

Interviews » The End Times » Time and the Philosophy of Action (published 14/03/2017)

A billionaire has offered to give you a million dollars if, at midnight tonight, you intend to drink a toxin tomorrow afternoon. The toxin will make you sick, but it won’t kill you, so you wouldn’t mind drinking it for a million dollars. But there is one catch: the money will be deposited in your account (or not) before noon. So here is the problem: you have no reason to drink the toxin (and the billionaire has told you as much), since he isn’t paying you to do so. By the time tomorrow afternoon arrives, you will either be a millionaire or you won’t be, but you will have no reason to drink the toxin and a strong reason not to. Since you know this, it seems that forming an intention to drink the toxin will be difficult or even impossible without finding some way to trick yourself into drinking.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Roman Altshuler.

Interviews » The End Times » The Measure of Things (published 04/03/2017)

The ‘pragmatist’ line taken by Daoists, Nietzsche and existential phenomenologists such as Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, is the best one to take in order to dispel the pretensions of ‘absolutism’. The main objection, for example, to the ‘scientistic’ claim that physics describes the world as it is in itself is that, to recall James’s remark, you ‘can’t weed out’ the human contribution. That is, the scientific image of the world, like any other, is indelibly shaped by our interests, practices and prejudices. There is no reason at all to think that creatures with very different purposes and concerns would arrive at the scientific image, and no reason at all to accuse such creatures of getting the world wrong – a point that both Chuang Tzu and Nietzsche make when comparing human and animal perspectives.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews David E Cooper.