22 Feb 2018, 6:38am
Zero Squared
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Zero Squared #144: How to Read a History Book

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.

Bash Bash Revolution gets Starred Review

Becky Spratford is a book critic and she recently posted her review of Bash Bash Revolution for Booklist along with some additional comments on her blog.

Not only will you think twice before opening a game app on your phone after completing Lain’s novel, but you may also start wondering if we are already living as pawns to a superintelligent machine. This is not a cartoonish sketch, it is a realistic and bleak look at the post-singularity world. An easy suggestion for fans of current, accessible science fiction that thoughtfully contemplates AI such as Ready Player One or Sea of Rust, but it is also a great choice for those who enjoy John Scalzi’s narrative style.

Read the whole blog entry from Becky Spratford on her blog.

Zero Squared #143: Applied Philosophy

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

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.