On Online Learning with David Webster

22Mar

This time I thought it would be useful to try to do something slightly different. Given that many teachers and lecturers have had on-line learning foisted about them due to the Covid-19 crisis, I thought it would be helpful to talk to an expert about ways of delivering on-line learning. I spoke with Dr David Webster who is the Director of the Centre for Innovation in Learning & Teaching at SOAS, University of London.  Dave and I discussed the benefits and pitfalls of on-line learning, synchronous and asynchronous delivery, blended learning, managing student expectations, the value of focusing on structure and specifics,  managing behaviour in online forums, ideas about segmenting on-line classes and a host of other practical tips and ideas to help us cope with the huge changes our teaching is currently going through.  

You can find out about Dave here and you can look at some his work on education here.  Dave tweets at @davidwebster.

You can listen to more free content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FmStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. You can subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review. You can follow me on Twitter: @drphilocity

 

On Difference and Repetition with David Deamer

21Feb

Dave is back! We speak again about French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. This time we try to crack one of his most famous works Difference and Repetition. We talked about some very abstract concepts such as space, time, motion, representation and identity, and Deleuze’s three syntheses of time, but Dave does a brilliant of job of coherently explaining this very challenging book and the ‘sheet of black night’ that confronts us all.

Dr David Deamer is a writer and free scholar associated with Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. His interests lie at the intersection of cinema and culture with theory, history, and politics, centring on the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, Henri Bergson, and Friedrich Nietzsche. He is the author of Deleuze’s Cinema Books: Three Introductions to the Taxonomy of Images (EUP, 2016); and Deleuze, Japanese Cinema and the Atom Bomb: The Spectre of Impossibility (Bloomsbury, 2014). He has published here and there in various edited collections and journals, and his latest essay – available free on the Film-Philosophy journal home page – is ‘Deleuze’s Three Syntheses Go to Hollywood: The Tripartite Cinema of Time Travel, Many Worlds and Altered States‘ (Film-Philosophy v23i3 EUP, 2019). You can find out more about David on his homepage.

You can listen to more free content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FMStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. You can subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review. You can follow me on Twitter: @drphilocity

On Cormac McCarthy with Julius Greve

17Feb

I discuss American novelist Cormac McCarthy with literary scholar Dr Julius Greve. Cormac McCarthy is known for his often bleak and unwavering take on the Western. He has written over ten novels, as well as plays and screenplays in the Southern Gothic literary tradition. Less discussed is the philosophical dimension of McCarthy’s novels. With Julius I discussed how philosophy is present in the  Blood Meridian, Suttree, The Orchard Keeper, The Road, Child of God, No Country for Old Men, The Border Trilogy and Outer Dark. We touched on ecocentrism, geocentric criticism, panpsychism, violence, myth and science and the role of German Idealism in McCarthy's work. Central to Julius’ interpretation is  the idea that McCarthy offers a synthesis of Orphic and Promethean myths, which offers a very human blend of grief and grace.

Julius Greve is a lecturer and research associate at the Institute for English and American Studies, University of Oldenburg, Germany. He is the author of Shreds of Matter: Cormac McCarthy and the Concept of Nature (Dartmouth College Press, 2018), and of numerous articles on McCarthy, Mark Z. Danielewski, François Laruelle, and speculative realism. Greve has co-edited America and the Musical Unconscious (Atropos, 2015), Superpositions: Laruelle and the Humanities (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2017), “Cormac McCarthy Between Worlds” (a special issue of EJAS: European Journal of American Studies, 2017), and Spaces and Fictions of the Weird and the Fantastic: Ecologies, Geographies, Oddities (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). He is currently working on a manuscript on the relation between modern poetics and ventriloquism. You can find out more about Julius here.

You can listen to more free content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FMStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. You can subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review. You can follow me on Twitter: @drphilocity

On Nietzsche with Lars Iyer

14Jan

I had tremendous fun talking to philosopher and novelist Lars Iyer. We discussed Nietzsche in light of Lars' new novel Nietzsche and the Burbs. We discussed many of Nietzsche's famous concepts such as übermensh, amor fati and suffering, affirmation, nihilism and eternal recurrence. As well, we touched on Maurice Blanchot, Simone Weil, The Invisible Committee and disco!

Lars is a  a Reader in Creative Writing and Subject Head of Creative Writing at Newcastle University. He is the author of several academic articles and two monographs on Blanchot -  Blanchot’s Vigilance: Literature, Phenomenology and the Ethical  and Blanchot’s Communism: Art, Philosophy and the Political.(Palgrave Macmillan 2004, 2005). He is the author of The Spurious Trilogy (Spurious, Dogma and Exodus) with Melville House Publishing and now Nietzsche and the Burbs (2020). Nietzsche and the Burbs follows the reflections and comic musings of four young adults and their friend Nietzsche who have search for meaning in a meaningless world. You can find out more about Lars here, you can follow him on Twitter @utterlyspurious and you can buy a copy of Nietzsche and the Burbs here.

You can listen to more free content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FmStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. You can subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review. You can follow me on Twitter: @drphilocity

 

On Religion and Violence with Felix O’Murchadha

3Jan

This month I spoke to Prof. Felix O’Murchadha of the National University of Ireland at Galway about religion and violence. We discussed the nature of religious experience, and more specifically the relation between violation, witnessing and perpetration. This led on to a further discussion of temporality, sexual violence and forgiveness.  Our discussion revolved around Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Amery, Susan Brison and Hannah Arendt

You can find more about Felix here, and you can find a sample of his writings here.

Erratum: During the podcast I mentioned Rutger Bergman who is in fact named Rutger Bregman.

You can listen to more free content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FmStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. You can subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review. You can follow me on Twitter: @drphilocity

On Social Work with Joe Smeeton

29Nov

This month I am talking to Joe Smeeton. We had a brilliant chat about the nature of social work, anxiety, risk, child protection, the political backdrop to social working in the UK, and just what it is like to be a social worker. Joe provided an impassioned defence of the value of social work, as well as an honest account of the challenges and pitfalls social workers face in their day to day existence. 

Joe is a qualified social worker and academic. He works at the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield. He has published a variety of articles, and book chapters on social work where he has examined themes of risk, child protection, consent and is interested in how Hannah Arendt can illuminate the experience of being of a social worker.  Here you can find a link to his university profile, and here you should be able to access some of his work. You can following him on Twitter: @JoeSmeeton

You can listen to more free back content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FmStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. We are also available on Spotify. You can subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review. You can follow me on Twitter: @drphilocity

On Levinas with Will Large

29Oct

I spoke with Will Large about the Jewish philosopher Emmanual Levinas.  Levinas is a philosopher who had a unique conception of ethics, one resistant to many of the traditional ways we approach ethics in Philosophy. Many of Levinas' writings were composed during his time in a prisoner of war camp, and his work unsurprisingly embraces notions of escape, otherness, subjectivity and anti-totalitarianism.  Also, many members of his immediate family were murdered by fascists. Levinas' entire career subsequently became devoted to radically transforming how we approach others in a concrete way. With Will, I had a wide-ranging conversation where we touched on the distinction between ethics and morality, Levinas' book Totality and Infinity, Daniel Kahnemann, Gilles Deleuze, virtue signalling, parenthood, the movie Election, political anarchism and environmentalism. 

Dr William Large works at the University of Gloucestershire. He is the author of Levinas' 'Totality and Infinity: A Reader's Guide and Heidegger's Being and Time: A Philosophical Guide. You can find out more about Will here.

You can listen to more free back content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FmStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. You can subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review. You can follow me on Twitter: @drphilocity

On Shame with Luna Dolezal

28Sep

This month I am talking with Dr Luna Dolezal from the University of Exeter. Luna is Senior Lecturer in Medical Humanities, with a particular interest in applied phenomenology, philosophy of embodiment, philosophy of medicine and medical humanities (esp. through literature and philosophy). I chatted to Luna about the notion of shame, medicine, Sartre, Nussbaum and Channel 4's TV show Embarrassing Bodies. Luna is about to begin a major research project with the Wellcome Trust. You can find out more about Luna here.

You can read some of Luna's writings which we discussed on the podcast here.

You can listen to more free back content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FmStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. You can subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review. You can follow me on Twitter: @drphilocity

On Denial, Conspiracy and Post-Truth with Keith Kahn-Harris

30Nov

This week I discuss the nature of denial, post-truth, and conspiracy theories with Dr Keith Kahn-Harris. We ended up talking about Holocaust denial, anti-vaxxing, climate change, and the resurgence of flat-earth theory. Keith tries to unpick the similarities and differences between all these different types of discourse. He argues that there are many types of denialism. Rather than classifying these phenomena as irrational and nonsensical, he argues that they are secretly are in love with the best traditions of scholarship and truth, and hold an irrepressible desire for respectability and legitimacy. Our talk is based on Keith's recent book Denial: The Unspeakable Truth (Notting Hill Editions, 2018).

Keith is a sociologist, essayist, and music critic. He is an Associate Lecturer and Honorary research fellow at Birkbeck College. As well, he is a Fellow of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research and senior lecturer at Leo Baeck College.

You can find out more about Keith at his website here. He is on Twitter: @KeithKahnHarris

Here is the link to the BBC animation that Keith spoke about in the podcast.

You can listen to more free back content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FmStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. You can also subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review. You can follow me on Twitter: @drphilocity

On Dirt with Olli Lagerspetz

23Nov

This week I am talking to Olli Lagerspetz about his recent book A Philosophy of Dirt (Reaktion, 2018). This book is a fascinating exploration of what we mean by dirt, how we can use Philosophy to examine it, and whether dirt is an objective or subjective phenomenon. We talked about how dirt is conceived in science, art, politics, anthropology and how we might think of dirt in the context of the environment. As usual in a philosophy conversation, we ended up talking about Plato.

Olli Lagerspetz (b. 1963) is  a Senior Lecturer and Adjunct Professor at the Philosophy department at Åbo Akademi University, and Adjunct Professor of the History of Ideas at Oulu University. He is Associate Editor of the Journal of Philosophical Investigations. Lagerspetz studied  at Åbo and, with Peter Winch, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1992-1998 he was Lecturer of philosophy at the University of Wales, Swansea. Lagerspetz has written extensively on the philosophy of the humanities and the social sciences and on the history of social anthropology. His   most recent books include A Philosophy of Dirt (2018), Trust, Ethics and Human Reason (2015) and Intellectual Networks,Philosophy and Social Anthropology (2014) with Kirsti Suolinna and Edward Westermarck. In his research, Lagerspetz has often liked to focus on issues that breach the fact/value divide.  He is interested in looking for alternatives to reductionist accounts of the world we live in. His  main intellectual influences (besides his parents and family members) are Ludwig Wittgenstein and Egon Friedell, plus people who have taught him or worked with him: Lars Hertzberg, Peter Winch, Richard Beardsmore, Ullica Segerstrale, Kirsti Suolinna, Göran Torrkulla, and Hans Rosing.

Olli is married with two children and two cats. In his free time, he plays music (tuba and piano). His book was recently reviewed in The GuardianYou can find out about the book here.

You can listen to more free back content from the Thales' Well podcast on TuneIn RadioPlayer FmStitcher and Podbean. You can also download their apps to your smart phone and listen via there. You can also subscribe for free on iTunes. Please leave a nice review. You can follow me on Twitter: @drphilocity

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