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Thursday, July 11, 2019

A GOLDEN OLDIE

Wandering about on YouTube I came upon this Noam Chomsky interview from forty-one years ago.  It is Noam as I remember him from the old days.  The interviewer strikes me as a dork, but Noam is fun to listen to.

8 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

That dork is Bryan Magee, who probably did more through his BBC interviews with famous philosophers to get a mass audience for philosophy than any other person in Anglo-Saxon countries at least.

Obviously, Magee is not Chomsky's intellectual match, but who of us is?

Magee wrote a fairly well considered book on Schopenhauer by the way.

s. wallerstein said...

Wikipedia profile of Magee.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryan_Magee

A. Cameron said...

Additionally, Magee’s intellectual autobiography, Confessions of a Philosopher, is a delightful and stimulating jaunt through the Western philosophical tradition. He writes with with wit and passion and, as Wallerstein notes, is gifted at making accesible otherwise complex and often ponderous philosophical ideas and arguments. A man after your own heart, professor!

Sonic said...

I've listened to hours and hours of chomsky on YouTube, and I've probably only scratched the surface of the library of what's there.

But eventually, I got frustrated with his responses to questions of free will and determinism. I couldn't understand how someone so smart could so completely misunderstand the question. "Of course we have free will, for one necessarily must have it in order to come to the conclusion that he doesn't." What! I couldn't believe it, so I gave up on Chomsky.

This interview seems different though. I don't exactly know what he's saying here, so I'm gonna try to parse it again later when I'm awake. Does it have implications on the issue of determinism? I just don't understand how philosophers spend time talking about anything without addressing this obvious issue of free will....

Dean said...

The Chomsky quote about free will does seem a bit Scholastic, but how does it demonstrate that he so egregiously misunderstands the question?

TheDudeDiogenes said...

I think Chomsky's take on free will is eminently practical. Strictly speaking, I've long found determinism persuasive as a philosophical thesis, but I'm also of the mind that it doesn't matter - we feel that we're free, and I can't see a way around that phenomenology.

My favorite take on free will is this Dinosaur Comics strip.

Anonymous said...

A dork?

Here is a recent story about Magee, now 89 years of age:

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2018/04/even-old-age-philosopher-bryan-magee-remains-wonder-struck-ultimate-questions

Dean said...

I have a stake in the outcome of this dispute, but I'd like to think that being a dork and being a swell guy are not mutually exclusive.