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Eric Schliesser
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Yesterday, I was reminded of the old Somerville Theatre at Davis Square. I use 'old' because it has since been renovated; it was quite shabby when I lived in the area. I encountered Bambi Meets Godzilla (1969) during the animation festival. I had no idea when I first saw it,... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
"About twenty years after the ascension of our Saviour, it came to pass, that there was seen by the people of Renfusa...within night, (the night was cloudy, and calm,) as it might be some mile into the sea, a great pillar of light; not sharp, but in form of a... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
While studying women is not new,studying them from the perspective of their own experiences so that women can understand themselves and the world can claim virtually no history at all. It is also novel to study gender. The idea of a systematic social construction of masculinity and femininity that is... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
If I am right, philosophy now is vastly richer than classical Greece, the age of reason, or any other golden age we care to name: far more (and more able) philosophers with much greater ability to collaborate and learn from one another, a wider understanding of the world around us,... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
The intellectual life as portrayed in this film [“The Hedgehog”--ES] has four central features: 1) It is a form of the inner life of a person, a place of retreat and reflection. 2) As such it is withdrawn from the world, where ‘the world' is understood in its (originally Platonic,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
[Interviewer]: Looking back, I get the sense that –correct me if this is a wrong analysis- there’s been great progress on issues of recognition in the U.S., marriage equality and so on, and even on issues of visibility, with things like having a black president. Has there been too much... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Sociable Letters (by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle) is described as “Primitive Letter Fiction Depicting Domestic Life,” under “Minor Fiction” in The New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, Volume 2; Volumes 1660-1800 edited by George Watson (Cambridge 1971), p. 976. Last week, at a lovely conference hosted by Marcy Lascano... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
I thought on the Tricks made use of by the Women that would teach Children to be mannerly. When an aukward Girl, before she can either Speak or Go, begins after many Intreaties to make the first rude Essays of Curt’sying, the Nurse falls in an ecstacy of Praise There’s... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Politics does not lead to a broadly shared consensus. It has to yield a decision, whether or not a consensus prevails. As a result, political institutions create incentives for participants to exaggerate disagreements between factions. Words that are evocative and ambiguous better serve factional interests than words that are analytical... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
So, do all of you look down on literature professors? There was an awkward silence while we were waiting for the train to arrive. I hesitated. I was surprised to learn that a Dutch literature professor would have experienced the kind of disdain I associate with my philosophical daddies' bruising... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
The Arrow-Debreu theory was not originally put forward for the case of uncertainty, but an ingenious device introduced by Arrow, and further elaborated by Debreu, enabled the theory to be reinterpreted to cover the case of uncertainty about the availability of resources and about consumption and production possibilities...[Arrow's device permits... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Economists who rationalise their discipline’s value can be convincing, especially with prestige and mathiness on their side. But there’s no reason to keep believing them. The pejorative verb ‘rationalise’ itself warns of mathiness, reminding us that we often deceive each other by making prior convictions, biases and ideological positions look... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
The only way to erect such a common power, as may be able to defend them from the invasion of foreigners, and the injuries of one another, and thereby to secure them in such sort as that by their own industry and by the fruits of the earth they may... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
By "the political," I refer to the dimension of antagonism that is inherent in all human society, antagonism that can take many different forms and can emerge in diverse social relations. "Politics," on the other hand, refers to the ensemble of practices, discourses and institutions that seek to establish a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
I’m going to start with a strange kind of claim that freedom of speech is not a value of universities. Just as such. When I say universities, I’m not today going to be talking about the distinction that exists in American law between public and private universities. It is the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Undoubtedly closer to truth is the claim made in the fifth book of his Nature of the Gods by Posidonius, whose friendship we all share: that Epicurus does not believe in any gods, and that the statements which he made affirming the immortal gods were made to avert popular odium.--Cicero... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
I don’t get much time to do extended, concentrated, article-generating research—see above—though I am slowly realizing that I have exponentially more time for research, broadly-speaking, than I did at my previous position. That’s partly a consequence of not being buried in departmental business and new preps and the TT grind,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
But to come to those who, by their own ability and not through fortune, have risen to be princes, I say that Moses, Cyrus, Romulus, Theseus, and such like are the most excellent examples. And although one may not discuss Moses, he having been a mere executor of the will... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
It would be really nice for philosophers – at least those of us who care about injustice and oppression – if what was needed was better and more careful argumentation in order to rationally persuade ourselves out of bad ideology: if we as analytic philosophers had just the right hammer... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
De waarheid is nooit precies zoals je denkt dat hij zou zijn. [The truth is never exactly like you think he would be.]--Johan Cruyff. The first professional soccer (voetbal) match I ever saw in person was at old the Olympic Stadium 7 november 1978. It was a good 30 minute... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Yesterday, I articulated some of my reservations about the idea that the "Graat Spinoza" is really depicting, well, you know, the person Spinoza. Today I visited the art-dealer, Mr. Vecht, and had a chance to inspect the painting in person. I also spoke at length with Mr. Vecht and his... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
The portrait is attributed to Barend Graat (and dated to 1666). It was exhibited at a prestigious Dutch art fair (TEFAF in Maastricht) by the dealer A. Vecht. The dealer, Dutch media (see here NIW) and blogs have all discerned Spinoza in this portrait. (HT Wim Klever on facebook.) This... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Thus whoever tampers with them, by making an allegorical interpretation not apparent in itself, or [at least] not more apparent to everyone than they are (and that [greater apparency] is something non-existent), is rejecting their wisdom and rejecting their intended effects in procuring human happiness. This is very apparent from... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Let's stipulate that there is, since Ernest Nagel conceptualized it (in 1936), an 'analytical' tradition and that there is also a 'continental' tradition (which coalesced in the 1950s and 60s) in professional philosophy. Let's also stipulate that both traditions have competing schools within them and that sometimes the rivalries among... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
One evening, the Muslim merchants of Sin-i-Kalal conducted me to a house of painted wood in which many persons lived. It is not possible to describe that house, which was more like a single room, with rows of cabinet-like contrivances, or balconies, one atop another. In these niches there were... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions