Topic interview famous person

Edit One of my all time favorites and it can be varied each time is to take several 30 seconds cuts of various musical pieces and tape them. When you play a cut from the tape, ask the participant to explain what thoughts the music brings to them i.

Topic interview famous person

They are words and concepts we learn, tools we acquire to understand ourselves, to help us with living. Next I saw the name in the adjacent literature of discursive psychology, a field that—to put it very crudely—treats mind not as a soft machine but as a text.

Our way of talking about ourselves—in terms of faculties, beliefs, ideas, and wills—is really just that: And then—irresistible to a political theorist like me—was his work in sociology, his denial of both mental events and social structures as causes.

Topic interview famous person

A neuron does not remember. A class does not hanker after some different state of affairs. It is persons that think, persons that remember, persons that hanker.

Yet how deeply they resist these demonstrations! A scan through recent publications—authored and co-authored—uncovers a polyphony of themes: Austin, the famously fussy Oxford philosopher whose idea of speech acts, of utterances as a kind of performance, was an important inspiration for the linguistic turn in European philosophy early last century.

By taking this turn, philosophers Topic interview famous person to see linguistic statements not simply as true-or-false representations of reality, but as a form of social action that can have diverse intentions and produce real-world effects.


Likewise, a declaration of war can be—as PJ Harvey put it—the words that maketh murder. Austin inspired post-structuralist philosophers like Jacques Derrida and Judith Butler to extend and radicalise his ideas about language and identity.

He taught mathematics at the University of Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan, from —4, then read for a B. He still teaches and writes to this day, dividing his time between Georgetown University in Washington D. I thought it would be helpful to start with the linguistic turn in philosophy.

You came here—in the mids—at a pivotal point.

Kristen Bell

The first thing to say is that the linguistic turn came out of a long running discussion about what analytic philosophy ought to be doing. It was thought that this would give you a clear structure, that you would see where a mistake of translation led to. The famous example is the theory of descriptions, where Russell tries to show that statements which are about non-existent things can be true or false.

The other strand started with Wittgenstein who repudiated his own adoption of [logical positivism] in the Tractatus. Misunderstanding the grammar of these languages would generate philosophical problems. Since the ordinary language was the one that you were using to construct life, or your cyclotron, that must be the correct working language— because it works.

The battle goes on until this day. A lot of American philosophers still love to do this logical analysis stuff. Then there are the people like myself who think this is a complete waste of time because it simply bypasses the really interesting and serious problems, and leaves everything as it is.

I'm also trying to get a sense of the culture of the time. Was there a sense, then, that the linguistic turn would have as far reaching implications as it has for social explanation? When I came [to Oxford] in it was a hotbed of activity. It was amazing, really, what was going on.

Wittgenstein became known in Oxford, but all this stuff started just after the Second World War. Gradually a lot of very smart people accumulated here.

There were philosophers at one time; each college had two or three. And he was saying much the same sort of thing. The optimism was that if we perceived this honestly and rigorously, then this was the end of academic philosophy in the old traditional sense.

You could tackle problems and show that they had a finite solution. You came from more of a science background, didn't you?

Topic interview famous person

I started in chemical engineering [in New Zealand]. I was doing mathematics and chemical engineering in parallel—mad!

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The chemical engineering course was an extra two years, so I had a mathematics degree and got a job as a mathematician.Explore, your source for true stories about notable people. Watch full episodes, read exclusive biographies and discover the unexpected ways you're connected to your favorite celebrities.

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