End Times series


Tyrannies of Opinion et al

Tyrannies of Opinion et al

Our job as philosophers is to seek the truth with intellectual honesty and all available rigor. It’s fine if some of us work in highly technical fields that have no direct social pay-off. For example, I’m glad that we’ve made progress in areas such as formal logic and (perhaps) Gricean semantics. But I don’t believe we’re justifying ourselves as a discipline unless we provide a place within the academy – one of the few such places – where it’s possible to step back and interrogate whatever might be our culture’s fashionable beliefs of the moment. Someone needs to ask difficult questions about fashionable belief systems, whether left-wing, right-wing, or otherwise. Are they true? Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Russell Blackford

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Plato, Gödel, Spinoza, Ahab

Plato, Gödel, Spinoza, Ahab

'Since Gödel had interpreted his First Incompleteness Theorem in the light of his mathematical realism, then yes, postmodernists are barking up the wrong tree. The proof shows that there is a mathematical truth—the Gödel sentence—that is not provable within the system. He’s not in any way attacking the notion of objective truth in mathematics. Quite the contrary.' Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Rebecca Newberger Goldstein .

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There Are No Such Things As Theories

There Are No Such Things As Theories

My rather brutal response to this debate about what sorts of things theories and models are, what identity conditions they satisfy and so on, is to chop right through it and insist that the whole discussion got off on the wrong foot by taking theories and models to be things, of some sort, to begin with. Literally, on my view … There Are No Such Things As Theories! So, they are not abstract artefacts, inhabiting World 3, nor are they fictions, nor anything else. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Steven French

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What Trump Forgot: Reverence, Empathy, Leadership, Education and Philanthropy etc

What Trump Forgot: Reverence, Empathy, Leadership, Education and Philanthropy etc

Tolerate education? You should crave it. You need to have a curious mind and want to know how human beings function, whether together or apart. Alexander the Great studied with Aristotle. Washington and Lincoln read books on their own. Rosa Parks finished her formal education but learned most of what she knew from the school of life. You don’t need to go to school to be educated, but you do need to know something about the human condition in order to be an effective leader over the long haul. Otherwise you won't know how to deal with the evils that you will have to face. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Paul B Woodruff.

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Environmental and Global Ethics

Environmental and Global Ethics

All your readers are global citizens to some extent, as users of the world-wide web, which has made some forms of parochialism anachronistic, and also as holders of human rights. However there is a need for us all to educate ourselves in the needs of people and environments worldwide. Fortunately we do not all need to be conscious of our global citizenship before policies of global sustainability, such as those of the 2015 Paris Conference, can be introduced. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Robin Attfield.

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Medieval, Renaissance and Skeptical Philosophy

Medieval, Renaissance and Skeptical Philosophy

The term ‘Renaissance philosophy’ is particularly useless. It just does not serve any purpose. Is philosophy that starts with Petrarch in the 14thcentury the beginning of the Renaissance? No, there is nothing new that begins then. Petrarch had a certain influence on some later thinkers in the 15thand 16th centuries, but it does not make any sense to delineate a new period in history that starts then. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Henrik Lagerlund .

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Hard Problems and Then Some

Hard Problems and Then Some

Motivation is key to fully appreciate why epistemic agency is continuous with cognitive agency and also why knowledge requires the world-directed and selective functions of attention. The prevalence of belief based-accounts of knowledge and propositional-attitude approaches has obscured the importance of reliable and virtuous motivation and skills in epistemology and philosophy more generally. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Carlos Montemayor

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Ethics, Wittgenstein and the Frankfurt School, and Cavell

Ethics, Wittgenstein and the Frankfurt School, and Cavell

'It was already clear to me that mainstream research programs in ...[philosophy of mind].... depend for their fundamental structures on the narrower, or subjectivity-extruding, conception of objectivity. I was committed to developing an approach to mind that rejects these structures, making room for an account of mental concepts as metaphysically transparent and irreducibly ethical.' Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Alice Crary

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Free Speech, The Force of Law and Other Issues

Free Speech, The Force of Law and Other Issues

Debates will remain shallow as long as proponents of restriction insist that everything that is harmful ought to be restricted while opponents insist with equal vigor that the speech is harmless. Only by accepting that some of such speech is genuinely harmful can we have a fruitful discussion of when (if ever) and why harmful speech ought to be restricted, and when (if ever) and why harmful speech ought to be protected or tolerated. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Fred Schauer

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Meditations on Descartes's Meditations

Meditations on Descartes's Meditations

If we work with the hypothesis that the Meditations is a sustained attempt to extricate the meditator from the sensory ideology and show her that she has a more immediate basic understanding of herself, God, and body, I think much of the text falls into place. Discussions that might have otherwise seemed to be tangents, quirky, or off topic—especially if we take the topic to be answering the skeptic—start to fall into place. As important, I believe, the philosophy gets more interesting. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews John Carriero

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Educational Assessment, Religious Pluralism, Synthetic Phonics and Other Educational Issues

Educational Assessment, Religious Pluralism, Synthetic Phonics and Other Educational Issues

Classifying someone with a learning disability involves a way of being a person. Those classified interact with the classifying process. Forces at work include online ‘scientific’accounts of particular disorders, health diagnoses and treatments, support groups, charities, advice for parents, and dietary advice. Those classified in a particular way, together with the relevant label applications themselves, may well undergo significant changes as a result. So Hacking’s looping effects associated with interactive kinds means that at least some learning disorder labels are ‘moving targets Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Andrew J Davis.

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Epistemology, Probable Belief and Carnap

Epistemology, Probable Belief and Carnap

We need to distinguish different meanings of ‘probability’. The main distinction is between subjective probability (call it credence) and objective probability (call it chance). There’s no problem here for credence, which is what we get when we use probability theory to model the beliefs of agents. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Darren Bradley

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Anscombe's Intention and Related Issues

Anscombe's Intention and Related Issues

The pamphlet she published in 1938 with her friend Norman Daniel, which opposed Britain's entry into the Second World War, cites Aquinas directly and presents arguments right out of the Summa Theologiae. But in writing Intention Anscombe kept that influence largely beneath the surface: while she's channeling Thomistic ideas consistently throughout the text, Thomas gets referenced only in a stray footnote. I think this is another main cause of the initial obscurity of the book. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews John Schwenkler.

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Wise Pencils and Wandering Significance

Wise Pencils and Wandering Significance

One of the most salient features of our improving intellectual economy lies in the fact that “our pencils often prove wiser than ourselves,” as Euler is alleged to have said. By this, he means that otherwise unwarranted doodling sometimes suggests pathways of reasoning that that allow us to capture natural phenomena within our linguistic nets in fashions that we could not have anticipated beforehand. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Mark Lowell Wilson

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Economics, Metaphysics and Cognition

Economics, Metaphysics and Cognition

the most fruitful and successful work in economics is social science, not behavioural science. Insofar as economics has a fundamental class of phenomena to study, these have always been, and remain, markets. The concept of a market applies very broadly, to any system of networked information processing about relative marginal values of flows and stocks of resources that agents in the network seek to control. Markets of goods and services that are priced using money are only one, hugely socially important, kind of market. But where the question at hand is concerned they all have something in common: they are social phenomena. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Don Ross

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Moral Disturbances

Moral Disturbances

I follow philosophers like Simone de Beauvoir and Stephen Darwall in emphasizing that ethical inquiry is essentially second personal. Ethical claims are calls that moral agents make upon other moral agents to limit their free choices in particular ways. When you make universal moral claims, you are effectively issuing demands upon the free agency of everyone. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Regina Rini

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Propositions, Truth, Persons and Vagueness

Propositions, Truth, Persons and Vagueness

For me, the most interesting aspect of philosophy is the arguments. And there are arguments in metaphysics. Suppose you think that metaphysics is dumb. Then you must think that the arguments in metaphysics are dumb. Take one of those arguments. Suppose you think it has a false premise. Fair enough. That is a good reason to oppose that argument. But opposing that argument in that way is not being a critic of metaphysics, it is instead opposing a single argument. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Trenton Merricks

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Disagreement

Disagreement

Many disagreements—certainly among philosophers—involve people who seem equally well-informed, equally intelligent, equally hard-working and serious, and so on. In other words, we disagree with people who seem just as well-placed as we are to form accurate beliefs on the relevant topic. Assuming we’re disagreeing about a matter that has right and wrong answers, one of us has gotten it wrong. So the question then arises: is it rational for me to believe that it’s the other person who’s wrong?' Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews David Christensen

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Philosophy of Language

Philosophy of Language

A lot of the debates in philosophy of language concern whether some philosophically interesting word (‘know’, ‘free’, cause’, ‘self’, ‘true’, etc.) is context-sensitive. There is no general consensus how to address these questions and it sometimes feels like these debates are hopeless – some claiming context-sensitivity just to solve a philosophical puzzle, others denying it just to block the solution. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Zoltán Gendler Szabó

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Quantum Physics, the Wavefunction and Realism

Quantum Physics, the Wavefunction and Realism

One of the reasons to motivate wavefunction realism is that it seems to be the most suitable way of ‘interpreting the formalism’. But why do we need to start with the formalism? This amounts to try to force an ontology on the formalism. Namely to force some meaning into the symbols. Shouldn’t we instead propose an ontology first, and then an equation for it, so that we can reproduce the formalism and the experimental data? Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Valia Allori

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Natural Categories and Human Kinds - and Islamic Philosophy

Natural Categories and Human Kinds - and Islamic Philosophy

In some cases, merely believing in a certain kind and acting in certain ways tends to give it causal efficacy. I think that race has no more biological basis than hysteria, yet by virtue of the fact that generations of people have believed in it and acted accordingly, a kind has been created in the world. This real kind has significant effects not just in the social world (e.g. rates of incarceration, income levels) but also in the biological realm (e.g. rates of type-2 diabetes and hypertension, life expectancy, susceptibility to the coronavirus). These effects might cease to obtain if we all stopped discriminating on the basis of race and we redressed past wrongs. So it’s not inconsistent to be both a realist and a social constructivist about some kinds. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Muhammad Ali Khalidi

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Reflections on Nominalism and on Kripke

Reflections on Nominalism and on Kripke

I have written much — much too much — about nominalism. I keep trying to get away from it, but I keep being drawn back by invitations to contribute to volumes on this or that. Nominalism in modern philosophy of mathematics is the view that denies, for philosophical reasons, the truth of the standard existence theorems in the subject, beginning with Euclid's on the existence of infinitely many primes. According to this view, Wiles's proof (of Fermat's conjecture) that for n > 2 that there are no two numbers that are nth powers and whose sum is also an nth power is in one sense superfluous, since philosophy has already established that there are no numbers at all. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews John P Burgess

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Reflections on Descartes, Reflections on Religion

Reflections on Descartes, Reflections on Religion

The “curious tension” you refer to arises from Descartes’s saying that this “me” is essentially incorporeal – a pure “thinking thing”, and his also saying that I am intimately united with my body. On the one hand Descartes wants to say that the immaterial mind is something complete and independent in its own right. This is what we have come to call ‘Cartesian dualism’. But on the other hand he wants to preserve the (traditional scholastic) idea that it is genuinely and substantially united to the body – that we are not incorporeal angelic spirits inhabiting mechanical bodies, but genuine human beings of flesh and blood. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews John Cottingham

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Making Medical Knowledge

Making Medical Knowledge

I recommend taking a social, rather than an individual point of view when making assessments about rationality and progress. An individual’s reasons for working on a particular theory may be accidental or irrelevant (e.g. they may have found it aesthetically appealing), but it is important to the scientific community as a whole that someone is working on the theory. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Miriam Solomon

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Philosophy and Psychoanalysis

Philosophy and Psychoanalysis

Sartre wondered too whether we could without paradox be said to repress feelings out of awareness – since it’s only if we know what they are that we can know we don’t want to have them! As these traditions have developed it, we do better to think of knowing ourselves not as a matter of a recovered inner cognition of this inner domain, a perception voiced in reports of our judgments about what we’ve found within, but instead as involving the recovery of our expressive lives– i.e. as involving the ability not to speak about, but to speak from, our feelings and wishes. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Richard T. Gipps

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Philosophising for Lost Souls

Philosophising for Lost Souls

It seemed to me that dominant moral theories, Kant’s especially, lack nuance: we can’t declare for all circumstances what is appropriate to some. Zone moralities are contexts distinguished by their constituent relations: self-regard; loyalty to family or friends; vocational or commercial relations; or one’s relations to anyone with whom one shares a sidewalk, a state, or humanity. Virtue moralities could cover these distinctions, but they aren’t usually differentiated in ways appropriate to these differences. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews David Weissman

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A Mind With a View

A Mind With a View

About masculinist bias in epistemology: I’m a skeptic about this, at least about the specific allegations that have been made by some feminist epistemologists, namely that the individualism and abstractness of Western (or “Western”) philosophy is evidence of masculinist bias. First of all, men have dominated philosophy and religious thought throughout the world and throughout history, whether we’re talking dualism, monism, Taoist, or Hindu. So every epistemological tradition has been shaped, if any has, by the interests and self-conceptions of men. Secondly, there’s variation within the “Western” epistemological tradition, and that variation cannot be explained by gender differences. Wittgenstein seems perfectly OK by the lights of some feminists who criticize the Anglo-American (which is really German-Austrian-(and-only-after-the-Nazis-) Anglo-American, having been more or less started by the Vienna Circle). Marx and Foucault are revered. So if those men can transcend their masculinity and produce theories (or anti-theories, in the case of Wittgenstein), I don’t see why Descartes couldn’t as well. Thirdly – and we know this largely because of the groundbreaking work of my colleague, Eileen O’Neill – women philosophers had a large influence on the development of Englightenment philosophy... Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interview Louise Antony

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Immediate Realism and Aquinas's Way To God

Immediate Realism and Aquinas's Way To God

Now immediate realism is the view that in my thinking there is an immediate presence of the real to me. Reality is not mediated by a complex cognitive process which represents the world; rather that cognitive process simply brings the world into view. The intellect is not a mirror on this account; it is a capacity for conceptual operations brought into play by the world. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Gaven Kerr.

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Reasons For a Liberalism Without Perfection

Reasons For a Liberalism Without Perfection

Political liberalism offers a different, more inclusive, picture of liberal politics. On this view, liberal rights and institutions are not instruments to promote a particular way of life—they are rather meant to provide a fair framework within which each person can develop and pursue their own plan of life. You don’t need to hold a liberal view about how one ought to live to endorse this picture of politics—it’s meant to be a picture of our political life that can be freely endorsed by people with a wide variety of different doctrines.'On the more modest view that I prefer, pluralism is not an external constraint on liberalism, it’s rather a fact about liberal societies in particular. It’s a fact that in societies where basic rights and liberties are protected, there will always be the kind of reasonable disagreement that I described in one of my previous answers. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Jonathan Quong

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Spinoza, Nietzsche and Sloterdijk

Spinoza, Nietzsche and Sloterdijk

I think of Spinoza as a radical religious reformer. I think he was trying to say this: “There is a single entity whose nature determines the structure and existence of the universe, and that entity is the thing that people have been calling “God” for many centuries. But they got the metaphysics (or theology) very wrong, and now we’re in a position to figure out what this divine thing really is, and to see how the writers of scriptures managed to get the basic moral of the story right, while getting all the metaphysical stuff wrong. And by the way, if you understand what I’m saying, you’ll see that there’s no harm in allowing philosophers to write about such things.” Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Charlie Huenemann.

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Leibniz, Time and Physics

Leibniz, Time and Physics

Leibniz reports how, when still a schoolboy of 15 about to go up to university, he was “seduced by the ease with which everything could be understood” through the mechanical philosophy of Descartes and Gassendi, and “gave himself over to the moderns”. But he was well-versed in the Scholastics, and thought they still had much to offer on the problem of individuation (what makes a thing the individual it is), the problem of the composition of the continuum, and the problem of evil (why there is evil in the world if it was created by an omniscient, omnipotent, free and omnibenevolent deity)—three problems that remained central concerns for him throughout his career.' Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Richard T.W. Arthur.

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Kant and His German Contemporaries, Including the Women

Kant and His German Contemporaries, Including the Women

There is a sense in which Kant’s characterization of his thought as a “Copernican revolution” has become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because of Kant’s emphasis on the novelty of his project, Kant scholars (particularly in the Anglo-American context) have concluded that reading Kant’s predecessors and contemporaries could only be wasted effort, since after all whatever they might say Kant is saying something else. This has contributed to a general neglect of the German context, in which a number of key Kantian doctrines (like the spontaneity of the understanding, or the autonomy of the will, to name only two) are pre-figured which, in turn, makes Kant’s views on those and other topics seem utterly new. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Corey W Dyck

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Children, Religion and Influence in Philosophy of Education

Children, Religion and Influence in Philosophy of Education

The disputed issue of what kind of intentional introduction children ought to have to religion, if any, centres around two questions. The first concerns how the responsibilities and permissions to make and provide for the introductions are to be distributed; the second concerns the manner, aims, and content of the introductions to be made and provided for. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews John Tillson.

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Bolzano

Bolzano

Bolzano’s dates are 1781-1848. Thus his life includes the French revolution, the Napoleonic wars and the conservative reaction (in the Habsburg lands, the “pre-march” time or Vormärz). Most of his writings date from the years 1810—1848. A great many histories of philosophy call this period the Age of German (Post-Kantian) Idealism; and certainly many philosophical works of that time fit that description. Bolzano’s don’t, though, and this is perhaps one reason why he has not received much attention in general histories of philosophy (there are noteworthy exceptions, however: for example, the third volume of Anders Wedberg’s A History of Philosophy bears the subtitle: from Bolzano to Wittgenstein.). A second reason for neglect is that some of his best and most influential work was in the foundations of mathematics. According to Bolzano, and I think he was right about this, such foundational work belongs to both mathematics and philosophy. Generally, though, while work on the foundations of arithmetic (e.g. Frege’s) is often recognized as philosophical, work on, e.g., the foundations of geometry or the calculus is considered to belong to mathematics but not to philosophy (again, there are exceptions: Abraham Robinson and John Lane Bell come to mind here). A third factor was political: Bolzano fell into disfavour with the authorities in Vienna and was comprehensively persecuted: removed from his professorship at the Charles University in Prague. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Paul Rusnock

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A Revisionary History of Analytic Philosophy

A Revisionary History of Analytic Philosophy

When you start looking closely at the conditions which made possible the emergence of early analytic philosophy in Cambridge in the late 1890s, you find great variety and a host of influences at work—from engagement with the great dead philosophers, other philosophical schools in England, Scotland and further afield from the continent, and other disciplines as well, including mathematics, the natural sciences and classics. Early analytic philosophy was an interdisciplinary and Pan-European achievement. I think that Russell and Moore’s intellectual stature didn’t consist solely in their intrinsic brilliance, although they had that too, but in their capacity to channel these forces even for a while. And we can say something similar about the Polish School and the Vienna Circle which succeeded Moore and Russell at the forefront of developments in analytic philosophy. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Fraser MacBride

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Philosophies of Judaism

Philosophies of Judaism

Jewish philosophy should give way to the philosophy (or philosophies) of Judaism, a deep analysis that takes normative Judaism as the explanandum—and I believe that this project will be most amenable to analytic philosophical concerns. In my view, two estimable figures in this (medieval) way of understanding and doing Jewish philosophy are Julius Guttmann and Leon Roth. There has also recently come into being the Association for the Philosophy of Judaism, which is devoted to injecting the subject with analytic rigor. I am always on the alert for parochialism and exceptionalism in Jewish philosophy. I am no fan of any kind of apologetics, so it doesn’t worry me that there is no analogue to Alvin Plantinga in Jewish philosophy. Further, I think philosophers working out of the Jewish tradition tend to focus on commentary, rather than apologetics. Even medieval Jewish kalam is a commentarial tradition. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Daniel Frank.

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Metaethical Questions

Metaethical Questions

Metaethics is commonly treated as a subfield of philosophical ethics, but metaethical questions are largely theoretical rather than moral or practical. They are questions such as: Are there ethical properties, and if so what are they like (metaphysics)? How do we acquire ethical knowledge and justify ethical beliefs (epistemology)? What is the best theory of the meaning of terms like ‘good’ and ‘ought’ (philosophy of language)? And what is the nature of moral judgment and how does it motivate action (philosophy of mind/psychology)? Any full metaethical theory has to answer all of these questions and many subsidiary questions. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Matthew Chrisman

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Political Canons, Collingwood, Idealism and Decolonialisation

Political Canons, Collingwood, Idealism and Decolonialisation

The post 1492 world of Empires that came to encompass almost all the world, with Great Britain incorporating almost twenty-five percent of it, transformed the globe. Most of the great liberation writers including Du Bois, Fanon, Memmi, Cabral, Nkrumah, Freire engaged with the western thinkers, exposing the hypocrisy of their espousal of universal high ideals, which were exclusive to those who had a attained a certain level of civilization, western white males. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews David Boucher

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Environmental Ethics and Confucius

Environmental Ethics and Confucius

I worry that too much focus on the technical can draw attention away from the social, ethical, and political dimensions of environmental decision-making in a complex, diverse, and globalized world. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Marion Hourdequin

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Is International Law Law, and Other Questions

Is International Law Law, and Other Questions

Positivism and nonpositivism differ on the role of moral considerations in determining the content of the law in force. All sensible views treat matters of brute social/political fact as partly determining law’s content but some, the nonpositivists, have it that moral judgment is inevitably required in interpreting legal materials to figure out what the law says. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Liam Murphy.

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Parmenides and Spinoza

Parmenides and Spinoza

I’m keenly aware of the possibility of the Parmenidean (e.g., me!) undermining their own position. After all, explanation itself seems to be relational; things are explained (often at any rate) in terms of other things. I don’t shy away from this apparent or even real self-undermining. For me, it’s a feature not a bug. And I embrace this self-undermining, in much the same way that Parmenides may have (see especially Owen’s reading of Parmenides), as Wittgenstein does at the end of the Tractatus, as Bradley does, and as my skeptical hero, Sextus Empiricus, does. In this way, I offer—paradoxically perhaps—a relational metaphysical challenge to relational metaphysics itself. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Michael Della Rocca

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Standpoint Theory and Eugenics

Standpoint Theory and Eugenics

Some, particularly those influenced by Foucault in the world of disability studies, go further and suggest that eugenics itself created and structured our concept of normalcy during the late nineteenth century... I think this further view is implausible and try to make a case for an account of the relationship between eugenics and normalcy that blends together social and psychological factors more than is usually done in the literature.' Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Robert A. Wilson

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Self-Determination and Ethics

Self-Determination and Ethics

While some distance from or even outright scepticism about self-determination is typical in current moral theory, there is no comparable distance from reason. Modern ethics tends on the whole to avoid overt commitment to free will. But it is riddled with metaphysically unexplained claims about reasons and our responsiveness to them – about, in other words, reasons as exercising a power to move. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Thomas Pink

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Tactile

Tactile

You cannot work on the philosophy of biology or physics without detailed knowledge of those sciences. A philosophy of the special sciences approach to perception also requires detailed knowledge of the relevant psychology. The thing is, though, psychology is an indeterministic science, and many self-proclaimed naturalists in the philosophy of mind are statistical illiterates. Without an understanding of the relevant statistical evidence, confirmation bias is a real risk Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Mark Calderon.

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How to Idealize

How to Idealize

Idealization is about simplifying things whereas approximation is about distance from the actual truth in modal space (that does not necessarily involve simplification). Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Michael Shaffer.

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Life As Process and other Issues in the Philosophy of Biology

Life As Process and other Issues in the Philosophy of Biology

In my view, life is a process. It is still common, both in the philosophy of biology and in general metaphysics, to take an organism to be a kind of thing, or substance. But this is problematic for several reasons. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews John Dupré

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Indifference, Cambridge Pragmatists and Companions in Guilt

Indifference, Cambridge Pragmatists and Companions in Guilt

In a nutshell, the late Cambridge pragmatist invites you to do two things. First, when presented with some apparently problematic concept (such as ‘wrongness’), don’t rush to ask what the concept stands for, or represents. Ask instead what function, or role, that concept plays in human thought. Second, when presented with some apparently problematic philosophical claim (such as ‘Wrongness exists’), don’t rush to treat it as an ‘external’ claim about the relationship between the problematic discourse and the world. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Hallvard Lillehammer.

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Philosophy, Maths, Logic and Computers

Philosophy, Maths, Logic and Computers

The only way I know of getting at mathematical metaphysics and epistemology is to start with mathematical method. Mathematics is designed to enable us to reason efficiently and effectively, and that has a strong influence on the kinds of objects we talk about and the way we talk about them. I can't see how to make sense of the nature of mathematical objects without understanding their role in mathematical thought. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Jeremy Avigad

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Dharmakīrti's Philosophy of Mind Among Other Things

Dharmakīrti's Philosophy of Mind Among Other Things

Jerry Fodor has aptly said that the availability of the computer metaphor represents “the only respect in which contemporary Cognitive Science represents a major advance” over the representational theories of mind upheld by its eighteenth- and nineteenth-century predecessors. I’d like to think that if Fodor had known Dharmakīrti’s philosophy, he might just as well have said that the availability of the computer metaphor represents the only really significant difference between his program and that of the 7th-century Buddhist Dharmakīrti. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Dan Arnold.

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Cashing the Cheques of Common Sense: JL Austin and  Philosophy of Language

Cashing the Cheques of Common Sense: JL Austin and Philosophy of Language

The Oxford Realists thought that knowing is a mental state and, because of that, that each of us is especially well placed to tell whether or not we know something. Their view made it difficult to see how other people can be in a position to correct someone’s sincere view that they know something...Austin thinks of knowing something as akin to possessing proof. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Guy Longworth.

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Heidegger's Tarnished Legacy

Heidegger's Tarnished Legacy

What they were reacting to, in my view, was a familiar ‘odour’ in some of Heidegger’s rhetoric. And, the person to blame here is not Adorno, or Habermas, or anyone else who is offended by the stench of that rhetoric. The culprit is Heidegger. Heidegger is responsible for all of this confusion. He’s not a saint, or some misunderstood martyr. He wilfully tried to find a way to link some of the most extraordinary philosophical insights of the twentieth century to the rhetoric of National Socialism for a period of time. He wove that rhetoric into the tapestry of his thought, and he blemished it in the process. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Mahon O'Brien.

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The Minority Body

The Minority Body

Disability, even if neutral, invariably requires accommodation, and accommodation is, in the world we inhabit, a scarce resource. Disability often involves caretaking work undertaken by others - what Eva Kittay calls the labor of dependence - and again in the world we inhabit this is work that disproportionality falls on women, especially women of color, and is poorly compensated. Disability often involves complex health conditions, and there is striking socioeconomic disparity in whether parents can manage the cost and even in some cases just the time such health conditions can demand. All that to say, it’s complicated, and I’ve grown wary of answering questions like this at a highly abstracted level. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Elizabeth Barnes

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Must Politics Be War?

Must Politics Be War?

The problem with conceptions of justice forming the basis for organizing social institutions resembles the problems Rawlsians envision for basing society on conceptions of the good. Reasonable people disagree about which conception of the good is correct, and so imposing it on those who disagree will be a source of instability, and, in my view, distrust between those in power and those out of power. But if reasonable people can disagree about justice as deeply as they disagree about the good, then the same problems applies conceptions of justice. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Kevin Vallier.

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Autonomy, Kierkegaard, Global Politics

Autonomy, Kierkegaard, Global Politics

'I agree with much in Susan Wolf’s characterization (although in one early work she unfortunately used the “autonomy” label for leeway-liberty, with Sartre and other existentialists in mind too). She saw value in Frankfurt’s idea that autonomy is connected with shaping our own motive repertoire, including our cares. I have gone a little further and suggested that existential autonomy is the freedom-condition of responsibility for character, self, or practical identity, just as some kind of rational control (perhaps with leeway) is the freedom condition for morally responsible action in general. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews John Davenport.

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Moving Spotlight Metaphysics and Other Stuff

Moving Spotlight Metaphysics and Other Stuff

I think metaphysics is what it’s always been - and it’s hard to say what that is! I think it’s in a pretty good state: we’ve emerged from the darkness of logical positivism, ordinary language philosophy, and conceptual analysis, and are once again unapologetically trying to say something about reality! Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Ross P Cameron.

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Analytic Islamic Philosophy and Moderate Evidentialism

Analytic Islamic Philosophy and Moderate Evidentialism

That the book is called Analytic Islamic Philosophy is a political statement. I am re-appropriating, and owning, the slur that it is to be called an ‘analytic’ so-and so. I have found scholarship in Islamic philosophy to have hitherto been overly geared towards philology and textual exegesis. The gatekeepers to that sub-discipline have made it the case that one has to get into, and show the credentials of being capable of grasping, the minutiae of issues concerning translations, for example, in order to be allowed to have a voice. I think this is partly responsible then for the exclusion of Islamic philosophy from the curriculum in modern UK and US philosophy departments – philosophers, qua philosophers, are deemed not to be allowed to say anything about it. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Anthony Booth

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Anti-Theory Philosophy

Anti-Theory Philosophy

Philosophy is not an empirical subject and does not address empirical questions (or at least, when it does, it makes a mistake). It also is not a purely formal subject, in that it does not involve exclusively and explicitly rule-governed reasoning from a set of axioms to some number of derived statements or theorems. Intuitions, speculations, common sense, and ordinary language play a significant role and rightly so. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Daniel A. Kaufman

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Decriminalising Hobbes

Decriminalising Hobbes

'What I “corrected” was just the impoverished conception of Hobbesian humans’ psychology, and the corresponding picture of Hobbes’s central analysis of social disorder, and Hobbes’s proposed remedy for it, which I argued demanded engagement with the content of people’s socially disruptive transcendent interests. In short, I pulled out the narrow egoism peg supporting the traditional structure of Hobbes interpretation and watched the whole thing collapse into dust.' Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Sharon Lloyd

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Innocent Descartes and Sober Hobbes

Innocent Descartes and Sober Hobbes

Innocent Cartesianism is an extract or residue from unreconstructed Cartesianism that is defensible in terms provided by analytic philosophy as we have it today. An important strand of it can be put by saying that while natural science is capable of objective truth in its domain, it’s not a theory of everything. There are more forms of systematic and correct understanding than are provided by natural science. Brain science doesn’t tell us everything about the mind; Darwinism doesn’t tell us everything about the place of human beings in nature or their motivation; there are further authoritative forms of understanding, including mathematics, philosophy, and ethics.Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Tom Sorell.

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Is Phenomenology in France Theology or Philosophy?

Is Phenomenology in France Theology or Philosophy?

Phenomenology takes root in historical situations of peril where the philosophical spirit is most under attack. As a philosophy committed to making sense of meaning, it uniquely is suited to address moments of crisis when that meaning is put in question. If one of philosophy’s aims is to make rational sense of the human condition, then after the World Wars many in Europe were convinced that life is absurd. Why then, so some thought, bother with philosophy which is running a fool’s errand, looking for sense where no sense is to be made? It is within this bleak context immediately before the Second War—that one finds Husserl struggling to articulate his vision of a philosophy capable of responding to what he himself characterizes as a crisis of reason, or meaning. Heidegger later does something similar when criticizing the pernicious aspects of modern technology. And Michel Henry follows suit when his phenomenology of life objects to what he terms the barbarism of contemporary mass society. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Steven DeLay

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Philosophy from the Black Radical Tradition

Philosophy from the Black Radical Tradition

Climate change threatens to lead to climate colonialism in three ways. First: the imperative to respond is a colonialist imposition in and of itself in Nkrumah’s sense, given that the challenges posed by rising temperatures are disproportionately caused by the emissions of colonizer nations like the US and its effects will constrain or control the governing possibilities of the Global South (or Third World or whatever we’re saying these days). Secondly, the likely consequences will reverse whatever gains have been made since independence and cement colonial hierarchies of power: many Global South nations are positioned to be hurt first and worst by climate impacts and have worse infrastructure to prepare effective responses to climate crises. Lastly, the character of global climate justice efforts might themselves feed into climate colonialism. Powerful countries, corporations, and non-state actors may exploit the less powerful to secure their own resources and populations. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Olufemi Taiwo

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On Permissible Killing

On Permissible Killing

'The standard view of rights is based on the sensible thought that rights correspond to duties. There are two paradigmatic sorts of duties, and thus two paradigmatic sorts of rights. The duties are the duty not to harm and the duty to take care of one’s special commitments, commitments inside special relationships, such as promisor to promisee, or parent to child.' 'Thomson did a great job articulating the standard model of rights, and she set the terms of the debate. My job has been largely to show that the debate has reached a kind of dead end, and that we need to go back and rethink the standard model that she articulated so well. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Alec Walen.

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An Actual Sequence View of Freedom

An Actual Sequence View of Freedom

van Inwagen thinks we can bypass these issues because the real threat to our free will is not causal determination (our acts having deterministic causes) but simply determination (our acts being necessitated by past events and the natural laws), since this is enough to guarantee that we cannot ever do otherwise. I think this is wrong, in that the problem only arises given that we don’t have any causal control over the (remote) past... ...I think that the connection between causation and free will has been way underappreciated. How our acts are brought about, or the causal history of our acts, is clearly relevant to our freedom. Think about severe forms of coercion, manipulation, brainwashing, or compulsion... Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Carolina Sartorio.

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Augustine, Anselm and Duns Scotus Revisited

Augustine, Anselm and Duns Scotus Revisited

'Can God make a stone so heavy that he can’t lift it? If you say yes, there’s something God can’t do: he can’t lift the stone. If you say no, there’s something God can’t do: he can’t make the stone. So either way, there’s something God can’t do. Although Anselm doesn’t consider the paradox of the stone (as it’s called) specifically, he does have an answer. That God is omnipotent doesn’t mean that any sentence that starts out “God can” comes out true.' 'In addition to the paradox of the stone, there is the lesser-known paradox of the burrito, from The Simpsons: can Jesus Christ microwave a burrito so hot that he himself cannot eat it? My philosophy of religion students usually see quite quickly that there’s no real paradox here: according to orthodox Christology, Jesus is fully human, so of course the answer is yes.' Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Thomas Williams.

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Pursuing Kierkegaard

Pursuing Kierkegaard

I think it’s wrong to assimilate Climacus’ own philosophical activity to the Hegelian manner of doing philosophy that is on the receiving end of many of his jokes. What Climacus does, rather, is to discuss (and enact) an alternative manner of doing philosophy, one which he associates closely with Socrates and which he thinks can be practiced without interfering with an individual’s ability to live an ethical or religious life. He characterizes this Socratic conception of philosophy as ‘that simpler philosophy, which is delivered by an existing individual for existing individuals. Contininuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Paul Muench.

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Understanding in Science and Elsewhere

Understanding in Science and Elsewhere

What beliefs should we accept? How can it be reasonable that scientists use models and idealizations they know not to be true? And how do these questions bear on the epistemology of science and art? Catherine Z. Elgin, Professor of Philosophy of Education at Harvard University, started to investigate these far-reaching issues in a cooperation with Nelson Goodman more than thirty years ago. Since then she has developed an inventive and radical philosophical approach, which goes right to the core of epistemology. The historian of science Ariane Tanner interviews Catherine Z. Elgin.

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Animal Cruelty and the Law in China

Animal Cruelty and the Law in China

I think there is a huge gap between the animals in Chinese people’s imagination and the animals in real life. In the zodiac portrayal, the 12 animals are living beings with feelings, personalities, intelligence and wisdom, but in the real life, the Chinese people have little positive things to say about the zodiac animals such as pigs, hens/roosters, mice/rats, monkeys, snakes and dogs, and most view them with distain and treat them as lifeless things. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Deborah Cao.

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Aristotle, Metaphysics and the Delicacy of Anachronism

Aristotle, Metaphysics and the Delicacy of Anachronism

Aristotle opens his great Metaphysics with the observation that ‘all humans by nature desire to know.’ Although easy sounding, this claim is in fact complex and contentious: it implicates Aristotle in a series of controversial claims, including not least that human beings have a nature, which nature he will later identify as their essence, with a concomitant commitment, then, to essentialism about species. What is more, Aristotle here implies that the essences human beings have are of a highly distinctive character: to be human is to seek to know. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Christopher Shields.

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Legal Oughts and Stuff

Legal Oughts and Stuff

The conceptual question whether trans-women count as women is another matter. (So too, the ‘metaphysical’ question, if there is such a thing, whether trans-women are women.) On this issue, I hew to Simone de Beauvoir’s view that our concept ‘woman’ includes an important path-dependent element, and I think that most trans-women lack the life histories that constitute woman-hood. But there is room for argument about that. ‘Woman’ is a cluster concept, and anyway it is not as if ‘man’ or ‘woman’ have sharp boundaries. There is also room for argument about whether, if Beauvoir is right, we ought to revise or abandon the concept ‘woman’. This is really a question of whether we should ditch our gender concepts altogether. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Les Green

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Thinking About Climate Change, Global Justice and Trans

Thinking About Climate Change, Global Justice and Trans

I think all of these ‘big three’ axes of oppression—race, class, and sex—work in pretty much the same way when it comes to privilege. There are interesting differences between the three categories, because sex has a biological basis and is almost always immediately visible, while that’s less true for race and there’s the whole issue of people from one group ‘passing’ as members of another, and then with class there’s no biological basis at all but there are nonetheless certain markers that show up in appearance that can be the basis of certain sorts of treatment, but there’s social mobility through the class ranks in a way that really isn’t true for race and usually isn’t true for sex (although is becoming a little more true with the increasing number of female people transitioning to live as men). Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Holly Lawford-Smith.

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