Tomasz Kaye, Pt. 1: Foundations for Political Philosophy | WSB #18

December 12, 2017

Tomasz Kaye is a market anarchist and creator of the popular animated video "George Ought to Help", which argues against the legitimacy of the state. Tomasz's approach to political philosophy is highly systematic. He begins with metaethical questions and, only after answering them, devises a political system that coheres with his metaethics. In this episode, we focus on those foundational questions. Tomasz is a "moral nihilist" - after explaining what that means and why he's convinced of it, we discuss the role that intuitions play in his ethics. We then explore his intuitions about property - both of one's body and of things - and what may logically follow from those intuitions.

Next week: Tomasz Kaye, Pt. 2: The Mechanics of Market Anarchism

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

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

Sources:

"George Ought to Help" by Tomasz Kaye
"How to Make Peace with Moral Nihilism" by Tomasz Kaye

00:0000:00

Greg Restall: Objections to Logical Pluralism and the Preface and Liar Paradoxes | WSB #17

December 5, 2017

In the first half of my interview with Professor Greg Restall, he laid out logical pluralism: the view that there is more than one correct logical consequence relation. In this second half, he responds to objections. Specifically, he explains why it makes sense to admit inconsistent situations even if one believes, as he does, that all possible worlds are consistent. He also touches on the relationship between notions of deductive validity and reasoning norms. We then take an extended detour into the Preface paradox, the Liar paradox, dialetheism, and the relationship between proof theory and philosophy.

Next week: Tomasz Kaye, Pt. 1: Foundations for Political Philosophy

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

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

Sources:

Logical Pluralism by Jc Beall and Greg Restall
consequently.org - Greg Restall's website
Proof Theory and Philosophy by Greg Restall (book manuscript in progress)
"The Liar Paradox from John Buridan to Thomas Bradwardine" by Stephen Read
"Models of Liars in Bradwardine's Theory of Truth" by Greg Restall
"Normativity of Logic and the Preface Paradox" by William Nava

00:0000:00

Greg Restall: Logical Pluralism | WSB #16

November 28, 2017

What is logical pluralism? Greg Restall, logician and Professor of Philosophy from the University of Melbourne joins me to answer this question.

When we study logic, we’re concerned with consequence or entailment: what follows from what. But what are the criteria for being “consequence”? Professor Restall says there are three: necessity, formality, and normativity. Given these criteria, he argues there is more than one relation worthy of the name “consequence”. In other words, there is more than one system of logic that correctly represents our informal grasp of necessary entailment. This is because logical rules operate differently depending on the sort of “case” they’re functioning in. Among various, Professor Restall highlights two types of cases: “possible worlds” and “situations”. The first fit classical logic, the second paraconsistent logic. Though they differ on what kinds of arguments are valid, they both correctly represent deductive reasoning. Professor Restall explains why this makes perfect sense.

Next week: Greg Restall: Objections to Logical Pluralism, and the Preface and Liar Paradoxes

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

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

Sources:

Logical Pluralism by Jc Beall and Greg Restall
consequently.org - Greg Restall's website (see his excellent and accessible recent series on "Twelve Things I Love about Philosophical Logic")

00:0000:00

The Case for Anarchism, Pt. 2: Necessity and Strategy | WSB #15

November 21, 2017

In part 1, I defined the state as a pattern of behaviors coupled with a collective interpretation of that pattern. In this second part, I move on to the case for anarchism proper. I begin by showing that the case for the state is inherently one from necessary evil. If I'm right, and it turns out that the state is not necessary after all, it follows that it is undesirable. This is what I argue in the first half of the episode. I conclude with an extended discussion of strategy. If the state is undesirable, then how should we go about getting rid of it? By analyzing what the state is, we see that both revolution and activism are unlikely to succeed. The only path forward with a real chance of success is agorism.

Next week: Greg Restall: Logical Pluralism

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

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

Sources:

Pressing the Button - database of alternatives to government-provided services
"Market Anarchism as Constitutionalism" by Roderick Long
"Hayekian Anarchism" by Edward Stringham and Todd Zywicki
The Evolution of Cooperation by Robert Axelrod
The Enterprise of Law: Justice without the State by Bruce Benson

00:0000:00

The Case for Anarchism, Pt. 1: Social Ontology | WSB #14

November 14, 2017

What does the Stanford Prison Experiment have to do with a case for anarchism?

In this episode, I argue for a certain view of the state. Piggybacking off Max Weber's definition of the state as a "human community that successfully claims the monopoly over the use of physical force within a given territory", I propose a similar but broader definition. Whereas Weber's definition is a political one, based on power analysis, my definition purports to be sociological, and therefore less morally charged than Weber's. Crucial to my take on the state is the concept of a Collective Interpretive Framework (CIF) - a shared lens through which we interpret reality. I argue that the state is a function of a particular CIF; in other words, it is a certain CIF we share that causes reality to manifest governments. This view of the state as a "self-fulfilling prophecy" and "shared hallucination" sets the stage for the case for anarchism coming in part 2.

Next week: The Case for Anarchism, Pt. 2: Necessity and Strategy

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

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

Sources:

"Stanford Prison Experiment" by Philip Zimbardo (website)
"Politics as a Vocation" by Max Weber
"Would You Press the Button?" by William Nava

00:0000:00

Against Certainty, Pt. 2: Logic | WSB #13

November 7, 2017

What about 2+2=4? Can we be 100% sure of that?

In this second part of my case against 100% certainty, I tackle claims to logical certainty. These include appeals to the three fundamental laws of logic: the Law of Excluded Middle, the Law of Non-Contradiction, and the Law of Identity. To call excluded middle into doubt, I discuss non-referring terms, vagueness, fuzzy logic, and Aristotle's problem of future contingents. For contradiction, the topics are legal contradictions, the Liar paradox, and Zeno's Arrow. To argue against certainty of the law of identity, I cover Theseus's ship, problems with time, problems of mereology, and the universe of symmetrical spheres. I then argue that even claims like "2+2=4" and "bachelors are bachelors" can't be fully foolproof. Finally, a quick barrage of skeptical concerns - concerns that, while they may not be enough to justify a self-defeating view like skepticism, are enough to block claims to 100% certainty.

Next week: The Case for Anarchism, Pt. 1: Social Ontology

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

00:0000:00

Against Certainty, Pt. 1: Knowledge and Experience | WSB #12

October 31, 2017

How old are you? Are you sure? How sure? 100% sure?

I'm here to argue that there's is nothing we can be fully, 100% sure of. Yes, that includes the fact that there is nothing we can be fully, 100% sure of. That doesn't mean we can't know anything - I think we can. But knowledge comes in degrees of certainty, and nothing meets the requirement of full certainty: knowledge that it is logically or metaphysically impossible to be wrong about.

To establish my case, I explain the difference between knowledge and certainty. I then discuss regress issues about certainty of certainty of certainty, followed by the Agrippan trilemma and Quine and Plantinga's naturalized epistemology. Finally, I address claims to certainty of knowledge of immediate experience.

To address these, I argue that Descartes's famous cogito is flawed, that there is no such thing as the present, and that raw perceptual experience must go through a translation process before it can be understood and therefore known.

Mentioned during the episode: the interview w/ Professor Jim Slagle about Plantinga's naturalized epistemology, and the interview with Professor Graham Priest about the sorites paradox.

Next week: Against Certainty, Pt. 2: Logic

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

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

 

00:0000:00

Brian Nuckols on Dreams, Pt. 3: Techniques | WSB #11

October 24, 2017

In this final installment of our interview, Brian Nuckols begins by explaining the metaphysical and social implications of dreams within dreams and recurring dreams. We then pass through a fascinating digression on how falsifiability applies to psychoanalysis and on the politics surrounding therapeutic modalities. We conclude with Brian's actionable suggestions for the curious listener, divided into three parts: remembering our dreams, interpreting our dreams, and lucid dreaming.

Next week: Against Certainty, Pt. 1: Knowledge and Experience

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

Sources:
"An Overview of Lucid Dreaming Tech" by Brian Nuckols
"Kicking Anima Possession for Fun and Profit" by Brian Nuckols

00:0000:00

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 on Dreams, Pt. 3: Techniques

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

 

00:0000:00

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 on Dreams, Pt. 2: Freud and Jung

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

00:0000:00