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Buzzwords » Top Reads of 2016: Richard Marshall (published 23/12/2016)

12 of what I’ve read this year: The Genesis of Neo-Kantianism, 1796-1880. Frederick Beiser. Beiser is an essential read and this is a great and readable book about an important sub-field of continental philosophy. It includes, for the Beckett fans amongst us, a chapter on Windelband, one of whose books Beckett read and from which […]

Interviews » Restless Hauntings: Richard Marshall Interviews Marina Warner (published 06/04/2009)

mw2By the time photography got into its stride it was accepted pretty much as a documentary index of reality. This was why it became very popular in spirit circles because it proved that spirits existed. Well now of course we know so much more about this very peculiar state of being which has been called ‘image flesh’ – a term of Maurice Merleau-Ponty that I like very much. It’s an expression I like because it implies flesh that is not flesh. He applied it to other forms of iconography, which are also image flesh. They might be more material than a photograph – a sculpture, a painting – but they share the relationship to the mind’s eye that photography does.

Richard Marshall talks Catholicism, zombies and Beckton Alps with Marina Warner.

Buzzwords » The Summer of Hate 9: Bertie Marshall (published 11/07/2007)

Bertie Marshall was a member of the legendary Bromley Contingent. He is the author of a novel, Psychoboys, and a memoir, Berlin Bromley (see our interview with Bertie here): Summer 1977: I was a fifteen-year-old androgyne living ”in four sordid rooms in Chelsea” (lyrics by Kander and Ebb) at 92 Oakley Street — three doors […]

Interviews » The End Times » Vices of the Mind: Fake News, Conspiracy Theories, Bullshit etc… (published 14/02/2019)

An epistemic vice is a personal intellectual failing – usually a character trait, attitude or way of thinking – that systematically obstructs the gaining, keeping or sharing of knowledge. In addition, epistemic vices reflect badly on the person whose vices they are. People can properly be blamed or criticised for their epistemic vices. I call my view Obstructivism. On this view, closed-mindedness is a character vice, an epistemic vice that takes the form of a character trait. Wishful thinking is an example of an epistemically vicious way of thinking.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Quassim Cassam.

Interviews » The End Times » Edith Stein, Phenomenology and Analytic Theology… (published 08/02/2019)

Decades before Darwin, Kant recognised how dangerous attempts to achieve theoretical certainty of God’s existence via scientific speculation would be to the theologian’s credibility.  Most obviously, such attempts always end up inferring a demiurgic architect of the world, and not the transcendent source of all being.  To this extent Kant helps to clarify and buttress the classical conception of God, whatever one’s stance on transcendental idealism itself; and I am deeply sympathetic to the view that at least part of the attraction of transcendental idealism for Kant was that it safeguarded religious commitment from the naïve forms of natural theology that were so prevalent in eighteenth-century Germany.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews James Orr.

Interviews » The End Times » The Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā School (published 02/02/2019)

The school started with a focus on a canon of sacred texts, called Vedas. These are considered authoritative only in their prescriptive part, all the rest being only a supplement of prescriptions. Thus, we have a hermeneutic tradition which focuses on sacred texts without referring to god’s intention (the school is atheist, as no doubt we’ll discuss later) and without allowing for any interference between sacred texts and direct experience (no geocentrism because the sacred texts say it, for instance). At this point, a Euro-American reader is likely to ask about the origin of such texts, given that there is no god. Well, the point is that they have no origin. Their presence is a brute fact, just like the existence of language is a brute fact and theories about their origin are much more cumbersome than the acceptance of the fact that they exist and that one could not imagine a scenario without them.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Elisa Freschi.

Interviews » The End Times » Transitional Justice (published 26/01/2019)

As a philosopher, normative claims are of interest in themselves.  But in the context of transitional justice, critical evaluation and defense of normative claims matters for an additional reason: they are a source of deep disagreement.  Divergent and incompatible judgments about processes by citizens and by observers of transitional justice processes often reflect at their core disagreements about what morality demands in transitions.  There are debates about what the goal of particular processes of transitional justice should be: forgiveness, retribution, restorative justice, peace, deterrence, ending impunity, social unity, and/or economic justice.   Disagreement about overall aim leads in turn lead to disagreements about the defensibility of certain responses to wrongdoing. 

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Colleen Murphy.

Essays » When Negativity Don’t Pull You Through: Asides 3 (published 25/01/2019)

So the ascetic blames herself for her pain; the resulting self-loathing acts as a narcotic to relieve the pain. In this way the ascetic resists suicide. But the cost is to exacerbate suffering. This is why Nietzsche reviles the ascetic religious narcotic. ‘[I]t makes the sick sicker.’ Art is a different narcotic that achieves the same end but without the accompanying side effects. Art restores the affective attachment to life. Art’s role is to prevent suicide for those immune to asceticism.

Richard Marshall‘s final aside about anti-pessimism.

Interviews » The End Times » Causal (published 18/01/2019)

We are struggling with all the challenges of the indirect measurement of fMRI that massively “smudges” the neural activity in time and space, we don’t know what the correct “variables” are in the brain, our sample sizes are too low, our computers do not have enough RAM for the causal search etc. BUT, the hope is that as we slowly gain traction on this, we may be able to start tracing (and verifying!) the causal connections between brain areas that give rise to particular mental states, such as emotions.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Frederick Eberhardt.

Interviews » The End Times » Glory, Beauty, Epiphany, Imagination: How To Do Moral Philosophy (published 11/01/2019)

If I want to overthrow the grand récit of ethical theory, then what do I want to put in its place? Part of the answer lies in Williams’ stinging retort to this question when his supervisor Hare put it to him: “I don’t want to put anything in its place—that’s not a place where anything should be.” But if we anti-theorists propose to change the landscape, we do have to explain what we think the landscape should be changed to. So another part of the answer to Hare is that there’s a whole variety of rich ethical resources that we can free ourselves up to deploy if we just get out of the grip of theory. And here (now I’m going well beyond anything that Williams says) are some of them: glory, beauty, epiphany, and indeed imagination.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Sophie Grace Chappell.