Interview with Dave

Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 06:18 pm
Today's interviewee is Dave.

Q1: So tell us a little about your name, why you chose it, what it means, etc.

My parents gave it to me and I can't think of a better one.

It's a fairly decent name - common enough to afford some anonyminity. Though I don't understand why contributors to Wikipedia keep on insisting that I'm a nine-fingered irish raconteur.

Q2: Avatar.

I couldn't find a hindu deity who looked as ugly as I am, and I didn't want to inflict my true form on forumites here, some of whom are perfectly innocent.

Q3: Sig. Where does it come from? What can this small tidbit of info tell us about you?

I utterly hate sigs and I think they serve no purpose other than to clog up forums. I never read yours - so why should you read mine?

Q4: What made you join the forum?

I typed in "philosophy forum" to google and I joined the most popular choice.

Q5: Can you tell us anything more about your stats, like the volume of posts, your thanks/thanked ratio, and your rep power?

Happy enough.

Q6: Tell us a little bit more about you. If you could describe yourself in one short sentence, what would it be and why?

See Q7.

Q7: Do you have any other interests other than philosophy (i.e. hobbies, work, etc.)?

I play the hurdy gurdy and prepare a mean dish of sushi.

Q8: Do those interests coincide with your affinity for philosophy?

Everything does, whether I am interested in it or not.

Q9: Can you tell us anything more about yourself?

Sure! What do you want to know? I'm 34, a writer by trade, born and raised in SE England but living in Belfast, mousey hair, unmarried, fond of blue shirts, left-leaning but not to the extent of toppling over, athiest but not anti-religion. What?

Q10: What are your favorite areas of the forum? If you have more than one, give us your top five.

No real preference. I tend to science, history and current affairs, I suppose.

Q11: Do you blog? What are some of the topics you discuss?

I fail to see the differtence between blogging and starting a thread, really.

Q12: If you could describe philosophyforum.com in one word, what would that word be?


Q13: How would you describe your posts and the style/structure you use?

So-so. I like facts and feel I'm more inclined that way than most others here.

Q14: What would you do to make philosophy forum a better/more interesting place?

Two things.

1. Debate section - 20 posts per participant. Rules requiring 3 answers from previous posts. Oblige answering of three non-rhetorical queries per post in section.

2. Roll back religion section into "philosophy of religion". Jainism? Caowhotzitism? I hate to be ignorant - but who here really cares?

Q15: What first got you interested in philosophy?

My degree subject was theatre studies. Chose to write essay on Existentialism in absurdist theatre module. Did so. Intrigued. Wanted to follow it up.

Q16: Explain how philosophy is important to you.

Everything is philosophy at the end of the day.

Q17: What keeps you interested in philosophy?

See above. Philosophy is everything. If I tired of it I would tire of everything.

Q18: If you could define you own particular philosophy in one short sentence, what would it be?

The mental state which, in my opinion, best suits the situation.

Q19: What do you think the benefits of philosophy are?

I have too pessimistic a view of the human condition and too much a respect for cosmological time to believe that there is an end result benefit. My own satisfaction perhaps?

Q20: What do you think the drawbacks to philosophy are?

Superceded by its own offspring. Science in particular.

Q21: What is your favorite subject in philosophy (i.e. ethics, logic, etc.)?


Q22: What is your least favorite subject in philosophy?

Metaphysics. Go back to Theology where you belong.

Q23: Who is your favorite philosopher and why?

John Gray. Because he strikes me as often being correct within the context of the 21st century. He admits he is a lot like Schopenhauer, who I also like a lot.

The most radical of all time?

Kant, I reckon. I don't really like him per se, but I feel Phenomenology is the greatest paradigm shift and he is it's greatest proponent.

Q24: Who is your least favorite philosopher and why?

I don't find this an easy question to answer. I can't think of one who's ideas weren't impressive within apt context. My tempttion is to say Derrida - because he is so often applied outside of his remit (as far as I see it). But he's such a newcomer, with such interesting ideas within his remit, that to slate him seems churlish.

Q25: Global warming or Global fooling?

You cannot take carbon that has been sequestered away for millions of years and pump it into the air witout a resulting warming.

You just can't.

Q26: Conservative or liberal?

These days what's the difference, eh? (see general election in UK 2010).

I'm part of a liberal tradition that I feel needs conserving.

I use a PC and I reckon I'm nominal, but don't want to be presumptive on the matter.
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Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 07:07 pm
@Dave Allen,
I would like to read that essay on existentialism in the theater.
0 Replies
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 07:20 pm
@Dave Allen,
Q: How can you like Schopenhauer and not metaphysics? I thought Schopenhauer was the last of the real metaphysical philosophers?
Dave Allen
Reply Thu 27 May, 2010 04:13 am
jeeprs;169335 wrote:
Q: How can you like Schopenhauer and not metaphysics? I thought Schopenhauer was the last of the real metaphysical philosophers?

I can't stand football and I think it's a boring waste of time - but if all footballers played like George Best I'd watch every match I could.

---------- Post added 05-27-2010 at 05:37 AM ----------

GoshisDead;169326 wrote:
I would like to read that essay on existentialism in the theater.

Long gone now, but it boils down to mid-20th century theatre going through a sort of twin existential crisis.

The first of which was moral - "what is the moral point of this institution seeing how the success of fascism has been partly down to fine oratory and good stage management - tricks we invent and teach?"

The second of which was the fear of looming obsolescence - "now that we have films is there any reason to have plays?"

These worries were the launching pad for people like Bertoldt Brecht and Antonin Artaud who came up with various ideas about how to engage the audience more and "break the spell" of theatre without compromising on entertainment value - even extending to deliberately spoiling the plot by explaining everything in the first scene, or changing costumes on stage, or showering the audience with fake blood, or lots of other wierd tricks that became a number of different genres - of which "epic theatre" is the most celebrated.

The idea was that you were constantly reminding the audience that they were watching a play - and they shouldn't let themselves by swayed by the feelings they received, but by considering the ideas presented once the play was done. That way - Brecht felt - he could teach people to regard events like the Nuremburg rallies dispassionately, and not get swept up in a cathartic fervour that could be manipulated to a grim end.

Not everyone liked this new movement, and it inspired a counter movement of hyper-realism. The school of Stanislavski and method acting - the idea that to know how to convincingly portray something on stage you have to go and actually experience it, or as near to it as is safe.

Where this ties in with existentialism is that individual dramaticians (as well as the institution of theatre on the whole) were (or was) made an existential subject - forced to ask "what's the point?" or go the way of the dodo.
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Reply Thu 27 May, 2010 10:31 am
@Dave Allen,
i remember there was a debate thing in the works and i thought it was all set up to go, whatever happened to that?
0 Replies

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