FREE SPEECH

August 27, 2018

In this podcast, I take it that free speech, as an instance of freedom per se, is a very great good. However, this stance is not unproblematic in that free speech and freedom can subvert themselves as well as eroding other goods, e.g. equality. The obvious and often proposed notion that this can be overcome by policing or regulation raises the problem that any claim to the right to do the policing is impossible to legitimate and will therefore ultimately be authoritarian in nature. There is some hope in the possibility of general eduction based on ecouraging questioning rather than on inculcating dogma but this project also encounters a legitimation problem in that curricula are likely to be determined by some authority. [Free. 33 minutes.]

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TRUMP, MAY, PUTIN AND MEN IN FUNNY HATS [PART TWO: FRAGMENTATION]

July 23, 2018

This wide-ranging podcast draws on the same sources as Part One and is similarly stimulated by current affairs. This time, the thesis that the current historical unfoldings of the mutually entangled economic, cultural and ecological systems are characterised by fragmentation is defended and a variety of possible material antecedents of this tendency are considered. We identify environmental degradation, technological developments, contradictions in capitalism in its current phase, cultural fragmentation, the enmeshment of state and corporate power, gross inequalities of wealth and power and movements of populations as mutually dependent factors giving rise to fragmentation, amongst others. [Free. 54 minutes.]

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TRUMP, MAY, PUTIN AND MEN IN FUNNY HATS [PART ONE: POLITICAL SCOUNDRELS]

July 23, 2018

This podcast is a wide-ranging commentary on the Trump charm offensive on Nato, the UK Prime Minister and Vladimir Putin of last week [13/7/18 ff]. It draws on the relevant press conferences, the film The Vietnam War [Ken Burns and Lynn Novick], the film An Inconvenient Sequel [Al Gore] and broadcasts of the UK Parliament. I consider the thesis that the political class are largely scoundrels. [Free. 37 minutes.]

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ORGANIC, FREE-RANGE [MYSTERY AND BELIEF]

December 25, 2017

This one was impomptu. Consequently, it was free-range, across questions of mystery, knowability, certainty, belief and faith. As always, the matter of living well presses itself into the picture, as does the matter of the puzzling limits of language. Thanks for your continued patronage. I'm planning some good stuff for patrons in 2018. [Patrons only. 23 minutes.]

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THE BLUE PILL OR THE RED PILL? PART FIVE: DISSOLUTION OF THE BINARIES

March 12, 2017

In this podcast the epilogue to our series on The Matrix, we consider attempts to dissolve the binaries which have structured much thought for millenia. These binaries are real-apparent, subject-object and inside-outside [of the human psyche.] The attempts at dissolution invoked are Wittgenstein's private language argument which is found in Philosophical Investigations, and Nietzsche's account of the fate of the 'real world' as a concept over time as elucidated in Twilgth of the Idols. We argue that this doesn't sideline the political issues raised in the previous podcast in this series, as might first seem to be the case. [Free. 41 minutes.]

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THE BLUE PILL OR THE RED PILL? PART FOUR: POLITICS AND IDEOLOGY

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.]

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THE BLUE PILL OR THE RED PILL? PART TWO: EXISTENTIALISM, CHOICE & FREEDOM

February 13, 2017

Part Two of our series on The Matrix attempts to characterise Neo's choice of the red pill in terms of the kind of human freedom posited by the existentialist philosophers. We draw particularly of Kierkegaard and Sartre. See the blue pill - red pill choice in this four minute clip: https://youtu.be/zQ1_IbFFbzA. [Free. 32 minutes.]

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THE BLUE PILL OR THE RED PILL? PART ONE: INTRODUCTION

February 8, 2017

This is the first of a series devoted to the philosophical resonances of the film The Matrix [1999]. We take it that many of the philosophical issues brought up in The Matrix boil down to the consequences of presupposing the binary 'real-apparent'. We outline how this is so in this introduction in preparation for forthcoming podcasts on the real-apparanet binary's entanglement with existentialism, metaphysics and politics. If you can't see the film, at least watch this brilliant four minute clip in which the hero Neo is given the choice between the red pill which will open him up to the reality of his situation and the blue pill which will keep him in a state of delusion: https://youtu.be/zQ1_IbFFbzA. [Free. 22 minutes.]

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