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Eric Schliesser
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Academic publication needs fixing. Even the 12% uncited rate for medicine seems large to me, particularly given what medical research costs. The one-third rate for social science and more than 80% for humanities are really troubling. But whatever we do, let’s preserve somewhere what’s good about academic articles—full descriptions of... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
The first major work of Oriental scholarship after d'Herbelot's Bibliotheque was Simon Ockley's History of the Saracens, whose first volume appeared in 1708. A recent historian of Orientalism has opined that Ockley's attitude towards the Muslims — that to them is owed what was first known of philosophy by European... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
The ameliorative project asks us to look at more than these familiar considerations when evaluating explanatory adequacy. When evaluating theories of social categories, the ameliorative project asks us to consider what role these categories have to play in social progress--with the background assumption that understanding and explaining social injustice is... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
A diagnosis of adaptive preferences is licensed only when preferences are directed toward something suboptimal. We don't, however, make decisions about what is subotimal from Plato's heaven (or from our armchair). We observe, we evaluate, and -- crucially -- we listen to testimony. The problem with the adaptive preference model... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
Disabled people are constrained and limited by their bodies....The simple act is that, disabled or non-disabled, we are all limited and constrained by our bodies. To have a body that is any particular wa is to have a body that is limited and constrained in some respects an in comparison... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
Philip Yaure's Guest post was the last Impression of the year. Once again I want to thank all my readers for their continued interest in these Digressions. I wish you all a wonderful 2017! D&I returns early in January.--ES Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
[This is a guest post by Philip Yaure.--ES] Academic observers, exposed to a perspective that rejects any notion of transcendent truth and celebrates diversity, tend to see the phenomenon as a form of ‘postmodernism.’ Most activists who are not themselves academics dislike such terms—if only because it seems silly to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
It seems to me that this agreement between equals to no longer be equal (at least for a time) is critically important. It is the very essence of what we call "debt."… Debt is a very specific thing, and it arises from very specific situations. It first requires a relationship... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
In Athens, the result was extreme moral confusion. The language of money, debt, and finance provided powerful — and ultimately irresistible — ways to think about moral problems. Much as in Vedic India, people started talking about life as a debt to the gods, of obligations as debts, about literal... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Anthropology has shown just how different and numerous are the ways in which humans have been known to organize themselves. But it also reveals some remarkable commonalities - fundamental moral principles that appear to exist everywhere, and that will always tend to be invoked, wherever people transfer objects back and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Now, of course, nothing I say is meant to downplay the threat at all; it’s all designed to get us to see it more clearly (clearly, of course, by my lights), and while I don’t see my posts or tweets primarily or even secondarily as organizing tools, I’d like to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
To be honest, I think most philosophers are pretty limited in their intelligences. They may be amazing along a certain dimension of intelligence, but in many cases the other dimensions are atrophied. And moreover, they don't even recognize the multiplicity of intelligences and think the kind they have is either... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
But what these two responses to CIIT really drove home to me is just how powerless we are in this regard. The content of our paper, the specifics of the arguments we gave, seem to me just not the kind of thing that will make a difference as to whether... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Clinton’s campaign made a devastating error by failing to recognize the appeal of illiberalism. The strategy of their ad campaign, which featured lengthy snippets of the president-elect at his most illiberal, presupposed a general commitment to liberal democratic values. It is in any case a familiar point from George Lakoff’s... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
But it is not radical in the sense of being unfamiliar. With the notable exception of black and feminist thinkers who have defended anger as a vital tool of the oppressed, almost all of Western political thought since the Stoics has largely shared Nussbaum’s dim view of anger. Seneca condemned... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Most academic work in all subjects is dry and dull to the outsider and contributes only a minute increment to the sum of knowledge. I expect there are people out there whose appetites for the details of snail morphology or monastic life in seventeenth century France is immeasurably greater than... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Not coincidentally, it was also the year of “fake news,” in which pure fiction masquerading as truth...But framing the issue solely in terms of lying actually underplays and mischaracterizes the grand deception being perpetuated inside the internet’s fun house of mirrors. To better see this, we must distinguish lying from... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
When I read people from the early 20th century...discussing their reluctance to issue normative pronouncements I frequently get something like the following impression....Our forbearers were very keen to avoid any suggestion that others should defer to their pronouncements on moral matters, they really did not think they should be deferred... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
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The most common forms of debt are loans, including mortgages and auto loans, and credit card debt. Under the terms of a loan, the borrower is required to repay the balance of the loan by a certain date, typically several years in the future. The terms of the loan also... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
I really value the ability to produce such an emotionally coherent philosophy in humanistic thinkers. One -- not the only, nor even the most important, but one -- valuable thing I think we can offer as humanists is placing facts, arguments, perspectives, into such a light as they provide a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
To some extent, we are bound to read past philosophers in the light of our own philosophical culture, which in turn makes some features of their works apparent to us and others invisible. What we find is shaped by who we are. However, there are many ways in which our... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
That logic’s essence, expressed variously by Herbert Croly and Woodrow Wilson, FDR’s brains trust, intellectuals of both the old and the new Left, choked back and blurted out by progressive politicians, is this: America’s constitutional republic had given the American people too much latitude to be who they are, that... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
On the Final Days of Erdoğan I write this as the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, appears to have ordered the police assault to empty Gezi park from the brave citizens that taught the whole world lessons in civil society and decency. In doing so, Erdoğan has precipitated his... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions