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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VALUE & NATURALLY OCCURRING COMMUNISM

July 29, 2018

This podcast is stimulated by David Graeber's remarks on value and a possible revolutionary ethical paradigm shift that could place value creation not in production of commodities but production of people. I follow Graeber, though with artistic license,  jumping off from the platform he provides to extol the virtues of 'naturally occurring communism', to praise idleness, to see hope in the revitalisation of the flame of humanness. I draw on Adam Smith, Marx, Engels, the TV series Silicon Valley and Bertrand Russell. [Free. 26 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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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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EVERYDAY MIND

February 23, 2018

A Zen master was asked,"What is the Tao?" He replied, "Your everyday mind." How can this be? Shouldn't the Tao be something exhalted, unlike the most ordinary everyday mind? In this podcast, I attempt to dissolve this conundrum in the hope that it may help someone. [Free. 15 minutes.]

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ON TABOOS

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.]

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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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ON BOUNDARIES

December 11, 2017

In this podcast I discuss the boundaries that demark the concepts we use and the 'things' that we perceive. I draw on the chapter entitled 'The Will to Power as Knowledge' from Nietzsche's Will to Power. I suggest that a certain moveability of boudaries provides us with analytic and hermeneutical tools. Other philosophers I draw on are Smullyan and Kolakowski. I also suggest that this discussion underscores the significance of the Dionysian. This podcast provides some of the background for Lao Tzu: Part Nine which is to be released shortly. [Free. 28 minutes.]

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WITTGENSTEIN 101

November 22, 2017

This podcast offers a broad summary of Wittgenstein's work, drawing mainly on the Tractatus Logico Philosophicus to describe the early Wittgenstain and the Philosophical Investigations for the later Wittgenstein. [Free. 24 minutes.]

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