Jacques Derrida's "Of Grammatology" (Part 1/2)
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In this episode, I begin my two-part presentation of "Of Grammatology," Jacques Derrida's inaugural text to place him among the ranks of Foucault, Bourdieu, Lefebvre, Deleuze and others.

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Then & Now: Philosophy, History & Politics
Then & Now: Philosophy, History & Politics
Then & Now
Inviting the Tigers to Tea: Demagogues in America
Winston Churchill once said that ‘Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers from which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry.’ In the wake of what happened in Washington last week, I think this metaphor illustrates something deeper about the relationship between demagogues and their followers. Who are the tigers and why are they hungry? Riots - the voice of the unheard - clearly signify some issues within a society that if not resolved inevitably lead to the baring of teeth. Tigers only emerge from tears in the social fabric. The more the economic, social, or cultural chasm rips open, the more untamed emotions spill out of the void, and the more likely it becomes that a demagogue can saddle-up and offer a solution. Steve Bannon said that ‘we got elected on Drain the Swamp, Lock Her Up, Build a Wall….This was pure anger. Anger and fear is what gets people to the polls.” Many ancient philosophers were skeptical of democracy because it was vulnerable to the threat of demagogues. Plato argued in the Republic that because democracy must allow freedom of speech it was defenseless against strongmen who could make to the demos based on their fears and emotions. Joseph Goebbels said that ‘This will always remain one of the best jokes of democracy, that it gave its deadly enemies the means by which it was destroyed.’ So why is it that democracy is vulnerable to demagogues? What do demagogues offer and how might we protect against it? Then & Now is FAN-FUNDED! Support me on Patreon and pledge as little as $1 per video: http://patreon.com/user?u=3517018
16 min
Social Science Bites
Social Science Bites
SAGE Publishing
Mike Tomasello on Becoming Human
Consider two different, but similar situations. In the first, children are asked to pull ropes together. Candy cascades down, but in unequal distribution – three for one child and one for the other. In the second situation, the children come across the sweets but without joint labor, and again find an uneven distribution. What usually happens next differs between the two situations. When the kids work together, they tend to willingly share the proceeds so everyone ends up with an equal share. But when the candy was discovered through individual serendipity, the children tend to accept the uneven outcome and don’t equalize shares. The first situation involves what Mike Tomasello, the James F. Bonk Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Duke University, would call joint commitment; “When children produce sweets collaboratively they feel they should share them equally.” There’s no explicit promise of an equal share, but there is an implicit one that’s just as recognizable and genuine. As Tomasello details to interviewer David Edmonds in this Social Science Bites podcast, “I can say I don’t like it when you keep all the sweets – that’s my personal opinion – but when I say ‘you shouldn’t do that, you mustn’t do that, you must do this, you have to do that,’ this is not my personal opinion. This is something objective.” While this might be a normative bond that helps glue humans together, it’s not a bond he finds in our closest relatives. Tomasello points out that among chimps – with which the longtime co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology has a deep background researching - the dominant partner takes the spoils in almost all cases. The “we-ness” that can mark human behavior is replaced by the “me-ness” of other primates. That difference between primates and people is the basis of much of Tomasello’s career (see the work of the Tomasello Lab at Duke: “studying the development and evolution of social cognition, communication, and cooperation“) and of his 2018 book, Becoming Human: A Theory of Ontogeny. Much of his effort has focused on great apes, our closest primate relatives, following a line of research that started with Jane Goodall learning that apes make and use tools. Great apes share many qualities with human beings – they understand causal relations, can work with the concept of quantities, can predict what others might do based on what they see and what their goal is, are good social learners, can communicate with gestures (and can learn new ones), and can work with one another in some cases. But Tomasello notes a key area in which apes and people differ. “Humans put their heads together, as a general phrase, to accomplish things that neither one can do on his or her own. So if you look at all the things you think are most amazing about humans – we’re building skyscrapers, we have social institutions like governments, we have linguistic symbols, we have math symbols, we have all these things – not one of them is the product of a single mind. These are things that were invented collaboratively at the moment or else over time as individuals build on one another’s accomplishments.” Great apes and other creatures – ants and bees do offer a limited counter-example -- don’t do that. Understanding this evolved capacity – Tomasello doesn’t like using terms like “hard-wired” or “innate” – isn’t just a matter for academic interest. While he shied away from talking about the normative implications of his research and theories, Tomasello noted the benefits of cooperation and collaboration (and also some of its less-welcome artefacts such as creating out-groups to discriminate against), whether in sports, or work, or society. While he wouldn’t develop public policies, “If you want a more cooperative society, I can tell you some things that would help.”
24 min
New Books in Sociology
New Books in Sociology
Marshall Poe
Brad Vermurlen, "Reformed Resurgence: The New Calvinist Movement and the Battle Over American Evangelicalism" (Oxford UP, 2020)
Since the turn of the millennium, American Evangelical Protestantism has seen a swell of interest in Calvinist theology. Variously described as the New Calvinism or Neo-Reformed Christianity, the latter half of the first decade saw a resurgence of Reformed theology, especially among younger Evangelicals. Brad Vermurlen presents an insightful sociological study of this resurgence of reformed Christianity, interpreted through the lens of strategic action field theory in his new book Reformed Resurgence: The New Calvinist Movement and the Battle Over American Evangelicalism (Oxford University Press, 2020). Using a field theoretic model to analyze data collected through ethnographic observation, interviews with Christian leaders, and digital and print content analysis, Vermurlen explains how New Calvinist Christian leaders positioned themselves within the broader field of American Evangelicalism and solidified their movement within a variety of precipitating causes and game-like maneuvers. In the end, Reformed Resurgence offers a lucid account of how a conservative religious movement can survive, and even thrive, in a hyper-modern, secularizing society. To find out more about Brad Vermurlen, visit http://bradvermurlen.com/  Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen’s University Belfast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
49 min
The Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast
The Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast
Jack Symes | Andrew Horton, Oliver Marley, Gregory Miller
Episode 90, Arthur Schopenhauer (Part III - The World as Will)
Introduction I am Ixion, strapped to the burning wheel of fire in the underworld that is my life. A bleak assessment to be sure, but I put it to you that it is the truth. For what is life if not an ever-swinging pendulum of pain and boredom, kept in motion by the insatiable will? I constantly strive for the things that I want, but what I want is never enough; long-term satisfaction is tedium elegantly veiled. This alone is a cruel trick to the individual, but in a world of many, it is the ultimate tragedy. The wills of the multitude cannot avoid the inevitable conflict, as one will’s ends treats another as its means. The tiger feasts on the wild dog, who feasts on the baby turtle, all to propagate life so that future generations can play out this tragic scene ad infinitum. In human life - save rare moments of true compassion - we are little better. Yet, there is a hint of salvation.  What if we all realised that, at our core, we are the same will? What if we could make the wheel of Ixion stand still, if only for a moment? Would it be possible to see beauty? Would it be possible to see to fellow sufferers rather than fellow egos? I suspect it might, but I am afraid that I, and many others, are easily fooled. ‘The Will’ will do as it pleases, and not what pleases us. Contents Part I. The Life of Arthur Schopenhauer Part II. The World as Representation Part III. The World as Will Part IV. Suffering, Aesthetics, and Ethics Part V. Further Analysis and Discussion Links Bernardo Kastrup, Decoding Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics (book) Christopher Janaway, Schopenhauer: A Very Short Introduction (book) Bryan Magee, The Philosophy of Schopenhauer (book) Arthur Schopenhauer, Essay and Aphorisms (book) Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation — Vol. 1 (book) Arthur Schopenhauer, The Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics (book) Arthur Schopenhauer, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason and Other Writings (book) Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Arthur Schopenhauer (online) Intern Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Arthur Schopenhauer (online)
47 min
New Books in Critical Theory
New Books in Critical Theory
Marshall Poe
Matthew McManus, "A Critical Legal Examination of Liberalism and Liberal Rights" (Palgrave, 2020)
The tradition of political liberalism has a long and complicated history, filled with twists, turns, critiques and responses that have filled books, essays and lectures for several centuries now. Questions of the importance and limitations of individual rights and how to balance different interests have produced no shortage of theoretical conflict as different figures have attempted to make sense of the importance and limits of individuals and their rights.  Diving right into this debate is Matt McManus, returning again to the New Books Network to discuss his recent book A Critical Legal Examination of Liberalism and Liberal Rights (Palgrave, 2020). Going back as far as Burke, Hobbes, Kant and Locke, and then through critiques of liberalism from both radically progressive and reactionary orientations, the book traces the various ideas of liberalism up to the present in figures such as Habermas, Rawls and MacIntyre. It also posits it’s own understanding of liberalism, which emphasizes every individual's right to self-authorship as a central pillar for developing the liberal project. Crossing the fields of history, philosophy, political theory and law, the book offers a number of interventions across an array of fields, and will be of immense use to those seeking to understand some of the most pressing concerns of our time. Matt McManus is a professor of politics at Whitman College. He is the author of a number of books, including The Rise of Postmodern Conservatism, and is also one of the coauthors of Myth and Mayhem: A Leftist Critique of Jordan Peterson, both of which we discussed in previous episodes of this podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1 hr 19 min
New Books in Anthropology
New Books in Anthropology
Marshall Poe
Brad Vermurlen, "Reformed Resurgence: The New Calvinist Movement and the Battle Over American Evangelicalism" (Oxford UP, 2020)
Since the turn of the millennium, American Evangelical Protestantism has seen a swell of interest in Calvinist theology. Variously described as the New Calvinism or Neo-Reformed Christianity, the latter half of the first decade saw a resurgence of Reformed theology, especially among younger Evangelicals. Brad Vermurlen presents an insightful sociological study of this resurgence of reformed Christianity, interpreted through the lens of strategic action field theory in his new book Reformed Resurgence: The New Calvinist Movement and the Battle Over American Evangelicalism (Oxford University Press, 2020). Using a field theoretic model to analyze data collected through ethnographic observation, interviews with Christian leaders, and digital and print content analysis, Vermurlen explains how New Calvinist Christian leaders positioned themselves within the broader field of American Evangelicalism and solidified their movement within a variety of precipitating causes and game-like maneuvers. In the end, Reformed Resurgence offers a lucid account of how a conservative religious movement can survive, and even thrive, in a hyper-modern, secularizing society. To find out more about Brad Vermurlen, visit http://bradvermurlen.com/  Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen’s University Belfast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
49 min
Marxist Voice
Marxist Voice
Socialist Appeal
Which way forward for the trade unions?
In this session, John McInally – former vice president of the PCS civil servants’ union and veteran trade union activist – will discuss how, in these conditions, we can build a revolutionary trade union movement. The coronavirus crisis has accelerated class consciousness. Workers are getting organised to resist the tsunami of job cuts and austerity that is coming. Already, tens of thousands have joined both the NEU teachers’ union and Unison, Britain’s largest public sector union. Members of the NEU are now at the forefront of the struggle against the government's inept handling of the pandemic, forcing the government into another policy U-turn in the first week of 2021. Council workers in Tower Hamlets and culture sector workers at the Tate and Southbank have shown the way forward with long-running strikes. At the same time, key unions such as Unison, Unite, and the GMB are all set to see a change of leadership in the coming year. This could have a profound impact on the entire labour movement. Paul Holmes coming a close second place in the recent general secretary elections goes to show the potential for left victories across the labour movement. For example, Unison is in the process of electing a new general secretary. Socialist candidate Paul Holmes has the very real prospect of winning. If he does, it will transform industrial relations in Britain. This radicalisation has huge implications for the class struggle in the period ahead. We can expect a wave of industrial militancy. Workers will increasingly be forced into action to defend pay, jobs, and conditions. It is our job as Marxists to partake in these struggles and raise the sights of rank-and-file members. Join us in the fight for socialism: Join - socialist.net/join Donate - socialist.net/donate Subscribe - socialist.net/subscribe Follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and our podcast, Marxist Voice: Facebook - facebook.com/SocialistAppeal YouTube - youtube.com/c/SocialistNet1917 Twitter - twitter.com/socialist_app Podcast - wavve.link/marxistvoice
36 min
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