Brian Nuckols on Dreams, Pt. 2: Freud and Jung | WSB #10

October 17, 2017

In this second part of our interview, Brian Nuckols explains the Freudian and Jungian pictures of the psyche. While doing so, he digs into concepts such as depth-psychology, projection, shadow, and anima/animus. Among other issues, Brian explains how Freud's and Jung's outlooks differ, what role culture plays for Freud, and just what the ontological status of Jung's archetypes is.

Next week: Brian Nuckols discusses the metaphysics of dreams within dreams and recurring dreams, before offering practical tips for dream analysis and lucid dreaming

Visit http://williamnava.com for more info!

Special thanks for Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

Sources:
Brian's map of the psyche
Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious by Carl Jung

 

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Brian Nuckols: Ontology of Dreams, Pt. 1 | WSB #9

October 10, 2017

What are dreams? A popular contemporary view says there isn't much to them - they must be something like the brain's defragmenting of the day's loose associations. Whatever the merits of this deflationary view, there's no question that they feel like much more - like events we undergo in some other realm, perhaps some different layer of reality. After a powerful personal experience with lucid dreaming, Brian Nuckols became fascinated by the many theories of the ontology of dreams. In this first part of this interview, Brian recounts how dream analysis and lucid dreaming affected his own life. He then dives deep into the interpretation of dreams held by the Runa - indigenous people living in the forests of Peru. Finally, he takes us through a survey of the history of major theories of the ontology of dreams - from the pre-Socratics all the way through to Nietzsche.

Next week: Brian Nuckols explains Freudian and Jungian theories of dreams and the psyche

Visit http://williamnava.com for more info!

Special thanks for Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

Sources:
How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology beyond the Human by Eduardo Kohn

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Graham Priest: Sorites Paradox | WSB #8

October 3, 2017

The Sorites Paradox: one grain of sand is not a heap. Add one grain, you will still not have a heap. In fact, for any number of grains of sand you have, adding one more grain will never make the difference between non-heap and heap. This latter claim is called the tolerance principle, and it seems to be undeniably true of most predicates that are in some sense vague. But if this is true, then we can keep adding one grain, over and over again, and each time appeal to the tolerance principle to show that we still don't have a heap. The paradoxical conclusion is that by the time we've reached 10,000 grains of sand, we still don't have a heap. This problem, which at first appears trivial, is one of the toughest problems facing contemporary logic. In this interview, Professor Graham Priest explains the paradox, how it relates to other paradoxes (including the Liar, via the Inclosure Schema), what makes it so difficult, and gives an outline of his own dialetheist solution to the paradox. We conclude with some words about the continental/analytic split and the relationship between Buddhist ethics and radical leftist political philosophy.

Next week: Interview with Brian Nuckols about the ontology of dreams

Visit http://williamnava.com for more info!

Special thanks for Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

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Graham Priest: Unity and Regress | WSB#7

September 26, 2017

An interview with Graham Priest about Bradley's Regress and the Unity of the Proposition. Consider the statement "Socrates is sitting." It seems to be composed of an object - "Socrates" - and a predicate - "is sitting". But the statement isn't merely a list of an object and a predicate. It hangs together as a unified statement. What accounts for that unity? What makes the statement "Socrates is sitting" say something, as opposed to simply listing out a thing and a property? The obvious answer is that there's a property - instantiation - that connects the object and the predicate. But then a regress arises: how does the property of instantiation hang together with Socrates and the property of sitting? This problem isn't just about statements. As British idealist F.H. Bradley pointed out, this regress shows up with all property instantiations. After laying out the problem, professor Priest explains his own unique solution to it.

Next week: Interview with Graham Priest on the Sorites Paradox

Visit http://williamnava.com for more info!

Special thanks for Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

Sources:
One: Being an Investigation into the Unity of Reality and of its Parts, including the Singular Object which is Nothingness by Graham Priest

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Kripke’s Naming and Necessity

September 19, 2017

A name, one might think, simply stands in for the thing it names. But, if it's really as simple as that, why is a statement like "Chris Wallace is Biggie Smalls" informative? Why isn't it a tautology, of the form A is A? Starting from this simple problem, Saul Kripke's 1980 book Naming and Necessity covers the history of theories of naming before proposing a radically new theory. The book revolutionized philosophy like few books have. Aside from challenging how we think about names and identity, it also clarified the notions of "a priori" and "necessary." Famously, Kripke showed why "Water is H2O" is actually a necessary fact, though not a priori. In this episode, I summarize Kripke's arguments and propose some criticisms to his theory.

Next week: Interview with Graham Priest on Bradley's Regress

Visit http://williamnava.com for more info!

Special thanks for Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

Sources:

"The Causal Theory of Names" by Gareth Evans
Naming and Necessity by Saul Kripke

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Jim Slagle’s Epistemological Skyhook, Part 2: Skepticism, Theism, Mind

September 12, 2017

In part 2 of this interview with epistemologist Jim Slagle, we continue to discuss his Epistemological Skyhook: the argument that naturalism and determinism are epistemically self-defeating. Whereas for the first part we focused on the work of Alvin Plantinga, this time we take a broader view and discuss the roles of theism, mind, and the Agrippan trilemma in the argument; Thomas Nagel's version of the argument; the possibility of biting the skeptical bullet; an existentialist approach to skepticism; broadly "continental" versions of the argument; where the name "Skyhook" came from; and Slagle's own history with theism, Christianity, and religious experience.

Next week: The Ontology of the State

Visit http://williamnava.com for more info!

Special thanks for Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

Sources: 

The Epistemological Skyhook: Determinism, Naturalism, and Self-Defeat by Jim Slagle

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Jim Slagle’s Epistemological Skyhook, Part 1: Plantinga

September 5, 2017

In this interview with epistemologist Jim Slagle, we discuss the Epistemological Skyhook. That is, the argument that certain philosophical positions (such as naturalism and determinism) give us a reason to believe in skepticism, which in turn, gives us a reason to doubt the reasoning that got us to the position in the first place. If the argument is correct, then while it is possible that naturalism or determinism might be true, it is impossible for us to believe in them. In this first part of our two-part discussion, we focus on Alvin Plantinga's version of the argument.

Next week: The Epistemological Skyhook w/ Prof. Jim Slagle, Part 2: Nagel, skepticism, and religious experience

Visit http://williamnava.com for more info!

Special thanks for Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

Sources: 

The Epistemological Skyhook: Determinism, Naturalism, and Self-Defeat by Jim Slagle

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Intro to the Liar, Part 2: Structure and the Inclosure Schema

August 29, 2017

How can we tell if a paradox is really of the Liar family? Bertrand Russell proposed a structure that Graham Priest has called the "inclosure schema" - a mechanism meant to identify what drives self-referential paradoxes like the Liar and Russell's. In this episode, I break down the technical details of the inclosure schema to show how it fits the paradoxes in question and allows us to tell apart Liar-type paradoxes from those that aren't. I also look at some problems with the schema and how they might be solved. I conclude with an overview of a solution to the Liar: one favored by C.S. Peirce.

Next week: The Epistemological Skyhook w/ Prof. Jim Slagle

Visit http://williamnava.com for more info!

Special thanks for Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

Sources:

"The Structure of the Paradoxes of Self-Reference" by Graham Priest

"Dialetheic Vagueness" by Graham Priest

"This Proposition Is Not True: C.S. Peirce and the Liar Paradox" by Richard Kenneth Atkins

Paradoxes by R. M Sainsbury

 

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Intro to the Liar, Part 1: Variations

August 22, 2017

"This sentence is false." More ink has been spilled over the meaning of these four words than almost any other paradox in the history of philosophy. Why? What makes the Liar's loopy reasoning more than just a party trick? How does the Liar challenge basic laws of logic and the meaning of truth? To understand the problems the Liar poses, we need to dive into its structure. What makes the Liar tick? Is it self-reference? What does it share with related paradoxes, like Russell's paradox and the truth-teller paradox? What do the phenomena of "strengthened liars" and "circular liars" tell us about what's at stake with this family of paradoxes?

Next week: Intro to the Liar, Part 2: Structure

Visit http://williamnava.com for more info!

Special thanks for Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

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What Is Logic? What Are Paradoxes?

August 14, 2017

Logic is one of these things we all have intuitions about. Most of us think we know how to use it. But what actually IS it? When we say, "that's not logical," or, "logic dictates that x," are we all referring to the same thing? Most of us would agree that logic is a fundamental aspect of how we reason - that, in fact, we can't reason without it. But then, if there are disagreements about how logic works - and there are! - how can we decide which side is right without presupposing some type of logic?

Next week: Intro to the Liar and Its Variations

Visit http://williamnava.com for more info!

Sources for this episode:
The Blue Book
 (Ludwig Wittgenstein)
Graham Priest's talk on settling disputes in logic
An Introduction to Non-Classical Logic (textbook)

Special thanks for Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.

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