End Times series


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 contextimmediately 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 Metaphysicswith 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 of a highly distinctive character: to be is human 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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