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Eric Schliesser
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Disputes in philosophy of time over how to understand the significance of special relativity, for example, are hampered by difficulties over how to read the developments in physics as contributions to philosophy. Disputes arise as to whether the philosophical challenges posed by relativity of simultaneity in special relativity can be... Continue reading
Posted 13 hours ago at Digressions&Impressions
Last week I received an email from a foreign MA student unknown to me. He had a query about the relationship between two of my papers to Newton's Principia and along the way it asked for clarification of a cryptic footnote. In our ensuing exchange it became clear that the... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Digressions&Impressions
A passionate Zionist from the time of his first publications at the beginning of the century, Buber has always known how to infuse Zionism with a distinctive spirit. He has an unparalleled way of combining the preservation of the past with the struggle for the future. Now and always, he... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
"Try to find Cugoano in a philosophical syllabus," Coleman notes. You will fail. Similarly, if you search for "philosophers" in Google Images, you will find only ""white men," usually with beards." According to Coleman, the philosophical canon is socially constructed and unjustly excludes Africans like Cugoano or Anton Wilhelm Amo,... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects too are, perhaps, always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding, or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
One of Dennett’s most important claims is that most of what we and our fellow organisms do to stay alive, cope with the world and one another, and reproduce is not understood by us or them. It is competence without comprehension. This is obviously true of organisms like bacteria and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
Genuine higher learning is possible only where free, reasoned, and civil speech and discussion are respected.--Free Inquiry on Campus: A Statement of Principles by over One Hundred Middlebury College Professors [HT WSJ] [The first part in this series can be found here.] During my studies, I was a student rep... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
First, after the end of Dutch colonial empire, Dutch foreign policy became very simple: (i) sign up for european integration to prevent another war between Germany and France; (ii) get the UK involved inside the European Union as a trade-friendly counterweight toward France and Germany; (iii) promote the NATO as... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
As is clear from mjmy post I do not endorse the idea that one should publish work in academic journals first. That would impoverish democratic debate (and would disallow my kind of blogging)! But we should also not be too sanguine about the effect of pseudo-science on the public. There are no easy solutions here. Heckling is part of political life (or do you prefer no protests at all?), but it is also -- as I suggest in my post -- perfectly legitimate to remove hecklers or keep them out of various university spaces.
Democracies and academies have, historically, risen together. Ancient Athens, where formal democracy first flowered, was also where, after the injustice of the execution of Socrates, Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum nonetheless bloomed. When the democracy succumbed to the geopolitical dominance of the Macedonian Alexander the Great, the cities’ new leaders... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
Max Weber spoke of an ethic of responsibility in politics. Part of that is the duty of respect for the structures and procedures that frame the political enterprise and that make deliberation and action with others possible. Since the invention of politics, some politicians have thrived on institutional irresponsibility. In... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
When we see a man for the first time, we observe his features, we search them for his soul. If his face has any charm or beauty at all, even if it is only distinguished by some singularity or other, we study it carefully, attempting to grasp the impressions that... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
Another reason for engaging in ideal theory is that what today seems like a fantasy may one day become quite realistic. It therefore makes sense to aim high. As Brennan observes, throughout most of human history, deaths due to violence were vastly more common than they are today. If someone... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
Like Schumpeter, Marshall saw himself in a very superior position in the whole world of economics, and even towards his hero, Ricardo, there is more than a touch of condescension. Ricardo is given to an excessive love of abstraction, no doubt, says Marshall, the result of Ricardo's "Semitic" heritage. great... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
Professor Kenneth Arrow died on February 21, 2017, at the age of 95. He was widely regarded (along with Paul Samuelson, John Hicks and possibly --- depending on tastes --- John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman and Gary Becker) as one of the greatest economists of the 20th century. He also... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
[This is a guest post by Joel Katzav.--ES] Philosophy encyclopaedias, as well as textbooks, anthologies and other standard introductory material used in academic philosophy, include extremely limited information about the institutions of philosophy and their organs. My focus here is on the relative absence of such information about philosophy journals.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
We implicitly treat philosophy as if it is an importunate, jealous lover demanding all our love and love without remainder or reservation. We overstate the distance it has from all manner of other human endeavors, too often treating it as the sine qua non of critical engagement with the world.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
I am very fond of ethnography, for it is a science of rare interest; but, in so far as I would wish it to be free, I wish it to be without political application. In ethnography, as in all forms of study, systems change; this is the condition of progress.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
We believe in a sole and constant general law. Therefore we also be­lieve in a sole and constant general objective, and we believe in pro­gressive development toward this given objective, which can only be achieved by means of coming closer together-that is, through associa­tion. All human faculties and strengths are... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
[This is an invited guest post by Elizabeth Anderson. It originates in correspondence over this recent post here at D&I.—ES] One of the interesting aspects of Mill's work is that he takes the moral reasoning of the prophets seriously even though they were reasoning from theistic premises that he rejected.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
A portion of mankind may be said to constitute a Nationality if they are united among themselves by common sympathies which do not exist between them and any others—which make them co-operate with each other more willingly than with other people, desire to be under the same government, and desire... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
[O]ne of our countrymen, D. Gilbert, who to his everlasting praise, hath troden out a new path to Philosophy, and on the Loadstone had erected a large Trophie to commend him to posterity. This famous doctor being as pregnant in witty apprehension, as diligent in curious search of natural causes;... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
The Jews...too, had an absolute monarchy and a hierarchy...These...subdued them to industry and order, and gave them a national life. But neither their kings nor their priests ever obtained...the exclusive moulding of their character. Their religion, which enabled persons of genius and a high religious tone to be regarded and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions
Social decisions are sometimes made by single individuals or small groups and sometimes by a widely encompassing set of traditional rules for making the social choice in any given situation, e.g., a religious code.1 The last two methods of making social choices are in a sense extreme opposites, developments of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2017 at Digressions&Impressions