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.]



June 27, 2018

This playful ramble likens the internet to the unconscious of the whole of humanity. If we let it, the internet rubs our noses in our being as a species, warts, wonders and all. However, we argue, it is now possible to avoid this stark and partly painful self-revelation by retreating into echo chambers. The monetisation of the internet through advertising is partly responsible. We touch on the desirability of a de-centralised internet which encourages and rewards good content creators. [Free. 25 minutes.]



March 22, 2018

Here I sketch out and contrast various ideas of what guilt is and how it arises. These are firstly, that conscience, the capacity to feel guilt, is innate, [biologism and Kant], and secondly, the result of social processes, [Nietzsche and Freud]. Books mentioned are New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (Third lecture: 'The Dissection of the Psychical Personality' 1933) and Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals (1886). [Free. 39 minutes.]



February 11, 2018

In this podcast, I draw attention to the way in which the term 'postmodernism' has become a derogatory term. I attempt to clarify and rehabilitate it by unpacking J. F. Lyotard's addage that 'postmodernism is suspicion towards grand narratives'. [Free. 27 minutes.]



January 26, 2018

This podcast is a rambling discussion which seeks to elucidate the nature of taboos. This involves considering law, superstition, transgression, the unconscious and Freud's metapsychology. We find ourselves questioning the coherence of the notion of the unconscious whilst at the same time finding it almost indispensible. Do we have to have taboos? We conclude that theoretically a society could be without taboos but that it is unlikely in the near future. However, minimising the play of irrational forces is thought to be desirable. The one thing that taboos have in their favour is their connection with the transgressive element in erotic jouissance. Contains a discussion of swearing and an account of a tantric exorcism. [Free. 38 minutes.]



October 27, 2017

In this podcast, I consider Wittgenstein's contention that "Nothing is more difficult that not deceiving oneself". I draw on resources from Heidegger, particularly the notion of "authenticity". I consider the role of projection in self-deception but temper that with Wittgenstein's and Heidegger's criticisms of Freudian psychoanalysis. I note that we can bullshit ourselves that we are not bullshitting ourselves and that this opens up an infinite regress. I suggest that Patanjali's practice of satya, truthful silence, may well cut through this problem, but that even if it doesn't, it is still a very great, emancipatory good. The discousre is clearer than I've made it sound! [Free. 29 minutes.]



October 17, 2017

In this podcast, I reflect on Terence Mckenna's assertion that "culture is not your friend." I find that, indeed, culture as we know it today, frequently has ideological components, i.e. it plays a role in preserving and promoting social dominance hierarchies. However, it does have pragmatic possibilities, preserving ideas, crafts and technologies that have survival value. And, when not paralysed by conservatism, these possibilites can even develop beyond what can be achieved in a single generation, enhancing life. I argue also that culture has vital roles in entertainment and edification which can be usurped by ideology and which it is worth the effort to restitute. [Free. 25 minutes.]



April 1, 2017

In this podcast, we roughly sketch out types of feminism including liberal, socialist, marxist and essentialist varients. We try to draw out the theoretical and practical difficulties encountered by these various approaches in the hope that a view of the terrain thus exposed might be useful to anybody currently struggling with the widespread and pathological back-lash to all emancipatory aspirations. [Free. 55 minutes.]



February 28, 2017

In this podcast, we refer to the last scene of The Matrix in which Neo speaks directly to the hegemonic machines and explicitly draws attention to the political dimensions of the film. This scene invites us to understand the real-apparent binary as the opposition between the concrete political situation of slavery and exploitation and the ideological mystification which prevents the victims from throwing off their chains or even realising that they are in them. This leads us to a discussion of the attempts to make good the lacuna in Marxism around the details of ideological mystification by theorising a Freudian-Marxism. Dramatis Personae: Freud, Marx, Hegel, Lacan, Zizek, Fromm, Reich, Marcusse, Engels. The final scene [3 minutes 31 seconds] is here:-  https://youtu.be/aTL4qIIxg8A. See the blue pill - red pill choice in this four minute clip: https://youtu.be/zQ1_IbFFbzA. [Free. 39 minutes.]



January 15, 2017

Synchronicity is the phenomenon in which we encounter meaningful coincidences. It tends to occur if we are in dialogue with our unconscious mind, whether through meditation or psychoanalytic types of engagement. In this podcast we consider the nature of this phenomenon and its possible use  for self-enquiry. The book Synchonicity [1952] by C G Jung and Wolfgang Pauli is drawn upon as is Jung's approach to the I Ching. [Free. 25 minutes.]