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Eric Schliesser
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Kenji Hayakawa, the anti-elitist strategies you mention are not going to work because the underlying problem is class.
Thank you for your comment Shen-yi Liao, and for calling attention to your work and Aaron Meskin's, including X-PHI versions of aesthetics. But I wonder if you have really reflected on what Bence and I are saying. For the work that you describe falls under what Bence calls "Go completely anti-elitist" strategy (and what you call "democratize"). But while undoubtedly interesting work, that's not a successful strategy (even if it gets you professional success) to address the elitism issue; it cuts you off from your own historical roots, it's also not obviously less elitist (it might be, but need not be) simply by running away from one set of objects and one set of experiences. (Avoiding X is a fine way of calling attention to X even IF YOU think otherwise.) [Also, it is very much democratizing top down--and that, too, is elitist.] Finally, as I point out, the issue is not really elitism, but class--and your silence on it suggests that you have not even started to address the topic. If anything it is a well known feature of class that you can obtain status by working on something perceived 'fringe,' yet doing so from within elite institutions. I know my response sounds a bit harsh, but again it's not because I do not value the kind of work you describe, but rather because your response reveals the problem.
Toggle Commented 2 hours ago on On Aesthetics & Elitism at Digressions&Impressions
[A]esthetics as a discipline is considered to be marginal in the eyes of other philosophers... One of the reasons for this is exactly the perceived elitism of aestheticians – we go on about extremely highbrow examples like Proust, Bartok and Godard and most of our colleagues find it difficult to... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Digressions&Impressions
The interaction between the observer and the process observed that is so prominent a feature of the social sciences, besides its more obvious parallel in the physical sciences, has a more subtle counterpart in the indeterminacy principle arising out of the interaction between the process of measurement and the phenomena... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
When combined uncertainty and reflexivity greatly limit the power of maximizing and equilibrium to do useful economics. Reflexive relations between future expectations and outcomes are constantly breaking down at times and in ways that no one can predict—about which there is complete uncertainty. Between them, they make the economy a... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
[I]t will be demanded to what purpose serves that curious organization of plants, and the animal mechanism in the parts of animals; might not vegetables grow, and shoot forth leaves of blossoms, and animals perform all their motions as well without as with all that variety of internal parts so... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
It is a reasonable surmise that after the killing of the father a time followed when the brothers quarreled among themselves for the succession, which each of them wanted to obtain for himself alone. They came to see that these fights were as dangerous as they were futile. This hard-won... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
In my early modern courses I often use fiction (Gulliver's Travels works really well in a course on moral/political) as well Utopian literature (Bacon's New Atlantis, More's Utopia, Cavendish Blazing World, etc.). I have also used novels including Coetzee's Disgrace and Roth's The Human Stain in a Social Theory course. Powers's Galitea 2.2 works very well in a course on science fiction/mind.
All politics is local, so it would be unwise to read too much into the 8-1 vote by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees against hiring (or unhiring) Dr. Salaita. But if you look at the sixteen UIUC departments that voted no confidence, the STEM disciplines and even some... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
[R]efusing to engage with those who don’t share some of your basic assumptions – simply because you don’t think such engagement is worthwhile or likely to be productive – has a long and storied tradition in philosophy. From Hume consigning metaphysics to the flames, to the logical positivists hating on... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
Like a great many articles published in our journals, some of these essays adopt a variation of what Jonathan Bennett promoted as "the collegial approach" to the history of philosophy. In this approach we treat the Great Ones as our contemporaries and hold them accountable in the same way as... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
Stefan, thank you. I very much agree with your statement that "real service is to the discipline and its tradition. I personally try to honor this obligation of 'carrying on' by trying to do justice to some of those bygone colleagues which rarely appear in standard accounts of the history of philosophy - not because I am convinced that what they have to say is urgently to be heard in this time, but because I suspect that their collective work has contributed to who and what we are today as philosophers. This is at the same time a humbling and a gratifying experience - humbling because doing philosophy in the Germany of the Thirty Years War was certainly more difficult than today, and gratifying because in the context of their own time, some of them were diligent and sharp minds furthering the advancement of knowledge in much the same way we still try to do that today. So one - though, of course, not the only - way of shaping a healthy professional attitude is to serve as Baillet to the Rembrandtsz Van Nierops of history." (I would just use the plural 'traditions.') I have reflected a bit about this 'carrying on' here and at NewAPPS.
Toggle Commented Sep 9, 2014 on The Walk-On Philosopher at Digressions&Impressions
Michael, thank you, even so can I ask you to re-read this little digression:
Toggle Commented Sep 9, 2014 on The Walk-On Philosopher at Digressions&Impressions
[...] Only Dirck, or Theodore Rembrantsz, an astronomer and surveyor in North Holland, made his acquaintance in that time, when the most remote and obscure villages were hardly less fertile in the growth of philosophy, than the flourishing cities of commerce…. Dirck Rembrantsz was a Dutch peasant, native the village... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
Hi Marius, earlier in the Universal Natural History, he discusses Huygens by name--judging by the details, he is drawing on the section in Cosmotheoros in which Huygens explains how one estimates distance to the stars. It's possible he read a (bad) summary, because the figures are not identical (although because a 7 and 1 are confused, I wouldn't be surprised if it is a transcription error somewhere or bad memory). But Kant gets the order of magnitude right. But yes, if Kant had read (Howard Stein's version of) Huygens the history of philosophy would have been interestingly different!
But such diversity and beauty of things is available on the other planets like our Earthly realm, surely they wouldn't lack a spectator! As the elegance and artful workmanship of the animals, and the colors and scents of the flowers seem to be made available for human admiration and delight,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
Third-world historians feel a need to refer to works in European history; historians of Europe do not feel any need to reciprocate. Needless to say, in philosophy the case is similar, if not worse. The study of philosophy often excludes anything outside of Western philosophy, and this is true even... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
There is a variety of love more powerful and lasting than that union with the other which beguiles us with its sensual pleasure, and more powerful and lasting than that platonic variety in which we contemplate the mystery of the other and thus become ourselves; mistresses grow old or pass... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
By 1983 we were all, so to speak, mathematical economists...This is as it should be. Soft and hard sciences are cumulative disciplines. We each bring our contributions of "value added" to the pot of progress. In Max Planck's much-quoted words: Science progresses funeral by funeral. Inside tomorrow's physics treatise will... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
I would absolutely believe that some day, given the opportunity, they would set up their state again, and that God would choose them anew, so changeable are human affairs.—Spinoza, Theological Political Treatise, Chapter 3 (translated by E. Curley). I understand Zionism as a legitimate response to the reality that we... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
In the matter of passion, whether of love or war, excess is inevitable. Yet I have always been bewildered when, in the ease of peace, men raise the questions of praise or blame. It seems to me now that both judgments are inappropriate, and equally so. For those who thus... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
My philosophical colleague, Thomas Sturm, has been calling attention to the significance of the Budapest Memorandums. This 1994 treaty encouraged Ukraine to give up its Soviet-era nuclear weapons in exchange for territorial and security guarantees by Russia, USA, and the UK. Whatever one's views are about the legitimacy of the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
[This is a guest post by Bryce Huebner.--ES] Eric Schliesser is right to call attention to the connection between the tendency to “treat the LEMM as the CORE parts of philosophy”, the tendency to “mock SPEP-style Continental philosophy”, and the continued marginalization of the majority of Black philosophers. As Botts... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions
There is a willful, not necessarily a conscious, preference among many members of the philosophy profession largely to maintain the status quo in terms of: the social group profiles of members; the dynamics of prestige and influence; and the areas and questions deemed properly or deeply "philosophical." None of this... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2014 at Digressions&Impressions