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Interesting interview with Julian Young

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• Is the world eternal? YES
• Do humans have contra-causal free will (i.e., can humans do otherwise)? NO
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? YES
• Do humans have souls? YES
• Are there natural rights? YES
• Is it morally permissible to eat meat? NO
• Is the unexamined life worth living? NO
• Is truth subjectivity? YES
• Is virtue necessary for happiness? YES
• Can a computer have a mind? YES
• Can humans know reality as it is in itself? YES
• Is hell other people? YES
• Can art be created accidentally? NO
• Can we change the past? NO
• Are numbers real? NO
• Is it always better to know the truth? YES

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Young is a philosopher currently at Wake Forest, who recently wrote a great biography of Nietzsche. Here is a thoughtful interview with him on university life, philosophy in general, and differences between analytic and continental philosophy. An excerpt:

Heidegger observed that in the age of electronic media the principle existential issue is ‘homelessness’, lack of ‘dwelling’. One dwells when there are things that are ‘near’ to one. But if some things are ‘near’ others have to be ‘far’. In electronic modernity, however, the ‘near’-‘far’ distinction is disappearing, things are assuming a ‘uniform distancelessness’. So the idea of a dwelling place is under threat. But there is more to dwelling than the idea of a special geographical region. Dwelling also depends on what Heidegger variously calls ‘the holy’ and ‘the poetic’. If you possess a dwelling place then it has, for you, a dimension that does not show up in a photograph – unless you are a very great photographer. One of the things Heidegger tries to do in his own writing is to convey the sense of this hidden, poetic, dimension. At the end of perhaps the greatest of his later works, ‘Building Dwelling Thinking’, he writes that ‘as soon as man gives thought to his homelessness, it is a misery no longer’. This is my experience of reading and thinking with Heidegger, which is why I return to him again and again. It is, I guess, a kind of spiritual therapy.


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