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Eric Schliesser
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When therefore he saw them compass'd about with the Curtains of Punishment, and cover'd with the Darkness of the Veil; and that all of them (a few only excepted) minded their Religion no otherwise, but with regard to this present World; and cast the Observance of religious Performances behind their... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
In short, Fiske doesn’t like when people use social media to publish negative comments on published research. She’s implicitly following what I’ve sometimes called the research incumbency rule: that, once an article is published in some approved venue, it should be taken as truth. I’ve written elsewhere on my problems... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
We need to begin by asking whether the refusal to hire is punitive, and, if so, whether the punishment is proportionate to the offense. Or whether the refusal to hire is preventative, in which case whether there are ways to prevent that do not destroy someone’s life so completely. If... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
[W]ould he not provoke laughter, and would it not be said of him that he had returned from his journey aloft with his eyes ruined and that it was not worth while even to attempt the ascent? And if it were possible to lay hands on and to kill the... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
Yes, I agree that (Fiqh) jurisprudence is not itself philosophy, although it is worth reflecting on to what degree some of the great jurists drew on philosophical ideas of various sorts or developed a philosophy of law while instituting their schools (Ibn Hanbal, in particular, is a complex character). I don't speak with confidence about Confucius, although some of what he did looks a lot like the kind of thing Adam Smith did. I agree that one needs to be willing to acknowledge genuine differences between traditions and that sometimes it is not illuminating to treat a tradition of critical reflection as philosophy.
[O]ppression involves a distinct phenomenal or what it is like experience, namely, the experience of what it is like to belong to a social category that is negatively valued by others. This is an experience that the racially oppressed are most likely to have. When Du Bois and King write... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Can we imagine college classes being conducted without agendas, either political or scholarly? If this seems a fantasy, can we imagine ways that the agendas that inevitably emerge would be constantly subject to self-critical eyes? The small-scale culture of a college — not its rhetoric or its bureaucratic shortcuts —... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
It might seem broadminded to call for philosophy professors to teach ancient Asian scholars such as Confucius and Candrakīrti in addition to dead white men such as David Hume and Immanuel Kant. However, this approach undermines what is distinct about philosophy as an intellectual tradition, and pays other traditions the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
One of the paradoxes—there are so many—of conservative thought over the last decade at least is the unwillingness even to entertain the possibility that America and the West are on a trajectory toward something very bad. On the one hand, conservatives routinely present a litany of ills plaguing the body... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Behavioral biases (such as inattention or myopia) often generate differences between welfare from a policy maker's perspective, which depends on an agent's experienced utility (his actual well-being), and the agent's decision utility (the objective the agent maximizes when making choices). Accounting for these differences between decision and experienced utilities improves... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
1. Religion is opinions and actions, determined and restricted with stipulations and prescribed for a community by their first ruler, who seeks to obtain through their practicing it a specific purpose with respect to them or by means of them. The community may be a tribe, a city or district,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
0-13 "To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss” was one of the mottoes of the Khmer Rouge. It referred to the New People, those city dwellers who could not be made to give up city life and work on a farm. By returning everybody to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Just as the intellect is one of man’s stages in which he receives an “eye” by which he “sees” various species of intelligibles from which the senses are far removed, the prophetic power is an expression signifying a stage in which man receives an “eye” possessed of a light, and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
[Bill Wimsatt responded to my post on Dennett's piece on Jonathan Bennett's (1964) Rationality in Ten Neglected Classics of Philosophy. I reprint his letter of September 4, 2016, after modest editing with permission. A copy of Wimsatt's notes on Bennett's Rationality. These notes are of more than biographical interest, because... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
No one ideal for values in science will suffice. We need nested ideals, articulated for individual actors, for communal practices, and for science-society interfaces, in order to ground the authority of science. The authority of science rests on the interlocking character of these norms. At the communal level, scientists are... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Sally Haslanger alerted me to a truly shocking story, if true. It appears to be a case of shocking retaliation against Prof. Jacqueline Stevens, professor in the Political Science Department at Northwestern, an internal critic of the university's cozy-ing up to the military-industrial complex. I have been on the road,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Rationality (1964), Jonathan Bennett’s first book, was published when he was thirty-four years old, and it exhibits the intensity of a young philosopher who is quite sure he sees a way to cut through a forest of dubious, ideology-ridden, squishy philosophy of mind and set a few things straight. Since... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Yesterday, as we were ambling our way through Prague on a lovely late Summer evening, Jousef Moural, pointed me to a church barely visible behind scaffolding, the Italian Chapel of the Assumption of Our Lady. We stopped a few doors up in front of a plaque on Karlova street commemorating... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Jacob Levy's recent post got me (recall) to take a fresh look at the (November 1967) Kalven report (named after the jurist). I was startled to learn that both John Hope Franklin and George Stigler (the Chicago economist, who figures in a lot of my blog posts and scholarship) were... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
We discovered the entries in the Jesuit catalogs that listed everyone who lived at the Royal College in 1726, 1734, and 1737: some 100 teachers, students, and servants in all. Twelve Jesuit fathers had been at La Flèche when Desideri visited and were still there when Hume arrived. So Hume... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
Protecting that community of inquiry means keeping any number of intrusions at bay. And the university is constituted as a system of safe spaces: around here we discuss as economists in order to make progress on our research agenda without constantly having to re-argue our premisses against philosophers pointing out... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
The initiated, the members of the elite, by virtue of a kind of intuitive and direct perception are aware of the profound innermost thoughts of the leader, know the true secret aims of the movement. And so they are not troubled a whit by the contradictions and inconsistencies in their... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
The oracle...was sound asleep all through the writing of the book. Sound asleep in the corner of the office. Philip K. Dick (1963) The Man in the High Castle. of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Ecclesiastes 12:12 One branch... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions
This morning I received an email (headlined, "Blast from the Past") from my friend (and sometime collaborator), Andrew Janiak. His sister had found a copy of the program of the New England Undergraduate Philosophy Conference held at Tufts, April 4, 1992 (which Andrew had included in the mail). I had... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2016 at Digressions&Impressions