:: The End Times

The Weaponising of Free Speech On Campus, and Other Toxicities… published 20/07/2018

While the boundaries of speech have been debated and contested on campus for decades, the focus on free speech as a wedge issue is newer and more pressing in the last few years. The history of campus activism is long and storied: Students’ concerns about invited speakers, for instance, have sparked protests and disinvitations in the 1970s; the Vietnam war gave rise to heated political activity on campus; the sweatshop issue prompted students to stage sit-in numerous times over decades. None of the current expressions of tensions – protests, ‘no platforming,’ controversial speakers, disinvitations – is new. What we see now that we have not seen before is, first of all, the involvement of outside groups, ideologically motivated and funded by individuals and organizations, which are promoting the more divisive aspects of the current tensions. It seems that they do so either out of a sense that conservative and right-leaning views are too sparse on college campuses, or as part of an effort to discredit higher education for political reasons.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Sigal Ben-Porath.

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Emptiness and No-Self: Nāgārjuna’s Madhyamaka published 15/07/2018

The emptiness of emptiness is interesting as a response to the Madhyamaka dilemma because of its meta-philosophical implications. It forces us to re-examine our conception of what philosophical theories are and what they do. The theory of emptiness certainly looks like a very general and very comprehensive metaphysical theory. And if we consider it from the perspective of Western metaphysics we are all familiar with, it is unclear how we could say that such a theory is not making the claim that it is ultimately true.

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

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How Not To Be A Frog In A Well: Chinese/German/Buddhist Philosophy published 14/07/2018

Hegel and Rosenzweig belong to what could well be described as the religiously motivated rejection of non-Western forms of thought; they lack the grandeur and height of God and the individual dignity of the person that they respectively associate with Christianity and Judaism. These narratives are not only historically problematic in the past; they concern the present. Each time someone claims that the Chinese are merely imitative and not capable of creativity, merely collective without any sense of individuality, that an idea does not matter because it is only Chinese, and so on, they are reproducing the Eurocentric and Aryanist (it should not be forgotten the common use of such terms across the West until 1945) racial schemata that emerged in the Enlightenment as reason and freedom were increasingly identified as unique capacities of a particular race and civilization that had the duty to rule over lesser ones.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Eric S. Nelson.

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Hindu Syllogisms and Dark Necessities Go Fusion published 07/07/2018

The other way you can improve on your own conceptual analysis via reflection on cases is by doing some experimental philosophy. To this end, I think the goal is to see what relation there is between your philosophical investigation and the way the folk use relevant terms in the semantic range of the term you have for the specific concept. Again, we can look at how Americans at Rutgers University use ‘knowledge’ and we can meaningfully compare that to how Malayali fisherman in Kerala use a term that is in the semantic range of ‘knows’ in English, such as ‘ariv’.   The experimental philosophy role I am thinking of does not battle with analytic philosophy. Rather, there is a supplementation or complementation between the two. I see things through the lens of what I call ACE Philosophy. Analytic philosophy united with Cross-Cultural philosophy, united with Experimental methods.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Anand Jayprakash Vaidya.

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Nietzsche: the Middle Writings published 03/07/2018

The middle Nietzsche remains in large part very ‘unknown’ to readers of his writings and to philosophical culture as a whole; second, there is the assumption in many people’s heads that because the late Nietzsche obviously comes after the middle one that it must be the final, the authentic, the consummate Nietzsche, but this in my view is a large assumption to make. The late texts are specific texts; they work primarily as polemics (that often degenerate into rants!) Nietzsche himself said that the middle writings constituted the ‘yes-saying’ part of his task, whilst the late writings constitute the ‘no-saying’ part. The issue that needs reflecting upon, then, is the relation between the two parts of task and whether Nietzsche’s middle writings offer more of a philosophy of the future than do the late writings.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Keith Ansell-Pearson.

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Maximus, Al-Farabi and the Extended Philosophical Canon published 01/07/2018

Maximus’ philosophy challenges our understanding of what European philosophy is. The examination of numerous aspects of Maximus’ philosophy stresses the interdisciplinary character of Maximian studies. Apart from Maximus’ relevance and importance for philosophy in general, a second question arises: should towering figures of Byzantine philosophy like Maximus the Confessor be included in an overview of the history of European philosophy, or rather excluded from it—as is the case today with most histories of European philosophy?

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Georgios Steiris.

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Rethinking Minds: the Wittgenstein, Levinas, Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty Gang published 27/06/2018

Wittgenstein certainly isn’t interested in solving the sceptical problem of other minds. That is, he has no interest in proving, to a sceptic’s satisfaction, that we may know what other people are thinking and feeling, or that they feel and think in the first place. So if the traditional epistemological problem is a sceptical one, Wittgenstein just wants to shrug it off (I think John McDowell puts it like that somewhere). Here, Wittgenstein is perfectly in line with phenomenologists such as Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty. So you might say this is the first respect in which his perspective is like that of the phenomenologists. Moreover, like the phenomenologists, I think he is trying to shed light on our ways of relating to other people (and their minds), in such a way as to make us see that there is no compelling reason to bother with those sceptical problems in the first place. Here, too, he is in line with the phenomenologists.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Søren Overgaard.

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Bayes’ Arrows published 23/06/2018

McGinn and Giere and their like can botanize the world of thought into “philosophy” and “not philosophy” and corral the mostly fruitless into the former, as they wish. Universities make those sorts of separations an invitation to triviality and sometimes, outright stupidity. I think the basic motivation is pretty simple: most philosophers can’t do any mathematics, certainly not original mathematics; they are trained not to know statistics or computation. They treasure playground and rewards for the skills they have, and want to make sure the playground is well-guarded.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Clark Glymour.

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Carl Schmitt and Democratic Cannibalism published 16/06/2018

The absolute entrenchment of the constitution’s core commitments and party bans are the two most significant takeaways. By arguing that the basic decision of the Weimar Constitution was for liberal basic rights rather than democracy, Schmitt believed he had discovered a way to prevent extremists from gaining power and committing legal revolution, a way consistent with the existing Weimar Constitution.

As the Nazis and Communists gained seats in parliament, Schmitt was frustrated by positivist jurists’ unyielding commitment to democratically decided positive law. He criticized them for how their theoretical commitments resulted practically in something like political quietism. And, in doing so, he seems to interpret them as one-sided adherents to Weber’s ethics of conviction, as politically irresponsible.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Benjamin A Schupmann.

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The Impossible and The Real published 09/06/2018

When I think about what it means for something to exist, I don’t see a gap between existence, reality, being, or whatever you want to call it. When it comes to Pegasus, Santa Claus, and the Tory party’s concern for the poor, it’s not that there’s something out there in reality that somehow lacks the property of existence. There’s simply no such thing.

Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Mark Jago,

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