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Eric Schliesser
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When Providence divided the earth among a few lordly masters, it neither forgot nor abandoned those who seemed to have been left out in the partition. These last too enjoy their share of all that it produces. In what constitutes the real happiness of human life, they are in no... Continue reading
Posted 13 hours ago at Digressions&Impressions
The world cup will be won by the team that wins its final four matches. That is not to deny that the first round of group play isn't informative, even important, especially since Fifa moved to awarding three (rather than two) points to victory (back in 1994). But a team... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Digressions&Impressions
You know what I mean by a good man? One who is complete, finished, – whom no constraint or need can render bad. I see such a person in you, if only you go steadily on and bend to your task, and see to it that all your actions and... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
The sympathy we feel for physical suffering, and which constitutes part of what we call humanity, would be a sentiment too transient to be often useful, my dear C***, were we not capable of reflection as well as sensation. But because reflection prolongs the ideas brought to us by our... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
Brexit offers a historic opportunity for democratic and economic renewal. This opportunity is being squandered by Britain’s political class. The Full Brexit will set out radical arguments for a clean break with the European Union. Instead of the conservative nostalgia of the Eurosceptics, our arguments will put the interests of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
In all those circumstances, we become used to consulting our reason as to what the best course of action is, and to settle on the one that will give us the greatest satisfaction afterwards, and thus we acquire the idea of moral evil, that is of an act that is... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
When you eat illusions you end up hungrier than before.--From, The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula Le Guin, chapter 11. Last week (recall), I noted that in Ursule Le Guin's purportedly happy cite, Omelas, there is -- like in Plato's True City -- a religion without priests; earlier in the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
This, then, is the end for which I strive, to attain to such a character myself, and to endeavor that many should attain to it with me. (2) In other words, it is part of my happiness to lend a helping hand, that many others may understand even as I... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
A few minutes into the conversation she asks the inevitable question. “So, what are you working on?” You say, “nothing.” Or to make it perfectly clear, you say, “I am working on nothing.” You are met with a suppressed shock (without the awe) that barely obscures your companion’s dark thoughts:... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
Gurgen never ceased to be fascinated by the way a society's games revealed so much about its ethos, it's philosophy, its very soul.--Iain M. Banks (1988) The Player of Games, p. 30. The Player of Games is a clever science fiction novel, but here I want to treat it as... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
But while Einstein won—and would continue to win—all the logical battles, Bohr was decisively winning the propaganda war. The Copenhagen doctrine of the completeness of quantum theory and the inescapability of fundamental chance spread, enforced by Bohr and Heisenberg and the rest of the Copenhagen school. Behind the scenes, the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
The kind of pressing need which is nearly always stronger than fear of revenge or remorse can also occur in the working classes, either because of a want of salary, or because of a temporary mismatch of their salary with the necessities of life; and even, it is most common... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
They all know it is there, all the people of Omelas. Some of them have come to see it, others are content merely to know it is there. They all know that it has to be there. Some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
Before I say anything: regular readers know that I think the root problem of the Euro are the long-standing mercantile policies of Germany (and my native) the Netherlands, which privilege growing exports at the expense of growing income of ordinary citizens/workers. This is combined with exaggerated state support of the... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
I was at an academic conference last week, somewhere in America, where we were invited by our hosts to place a 'preferred pronoun' sticker on our nametags. "If you could pick one of those up during the next break, we'd appreciate it." The options were, 'He', 'She', 'They', 'Ask Me',... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
As any journal editor will tell you (at length, possibly via the medium of rant), the trickiest part of the job is not the papers, not the authors, and not even the typesetters. It’s the referees. It is no mean feat to secure referees who are, first, reliable in their... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
Now we have seen that in forming a state the power of making laws must either be vested in the body of the citizens, or in a portion of them, or in one man. For, although mens free judgments are very diverse, each one thinking that he alone knows everything,... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
But there’s another type that’s more insidious. I’m referring to those right-thinking mealy-mouths who are “critical” of Israel’s actions on the Gaza frontier. They may “disagree” with the current leaders of the Jewish state. Perhaps they might “oppose” the occupation and the settlements, and “support” the idea of Palestinian statehood.... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
1. We express our personality by what we say and by what we do. 1.1 What we say we say with words... 1.2 What we do, we do in many ways, and these ways "show" a personality. 1.21 "Style" is a word sometimes used to describe this. Style is the... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
[It] was hard to know what lessons to draw. The democracies had shown their resilience in the long run. How they had done it, and what it meant for the future, was much less clear. The knowledge of their hidden strengths the democracies had been given did not translate into... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
But the scanty wisdom of man, on entering into an affair which looks well at first, cannot discern the poison that is hidden in it, as I have said above of hectic fevers. Therefore, if he who rules a principality cannot recognize evils until they are upon him, he is... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
But if we consider, where Monies are raised according to wealth, there they who have made equall gain, have not equall possessions, because that one preserves what he hath got by frugality, another wastes it by luxury, and therefore equally rejoycing in the benefit of Peace, they doe not equally... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
I am in Boston this week, part of a fest-program, A Question of Evidence, to celebrate George Smith's contributions to scholarship and teaching. Remarkably, one of his courses, a year long class on Newton's Principia -- roughly Semester/Part 1 puts the student in a position to read the Principia; Part... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
Yesterday, I suggested that in rejecting both Descartes's vortex theory and Newton's cosmology (including the law of universal gravitation), Huygens landed with an apparent tension. One the one hand, Huygens claims that solar systems are causally isolated from each other. They are separated by an universal ether* that on my... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions
I am of opinion then that every Sun is surrounded with a Whirl-pool or Vortex of Matter in a very swift Motion; tho not in the least like Cartes’s either in their bulk, or manner of Motion. For Cartes makes his so large, as everyone of them to touch all... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2018 at Digressions&Impressions