WHAT IS ART?

September 14, 2018

This podcast is the first part of an open-ended and ocassional series on issues in philosophical aesthetics. I examine problems in defining art in the strict sense and in applying Wittgenstein's account of family resemblances in language use. I then look at the consequences of Dada and the way in which artists can act by fiat to declare event or object X a work of art. I sketch attempts to give an account of art in terms of the psychology and/or phenomenology of the creative process, and approaches which contextualise artist and/or work of art in culture, the economy and social relations. There is a small detour into the way in which Wittgenstein's account of family resembalces upends Platonism. [Free. 29 minutes.]

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IS SMALL BEAUTIFUL?

August 12, 2018

This meander was stimulated by a recent repudiation by Zizek of the possible role of small communities in any future human flourishing. In this context, I revisit E. F. Schumacher's Small is Beautiful (1973). I discuss some of the core ideas from that seminal work. In particular, I focus on the treatement of raw materials as [inexhaustible]  income and the treatement of the environment as a free dump by capitalism and the economic theories that act as its ideological justification. I touch upon intermediate technology, the role of 'spirituality' in the good life, the way in which economic theories and political practice often treat people as numbers on a spreadsheet, the 1984-5 UK Miners' Strike and the persistence of alienation in nationalised industries. I do this by discerning Zizek's 'inner Schumacher' and Schumacher's 'inner Zizek' and recounting instances of their expression. In both cases these inner others are mostly repressed, but vigorous enough to surface now and then in brilliant insight. [Free. 47 minutes.]

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NUMBERS ONE: SEDUCTIONS OF THE ALGORITHM

March 14, 2018

In this podcast, I consider the mysticism of numbers of the Pythagoreans and its influence down the ages on Plato, Aristotle, Kepler, Newton and on to the scientism of the modern age. I contrast this with a mysticism of endless, unfathomable mystery and tease out the ramifications for the Socratic question of how life is to be lived. [Free. 38 minutes.]

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THE MAYBE STORY, EXISTENTIALISM AND THE CRAVING FOR CLOSURE

March 12, 2017

This patrons only podcast is a recording of a talk given at Parkdale recently. [2 hours 49 minutes.]

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“EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED” - DIRK GENTLY

January 27, 2017

Inspired by Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, I consider things, connections, processes, language, metaphoricity, information and detective work [amongst other things]. Dramatis personae: Heraclitus, Parmenides, Buddha, Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein. [Free. 23 minutes.]

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