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Zero Squared #146: Chomsky Responds
March 15, 2018 06:04 PM PDT
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Chris Knight is currently senior research fellow in the department of anthropology at University College, London, focusing his research on the evolutionary emergence of human language and symbolic culture. He lives in London. His book Decoding Chomsky came out from Yale University Press in 2016 and was recently released in paperback. Since the book first dropped Chomsky has read it and has responded. Chomsky wrote: Knight makes an assumption common to those who [are] unfamiliar with government science-technology policy and know nothing about institutions like MIT...The whole story is a wreck. If you haven’t already you might pick up a copy of Marx Returns by Jason Barker or get ahold of Angela Nagle’s Kill All Normies which was recently selected as one of the top ten books of 2017 by the novelist George Saunders. Special thanks goes out to Al Mousseau this week as he was the one who edited this week's podcast.
Zero Squared #145: Thaddeus Russell Against Rationalism
March 07, 2018 10:36 PM PST
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Thaddeus Russell is a historian, author, and professor. He has taught history, American Studies, and the history of philosophy at Columbia University, Barnard College, and the New School for Social Research. He is also the host of the Unregistered Podcast and the guest on this week’s podcast. While we start off discussing the anti-SJW industry and Russell’s own encounters with it, we quickly veer off into a conversation about Capitalism, Foucault, whether rationalism is necessarily imperialist, Sam Harris, Noam Chomsky and a variety of other topics. The pull quote from this episode is probably near the end of this first half of the the conversation when Russell says something like, “Wait, I’m not finished. I’m building a total refutation of the entirety of what you think, Doug.”

It’s late on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 and I’m Douglas Lain the publisher of Zero Books and the host of this podcast.

I want to thank James T, Jason R, Andrew F, Matt S, and R for becoming patrons in the last few days. They along with 200 hundred other Patrons of the Inside Zero Books podcast are making the expansion of Zero Books’ digital content production possible. And I also want to remind listeners that if you enjoy this podcast, especially if you enjoy this conversation with Thaddeus, you might want to become patrons of Inside Zero Books this week as the second half of this conversation is coming out for members only this weekend.

If you haven’t already you might pick up a copy of Marx Returns by Jason Barker or get ahold of Angela Nagle’s Kill All Normies which was recently selected as one of the top ten books of 2017 by the novelist George Saunders. Or, if you’ve had enough of Nagle and want to re-embrace the call out culture you can get yourself a copy of Shaun Scott’s Millennials and the Moments that Made Us which was published by Zero Books in February.

Symptomatic Redness: Marxism and Religion
February 27, 2018 07:58 PM PST
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Symptomatic Redness is a show about political economics and historical analysis. Hosted by C. Derick Varn and Amogh Sahu the show is sometimes a dialogue between the hosts and sometimes features interviews with activists and academics.

This month's Symptomatic Redness features a conversation about Marx and Marxism's relationship with religion. The podcast circles around the questions

Does Marxism have a coherent ethics?
Does Marxism have a theory of consciousness?
And to what extent is Marx or Marxism guilty of idealism?

This is the first half of a nearly two hour conversation. The second half of this podcast will be made available through our Patreon membership site.

Zero Squared #144: How to Read a History Book
February 21, 2018 10:41 PM PST
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Perhaps in the current climate, I shouldn’t admit this, but this week’s guest Marshall Poe has lived in the USSR and Russia, his academic specialty being Russian History. He later spent a decade teaching at Harvard University, before leaving academia to take a position at The Atlantic Monthly. Since then he founded the New Books Network. He is also the author of the book How to Read a History Book which came out last month from Zero.

I wanted to thank Dave DD and a YouTuber named Subconscious qualms as well as some people at a Chomsky Reddit group for arguing with me after I posted the last Zero Books video about Noam Chomsky and Slavoj Zizek. I especially want to thank the guys at Reddit because they pointed out that while I interpreted Chomsky’s ontological position as being neo-Kantian, they pointed out that Chomsky has, in the past, to be a neutral monist. Looking into it a bit I see that neutral monism makes Chomsky, at least in some ways, more aligned with Spinoza than with Kant. However, given Chomsky’s emphasis on understanding the innate structures of cognition and, specifically, language, I would dare to say that his metaphysics are probably not quite aligned with Spinoza either.

The truth is I haven’t quite backed off from my original estimation of the consequences of Chomsky’s position but I do realize that the question of his metaphysics is more interesting than I originally realized. It seems to me that Chomsky’s position is difficult as any continental philosopher’s and I do have to admit that nobody has quite been able to explain them to me in any way I can fully understand.

If you’re looking for a good book to read on the topics I recently covered on Zero Books’ youtube channel you might check out Frank Smecker’s Night of the World. Also, you might subscribe to the Zero Books youtube channel to see how my engagement with Chomsky develops and to see how the videos improve. I’ve been talking to an animation studio in London called Pixel8 on getting a cut-rate deal on their services and I’m able to get that help because of patrons like Dylan H, Jack H, Muke, Patrick K, Sahir P, and 190 others. If you’d like to help Zero Books expand its digital content production or if you just want to hear the second half of this week’s podcast with Marshall Poe you should become a Patreon subscriber to the Inside Zero Books podcast. When we reach 400 patrons we’ll be hiring another helping hand to improve our podcasts.

The music you’re listening to right now is Adios Nonino by Astor Piazzolla but in just a moment you’ll be listening to Marshall Poe and I discuss How to Read a History Book.

Zero Squared #143: Applied Philosophy
February 15, 2018 01:12 PM PST
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Professor Greg Sadler is the co-founder of ReasonIO, a consulting company that puts philosophy into practice, the Youtube star behind the Half Hour Hegel series, a professor of philosophy who has taught at Ball State University and Fayetteville State University, and the guest on this week’s podcast. In this episode, you’ll hear us discuss whether philosophy really has any practical applications, the reception he receives as a professional philosopher in the corporate sector, stoicism, and the importance of philosophy.

Thanks goes out to the folks at the Across the Aisle podcast as well as Michael G, Connor P, Jeremy C M, and Greg M for becoming patrons in the last week. We currently have 189 patrons and our goal at the moment is to get to 400 patrons. If you’re thinking about becoming a patron you’ll be helping to improve this podcast, the videos we produce and get to enjoy our membership podcast called Inside Zero Books.

If you haven’t already you might pick up Anselm Jappe’s The Writing on the Wall or Ian Parker’s Revolutionary Keywords for a New Left. This month's bestsellers (which means they recently passed the 500 books sold mark, whether for the first time or again) are as follows: Kill All Normies, Capitalist Realism, Porn Panic, Ghosts of My Life, Sweetening the Pill, Millennials and the Moments that Made Us, How to Dismantle the NHS, Artist at Work, Proximity of Art and Capitalism], Capitalists Superheroes, How the Establishment Lost Control andHeavy Radicals. You should go to Powells.com, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Indiebound, Hive, or your local library and get a copy of one of our books.

In this episode you’ll hear a youtube lecture on Stoicism, a clip of Isaiah Berlin talking to Bryan Magee, and instrumental covers of the Indigo Girls Closer to Fine and The Waitresses I Know What Boys want.

Zero Squared #142: Michael Brooks' Materialism
February 07, 2018 02:43 PM PST
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Michael Brooks is the co-host of the Majority Report and the host of his own podcast called The Michael Brooks Show, and in this episode we discuss the anti-SJW industry, whether or not Zero Squared is just a Marxist version of Dave Rubin, and the need for debate on the left.

If you haven’t already you might sign up for our membership podcast through our Patreon account. The second half of conversations like this one are fairly common on that channel. You’ll also hear Derick Varn’s Symptomatic Redness podcast regularly on the membership podcast feed.

As far as Zero Books titles that are worth reading, consider picking up Anselm Jappe’s The Writing on the Wall, Jason Barker’s novel Marx returns, or Shaun Scott’s Millennials and the Moments That Made Us.

Zero Squared #141: Class Consciousness
February 01, 2018 12:55 AM PST
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C Derick Varn is on the podcast again, this time to discuss Lukacs’ 1920 essay Class Consciousness. This conversation goes into the weeds on philosophical and economic categories and tries to both “Straw Man” and “Steel Man” Lukacs’ essay in an effort to point out what we take to be common or at least possible misreadings as well as what we take to be the best and most coherent readings of the essay.

It’s late on Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 and I’m Douglas Lain the publisher of Zero Books and the host of this podcast.

If you haven’t already you might sign up to our membership podcast through our Patreon account. Conversations like this one with Varn are fairly common on that channel. You’ll also hear Varn’s on Symptomatic Redness podcast more regularly through our Patreon feed including a recent episode exploring the power of and some of the contradictions in the DSA.

As far as Zero Books titles that are worth reading, consider picking up Anselm Jappe’s The Writing on the Wall, Jason Barker’s novel Marx returns, or Shaun Scott’s Millennials and the Moments That Made Us.

The music you’re listening to right now is a ukelele cover of It’s Only a Paper Moon, but in just a moment you’ll be listening to Varn and I discuss Class Consciousness.

Zero Squared #140: Writing Sound
January 25, 2018 12:12 AM PST
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Emmanuelle Gibello is a Parisian composer, musician, performance artist and writer. She says her music, musical gestures and computer-assisted compositions are inspired by James Gleick's Chaos Theory.

This podcast was recorded at the Cafe de Flore, one of the oldest cafes in Paris and a one-time hang-out for writers, artists and philosophers such as Georges Bataille and Pablo Picasso. You’ll hear quite a bit of background noise in this episode but you should think of it as ambience.

Again this is an excerpt from the full recording of the conversation. The rest will be made available on our Patreon page.

If you haven’t already you might pick up Anselm Jappe’s The Writing on the Wall or Ian Parker’s Revolutionary Keywords for a New Left. Also, Angela Nagle’s book Kill All Normies was recently used as the basis for a short documentary film on the Fusion cable network entitled Trumpland: Kill All Normies. You should purchase a copy of her book and search down the documentary.

You’ll hear excerpts from a youtube video on Pierre Schaeffer as well as a clip from his composition Études de bruits and a clip from the movie Jurassic Park along with a clip from Gibello’s #MTFParis performance on an instrument she designed called the Molf.

Zero Squared #139: A Wrecking Ball Called Trump?
January 20, 2018 12:29 AM PST
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Chris Cutrone is the founder and President of the Platypus Affiliated Society. He is also the author of the rather infamous essay “Why Not Trump?” and other essays such as The Millennial Left is dead and Democratic revolution and the contradiction of capital. In this episode of the Zero Books podcast we discuss the Trump administration’s first year and the left’s various panicked reactions to what Cutrone says is a moment of transition for capitalism itself and US politics in particular.

We’ve moved the Inside Zero Books to Patreon. This will make it easier to get the member’s only podcast on podcatchers. It also means that we’ll be repeating the first year of Inside Zero Books intermittently on our Patreon account. If you missed Inside Zero Books podcast the first time, or if you just want to hear the old episodes again, they’ll be available. In fact I’ll be posting a rerun of the Inside Zero Podcast entitled The Žižek Debrief just as soon as this episode is online.

If you haven’t already you might pick up Anselm Jappe’s The Writing on the Wall or Ian Parker’s Revolutionary Keywords for a New Left. Also, Angela Nagle’s Kill All Normies was recently used as the basis for a short documentary film on the Fusion cable network entitled Trumpland: Kill All Normies. You should purchase a copy of her book and search down the documentary if you can.

You’ll also hear clips from a BBC report on Donald Trump’s genius and mental stability, an excerpt of a cable news interview with Bernie Sanders, and the Negativland classic collage Richard Nixon died today. Right now you’re listening to a MIDI version of Daft Punk’s Harder, Faster, Stronger.

Zero Squared #138: Robot Love
January 10, 2018 04:23 PM PST
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This episode of the Zero Books podcast is a conversation with the Alfie Bown. Alfie is the author of the Zero Books title Enjoying It: Candy Crush and Capitalism and he recently penned an essay for the Paris Review entitled The Screen of Enamoration: Love in the Age of Google. In this episode we discuss Tinder, AI, augmented reality, and robot love.

We’ve moved the Inside Zero Books podcast from the Zero Books blog to Patreon. This will make it easier to get the member’s only podcast on podcatchers. It also means that we’ll be repeating the first year of Inside Zero Books daily on our Patreon account. If you missed Inside Zero Books podcast the first time, or if you just want to hear the old episodes again, they’ll be available. In fact, I'll be posting an old episode right after I release this podcast. The next rerun will be from November of 2016. It's entitled Inside Zero Books #11: Moral Panics and features a conversation with Ashley Frawley.

If you haven’t already you might pick up Anselm Jappe’s The Writing on the Wall or Stuart Walton’s Neglected or Misunderstood: Introducing Theodor Adorno. Reading Angela Nagle’s Kill All Normies would be a great way to bring in the New Year. And the anthology Punk Is Dead is another terrific title from Zero Books.

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